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To develop a marketing strategy, a business needs to pull together information about current brands and outreach and develop a set of coherent goals to meet in the future. The result is a marketing plan, a document that details the steps members of the company need to take to accomplish the goals they set for themselves and their departments. Some businesses rely on consultants for this service and may hire a marketing firm to work with them on the development of a marketing strategy. Others do this internally.
The first step is to generate a list that includes all the products and services the company offers, with background information. This information can involve the history of each item, the sales numbers, and the current marketing campaign. If demographic information about who buys and uses a list item is available, this can also be part of the background. This can help a company determine what it makes and who it reaches currently.
Companies can use this information to develop goals, like reaching a given demographic that it is not currently serving or expanding operations to another country. These goals can highlight strengths and weaknesses of the business that it needs to work on in the marketing strategy. For example, a target demographic may be hard to access because it does not trust the company. The firm would need to develop a marketing campaign to build trust with that population if it wants to capture business from them.
Part of a marketing strategy may also include unifying market tactics and presentation. Over time, the marketing used for individual products and services can drift. The company may not present a unified brand identity, and this can make it difficult for consumers to identify products in the same family. A customer might be loyal to a certain dish soap company but not be aware that the same company makes laundry detergent and all purpose cleaner, for instance. Bringing the marketing for these products into alignment can help cement existing customer loyalties and win new customers.
As the marketing strategy takes place and evolves into a plan, it may include a timeline of specific goals to accomplish. These goals can include new product releases, roll outs of new marketing campaigns, and specific sales targets. The company might want a larger market share, or evidence that it can penetrate a new demographic. Along with each goal, there should be a detailed plan for meeting it, like a plan to hire a marketing firm to develop a new campaign.