Business Strategy

Definitions, Content, Purpose, Meaning Explained

BusinessEncyclopediaISBN09.Updated 2018-06-202018 Solution Matrix Ltd

Company business strategy explains how a firm differentiates itself from competitors, how it generates revenues, and where it earns margins.

Business strategyis sometimes defined only as a firms high-level plan for reaching specific business objectives. Strategic plans succeed when they lead to business growth, a strong competitive position, and strong financial performance. When the high-level strategy fails, however, the firm must either change its approach or prepare to go out of business.

The brief definition above is accurate but, for practical help, many businesspeople prefer instead a slightly longer explanation:

Business strategyis the firms working plan for achieving its vision, prioritizing objectives, competing successfully, and optimizing financial performance with its business model.

The choice of objectives is the heart of the strategy, but a complete approach also describes preciselyhowthe firm plans to meet these objectives.As a result, the strategy explains in practical terms how the firm differentiates itself from competitors, how it earns revenues, and where it earns margins.

Strategies Reflect the Firms Strengths, Vulnerabilities, Resources, and Opportunities. And, They also Reflect the Firms Competitors and Its Market.

Many different strategies and business models are possible, even for companies in the same industry selling similar products or services. Southwest Airlines (in the US) and Ryan Air (in Europe), for instance, have strategies based on providing low-cost transportation. The approach for Singapore Airlines focuses instead on brand imagefor luxury and quality competitive industries, each firm formulates a strategy it believes it can exploit.

In business, strategy begins with a focus on the highest level objective in private industry:Increasing owner value. For most companies, in fact, that is the firms reason for being. In practical terms, however, firms achieve this objective only by earning profits. For most firms, therefore, the highest goal can be stated by referring to profits. The generic business strategy, therefore, aims first toearn, sustain, and grow profits.

Strategy discussions are sometimes confusing because most firms, in fact, havemanystrategies, not just a single business strategy. Analysts sometimes saymarketing strategywhen they, in fact, mean the firmscompetitive strategy. And, a firmsfinancial strategyis something different from itspricing strategy, oroperational strategy. The firms many strategic plans interact, but they have different objectives and different action plans.

The subjectbusiness strategyis easier to understandto make coherentby viewing each one as part of astrategic framework.

The strategic framework is a hierarchy. At the top sits the firmsoverall(orgeneric)business strategy. Here, the aim is the highest-level business objective: earn, sustain, and grow profits. Some may immediately ask: Exactlyhowdoes the firm achieve its profit objectives?

Firms in competitive industries answer the how question by explaining how the firmcompetes. For these firms, therefore, the overall business strategy is rightly calledcompetitive strategy. A competitive strategy explains in general terms how the firm differentiates itself from the competition, defines its market, and creates customer demand.

However, detailed and concrete answers to the how question lie in lower level strategies, such as the marketing strategy, operational strategy, or financial strategy, The marketing strategy, for instance, might aim to Achieve leading market share. Or, Establish leading brand awareness. Financial strategy objectives might include: Maintain sufficient working capital or Create a high-leverage capital structure.

Indeed, most firms develop and use a rich and complex strategic framework. As a result, business strategy formulations are more explicit when they focus on these points:

Specific business objectives for each strategy

. Identifying which goals in the framework have priority over others.

Mapping relationships between the various strategies

. Showing, for example, which of them support others.

This article, therefore, presents business strategies as components of a strategic framework.

This article further explains and illustratesbusiness strategyin the context of related terms such as the following:

Purpose of the Strategy: How do you know the strategy serves its purpose

Strategy and the meaning of success.

How do firms know when to change strategies?

How do they know if the new plan succeeds?

How do you formulate a business strategy? Formulating a general business strategy in five steps.

Secondly, focus on the most critical objectives.

Thirdly, plan the attack, choose the battlefield.

Fourthly, take a reality check: Does the business model stand?

Fifthly, build a support structure: The strategic framework.

Brand, branding process, and branding strategies: SeeBranding.

Pricing, pricing objectives, and pricing strategies: SeePricing.

Company profitability metrics. SeeProfitability.

Capital and financial structures. SeeCapital Structure, Financial Structure, and Leverage.

Purpose of the Strategy: How do you know the strategy serves its purpose?

Strategies and the Meaning of Success

Business strategies succeed when they lead to business growth, strong competitive position, and strong financial performance. Many different approaches are possible, but all are meant to bring improvements in these areas.

Inhighlycompetitive industries, the firms officers and other senior managers take a keen interest in knowing precisely how well their strategies succeed in serving this purpose. Interest is especially keen immediately after the company changes or adjusts plans.

In 2009, for instance, managers and owners of Dominos Pizza, Inc. were diatressed because the firm had just had three years of negative sales growth and shrinking market share. The firm was, in particular, losing market share to two significant competitors, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut.

Dominos operates in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. Many people call this industry, unkindly, the Fast Food business. The firm competes not only with other Pizza restaurants, but also with restaurants with different menus such as Subway, McDonalds, and Chick-Fil-A. This segment of the Restaurant industry defines itself not by menus, but instead by the words Fast and Quick. Understandably, therefore, Dominos started with a strategy based on Quick Service Delivery. The firm excels in fast delivery, a point that separates Dominos from its competitors. Nevertheless, in 2009, the strategy seemed to be failing.

