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Key Questions to Answer in Developing Your Marketing Strategy

These questions will help address the steps needed to develop a strategy most appropriate for your business.

The phrase “marketing strategy” can be very broad. If you’re a small business owner, and you’ve come from a corporate role, your idea of a marketing strategy may be different from the nimble strategies for small businesses. Marketing strategy is how you use the resources available to you to build your business, products, and services for your target audience, and comes before tactics. These questions will help address the steps needed to develop a strategy most appropriate for your business. #1. Can you give a brief and clear description of your business?

This should be an instinctive reply, looking at where your business has come from, where it currently is now and where you expect it to be in the next few years. Importantly, how would you’d describe it to yourself, your team, your customers, and the broader public?

#2. How does your business serve your customers?

How do you fit in the marketplace? Have you clearly defined your position? Are you a premium product with a price tag to match? Or do you have a ‘value’ product with a broad market appeal? It doesn’t matter where you are, but it needs to be consistent with the quality of your product.

#3. Who are your ideal customers?

An ‘ideal’ customer can mean many things depending on your service or product. Who do you deliver the greatest value to and who needs what you do most? And importantly, which customers do you most enjoy working with? It is crucial to understand who your best potential customers are and how your product or service can meet their needs.

#4. What value do you bring that benefits your customers?

Think about your customer’s core problem. What problems do you solve for them? Do you provide a better product, service, and price? Or do you have excellent processes and relationships that create true competitive advantages? Answers to these questions will assist in discovering the real value of your services or products, and the benefits to your customers.

#5. Who are your competitors?

Many business owners have a broad idea of who their competitors are, but few understand the reasons competitors may be more successful. You are probably competing against businesses—and other factors—that might not occur to you without doing a little research.

#6 What marketing are you currently doing?

Many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have a marketing plan. Regardless of whether you’re starting out, or have been in business for years, it is important to have a solid plan to guide you. This will force you to regularly review what you’re doing to understand what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what you could be missing. Planning helps you understand the workings of your business, optimise the campaigns that are working, and rework the ones that aren’t.

#7 Do you understand your financials?

Most business owners have a grasp of their business numbers, but some don’t. It’s important to understand them. Turnover is a good place to start. So are your profit margins, the average value of a customer, the average sale price, and so on. Sometimes it’s easy to sell a product or service with a low-profit margin without understanding the impact on profitability. Knowing your numbers will help shape a more profitable business.


When you develop a new marketing strategy, have a clear focus in mind. Understand your end goal and reduce the desire to chase the next big thing as it comes along. This article was provided by The Department of Marketing, Auckland.

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