Starting A Small Business: Sound And Stupid Marketing Strategies

Sound Marketing Strategy enables a business achieve objectives within constraints and in a given environment. It should be appropriate, relevant and feasible.

Strategy originates in the art of warfare. Marketing is a form of commercial war with market share, profit and image being the spoils over which companies fight. Here are 10 benchmarks against which a strategy may be evaluated for its utility.

1. Sound marketing strategy is based on well researched and valid customer needs and wants. Marketing strategy is inappropriate if it seeks to impose a feature that the customer does not want or it seeks to sit in judgment on customer prerogatives.

2. All customers are not the same. Hence marketing strategy has to be focused on a homogenous group of customers. A strategy that seeks to serve disparate groups will be diffused and unlikely to satisfy any one segment.

3. Behavioral and applied psychology should be used to arrive at conclusions about buying decisions. Marketing strategy must be built on a platform of a buyer behavior model. A strategy based on overt buying criteria may be incorrect, as expressed opinion at the conscious level may not tell the true or the whole story of how and why people take buying decisions.

4. Sound marketing strategy should be insensitive to major changes in uncontrollable factors. A strategy that depends on assumptions about acts of god, government policy, actions of other countries and such things over which a business has no control, is risky. A sound marketing strategy should keep business going in a wide range of scenarios.

5. Marketing strategy should aim to delight and pleasantly surprise customers. This means that external marketing should be muted. Exaggerated promises that cannot always be kept, add up to inappropriate strategy.

6. A sound marketing strategy will be consistent in its support for the brand and the positioning across all elements. A strategy with contradictions between the marketing mix elements is unlikely to deliver the goods.

7. Marketing strategy should fight the competition on grounds where it has relative strength. Invalid strength evaluation or to fight on grounds of relative weakness, would lead to failure.

8. Marketing strategy should do battle for market share on grounds where a competitor is weak. Strategy that is not directed at competition or that which leads to an area of relative strength of a competitor is unlikely to succeed.

9. Marketing strategy should follow environmental trends and overall objectives of the business. Strategy made in isolation of the other functions of the company, or that unmindful of changes taking place in the market, could distract employees or make a business drift.

10. Marketing strategy should be appropriate for the resources available to the business. It is a principle of warfare that battle has to be joined within the constraints that are integral to a situation.

The ultimate test of a sound marketing strategy is its ability to enable a business to achieve its objectives. The failure to reach objectives cannot be blamed on marketing strategy alone, but it could be one of the main factors involved.

Strategy formulation is a skill that requires practice. Marketing strategy and its formulation is a key area for a management audit. Strategy cannot be changed frequently; hence its formulation requires deliberation and control.

© High Speed Ventures 2011