In late 2009, therefore, the firms new CEO chose to re-center strategy on pizzaquality. Market research showed that customers rated Dominos pizzatasteas very poor (like cardboard). As a result, by the end of 2009, the firm had substantially improved the pizza recipe and launched a marketing program to bring this news to the market. The question on January 1, 2010, was: Will the new strategy work?

Anxious for an answer, the firm began in Q4 2009 detailed tracking of the growth, competitive, and financial metrics that appear in the next section. By the end of Q1 2010, the first results were in. The measures in all three categories showed remarkable improvement. Dominos took this as confirmation the new strategy was succeeding.

Now in 2018, the firm continues to research and improve the pizza recipe, while adjusting its marketing strategy at the same time. For this, the firm relies on its 8-year tracking history with these metrics.

A new strategy or a strategic change is successful when the strategic plan itself is undoubtedly responsible for one or more of the following measurable, tangible results:

Notice that analysts measure the impact on financial performance with metrics that focus on the firmscore line of business.

Dominos, for instance, prefers to measure strategic impact with EBITDAEarnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Dominos tracks EBITDA because EBITDA (and other selective income metrics measure strategic effects more precisely than overallNet Income After Taxes.

The firms strategy drives performance in the core line of business, after all, and that is what strategic planners need to measure. Bottom line Net income, however, also reflects factors other than core strategy: (1) revenues and expenses from outside the core business, (2) accounting conventions such as depreciation, and (3) taxes. These factors tend to muddy the waters when the analyst tries to use Net Income to measure the impact of strategy changes.

Five Steps to a Generic Business Strategy

Business strategyis the firms working plan for achieving its vision, prioritizing objectives, competing successfully, and optimizing financial performance with its business model.

Strategy builders can find practical guidance in this definition. Notice that the definition names four kinds of actions. With just a little imagination you can probably see that these actions point rather directly to steps in a strategy building process:

Exhibit 1. Formulating a generic competitive strategy in five steps.

This strategy building process is rational, straightforward, and likely to succeedif the strategy builder takes these steps in order.

Note that businesspeople rightly speak of strategy building asstrategy formulation, instead of writing a strategy. The verbformulatesuggests a building process that is methodical or systematic and results that aredefinitiveandprecise.

Successful strategies build on the foundersvisionfor the business. For some firms, founders write a formal vision statement. Others list the core ideas that give the business substance, shape, and direction.Either way, the vision pictures the essential nature of the business: what it looks like and what it does.

Strategy formulation Step 1 lays a foundation for the strategy. Here, the strategy builder re-states several ideas from the founders vision for the business.

The business strategy builds directly on the firmsofferingsand itsvalue proposition. This proposition describes thegoods and services the firm sells,regarding the value they offer to the customer.

For instance, Dell began in 1984 with a value proposition that was unique at the time.Dell promised to build a computer when a customer orders, exactly as the customer wants it, and deliver it at a very competitive price.

For example, Boeing states the customer value proposition for its 747-8 aircraft very briefly: …more range, better fuel efficiency, and lower operating costs.

In brief, the value proposition explainswhycustomerswould buy from this firminstead of the competition. In this way, the value proposition shows how the firm creates customer demand and differentiates itself from competitors.

Naming the firmsindustry sectorhelps identify the firms competitors. And from that, the strategy builder learns which strategies the firm must compete against in the marketplace. The strategy builders task is to understand which approaches work well in the industry and which do not.

For example, Dominos Pizza operates in the Quick Service Restaurant industry. That means its competitors are restaurants of various kinds that:

When Dominos changed strategies in 2009, it did so after reviewing the approaches of its competitors, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, McDonalds, and others.

Note that a single firm can operate in several industries. Apple, for instance, operates in at least five industry sectors: Computer hardware, Computer software, Consumer electronics, Digital distribution, and Silicon Design. Apple faces a different set of competitors in each of these industries.

There are, incidentally, quite a fewindustry classification schemes, or taxonomies, in use, worldwide. However, for strategy builders, all that matters is that the firm refers to a system that identifies the firms competitors accurately.

Identify first the firms customers as eitherconsumersorbusinesses. This distinction is essential for strategy builders because consumers and business firms buy for different reasons. They have different criteria for deciding what and when to purchase. And, they respond differently to seller pricing strategies.

Identify also thetarget marketfor the firms offerings and value proposition. Note that markets can have quite a few defining characteristics.

When customers are consumers, marketers define the market with factors such as gender, age,occupation, economic status, work experience, education, geographic location, or special interests.

If, however, the firm sells to other businesses (business-to-business, or B2B), it may define its market by factors such as customer industry, customer business model, or manner of selling.

Businesspeople sometimes ask: What is the purpose of the strategy? The answer has to name a businessobjective. The strategys reason for being, in fact, is to explain how the firm achieves specific goals.

Strategy formulation continues in Step 2 by naming tangible top-level of business objectives and explaining how to measure progress towards meeting them.

The generic business strategy explicitly addresses the firms most important goals. As a result, Strategy formulation Step 2 is a matter of specifying the firms highest level objectives.

For firms in private industry, the highest level objective is increasing owner value. For most businesses, in fact, that is the firms reason for being. Note, however, that firms achieve this objective only byearning profits. And, there are only two ways they can use the periods profits to increase owner value:

Firstly by distributing some or all profits directly to shareholder owners as

Secondly, by keeping some or all profits as retained earnings, thereby building owners equity on the Balance Sheet.

