marketing strategies 101, marketing strategies definition, types, and best practices
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marketing strategies 101, marketing strategies definition, types, and best practices

when I talk to marketing leaders the
subject of pricing almost always comes up they lose sleep wondering if their
prices are too high or too low it’s a constant ongoing challenge for every
marketer of the four PS of marketing product price place and promotion
setting prices is the quickest but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest in fact
making a mistake here can be very costly in terms of lost revenue as well as
sending the wrong signal to the market about your products and services so how
do you overcome this challenge the key is to understand the role of pricing
then you need to understand the most common pitfalls companies make when
setting prices let’s start with some definitions to be successful at pricing
you need to understand the difference between a products cost its price and
its value the cost of the product is all the direct and indirect expenses that
you experience as the manufacturer to make the product things like raw
materials and labor for example price is what a consumer has to pay to acquire
the product a price is a signal a piece of information about what you might ask
about the value value is what the consumer gets out of the product the
collective set of benefits delivered by the product the most common mistake in
pricing is setting it based on your costs it may seem counterintuitive but
price is unrelated to cost your customer doesn’t care what it cost you to produce
the product they don’t compare your cost to what they pay instead they compare
what they pay versus the total value they get out of it if value exceeds the
price then they’ll buy the product but if not they’ll ignore it value-based
pricing then is the process of calculating the total delivered value
from using the product and then setting the price at or
just below that amount think of price as a shortcut
the price quickly tells a customer a lot about the quality and value hey but what
about the competition in their prices well first look at your value
proposition if you’re positioning your product is superior to the competition
then you should set the price higher than theirs if your product is
equivalent to the competition make the price the same and if your product is
inferior to the competition set the price lower
that’s how price becomes a signal of value when compared to a competitor
now pricing can be a very touchy subject because everyone in your company will
have an opinion about it sales teams tend to want lower prices because it
makes their job easier finance teams tend to want higher prices to cover the
fixed costs they’re driven to meet targets around profit margins but you as
the marketing leader need to take a customer centric view and not be unduly
influenced by your colleagues and other departments focus on value and see
pricing as a way to help customers understand what your products and
services are truly worth hey people don’t mind paying higher prices if they
get high value in return in my experience price is without a
doubt one of the top 10 marketing challenges for any business the trick is
to balance financial impact with good common sense about customers
expectations you perhaps the most important role of the
marketing leader is creating a competent team and for that reason alone it’s one
of the most challenging it’s a constant fight for talent hey you may have the
best products and services in the market but without a strong and talented
marketing team behind them you’ll start losing ground to the competition so
let’s look at ways to win this battle but before I start let me share an
insight you read a lot in the media about the generational aspects of
business and the many differences between Millennials Gen X and Baby
Boomers but guess what for my experience the same things that excite Millennials
are the same things that excite my generation so don’t get too caught up
with the demographic shifts so how do you attract and retain great marketing
talent it starts with great products and services back by the reputation of a
global brand coca-cola Apple Amazon and so on but what do you do if you have a
wonderful reputation but no one’s ever heard of you here’s an example the
global fortune 500 company with over 50 unique and successful companies within
it if it’s going to win the fight for talent it has to raise its prominence in
the job market especially in business schools so you do that with promotional
efforts attending job fairs and having a great website about careers at your
company next look at how you communicate opportunities at your company what is it
that you’re stressing are you telling them how amazing they need to be or are
you telling how amazing it would be to work at your company now here’s why that
matters if you stress why they need to be super talented those who are super
talented already know it if you just reinforce that you’re looking for
superstars they’re likely to react by saying well duh I know that
so instead focus on why it’s amazing to be at your company promote all the perks
the cool spaces in your headquarters the types of challenging work you do the
value you bring to society overall that’s what really matters to the
superstars of all ages sure you need competitive pay and
but it’s the intangibles that matter so much in recruiting talent now one area
that I think is often overlooked in recruiting is telling the candidate
about how much autonomy they’ll have their job if the message
comes across as will tell you what to do when to do it and how to do it hey
forget it marketers especially want some degree of autonomy in their job and
finally you need to assure potential candidates that they’re joining an elite
team thoroughbreds like to run with thoroughbreds give candidates a strong
sense that they’re joining a team of people just as talented as they are that
really gets their juices flowing but that means you have to back it up a
players want to be with other a players if you’ve got a lot of B players good
but not great you may be over promising and if you have any C players who you
haven’t cut yet these new recruits will spot it right away that’s not good going
out and getting the best talent you can afford maybe your biggest marketing
challenge of all if you do it successfully you’re on a path to win in
the marketplace there’s a constant tension between the
marketing organization and the sales organization hey believe me I’ve seen
shouting matches in the boardroom between marketing and sales leaders this
tension is a challenge and will never go away so it has to be understood and
managed or the organization will suffer hey and it takes a lot more than just
having a cup of coffee every so often with your counterpart now it’s not hard
to see why this tension exists the two organizations are vastly different in
terms of their role in the organization their structure and their ambitions they
have different perspectives of the market they have different processes and
