Develop a marketing strategy: set clear goals and objectives for your business

With so many promotional channels and methods to choose from, developing a marketing strategy can seem like an overwhelming task. However a marketing strategy is about much more than your promotional tactics.

Put simply, your marketing strategy is how you intend to achieve your business objectives and goals. Your business plan is your foundation of your marketing plan, so it should help guide you in this process. Download our Marketing plan template or mobile tablet app MarketMyBiz and answer the following questions to help you develop your strategy:

Who are you? (Market research)

Before you develop a marketing strategy that suits your business, you need to have a clear idea of your business and the position you hold in the market. This is called positioning your business. The following questions can also help you work out your business' positioning:

  • Who are your target customers?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What are their problems?
  • What needs do you target customers have?
  • How do your competitors meet the needs of your target customers?
  • How can you do it better?

How can you help your target customers understand why your product or service is better than or different from the competition?

This information will help you work out your market position (e.g. high-end, competitive or low-cost) and your unique selling position (i.e. what gives your business a distinctive edge). Find out more about conducting market research.

What do you want and when? (Goals & objectives)

Once you're clear about your business and its positioning, you can start thinking about what you want to achieve. First think long-term and figure out your main business goals, whether it's the size of your business, expansion plans or profit figures. Then figure out what your immediate objectives are, whether it's to establish your business in the market, or to increase sales or customers.

How are you going to get it? (Marketing strategies)

Once you know what you want, start analysing your short-term business objectives and try and figure out what marketing activity, process or price will help you achieve your objectives. When choosing marketing activities, try and choose activities that suit your business and your customers. For example, it's not a good idea choosing newspaper advertising if your customers are primarily young women who might not necessarily read the paper.

It's a good idea to choose multiple activities that complement each other, to help you get your message across. For example, if you're trying to establish a new product in the market, you may choose to advertise on the local radio, as well as setting up a social media account and introduce a low-cost pricing strategy for first-time buyers. When used together, these strategies can start to complement each other and help you reach a broader market.

Will it work? (Testing the market)

Sometimes figuring out what strategies will work is a matter of trial and error. It can be useful to market to a small sample of your customers and analyse the results. If a sample isn't possible, you can try asking ten of your best customers directly for their feedback. Recording these details in your marketing plan can also help you plan your messages and work out what channels are right for your business.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2016. 

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