The 3 Steps in Formulating Your (Ongoing) Marketing Strategy – Step 2


See here for Step 1.

Step 2: Where generally should I be focusing my marketing?

Now that we understand the big-picture business goal, let’s turn to marketing specifically and the general pockets of activities you can concentrate on to focus your marketing. There are 8 primary marketing levers you can pull to grow:

  1. Segmentation/targeting
  2. Getting new prospects to become aware of you
  3. Increasing the % of prospects who consider you
  4. Increasing the % of considerers who purchase from you
  5. Increasing customer retention
  6. Increasing cross-selling to existing customers
  7. Increasing purchase frequency
  8. Changing prices.

I recommend primarily focusing on 1-2 of these levers per year. To help you prioritize which 1-2, I like to think of the shape of your marketing/sales funnel. For simplicity, let’s say the funnel has Awareness, Consideration, Decision/Purchase, and Loyalty/Advocacy.

Is your particular business’s funnel wide at the top but narrows considerably quickly and remains at approximately that width? That is, a lot of people hear about you but few of these people consider you (but those that do typically become customers and remain loyal). In this case, there is quite possibly a huge opportunity to get those from the large Awareness category to the significantly smaller Consideration category (lever #3 in the list of 8 above). This can be done in many ways (e.g. improving your messaging, refining your website experience, making your pricing more competitive, etc.) but you need to do some more digging to discover exactly why there is a drop-off here before deciding what to do about it. More on this topic later…

There can be two $15 million companies with completely different funnel shapes and drop-off paths. As a result, their keys to growing to $25 million are probably completely different. One may be best suited to growth by lowering prices and improving its website experience while the other by increasing awareness and improving its messaging.

A final note here: don’t neglect your current customers in this thought process. Especially if you are a secondary or tertiary vendor for your customers and you get on average 20% of their business within your business category, there is more room for growth than if you have 80% of their in-category business. Should you be getting more of your current customers’ business? If so, ask why aren’t you and what should you do about it. Should you increase the size of your customer’s category by encouraging them to increase their purchase frequency? Should you cross-sell? Should you focus on extending customer lifetime?

See here for Step 3.