Marketing strategy is your systematic, organized, and purposeful set of activities intended to achieve your marketing objectives in relation to your overall business goals. Marketing strategy empowers you to boost sales, increase market share, tap new markets, and build a strong brand as well as other specific marketing objectives you want to attain.
A marketing strategy has many elements. In this article, I would like to highlight if only briefly the two elements I consider crucial in bringing about strategic marketing success, namely: competitive analysis and competitive advantage.
Competitive analysis, simply defined, is identifying and evaluating the impact of your top current and potential competitors’ weaknesses and strengths within your market. These weaknesses and strengths can be found in their resources, systems and processes, marketing and sales, and finance.
Resources essentially include human resources particularly skills availability and quality, technology usage, and usable assets.
- Systems and processes
Systems and processes that are in place and how these help increase efficiency and productivity.
- Marketing and sales
Marketing strategies, tactical development of the marketing mix, and sales pipeline management.
Soundness of financial management and availability of funding for current operations and potential expansion.
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors enable you to adopt a marketing strategy that can neutralize their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.
Competitive advantage is the edge you have versus your competitors in terms of cost (comparative advantage ) and differentiation (differential advantage). It puts you notches above the competition and drives the profitability of your company.
Having sustainable competitive advantages will enable you to craft a marketing strategy that will give you market leadership and at the same time improve your profit margin and operating income.
Competitive advantages can be created along your company’s value chain – the series of value-generating activities. In each of these primary activities, you can create value greater than the cost resulting in a profit margin for the company.
Using Michael Porter’s generic value chain, these primary activities are the following:
- Inbound logistics
Receiving, warehousing, and inventory management of raw materials for production.
Converting the raw materials into finished product or service.
- Outbound logistics
Warehousing and delivering the finished product to the end users.
- Marketing and sales
Getting your target market or potential customers to purchase your product or service.
After-sales service and support for good customer experience.
Four support activities contribute to the efficiency of the above primary activities. The support activities are the company infrastructure, human resource management, technology development, and procurement.
Your effectiveness and efficiency in performing these activities will result in superior value for customers and a bigger profit for your company.
This short article is not an attempt to expertly discuss all facets and details of a competitive analysis and competitive advantage. This is just a simple discussion of the major points to consider when a startup or small business tries to develop a marketing strategy that is practical, that can work, and can give the entrepreneur a good chance of marketing success.
What else can we add here?