We know the importance of building a strong marketing foundation for our clients. When you are in the early stages of building a business, you are putting all of your energy into your product or service offering and are eager to get it in the hands of your prospective customers and clients. But even before setting your digital foundation, there are foundational business elements that every savvy business owner should have in place before investing too many dollars in marketing, and especially before adding advertising dollars into the mix.
Previously we’ve discussed the importance of building a growth team, as well as knowing your audience and building personas. However, we’ve seen too many times, business owners preferring to jump to these marketing efforts before solidifying the business strategy. Here are some additional business essentials to have in place before diving into any marketing initiatives.
1. Industry Analysis & Positioning
It’s important to complete an industry analysis to understand the trends, and
to identify specific niches or segments that align with your value proposition. Let the data lead the way in determining where to focus and position yourself to really stand out. Some important data points to research and exercises to complete:
- What are top trends, perceptions, growth opportunities? Consider completing a SWOT analysis.
- What are your mission, vision, values? Consider your brand story and what you are solving for your customers.
- What’s your unique selling proposition, your “why,” your biggest differentiator? Consider creating personas and use cases to identify your ideal client description.
2. Competitive Analysis
Once you understand the market opportunity for your product or service, it’s important to understand the key players in the space. The more you know about your competitors, both from a value proposition and a technical standpoint, the better you can position yourself and understand key benchmarks to help measure success against. Some important data points to research and exercises to complete:
- Who are your competitors?
- What platforms are they using?
- What is their value proposition?
- What is their pricing?
- How long have they been around?
- How many indexed pages and traffic are they receiving?
Before you begin any marketing initiative it’s imperative to understand the key performance indicators you will measure success against. Shopify put a great guide together which also explains how the real value lies in the actionable insights you take away from analyzing the data. Data-driven results only happen with frequent monitoring and optimization of key performance indicators. With every new tactic you test, you can determine the best measure for success and optimize daily toward that goal. Some questions to answer:
- What growth stage are you in?
- How many leads do you need each month?
- What are your current traffic and engagement numbers?
- What is the cost you are willing to pay for those leads month over month?
- What does success look like in 3 months? 6 months?
Whether completed in-house or outsourced, before any marketing strategy can be implemented, proper research and planning need to be completed for the best business strategy foundation. Document it, put it in a deck, not just in your head and share it with your team to receive feedback. Your solid business direction will lead a much healthier and stronger marketing plan setting your business up for success and maximize your return.