they may have a different sense of urgency about what’s important but the
organizations have a tremendous amount of overlap and that’s where the friction
can occur for example the two groups can argue about things like the pricing of
your products which products to focus on which customers to go after and what
messages to put in the marketplace the codependence between the organization’s
creates a natural rivalry now some tension between sales and marketing is
healthy and productive the vers viewpoints lead to creativity and better
problem solving you need to harness those differences and turn them into a
benefit and sometimes you have to agree to disagree you can’t let the
relationship deteriorate where things will get worse after all you probably
disagree because you each have different assumptions you’re working with or
you’re using different criteria to evaluate a situation so here are some
ways you can keep that tension in check first you need to have role clarity
between the two organizations which things does sales do on its own what
tasks does marketing do and which tasks are done jointly for example I think
it’s critical that the two organizations jointly set goals and objectives that
they conduct joint planning sessions and that they create common definitions
about what is a customer and who is our competition this creates a good
foundation another great way to keep the relationship
positive and productive is to hold joint recognition events these events help
build empathy and respect for both sides and finally you want to create
frameworks and processes that require the two organizations to communicate and
collaborate for example look at your pricing processes product development
and the ways you get customer feedback put steps into these activities that
require input from both organizations this tension will never go away so
expected and manage it minimize the downsides and distractions but take
advantage of the positive sides be a strong supportive leader who creates a
culture of teamwork and cooperation hey your customers will appreciate it you creating a powerful brand is a great way
to build loyalty with their customers for many companies brands are the single
most valuable asset but once you’ve created a brand that’s
where the challenge is kick in and it can be a real headache if you don’t
manage brands correctly these challenges come from both inside your organization
as well as outside for example one of the most common problems marketing
leaders have with brands is what I call brand chaos it happens when new brands
start popping up almost out of nowhere and sadly they have no consistent look
or feel to your other brands and then one day you’re flipping through your
product catalog and you see a mishmash of products and brands that have nothing
to do with each other your brand architecture is in a state of anarchy
how does this happen well marketers love to create brands hey
it’s fun and exciting and they like creating ones that are distinctive and
unique let’s face it they want to put their mark on something so they get
together with their design team and branding agencies they throw a lot of
money creating the next big thing if left unchecked you’ll experience brand
chaos it’s expensive to fix and it can really confuse customers on what your
brand’s mean another common brand problem is when employees take one of
your brand marks and create their own adapted version of it in other words
they make it look different than the official version a sales rep might put
an altered brand mark in a presentation for example or a marketer might change
it slightly to fit on a package those sources of this problem are many brand
chaos can also stem from things outside the company if your competitors start
attacking your brands by D positioning them you have to fight back for example
a competitor might begin an advertising campaign telling consumers that the
benefits of your brand just aren’t that important this type of deep positioning
strategy can lower your brand equity another common problem is when some
company copies your bread and creates counterfeit products and services
hey consumers don’t know the difference so you leave as a sale each time they
buy a fake product with your brand on it so how do you deal with these challenges
well first you need to create a brand book just as the name implies the brand
book is the complete story of the brand and all the elements that go into it it
establishes strict guidelines on every aspect of how a company’s brand will be
managed this affects everything from how the logo can be used the look of a
website how social media is used advertising product design and so on
second you need to appoint a strong brand champion someone who is senior
enough in your organization to regulate and monitor brand compliance and stop
anyone who violates standards in the brand book and finally you need a strong
legal team either internal or external that will go after counterfeiters or
anyone that hijacks your brand’s for their own use great branding is about
making and keeping promises in a consistent way
that’s why great marketers do whatever they can to prevent brand chaos you Marketing operates in a world of change
and ambiguity so you have to constantly monitor trends to spot opportunities and
avoid problems now depending on your market this could be one of your biggest
challenges you don’t want to be guilty of missing a key trend that puts your
company out of business trends and your business happen in many areas for
example consumer tastes can change Campbell’s soup for example is looking
at ways to change its legendary long-standing chicken soup recipe
because of perceived changes in consumer taste trends and technology are another
big source of risk and reward you can also be affected by trends in economic
conditions politics regulatory and legislative policies as well as trends
in foreign countries there’s a lot going on out there when I analyze trends I
like to sort them out this way first I decide whether the trend will have a big
impact or a small impact on my company then I assess whether the trend is fast
moving or slow moving when I say fast moving I mean it happens quickly over a
matter of days or months whereas slow moving trends might last 20 years or
more now I wouldn’t say that you should completely ignore low impact trends but
clearly you want to focus on the big ones those are the ones that will get
you in trouble if you ignore them trends that have a big impact and are
fast-moving need immediate attention so assign someone from your team to
study it and make recommendations try to avoid a quick knee-jerk reaction you
might make matters worse get alignment from your peers and your boss before
taking action you don’t want to be guilty of what we call in marketing /
driving your headlights now for my experience the ones that give me the
most concern are the big impact slow moving trends I call these the silent
killers they’re slow moving so there’s no sense of urgency until BAM one day
you’re staring at something that you’ve known about for a long time but you’re
