The diagram above demonstrates elements of a marketing strategy. Below, I will explain it in more detail.
Product or service
Although it may sound strange, the first obstacle in creating a marketing strategy is to define what product or service you are going to sell. Sometimes companies are too quick to change or switch their product because they try to please the end customer. This can cause contradicting marketing messages and result in marketing campaigns being ineffective.
USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
USP is the unique benefit resulting from the product or service that makes it stand along against competition. What is that that you can do better than others? For example, the USP of Ryanair is low-cost flights.
Features are what your product or service is comprised of. In order to sell a product, it is not necessary and sometimes even counterproductive to include a large number of features. Rather, the features should match the requirements of the target customer (see below).
Writing use cases for your product or service is an excellent exercise that helps you to get ideas for promotion. Here are some examples of use cases for an app for sending appreciation badges within a company:
- New colleagues can introduce themselves by sending short messages to the team members.
- Colleagues can congratulate each other on a completed project or on other occasions by sending a badge.
- The app can be used after meetings or training for sending feedback and thanking the organizer.
Achieving product-to-market fit is one of the cornerstones of successful marketing. However, not only the product part is important but also defining and selecting your target group.
You can segment both outside and inside your target group. Segmenting the market in general (see market segmentation) orientates you what segments you will target and what not. Once you selected your target group, you will unlikely be homogeneous, so you need to segment further. Typical target group segmentation for a B2B product can include such criteria as:
- Users vs decision makers
- Company size
- State-owned vs privately-owned companies
- Geographical segmentation (country, location)
- Field of business
Personas help you to define in detail who your customers are, to understand what language they speak, what motivates them and drives their decisions. Customer personas are more detailed and granular than segments and may look like this: “Male customers, located in the US, aged 20-30, working as software developers, interested in hacking, having “geek” mentality. Their main focus is not on the career but on improving their skills. They visit hacker blogs and websites, spend a lot of time online and participate in forums and closed communities. Their challenge at work is time pressure, the necessity to learn new skills fast and requirements changes in the course of projects.”
While the target group defines who your customers are, market defines how many there are of them and also how many you can realistically reach.
No matter how good your product fits customer needs or how elaborate your marketing strategy is, without a proper market size your product is not going to scale. Market size can be defined in several ways, e.g. total potential market size (the total number of potential users for your product), total existing market (what share of market is already being covered by the competition), the size of the market you can serve (for example, if your product does not scale very well or because there are strong competitors in the market). Estimating market size will be based both on research and assumption, however, this is an important step in creating marketing concept.
Here you can look at the existing market (competition, customers) or make assumptions about a market you can create. Creating a new market means that you have to generate the demand by educating potential users about your product or service instead of fighting the competition. Bear in mind that this approach has both advantages and disadvantages: you will not have direct competitors, but at the same time, you may face indirect competition by substitute products (see Part 2 of this post). It also takes a lot of time and effort to explain to potential customers why they need your product or service, so your sales materials and pitches have to be carefully crafted.
In the second part of this post, I will explain how company image influences your marketing concept, what you can learn from your competitors and why marketing tools are the final step in crafting your marketing strategy.