Because firms increase owner value primarily by earning profits, the supreme goal itself reduces to a profit statement: The firms primary objective is to make, sustain, and grow profits. From this, it follows that a private firms general business strategy is explicitly designed to enable the business to create, continue, and increase profits. Top Level Objectives in Government or Non-Profit Organizations

Most government and non-profit organizations, of course, do not exist to meet profit objectives. A fewsuch as Postal Services, licensing agencies, or lottery commissionsdo generate revenues and try to earn enough to cover their expenses. However, for these and all other government and non-profit firms, critical strategic objectives derive frommission statements.

For instance, the Department of Transportation in the US State of Oregon (ODOT) has the following mission statement:

ODOT Mission: To provide a safe, efficient transportation system that supports economic opportunity and livable communities for Oregonians.

From this, ODOT derives five critical strategic objectives: (1) Safety, (2) Mobility, (3) Preservation, (4) Sustainability, and (5) Stewardship. ODOT further explains the meaning of each objective in concrete terms. And, it provides tangible performance measures for each goal, which are useful for developing the Departments strategy. In this way, performance measures also help set targets, plan budgets, and evaluate Department performance.

Some businesspeople are not pleased when they think they have just heard that their firms only objective is earning profits. They are displeased because many firms have mission statements, value statements, and creeds that point to still higher objectives. People understandably ask whether strategy builders should place these objectives on the same high-level as the profit objective.

Consider, for instance, thecredofor Johnson & Johnson, a producer of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and packaged goods. The J&J credo presents four responsibilities:

Our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.

Secondly, we are responsible to our employees, the men, and the women who work with us throughout the world.

Thirdly, we are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.

Our final responsibility is to our stockholders.

The firm takes these responsibilities seriously. J&J displays the credo prominently in corporate buildings and on corporate grounds. And they emphasize these values in communications and reports. J&J describes them as values that guide our decision-making. As a result, the firm tracks its success in meeting these responsibilities with surveys and performance indicators.

Their importance notwithstanding, high-level mission statements and values like these arenotpart of the firms generic business strategy. They do not use these values to differentiate themselves from competitors. For that, J&J relies on a Broad differentiation strategy to distinguish itself from competitors and create customer demand. The set of values, on the other hand, help shape the ways the firm designs and implements lower-level strategies, such as its marketing strategy or its operational strategy,

Plan Your Attack and Choose Your Battlefield

Forfirmsincompetitive industries, the high-level generic strategy is necessarily acompetitivestrategy. In most cases, the selected approach results from two choices. The strategy builder must choose:

Firstly, a plan of attack, which is the general approach for differentiating the firm and its offerings from the competition.

Secondly, the battlefield, which is the specific market and market focus where competition takes place.

Strategy formulation Step 3 addresses the How question: Exactly how does the company achieve objectives? For firms in competitive industries, the question becomes this: Specifically, how does the company win against competitors, create customer demand, and earn, sustain, and grow profits? For these firms, the generic business strategy is acompetitive strategy.

For many decades, textbooks and business articles have put forward the idea that strategic planners have essentially only two possible plans of attack: Firstly,differentiationand secondly,cost leadership.

Here, the firm provides uniquely desirable products and services. Firms that choose a differentiation strategy to create and communicate uniqueness through one or more of the following::

Adding unique features or capabilities to existing products

Achieving brand strength, communicating desirability, exclusiveness, superior design, or high quality.

Pricing to undersell the competition.

Secondly, They May Choose Cost Leadership

Firms that pursue cost leadership goals minimize their production and selling costs. Companies with a cost leadership strategy can charge industry average prices and still earn handsome profits because their costs are lower than the competition. However, firms using cost leadership may also add an element of differentiation by selling at lower prices. Even so, they can still realize acceptable margins because their costs are low.

Discussions on business strategy usually refer to several ideas of Michael Porter. These stem primarily from Porters books,Competitive Strategy1(1980) andCompetitive Advantage2(1985). Porters approach adds a second choice for strategy builders: the scope of the attack against competitors.

Porters system allows strategy builders to select between attack plans Differentiation and Cost leadership, but also to choose the level of market scope for competitive activities. The strategy may target a broad market, or it may target a narrowly focused market.

As a result, under Porters system, the strategy builder chooses from four generic competitive strategies. Exhibit 1 shows the possibilities.

In competitive industries, each firm chooses the strategy it believes it is best prepared to exploit. Making that judgment, however, calls for excellent and detailed knowledge in several different areas.

Strategy builders, in other words, need access to information about their firmsome of which is public, and some of which is probably proprietary, or inside information.

might include, for instance, the firms capabilities in design, research, development, service delivery, or efficient production. Other advantages might involve existing market presence, strong branding, or effective sales and marketing.

might include specific weaknesses, inabilities, or ongoing problems. The firm might be struggling with cash flow problems and a shortage of working capital. Or, it may operate with a high-leverage capital structuremaking it vulnerable to business slowdowns or other changes in the economy. Or, the firm may be unable to bring new products to market quickly.

might include, for example, existing production capacity and the infrastructure to support it, or existing service delivery capabilities. Resources might also include access to capital, or sufficient working capital for product research and development, marketing programs, or infrastructure upgrades.

in the form of a failing competitor, or an expanding market, or an idea for an entirely new product.

