Marketing isn’t easy. You’re pulled in so many different directions and everyone thinks they know best.
In this blog post, we’re going to share the critical steps that a marketer should take to get out of execution mode and become more strategic. We’ll give you an answer as to why you’re doing something in a certain way and a systematic approach that can bring your team along, too.
Being a great marketer starts with being customer-first. Understanding your market via research is critical. After that, in order to effectively maximise your resources, you learn to segment.
Each segment is distinct and shares common characteristics, such as behaviour, demographics or attitudes. Importantly, it’s about the market and should resonate with sales.
Not all segments are created equal, so you must make a careful selection on where you are going to focus your time and effort
Creating a ‘map’ of the market first is important because when you move on to targeting and positioning, you can make an educated decision on where you’re going to play. Some segments can influence others. For example, aspirational fashion brand Selfridges targets high-earners, but in doing so influences middle-earners who want to shop in Selfridges to feel more wealthy.
Not all segments are created equal, so you must make a careful selection on where you are going to focus your time and effort in marketing and sales.
At Retail Week Connect, we often consult with marketers who believe ‘everyone should know about our product/service’. While there’s something to be said for increasing overall brand awareness, targeting something at everyone risks distinctly average messaging.
Once you have selected your target segment, you can make decisions about the position you are going to take in comparison to your competitors and the alternatives for your potential customer.
Bringing it back to our previous example, Selfridges may have decided to take the position: ‘Middle-earning UK residents will shop at Selfridges because it has a better experience and makes them feel more successful than shopping in John Lewis (the alternative).’ Or maybe the position is: ‘High-earning, young UK residents will shop at Selfridges because they have a better range of new designs and it is more fun than Harrods.’
Taking this step-by-step approach is as much about deciding who you don’t want to market to as who you do. As we said, not all segments are created equal, so you need to become comfortable with your positioning excluding and not resonating with other parts of the market.
Once you have understood the market, decided where to play and what position you’re going to take against alternatives, then you can decide which channels to utilise, which campaigns to run and your measures of success.
Being strategic and intentional before you rush into execution mode against your calendar is critical
It seems very obvious in theory, but can often be very challenging in practice – particularly up against the hurdles of sales or in low-revenue quarters. Being strategic and intentional before you rush into execution mode against your calendar is critical.
Let’s go back to the hypothetical Selfridges example again. If it chooses to market to young, Gen-Z high-earners with the position that it is more fun and up-to-date than the alternatives, then you begin to see campaign ideas and channel choice take shape. You also have a clearly defined answer when somebody suggests you run a LinkedIn ad. It’s likely that this segment has influence over the aspirational middle-earners and millennials, too – who doesn’t want to be young and rich?
You can see an example of this in Selfridges’ use of TikTok, featuring diverse social media stars such as Nikki Lilly (who has a rare medical condition called arteriovenous malformation that affects her appearance) and influencers such as Jaden Smith. This seems squarely aimed at Generation Z.
Taking the time and being deliberate about your targeting strategy, which is grounded in solid market research and segmentation, makes execution become less about firefighting and reacting to other departments and more considered.
At Retail Week Connect, we can help with these challenging questions before you start putting out your content.
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