A few years ago I came up with the idea of creating a startup. I did not know the business structures, market rules, or (most importantly) people who could help me with this. I was studying computer science at the time, so I decided that I had the technical knowledge and in fact “all the rest” was to be learned in a moment. It is worth adding that the idea was to launch a trading platform to buy shares in companies based on blockchain …Yeah, I know, simple idea, what could have gone wrong.
My approach changed only after two years, four unsuccessful attempts to launch new products on the market, and three times the rotation of the team that I co-created. I would like to present to you, dear reader, a plan, general structure, and some principles for creating a marketing strategy, but more like from the CEO’s point of view.
What are we going to do?
Defining marketing goals
The specificity of the receiving group
Social media audits
Plot twist, none of them is permanent.
Let’s start by defining your marketing goals
The first thing to do is think a little bit about it. What really is our product, what is the purpose of our product, what problems it solves. When we answer these questions, we should think about the goals that we want to achieve, especially from a marketing point of view.
A tool that can help us in this is a certain concept of formulating goals, specifically S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
Specific — Set a simple and specific goal. Be precise. What do you want to achieve? What result will be perfect for you?
Measurable — Add indicators that measure your progress, e.g. the desired numerical effect. What should the situation look like after achieving the goal?
Achievable — Check if your goal is ambitious, attractive, and acceptable. Is it within your capabilities and motivates?
Relevant — Make sure your goal is realistic. Essential, resource-based, and consistent with other long-term goals.
Time-bound — Create a time perspective. Set a reasonable deadline to complete the task. When can you achieve the target result?
After completing the analysis described above, we will learn that we did not really realize many elements of our idea. When determining your marketing goals, it’s important to realize why we need marketing and what media we should use. Determining whether Facebook, LinkedIn, or maybe Instagram is better for a given marketing purpose, of course, requires familiarizing yourself with the current capabilities of these platforms.
Personally, I recommend creating a comparison table of our business goals, social media goals (or other types of marketing medium), and metrics that we will be able to examine. If you are not alone in a team, it is important to clearly define the specific responsibilities of your colleagues. Of course, not everyone in the team must participate in the process of building a brand, but if it’s possible it’s worth considering. For example, one person is good at industry news and the other is the type of scientist who can share his knowledge. Regardless of the people you have in the team or you are alone, it is important to build visions of your brand/product as an expert in the industry.
The specificity of the receiving group
In the entire marketing process, the most important thing is to make the customer aware of your product. Regardless of how good the product is (not only in terms of technology), having a great User Interface and User Experience with the business model developed by the team, etc., one basic principle should be remembered. Your prospective customers have no idea about your product until they see it.
I would compare these future customers to people walking the streets blindfolded. All you have to do is open their eyes. Of course, the content in this article is not a golden recipe. Certainly, it will help to understand some rules but each product requires its specific target group. This is what this section is about.
In that case, let’s answer the question: how to define the target group? In terms of targeting your content, you need to learn a bit about your future client.
The above elements are only features but how to determine and properly examine your future audience. I have prepared a list of steps to be taken in this direction:
Thorough research of the receiving group
Find out who is already buying from you. Collect all information about the current customer base (of course if you have one). Some key data points that you want to collect are age, location, language, income, shopping behavior, interests and activities, and life stage (e.g. New parenting). After collecting these, you should consider how to verify them. For example, you can use e-mail surveys or direct interviews with people.
Go to your website and use social analytics. Social media analytics tools can provide an amazing amount of information about people who interact with your brand on the Internet, even if they are not yet customers. Facebook Audience Insights provides particularly valuable and detailed information.
It is very important to examine what your competition is doing. It’s important to check how it works. How do they attract customers, how do they care about retention, how do they communicate with their customers and what is important to identify errors in them, on the basis of which you can refine your strategy yourself based on the errors of others.
2. Turn your test results into so-called customer personalities
Gather your research in one place and start analyzing it, the best way is to start with common characteristics. By doing this, you’ll get a consistent, unique personality for your clients.
At this stage, let’s assume you have gathered and identified a group of key men aged 25 who live in large cities and move around the city using electric scooters. Now what you do is turn this collection of features into a character that you can really identify with and talk to. It’s best to write it all down systematically.