Secondly, the Strategy Builder Tries to Understand the Firms Competitors and Their Strategies.

The strategy builder identified the firms industry in Step 1 (Build on the vision). Naming the industry sector helps identify the firms competitors.

Understanding the competition begins by identifying which competitors hold a significant share in the firms target markets.

It is essential to know which of these are gaining market share, losing market share, or merely holding market share.

From this, the strategy builder finds which strategies are working in this market, and which are not.

Incidentally, firms cannot hide their generic strategies from competitors. One firm can reasonably deduce the strategic plan of another from knowledge of the competitors product history, pricing history, and marketing messages.

In Step 1 (Build on the vision), the strategy builder also states the firms offerings, its value proposition, its target customers, and its target market.

The strategy builder will try to understand first the buying behavior of the firms customers by understanding what defines value for these customers: They may shop for price, for the brand, or they may judge value by other criteria.

Understanding the dynamics of the target market will also be necessary for Step 5 (Reality check: Does the business model stand?). For this, the strategy builder needs to know, especially, market size and market growth rate.

Strategy Exists When the Business Model Exists

Knowledge in the above areas may be considered the necessary background for choosing and building a strategic plan. From this, strategy builders sense intuitively which general strategy will serve the firm best. And they may at this point have some sense of how the firm will differentiate itself and create customer demand. This much, however, is not yet a strategy.

The strategy builder must now use the background information to turn these judgments into a quantitativebusiness model.

Reality Check: Does the Model Stand?

Thestrategywillbeready to go to market only after it validates with a quantitative business model.

Strategy formulation Step 4 completes the general business strategy by developing the business model inherent in the strategic plan. Here, the challenge is to build a quantitative model, implied by the approach, that is realistic and credible.

The Model Serves As a Reality Check For the Generic Strategy.

For this, the strategy builder uses the background knowledge from Step 3 along with realistic sales and cost assumptions to build a quantitative business model. The resulting model shows whether or not a proposed strategy can bring desirable sales revenues, margins, and profits.

The Model Also Serves As a Basis for the Firms Business Plan

When the firm chooses to implement the strategy, the model becomes the cornerstone of the firmsbusiness plan. In that capacity, the model also supports forecasting of sales revenues, costs, margins, and profits.

In its purest form, the business model looks like a very brief version of the firms Income statement. Like the Income statement, the model starts with sales revenues. Estimated expenses are subtracted from these to create margins and profitsgross profit, gross margin, operating profit before taxes, and operating profits and margin after taxes.

Exhibit 2 shows two models, from two different firms, each with its generic strategy. Figures are in $1,000s.

Exhibit 2. Business models for firms Alpha and Beta. Each firm develops its model from its generic strategy proposal. The models rely on sales and cost assumptions they believe are reasonable.

Before comparing the Alpha and Beta models, it will be helpful to discuss briefly how the strategy builder creates the model from a strategy proposal and the Step 3 background information. The quantitative model with profits and margins develops naturally when the strategy builder makes these estimates:

Firstly, target product revenues and target services revenues.

Secondly, expenses necessary to earn target revenues in these expense areas:

Cost of Goods sold and Cost of services.

Administrative and general overhead expenses.

Forecasting Target Revenues for the Model

The strategy builder creates target revenue forecasts from knowledge of:

Market size and current sales of similar products and services in this market. The proposed strategy will either focus on a narrow market or a broad market.

The firms likely market share and competitors market share.

The firms ability to differentiate itself from the competition under the possible strategy. Also, the firms ability to benefit from strong branding under the strategic plan. The firm will differentiate either by unique product attributes, branding or through low-cost pricing.

Forecasting Target Expenses for the Model

The strategy builder forecasts expense forecasts from knowledge of:

Target revenues and the firms current Cost of goods sold or Cost of services.

Cost structure changes under the proposed strategy.

Alphas Strategy: Broad Differentiation

Firm alpha has chosen to propose a broad differentiation strategy. The firm intends to differentiate itself primarily in these terms:

emphasizing product quality, cutting-edge design, and desirability. Branding efforts will communicate product qualities central to the firms value proposition.

Unique product features and capabilities

. For these, Alpha intends to achieve market penetration and market leadership by being first to market.

Alphas model in Exhibit 2 shows the likely results of applying this strategy: Gross margins for products and services are relatively high (37% and 30%, respectively). However, Alphas expenses for selling, administration, and overhead are also relatively high. Therefore, despite the high gross margins, the overall after-tax net (operating) profit margin is only 5.0%

Firm beta has chosen to propose a cost leadership strategy, targeting a broad market. For this, Beta will differentiate itself from competitors by selling at prices below industry averages. Success with the strategic plan depends on keeping expenses low.

Applying this strategy, Beta forecasts lower gross margins than Alpha for products and services (21% and 10%, respectively). Nevertheless, Betas lower cost structure still results in an overall after-tax net operating profit margin of 5.0%

Should either firm choose its proposal strategy? The answer depends on these considerations.

The forecast margins are credible as long as the revenue and expense estimates are plausible. To enhance believability, the model builders will probably provide:

Conservative revenue estimatesrealistic, but lower than the firms most likely revenue estimates.

