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5 Things You MUST Do Before You Start a Marketing Strategy

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A well-thought-out marketing strategy is a crucial tool for the success of any business, but before diving straight in it’s important to lay a strong foundation; skipping these preliminary pre-planning steps can lead to missed opportunities and might get in the way of your business goals. Don’t worry though, we’re here to share with you some key steps that you absolutely must take before beginning to create your marketing strategy.

1. Analyse and Research your Current and Ideal Customers

Understanding your audience is fundamental to any marketing strategy. A great place to start is by analysing who your current customers are – think about who they are, what their demographics and interests are, and what their purchasing behaviours tend to be like. You can utilise tools such as customer feedback surveys, social media insights and CRM data to collect this information, which will help you to create detailed customer profiles and identify any patterns in their behaviour. 


Next, it’s important to define who your ideal customers are; these are the people who would benefit most from your product or service, but may not yet be your customers. Start with creating buyer personas which include demographic information, preferences and pain points – this will help you to tailor your marketing messages to resonate with both your current and potential customers, ensuring that your campaigns are relevant and engaging. 


You may also want to look even further into your customers’ minds – consider their attitudes, interests and lifestyle choices. Making the effort to understand the deeper aspects of your customers can help you connect with them on a more personal level, benefiting your business in the long run. For example, if your ideal customers value sustainability, it could be extremely effective to emphasise eco-friendly practices in your marketing campaigns.

2. Leverage your Current Data to Identify Opportunities

Your existing data can be a real goldmine of useful insights that can help to strengthen your marketing strategy. First of all, it’s a good idea to examine which of your products or services sell best – do you notice any trends in this data? You might find that certain products perform better during certain times of the year, or that there are some opportunities there for upselling or cross-selling items that complement each other. 


You should also consider your relationship with your past customers, and whether there may be a potential to resell to them. Try implementing strategies such as loyalty programs or targeted email campaigns to reengage the interest of your previous customers – this can help you to build a stronger relationship with your existing customer base. 


It’s important to analyse your traffic sources, too – are you getting a significant amount of traffic from a particular social media platform or referral site? If so, it could be wise to focus your efforts on that channel. You’ll also want to look at how well your previous marketing campaigns have performed; look into your most successful ones and think about why these worked so well. A/B testing can be a great method to experiment with different approaches and refine your strategy accordingly.

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3. Create a Content Calendar to Identify Upcoming Opportunities

A content calendar is an essential tool for organising and planning your marketing activities and campaigns. It allows you to map out your content strategy over a specific period of time, ensuring that you have a steady stream of relevant content to engage your audience and that you’re ready to seize any opportunities that arise. A content calendar also helps you maintain consistency, which is crucial for building brand awareness and trust. 

You should start by identifying any key dates and events that are relevant to your industry and target audience; these can include holidays, product launches, industry events and seasonal trends. By planning your content around key dates, you can take advantage of some timely opportunities. 

Include a mix of content types in your calendar such as blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, and video content. This variety will keep your audience engaged, and help you to reach different areas of your target market; when doing this, make sure that each piece of content aligns with your overall marketing goals and provides some sort of value to your audience.

4. Meet with Different Departments and Listen to their Current Problems and Ideas

To make sure that your marketing strategy is comprehensive, it’s important to collaborate with other departments within your business or organisation. Schedule some meetings with representatives from sales, customer service, product development and any other relevant departments and listen to any challenges or ideas that they have. For example, the sales team will be able to share common objections and questions that they hear from potential customers, and the customer service team can highlight any recurring issues that could be addressed through your marketing efforts, such as creating helpful resources or FAQ content.


By involving other departments, you’ll be able to ensure that your marketing strategy meets the needs of the entire organisation; it will create a sense of unity and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. Cross-departmental collaboration can also lead to some great ideas that you might not have considered on your own, as different departments will have different perspectives on the business and alternate ways of interacting with or viewing potential customers.

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5. Complete a Competitor Analysis: What Works for them, What Doesn’t, and what they Haven’t Thought of Yet

Understanding what your competitors are up to can provide valuable insights into your own marketing strategy. Conduct a thorough competitor analysis to see what marketing tactics they’re using as well as what has been successful – and not so successful – for them in the past. You may want to consider using the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to give you a more structured understanding of your competitors’ activity. 


Start by identifying your main competitors. Analyse their websites and social media profiles as well as any other marketing materials that you can access; look for patterns in their messaging, the types of content that they produce and the channels that they use to reach their audience. Pay particular attention to likes, shares, comments and follower growth to gauge the effectiveness of their strategies. Then, identify any gaps in their activity that you could utilise in your own marketing efforts – for example, if a competitor is great at social media but their SEO abilities are weak, you might want to focus on optimising your website to capture organic web traffic. Or, if they aren’t using a particular social media channel, you could use this as an opportunity to stand out. 


By taking the time to research what works and what doesn’t for your competitors, you’ll be able to refine your marketing strategy to avoid their previous mistakes and capitalise on their missed opportunities.

Starting to construct a marketing strategy requires thorough preparation and a firm understanding of your target audience. The steps that we’ve shared with you will ensure that your marketing strategy is data-driven, well-organised and in line with your business goals, setting your business up for success. Taking these steps will not only help you create an effective marketing strategy, but will mean that your efforts are sustainable and easily adaptable in the long term.

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