Effective Marketing Strategies Start with Research

When defining the term “marketing”, many people immediately focus on the tactics involved: advertising, PR, social media, email marketing campaigns, etc. Tactics are certainly an integral part of the process, but not the first step. Before anything else, a clearly defined marketing strategy must be created.

An effective three to five year marketing strategy is comprised of three essential functions that occur in chronological order: research, foundation, and tactics and campaigns.

Research is at the start of all marketing activities. A company needs to truly know and gain perspective into their customers. It’s easy to say “we know our customers well and what they want”, but effective research means asking detailed questions and identifying their perceptions, behavior patterns, and decision-making influencers (i.e., what makes them convert or purchase).

That’s just the tip of the researching iceberg, so to speak. With collection of customer data and feedback, a company must analyze the information in order to identify key metrics or trends that paint a picture (from the customer’s viewpoint). For example, is the company’s value proposition clear and consistent across customer segments? Varying responses to that question might indicate that gaps exist in a company’s current state of customer engagement—and that kind of data is essential to be able to proceed to building a foundation and selecting appropriate tactics to enhance the overall strategy.

Research isn’t only limited to a company’s customers. It also must assess the markets in which the company exists, and identify/analyze the competition. Research can effectively determine which existing markets are prime for the company to grow in, and also identify potential markets the company has yet to target.

It’s also important to gain a detailed view into the company’s competitors, not just in terms of their overall market share, but how they interact and market to their customer bases. This type of knowledge fuels the latter stages of building a strategy; specifically, which tactics can be utilized to heighten customer awareness of competitive advantages a company can (and should) infuse into their engagement efforts.

Learn more about how Upstart Group helps clients conduct robust research to drive revenue and grow their business.