Pessimistic expense estimatesrealistic, but somewhat higher than the firms most likely cost estimates.

of the forecast profits and net profit margin.

Alpha, for instance, forecast net profits of $7,505,000 and a net profit margin of 5%. Because the general strategy objective is to increase owner value by earning, sustaining, and growing profits, Alpha will have to decide whether these results are Excellent, Just acceptable, or Unacceptable. Here, Alpha will judgeacceptabilityby using model results to address other questions:

Are these profits and margins sustainable? Do they point to

Marketing Plan Examples Samples

The success of any business factors on several things, one of which would be marketing. The marketing aspect of any business plays a big part on how a business would turn out to be in a couple of months to the long haul, in the future. That is why having a good marketingbusiness planstrategy is of utmost importance in any business venture.

A good marketing strategy will be followed well with the help of a marketing plan. A marketing plan, much like amission statementfor the marketing of a certain product or service, will help in reaching a certain goal that the company would like to attain. Here are some great example of marketing plans that you can download and make a guide to making yours. Scroll down, choose some and download!

A marketingstrategic plan, however effective if is for a team to execute in a specific target market, will be a failure in the making without a well-made marketing plan, which is essential in executing the marketing strategy in a comprehensive, carefully-crafted manner. Here are some benefits of making a marketing plan:

A marketingmanagement planwill serve as a guide to follow for a smooth-sailing, error-minimized execution of the marketing strategy. It clears out the road on what would have been a bumpy ride to the goal. It is beneficial for answering a couple of how question pertaining to the implementation and execution of the strategy.

A marketing plan is also beneficial in the sense that it provides a route to success though the plan that was laid down carefully. One thing beneficial with a well-crafted marketing plan is that it helps with therisk assessment, risk management and reduction tactics, marketing and sales-wise.

A key to kick-starting development.

Another benefit of having a marketing plan is serving as a catalyst towards the development of a company. With a successful outcome coming from a marketing plan, the business must cope up in transforming itself from a non-existent, small scale company with a mediocre company logo, to a full-fledged company with the limelight pointing towards them.

A marketing plan will also let you see the bigger picture in terms of the how the team is doing with the execution of the plan, the effectiveness of the plan and such. Basically, the plan will also let one see the overview of how things are, whats working and whats not, and how to deal with problems that might arise while the plan is in effect.

Making an excellent marketing plan is one thing, to be able to implement one is another challenge for a team to be able to solve. Careful planning and team work could only do so much in a marketing plan that is not executed well. A successfully-marketingimplemented planwill work wonders for a company, while a failed one will have a negative effect on the business profit-wise and will prove to be a problem that will need quite a while to get fixed. Here are some tips to effectively implement a marketing plan:

A well-implemented marketing plan is a plan that was drafted sufficiently. And drafting a plan is not an easy task to do since there are many things to factor in to be able to make the top management and stakeholders to agree with the plan in the first place. Adhering to the mission statement of the company or organization is one factor in drafting a good plan. In that manner, it will be easier to make the top management agree with the marketing plan.

After a plan was drafted, top management, stakeholders, and other business partners must be communicated regarding the plan. These people have invested so much in the organization or business that they need to know the marketing plan and have the final say on whether a plan needs to be re-drafted or its already approved. Crucial things as marketing plans are sometimes part of apartnership agreementin which the partners need to be notified of things like this.

Formulate a timeline for the project.

A project will not be a project without a timeline for it. It is important for a team to know when to execute specific parts of a project, and a timeline would be able to determine such activities.

It is also important to monitor the plan during its implementation period. Without monitoring the progress of the plan, acquiring qualitative and quantitative information may be difficult to get.

At the end of the day, the only thing that may say whether a marketing plan has been successful are thesales reportsafter the campaign was made, but if it does fail even if the marketing plan was good on paper, then there must be something wrong with something. Perhaps that something is the medium used for the campaign. A campaign for supercentennials will not work as well as it would have if the strategy used is internet marketing, dont you think?

This might be the most common way of doing a campaign. The commercials you see everyday in TV, the annoying ads that play before you could watch your favorite video on that famous video website, advertising brochures, and the like are all paid advertising, and it kind of works well, right?

This might be the most important type of marketing strategy, because it is in this type of marketing that companies are really brought to new heights. There can be ways to initiate this type of strategy, through a mmunication plan.

A rising trend in the marketing world, internet marketing its target market grow everyday as more and more people are using the internet through the advent of technology. In this type of strategy, consistency is important, such as the presence of thecompany logoin every material.

There are many ways and many approaches on marketing. A marketing campaign, though, will not be a great one without a well-created marketing plan, which are offered here to be download and used as a guide to your liking. So if you need to make a good marketing plan, there are a lot of choices that can be downloaded here, if you just click on the download button on the one that you like.

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Marketing Goals Examples

We all dream. We have big dreams, grand ambitions, and smaller dreams, things we desire on a daily or weekly basis. Every business owner shares the dream of seeing his or her business grow and thrive. When it comes to business,marketing is integral to growth, and when it comes to marketing, goals are integral to success. A dream, after all, is just a dream. A goal, in contrast, is a dream with a plan and a deadline.

Short and long-term goals are an essential part of any marketing strategy. As Tony Robbins said, Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.  Of course, its not just about making marketing goals youll never meet. You have to eventually walk the talk. The process of setting goals, however, puts you in the right state of mind for accomplishing work and seeing positive results. Marketing goals, properly planned and executed, are the stepping stones to financial achievement.

