We will be starting off with the basics this week. Here are some of the burning questions that business owners may wish to have answers for: “What is a marketing strategy? How do I come up with a good marketing strategy? How do I ensure that it is effective?”
These are the questions we hope to answer in this week’s article. Marketing strategy has the fundamental goal of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage (as defined by Wikipedia). Without further ado, here are the guiding principles for coming up with a good marketing strategy for a F&B business:
1. Clarify Objective
Often overlooked, clarification of marketing objectives will help you define the boundaries and set the direction of your spending.
Very often, business owners jump straight to designing promotions, discounts and giveaways. You have to be mindful that the right activities need to be matched with the your current circumstances (For example, a new startup café may have different marketing objectives versus an established pizza chain).
To further illustrate this point, a new cafe’s objective will be focused on creating awareness since there is limited market presence at the moment. Hence, their promotions would be geared towards getting the word out to as many people as possible, this is where activities like engaging food bloggers, sharing dining experiences on social media, or getting endorsements etc. will work in their favour.
On the other hand, an established F&B chain like Pizza Hut who has been around in town for ages will be focused on pushing for sales. They would be more incentivised to push for those pizza flavours that are hot on demand and are deemed to be most profitable. In this situation, their promotions could be framed in a way to maximise sales (e.g. bundle deals such as buddy/family meals).
To better assist you in the thought process, when you are in the midst of clarifying the objective for your marketing strategy, think along the boundaries of the following three categories:
– Creating awareness
– Pushing for sales
– Generating referrals or word of mouth
With these pointers in mind, the next time when you are coming up with your marketing strategy, always start with clarifying the objective. Taking this as a simple first step will set a guide and reminder on how best to spend your marketing dollars and also help to set clear boundaries on designing the most relevant marketing promotion.
2. Know Your Customers
Most business owners or marketers have a sub-conscious knowledge that knowing your customers/target audience is one of the most important principles in creating a viable marketing strategy. We have to again emphasise that this principle needs to be actively practiced and brought to the fore-front in the planning of your marketing strategy.
Collecting useful and sufficient information about your customers is vital for this principle. For restaurants that administers a customer loyalty program, tapping into this pool of data will grant you some key insights about the profile of your customers (e.g. demographics, location etc.). For those who actively interact with your customers online or through social media, you will be able to collect data through Google Analytics or registration information from customers who subscribe to your newsletter or services.
With such information on hand, you will be able to segment the market and craft a strategy that is more targeted and effective. Knowing your customers more intimately and finding out their lifestyle preferences will give you an edge in the quest of building a more sustainable and vibrant community with your customers.
3. Know Yourself
Successful marketing campaigns are often the ones that captures the emotions of your target audience by tugging their heart strings. To be able to portray this, you will need to be aware of your brand identity and convey an authentic message that resonates with your customers.
Being confident and comfortable with a chosen brand identity is the start of building a strong marketing strategy. It will give you clear direction in the creation of every marketing communications message and materials across different mediums. Having a consistent approach will reinforce the image and message you would like to share with your customers over time.
In addition, knowing what makes you different and stand out from the rest will be one of the best ways to draw customers and enticing them to want to visit you to find out more.
4. Allocating Resources to the Right Channel
If you have already noticed, the first 3 principles which we mentioned above seeks to sharpen your focus to ensure that your marketing efforts are laser sharp. The final “ingredient” for an effective strategy is knowing where to put your time and money. Here are some pointers to note:
a) A key part of crafting a successful strategy lies in setting aside a realistic marketing budget to achieve your intended objective.
b) Start off by prioritising your activities and setting aside the necessary resources for them.
c) In order to yield results, you will have to ensure that you have a long term perspective to these activities as marketing efforts need to be consistently maintained across various channels over time for sustained impressions.
d) While it is important to keep track of financial spending on advertisement, online engagements, promotions etc, it is almost vital to ensure that you have sufficient human resources to ensure that these activities are well planned and executed.
We hope that these four principles are useful in helping you craft a marketing strategy and do feel free to comment or have a chat with us if you have any thoughts to clarify. Do stay tuned for the rest of our marketing articles that will be coming up in the next few weeks!