way behind you’re competitors in dealing with it not good
so how do you keep up with trends you need to set up a way to monitor what’s
going on out there or what I call listening-posts for example you might
want to hire a marketing research firm to watch trends in taste and attitudes
also monitor social media channels to hear the conversations that consumers
are having about you and your competitors one of my favorite
techniques for dealing with trends is to form an advisory panel of experts both
from inside and outside the company their advice can guide you when you need
it most how do you deal with trends once you
spot them well you have to ask yourself a critical question well I let this
trend change what we’re doing or well I go out and change what this trend is
doing in other words you have to decide if you’re a market taker or a market
shaper in reality you’ll have to be a little both you can change some but not
all trends of course you need the resources and skills to do that you need
to decide where to focus to get the most with the resources you have and avoid
trying to change things you can’t for those you’ll just need to adapt and
survive great marketing leaders thrive in a world of ambiguity and change
trend-spotting is what helps them stay on top you a lot of my senior marketing colleagues
would come to me and complain about some of their new staff members they were
frustrated because these new marketers just couldn’t seem to get the right
perspective of the market and translate that back to their day to day actions
it’s a very common problem especially for less experienced marketers but it
can affect just about anyone like everything else we’ve discussed in this
course it’s a big challenge because you’ll miss critical insights if you
don’t have this skill I’ve put a name to this skill I call it zooming out and
zooming in zooming out is when you change your perspective to see the big
picture the whole market from a very wide angle zooming in is just the
opposite you zoom in to a new perspective right on the ground so to
speak very close to the customer and the buying journey think of it like the lens
on a camera the photographer sees a completely
different view of the subject when the lens is changed by zooming closer in or
by zooming far away changing the view triggers new insights on how best to
take that shot you can do the exact same thing when trying to understand a market
here’s an example imagine you work for a pharmaceutical company and you want to
introduce a drug that treats diabetes into the Chinese market now China is a
very big country with around 1.4 billion people that’s almost 20% of the world’s
population should be a great market right so where do you start how do you
get your drug from the plant in the US to the people with diabetes in China
from this perspective it seems overwhelming so let’s change our
perspective and see if it helps let’s zoom down to let’s say one city in China
like Shanghai now it’s a big modern city with about 14 million people but for me
that’s still too big let’s hoon down again to a very small town in the middle
of China with no more than say 50,000 people in fact let’s zoom into just one
neighborhood in that neighborhood let’s find one home with one person with
diabetes let’s say a man in his 50s got it now let’s ask ourselves the same
question how do we get one dose of our diabetes drug from the plan in the u.s.
into this man’s body now here’s why this helps if you can’t figure out all the
things that have to happen to get the product to just this one customer it’s
hopeless to consider how you would do it for all
of China but if you do figure it out you created a model that can be scaled
up to other customers with this in mind we’re going to zoom out and imagine
other homes in this neighborhood then zoom out to other neighborhoods then to
other towns around the region and so on before long you’re back at the level of
the entire country to see the big picture with each change in perspective
I get the insights I need to create a successful marketing campaign so look at
your markets and train your eye to see new perspectives zoom in and zoom out to
find new ways to grow you a company that retains a high percentage
of its customers must be doing a lot of things right
that’s why retention rate is the best indicator of a company’s long term
viability but keeping customers can be very challenging to succeed you need to
understand how and why your customers buy your products in marketing we do
that by defining four types of purchasing styles the first one is what
we call brand laziness that’s when customers want to exert the
minimal buying effort they don’t want to be bogged down with a lot of information
they just want to buy something now consumers use this style with old
familiar products and services that have worked well in the past so they buy them
out of habit without even thinking about it
they have no commitment to the brand think about for example how you buy
flour this approach is highly efficient for low-risk
simple products because it saves time and effort now the key here is to be
careful not to disrupt anything about your customers purchase flow if you
change the Shelf location the packaging or anything that makes them have to
think about too much about the purchase you may lose them to another brand next
is brand loyalty truly brand loyal customers are highly involved with the
bread they’ve had a good experience with it and they know a lot about it instead
of buying it out of habit they buy it because they’re emotionally attached to
it the key here is to continue to deliver high levels of quality and
service consistency is the name of the game if you let them down they start
drifting away next are the variety seekers people who shop for new
alternatives over more familiar ones varieties seeking is the opposite of
brand loyalty consumers use this style because they have yet to fall in love
with a particular brand try to get your customers out of the style as quickly as
possible otherwise they’ll keep switching back and forth between you and
the competing brands try to lock them in with free trials follow-up service
or discounts or perhaps a loyalty program and finally our the problem
solvers as the name implies consumers use this style when dealing with complex
products involving a lot of risk and uncertainty they need to be highly
involved and they need to gather a lot of information especially if the product
or service is expensive or purchased and frequently think about buying a car for
example or shopping for a plastic surgeon it takes time and information to
make a good decision now as a marketer you have to help
customers when they’re using this style first provide as much information about
the product as you can make sure it’s where people can find it in your stores
or online or perhaps with their salespeople and show comparisons between
your product and the competition loyalty drives high retention rates the
best marketers are those that understand each type of loyalty so they can
continue to give their customers exactly what they want you

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