Marketing goals are not just far-fetched desires; they are vital markers to success. You need a way togauge your marketing efforts. Otherwise, how will you know if what youre doing is working, or if its simply luck? Marketing goals enable you to stay on track with theobjectives for your small business. Setting quantifiable goals allows you toproperly allocate time and moneyto marketing strategies that work, and to do away with those that dont. Some quantifiable marketing goal examples are follower counts, ROI, weekly or monthly sales, site visits, and other countable items.

Short-term marketing goals are, as the name implies, goals that can be completed within days or weeks. Long-term goals can take several months, or even several years, to meet. While long-term goals are key to establishing your ultimate vision, and while they guide the direction of your short-term goals, they are not as actionable as short-term goals.

Short-term business and marketing goalsare things youre going to be focusing on on a daily basis. Without them, your long-term goals, all those grand big fish, will never see the light of day. Here are some examples of short-term business goals as they relate to marketing:

If you are like most businesses in todays modern age, your website serves as your digital home-base. More site visits tends to lead to more customers. Try to set weekly or monthly goals, such as a 10%increase in website trafficeach month.

In marketing, conversions are defined as the act of converting site visitors into paying customers. Conversion marketing incorporates a variety of techniques to lower the barriers of entry to purchase and encourage site visitors to buy a product. For example, a company might offer new site visitors 20% off their first purchase in order to encourage them to place an order right away with the goal of increasing conversions by a certain percent.

Engagement rates indicate the frequency at which people interact with your posts. On social media, they are usually quantified as post shares or comments. High engagement rates indicate that your content is actually resonating with your customers. A good short-term goal is to increase engagement rates or to decrease your response time to customers. The more you engage with potential customers, the better.

While follower counts are not as meaningful as engagement rates, they are essential for making your business more well-known. The more followers you have on Facebook, the more people who can see your posts and engage with them. Set reasonable markers weekly or monthly tomake Facebook work for your small business.

Long-term goals take longer to acquire and are not necessarily as quantifiable as short-term goals. They often start as seemingly impossible to attain but over time, and with hard work, long-term goals become easier to reach.

The secret to business success is reaching long-term goals throughconsistent marketing, something that many business owners struggle with.

Some examples of long-term business goals include:

As consumers, were more likely to trust the names of companies that we know or have heard of. Getting yourbusiness name recognized in your local marketwill help you get more customers and grow your business. Make getting your name recognized in your local market a long-term goal of your business. Get involved in local events, post on forums and Facebook groups, and network in order to create a buzz about your business in your community!

As your business grows and more people become aware of it, youll naturally begin to pick up morebrand awarenessand exposure in the appropriate places. Make brand exposure a long-term goal, whether its being featured in the local news, authoring syndicated articles, or being featured on a certain website by aninfluencer or popular blogger.

:A businesss reputationbuilds over time. Depending on the nature of your business and the industry youre in, your reputation goals may be different. If you are, say, an investment firm, your goal may be to be known as one of the most trustworthy firms around. If you are a clothing company, you might want to cultivate an aura of being cool and trendy. If you are a plumber, your goal may be to become known as fast and reliable. Consider your own business and how you want people to talk about it.

Google Search Ranking and Search Engine Optimization:

A long-term goal for any business should be torank on the first page of Google.Google and other search engine rankings are what will get you the most organic website traffic and potential leads that you dont have to pay for. Perhaps your goal will be to appear on the first page of Google within 6 months.

Search engine optimization, while well worth it, takes a great amount of time and effort and should be a static long-term goal for every small business. Set small goals torank for certain keywordsand work your way up to rank for more and more keywords. It will likely take a few re-workings of your website and regular updates to ensure that you keep climbing the search rankings. You can do this by optimizing your website for local SEO and by becoming an authority in your industry through blogging on topics related to your industry.

When it comes to marketing, both long and short-term goals are essential to growing your business. For more information on incorporating your business goals into a marketing plan, check out these6 example marketing plans for small businessesof any stage.

Do you have marketing goals? Share them in the comments below!

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Multichannel Marketing on a $2000 Budget: A Sample Plan

You dont need a big budget for your marketing plan. Learn how to put together a powerful marketing campaign for under $2000.

You dont need a big budget for your marketing plan. Learn how to put together a powerful marketing campaign for under $2000.

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All Businesses Need Marketing Plans

Here I will give an example of a marketing plan for a start-up small service business: a landscaping business. However, the general format as well as many specific elements of this plan will be equally applicable to a wide variety of businesses.

You should create a detailed marketing plan for your business overall, as well as for major products or services within your business. Although the end result may be a thorough, polished, impressive-sounding document, dont get too attached to it! Its just a starting point! Once you get out there in the real world, marketing seldom works as planned. Some marketing media and approaches work better than others. Some dont work at all.

Related:7 Questions to Answer to Get Started with Marketing

Your marketing plans need to be dynamic and change, likely significantly over time. Nonetheless, I believe that you are much better off keeping your marketing thoughts systematically organized in a detailed and cohesive plan. This way you are much more likely to come up with a plan that works together in an integrated, sensible way. You are more likely to rigorously test and try new avenues as required, and in the end, much more likely to be successful.

