Building a Solid Foundation for Your Marketing Plan

Foundations for Successful Marketing – Part 1

Building a Solid Foundation for Your Marketing Plan

Foundations for Successful Marketing – Part 1

Marketing begins with knowing your target audience.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”

That’s a great definition. Marketing is indeed a process – systematic, strategically driven and intentional – and planning always has to come before executing. Your marketing strategy should be informed by a thorough understanding of your business coupled with a solid understanding of the how the products and services you offer will connect with the marketplace.

Effective marketing always begins with knowing your target audience, their needs and priorities, and how your competition is attempting to satisfy those needs. Once you’ve clearly understood those, then you need to define your product or service’s unique ability to satisfy those needs in a better, more affordable, more effective or more efficient way.

Answering the “5W1H Questions”

Truly effective marketing has to answer the same “5W1H” questions – who, what, when, where, why, how – as a good reporter covering an important story. And like good reporting, good marketing requires systematically gathering the facts, confirming data and integrating them into a cohesive narrative.

It is especially important for marketers to defer answering the ‘how’ until after the rest of the information has been compiled- Who are your potential customers? What is it that they need, and what of your products and services will meet those needs? When will they need/desire your product or service? Where are they located and where can you best reach them when they are receptive to buying? Why would they respond to your message?

Determining those things creates your strategy. Only then do you move to the ‘how’ phase – developing the appropriate executables to implement your strategy. That is why the success of your marketing strategy derives from the early stages, where you ask the right questions.

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