Give your buyer-specific features, position, home, favorite activities, etc. It’s important to ultimately achieve a personality that could really exist. Do not go into too much detail, because many of your client’s future features will surprise you more than once.
Know your competition thoroughly
Competition analysis is really about finding out their strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to each other. It is basically a process of comparing your own results with the best in the industry to identify development opportunities as well as strategies that are not as effective as they should.
Personally, I use the 4 steps method of competition analysis:
Step 1. Determine who your competitors really are
Identify your competition’s keywords. The Google Adwords keyword planner will be a great tool here. It is a great tool for identifying keywords relevant to your brand. If you do not advertise with Google AdWords, you can use this tool for free.
Check who is ranked for your keywords on Google. It’s best to choose around 10 words that are most relevant to your brand and connect them to Google.
It’s worth finding out what similar brands your audience is watching. Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Analytics will be a great example of the tools for such analysis. If these brands are similar to yours, consider them as potential competitors.
Step 2. Collect your intelligence
Identify competing keywords as follows. Click on the social networks of each brand that you have recognized as the best of your competitors. In the created competition analysis template in social media, pay attention to such issues as the type of these media, how large their number is, who is their best follower, how often they publish, which hashtags they use.
Step 3. Perform a PEST analysis
The macroeconomic environment of the enterprise is examined in the PEST analysis, otherwise known as the general segmentation of the environment. This allows you to determine the company’s development prospects against external factors that affect the functioning of the company.
Political — political and legal environment.
Economic — economic environment.
Social — social and sociocultural environment.
Technological —technological environment.
Step 4. Include the latest monitoring data on social media
Regularity in the analysis of competition in social media is important. I will always say that. It must be updated on a regular basis. It is best if it is an integral part of quarterly or annual reports and reviews. You need to ensure continuity in providing this information.
Considering all the points described above, the most important thing is to choose the right one among them and systematic implementation. When we take care of it, it remains to choose the metrics, a way by which we can determine whether we are going in the right direction. This is where the social media audit aspect appears. It is necessary to clearly state whether our plan was bad or good. Regardless of the result, it gives us a positive result, because the knowledge acquired through audits determines further steps.
If we have already realized that social media audits are necessary, how to approach them? Fortunately for you, I will share a list of 9 steps of social media audits.
Step 1. Create an audit document
During the audit, you must turn into a detective who investigates the “marketing” issue, it is important that you record the results of your investigation.
Step 2. Examine all social media accounts
Now that you have a document to track your accounts, it’s time to start the audit. Start by listing all the accounts you regularly use with your team.
Step 3. Make sure each account is consistent with the others
Check if any fields you can and should complete are not empty. Do you care about a uniform style in every social medium? Check if CTA forms lead to the right places etc.
Step 4. Find your best posts
After registering all these posts, review them all and look for patterns. Do you usually publish photos most often? Video? Do people respond to the same posts on your Facebook page as they did on your Instagram account?
Step 5. Rate performance
It is very important that every social medium is clearly defined in terms of the content that will be shared on it.
Step 6. Understand recipients for each network
Audience demographics are a good starting point. For instance, TikTok users are much younger than Facebook users, and LinkedIn users usually have a relatively high income.
Step 7. Determine which channels are right for you
Once you’ve gathered enough information to make strategic decisions about what to focus on your social media marketing activities. Look for ways to link each social account to your social media marketing strategy.
Step 8. Take care of channel ownership
It is important that each social account is owned by one person or a team of people in the company. Such a person (or team) is responsible for the fact that the account is branded, current and gives the impression of being consistent. The same person should decide who can access the account and what level of access should each person involved have.
Step 9. Audit iteration
It should be clearly stated that the audit is not a one-off activity. It is a form of metrics that determines further steps. In the marketing of product development as well as in life one should constantly develop and adapt to changes. Such repetitive iterations of audits can always increase the return on financial and time investment in marketing.
What you should know at the end
Developing a product marketing strategy should, in principle, be an integral part of its production process. It is important that these two planes adapt to each other because only in such synergy the product will eventually be noticed and simply purchased by the customer. The plan presented above will not be perfect for everyone. Some of its components may require changes, but it certainly forms the basis for analysis, which is a broad sense is also to open your eyes.