Your Marketing plan will likely change over time. However, you need to be organised.

Especially because marketing plans are designed for internal purposes, not to raise money, you dont need to worry about having a consistent or systematic format. Focus on what matters. Some marketing plans may end up being three pages of material. Others may be just six short bullet points.

Related:What Are the Key Elements of a Great Marketing Plan?

I designed the following launch marketing campaign not just to spend as little as possible, but also to try a variety of approaches that I felt might have the best chance of working. But you never know what will work until you try it. Which media? Which message? Which offer?

Marketing is tough. You never know what will work unless you try it.

Until you find marketing venues that work, limit your spending carefully. You might very well find that the media that works best is an inexpensive one anyway. In this sample marketing campaign, many of the marketing items involve no outlay of cash at all. The total marketing campaign cost is just $2,020.

Yes, it will take some careful time and thought to put this campaign together. And like any marketing effort, you should be testing and retrying. But importantly, the cash costs are minimal, so if something doesnt work at this stage, you wont have spent much!

This marketing plan will cover all marketing activities for Landscape Express, LLC (Landscape Express) that we plan to launch on April 1st. It will cover all marketing activities that we plan for the period of March 1st to April 30th (one month before to one month after our launch date).

Landscape Express will focus on providing cost-effective basic services, such as grass cutting, grass repair/seeding, bush trimming, fertilizing, basic spring and fall cleanup, and snow removal. Landscape Express will focus on the lower middle through the upper middle part of the market that wants cost-effective basic landscaping services and is not interested in more sophisticated or expensive services such as turf replacement, in-ground sprinkler systems, etc. (Hence referred to as the Wide Middle of the Market.) By keeping its focus narrow in the range of services offered and only targeting one town, Landscape Express will be able to deliver highly competitive pricing while maintaining good profit margins.

We are limiting are focus to the town of Harbortown only. We want to minimize travel costs, unproductive labor time, and maintain a narrow geographic concentration to service customers better during snowstorms.

In Harbortown there are approximately 10,000 private residences. There are also several hundred businesses and several apartment complexes.

Our target market segment is lower middle to upper middle income, private residential customers within Harbortown, which we are labeling as the Wide Middle of the Market.

We dont want to spend energy seeking commercial business or apartment complex customersat least at this time. Most commercial customers will generally want more services than we plan on offering. With our lack of business track record, we feel our energy is better spent just focusing on residential customers.

We are also not targeting the higher end residential customers such as those who have in-ground irrigation systems or extremely high-end lawn care, such as replacing damaged lawn sections with turf. Nor are we targeting the lowest income customers who would not consider paying for any landscaping service.

We estimate that our total target market segment is about 6,000 private residences.

After speaking with many people in our target market segment, we have concluded that the Wide Middle of the Market has very different needs than the high end of the market or the commercial market. In fact, the high end of the market is really much more like the commercial market than it is like the Wide Middle of the Market in its desire for services and quality.

Almost all customers in the Wide Middle of the Market are very concerned about price. Some, particularly those currently being served by full-service landscaping firms that also serve high-end and commercial customers, feel that they are paying more than they would like for landscaping.

The second most common concern of customers is consistency of service. Several of these customers complained that their lawns were being cut either irregularly or that the regularly scheduled day was sometimes missed. Others complained that after snowstorms they were only serviced after larger customers, particularly after commercial customers. After especially bad snowstorms some of them would have to wait two to three days to get plowed out.

The third most common concern of customers was the lack of communication with their landscaping service. One of the larger landscaping services refused to even give customers their cell phone number, and never answered their landline. Nor would they use email or a website or any other technology.

Finally, what was most interesting was what customers in the target market did not complain about. They seldom complained about the quality of the work itself. We know by observation that the landscaping work performed by many of these competitors is nothing special, but for customers in the target market it appears that the key needs are 1) price, 2) consistency, and 3) communication.

Our marketing strategy is to quickly get new customers and also build a brand identity as the landscaping service for the Wide Middle of the market in Harbortown. Specifically, we will emphasize that we will meet the three major needs of our customers, each of which is not being well served by all current competitors:

In our unique selling proposition we really want to deliver the message that we are competitively priced, while still being professional. We do this by using the phrase fair and square. We also do it by simply emphasizing lawns and snow removal rather than a phrase such as full service which might infer a higher price.

Note that we are choosing to particularly emphasize the price need of customers as opposed to the consistency and communication needs. It is more important that the unique selling proposition get across one important message clearly and with an impact, rather than several messages with less impact.

Our Unique Selling Proposition or USP:

Lawns and Snow Removal, Fair and Square.

One of the first marketing initiatives we will take on is constructing a website. We will build it ourselves using a free build-it-yourself website that offers easy-to-use templates. We will make the website look professional by adding a few relevant images and spending some time trying different arrangements of images, headlines, and text.

We will include the USP and a description of our services on the website. We will also include any current special offers for new or current customers. Our website address will be included in all of our advertising. We will not incur any costs in constructing the website. We also will not spend any money on website hosting. We will use a free website-hosting service (that makes its money by posting advertising on hosted websites).

We will capture emails on our website, including from prospects, and keep a separate database of current customers and prospects. We will plan on emailing each every month with news about what landscaping activity is appropriate that month and any special services or special offers we might have. Initially the cost will be zero because we will have just a few names, but eventually we will outsource the emailing.

