Are you the owner of a small to mid-sized company who doesn’t have the big seven-figure Marketing budget? If so, then you know just how hard it is to stand out from your competition. Over the next few weeks will be writing a series of articles on Integrated Marketing. The goal of the series is to help you go from having no Marketing strategy to a fully integrated Marketing strategy in just a few weeks. We will be discussing positioning your business for success, developing a creative strategy for your brand, planning your communication strategy, and even building your personal brand. For our first article within the Integrated Marketing ‘From Start to Finish’ Blog Series we will talk about how you can build a solid foundation for your Marketing efforts by crafting a proper Positioning Strategy for your business.
Whenever you set out to do something, whether it’s building your Marketing plan or building a garden, it’s always best to spend two-thirds of your time planning what you’re going to do and one-third of your time executing on your plan. By approaching tasks this way you will spend less time fixing mistakes because you’ve taken time to lay the foundation for what you want to do. When it comes to building your Integrated Marketing Plan the first step in the process is developing your positioning strategy for your business. You definitely don’t want to start developing your creative or writing your communications without having an appropriate positioning strategy.
A positioning strategy is the approach that you will take for differentiating your products and services from your customers. It’s how you position your business in the marketplace and in the minds of your customers. Are you the most experienced commercial construction company in your area? Do you want to be the mid-sized Accounting Firm known for offering sophisticated advice? Perhaps you want your company to be positioned as the organization that has the broadest range of insurance products than any other competitors in the area. Your unique core strength should be reflected in your positioning strategy. You don’t want your customers to think of you as a low-cost provider of business solutions when in fact you only offer the highest quality solutions, which actually cost more than your competitors because your solutions offer more value. This confusion in the minds of your customers and prospects is directly tied to not having an effective positioning strategy.
When developing your positioning strategy you need to know how you want your products or services to be perceived by your customers (of course you must first know who those customers are). The positioning strategy for your business doesn’t have to be reflected as a two-page document, but it must include a few crucial elements. When developing your positioning strategy you should consider the following:
- Target audience
- The value that your Products/Services bring
- Competitor offerings
- How you will reach your target audience
If your position in your market is, “the environmentally-friendly construction company who uses all of the latest environmentally friendly products”, then you need to be sure that every marketing communication and action that reaches your customers and prospects reflects that position. You don’t want to create a company website that shows images of old environmentally hazardous construction materials or send plans that use hundreds of reams of paper. Instead you want to create a website full of information about the benefits of using environmentally-friendly construction products and send plans electronically.
Once you have your positioning strategy locked in you must ensure that it gets spread through everything that you do. Ensure that your employees are well-versed in the latest environmentally-friendly construction products. Be sure that you blog about the benefits of these new products.Create YouTube Videos about the latest construction products, etc. Everything that your company communicates as well as the actions that your employees take should reflect your positioning strategy.
The first step to building a successful B2B Integrated Marketing Strategy is to construct that solid foundation. You can do that by spending some up front time planning what you want to accomplish. Once you have your goals locked in, you know what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and who your competitors are, you can then develop your positioning strategy. Once your positioning strategy is locked in you can then move on to developing the look/feel of your brand. In the next installment of the Integrated Marketing ‘From Start to Finish’ Blog Series we will discuss how to develop a Visual Brand for your business. Stay tuned!
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