Strategy is probably one of the most overused words in business. Most managers use it on a daily or even hourly basis. Others think it must be way too complicated to get involved with the thought of it. That aside, quite a few people don’t really know what strategy is or the best way to go about making a business strategy.
Here at OCGnow, we view strategy as a necessity. More simply put, choosing an industry and audience to market to.
Firstly, Who is my client?
The first and most important building block of your choice for a strategy is Segmentation. This step entails the planning out of who you are going to focus your marketing on. Defining your target market is as important as the decision to start a business. Imagine an apartment complex owner. They will not put up an apartment in an area where there is no market for renting or leasing.
A solid foundation includes the identity of the audience your digital marketing efforts will be made to. Frankly, you cannot afford to target everyone online. Your choice of person will determine your choice of digital marketing strategy and complement other decisions like the budget for the marketing campaign, for example.
Having a specific clientele in mind is better than targeting anyone that might be interested. One reason is that it’s easier to measure the success of marketing campaigns when the variables are more controlled and not overwhelming. It becomes easier to reach potential customers and generate new business.
Second, the How?
Another important variable is to figure out how you are going to make your client happy. A fancy term for this is called a “value chain.” Basically, your job is to figure out how you are going to make your client happy in a unique way. So much so, in fact, that this client is willing to give his or her money for what you offer. By defining what problems to want to solve for your clients it also becomes easier to define your target market.
Think about your business and your particular areas of interest. Are there any niche markets you can tap into (e.g., young professionals, families, high net worth individuals, etc.)? What value you can bring to them? Once you define this, it will be easier to build connections, trust and even gain referrals into this segment of the market.
One of the keywords in this definition is the word unique. For those of you that have grown up in the world of sports, you might know who won first place at the Tour de France last year. But if you were asked who came in third, it might be much more difficult to answer correctly.
To sum up the analogy, and apply it to the world of business, it’s not about being the best but about being unique. In most industries, there is room for several players to have a long-term healthy return. It is your job to pick and choose where you are going to compete to take that unique spot. So essentially, don’t compete to be the best- aim to be unique.
Third, When do you want it to end?
Additionally, when making a business strategy, it needs to be set to last for a certain amount of time. Research shows that the average strategy lasts about 7 years. However, not all are the same, for in certain industries like software, you could be in trouble after 1 ½-2 years. In industries like energy, strategies tend to last longer.
When determining the length of your strategy, you need to consider the healthiness of the industry and the way your assets are utilized. Investment is also important to consider. If you invest a lesser amount, it is more likely that other people will as well.
A good strategy can last for quite some time, so you shouldn’t have to implement a strategy exercise every year. At the same time, you want to avoid stagnancy, so be sure to update your strategy every once in a while. So go out there and start building your strategy! Know who your audience is so you can know how to build it for them to be the best it can be.