Our advertising budget is relatively small and likely to have much more impact at certain times of year, such as in late March/early April, when the snow has typically melted away, and in late fall, when the first snow storms are hitting the area.

We plan on placing a very small service directory ad in the paper and run it every single week. We believe that some residents, especially older residents, turn here from time to time to find service providers.

The cost is only $30 per week if we sign a yearlong contract, or $40 if we have no contract at all. However, even if we sign the yearlong contract we can always cancel advertising at any time and just pay the onetime $40 rate for any ad that ran. We will not place any display advertising in the local newspaper because we do not expect it to be cost-effective. The cost for March through April, nine weeks: $270.

In addition to the local newspaper, there is a local advertising circular that is distributed in Harbortown as well as two nearby towns. This publication also has a service directory, but the same size ad that cost $30 in the local newspaper would cost $70 in the local advertiser because it has a higher circulation. However, much of the circulation has no value to us, so we will be more cautious in trying advertising in this publication. We will plan on trying four ads, each running on alternate weeks during our first eight weeks in business. We may try more ads if they prove cost-effective. The cost for a planned run of four ads: $280.

We will test Internet search engine advertising using different combinations of keywords, different headline copy, and different text copy. Primarily, we will focus on people interested in landscape services in the town of Harbortown.

We will test keyword advertising for lawn services in the March/April time frame and snow removal in the November/December time frame. Our initial budget will be $1,000 for March/April.

We will print and distribute a simple one-page 8½ x 11 flyer promoting our services. We will first test distributing 1,000 flyers to homes in the middle income neighborhoods that we think are most likely to be customers for our service. We will do the distribution ourselves. Cost of printing 1,000 flyers: $50.

We will post our flyers on every public bulletin board we can find, including at the public library, at the local coffee shop, at a local caf, and at the community college. We will do the posting ourselves, so no cost.

We will print up 500 business cards that will include our USP and our web address in addition to our phone number. We will aggressively pass them out and use them as an aid in talking up our business with everyone we meet in town. Cost of printing 500 business cards: $20.

We will be using two used trucks for the business. One is older and fairly beat up looking, so we will not attach any signage to that truck, because it will not help reinforce a professional-quality image. On the truck that is in good shape, we will have a professional truck painting service paint our logo and phone number onto the cab doors. Cost: $400.

We will open an account and set up a page on Facebook. We will post similar information on Facebook to that included in our monthly email, such as any special deals that we may offer. Cost: $0.

However, if we can find the time, we would like to post to Facebook every weekincluding perhaps comments on the weather and how it may be impacting landscaping, some simple gardening tips, and suggestions for improving the appearance of ones landscape.

During the winter months we plan on using Facebook to update people on winter storms and our progress on plowing. We plan to monitor Facebook at least every business day to respond to any possible posts.

We plan on trying Twitter, but not until the winter storm season comes around. We think some clients might appreciate getting an update when we expect storms, and especially updates on our plowing, such as at what time we plan to begin plowing, when we expect to finish plowing, and whether we plan more than one round of plowing. Also, for lighter snowstorms, we will notify customers whether we plan on automatically plowing or not. If we decide the accumulation will be too low to plow, then we will still give customers the option of tweeting back to us that they would like to be plowed out anyway. Cost of Twitter: $0.

We will seek publicity in locally focused media. We will send a press release announcing our new service, along with tips for good landscaping practices, to editors at the local newspaper, the producers of the local cable television shows (which might possibly air an interview), producers of the local talk radio shows, and editors of local websites. We will follow up with phone calls. We will emphasize that we could help create a great story or interview about how to better care for your lawn and about landscaping tips in general. Cost for do-it-yourself publicity: $0.

We will also offer free landscaping for the entire season at a local nonprofit event bidding auction that we will seek out around the time we are starting our services. Marketing cost for giveaways: $0.

We know it is really hard to get users to respond to advertising and publicity, especially when you are trying to get them to leave an existing supplier, and especially for a new business. So we will start with a very aggressive initial offer of Try One Month Totally Free! To add power to this offer we will call it a limited time offer for the first 100 customers only. Later, we may try a scaled-back offer such as Try Two Weeks for Free!

We plan on asking every single inquiry how they heard about our Landscape Express. We will record this information on spreadsheets, tabulate it, and then determine the cost of every lead for each media. We will also separately tabulate which media brought in people who actually initiated service with us, and we will also determine the advertising cost per sale of each media. Then we will adjust our media plans accordingly. However, we will not necessarily just put all of our money into one media, as some repetition and variety allows us to hedge our bets and keep experimenting and learning. For example, as we try new offers or advertising copy, different media may perform much better or much worse.

After the initial results are in, we will undoubtedly shift around our marketing and may at that time focus more heavily on a particular media. As we build up a customer base, we will focus on marketing more to them, building satisfaction and trying to get referrals from them.

Our marketing plan calls for targeting our customer base as specifically as we can, showing that we can meet their needs and providing a compelling call-to-action. Importantly, we are planning on using a wide variety of marketing avenues, but will spend very little money initially on any one. The entire marketing launch budget is just over $2,000.

As you can see, marketing will take some time and effortin fact, quite a bit of time and effortbut thats the nature of the beast. If you want to succeed in business, youve got to put time, mental energy, and creative thought into your marketing!

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