The marketing process is valuable to any business. Even with the best product on the market, you won't make many sales if people aren't aware of your existence.
Marketing allows you to build brand awareness and demonstrate how your business can add value to your customers. Through the marketing process, you create a detailed marketing strategy with achievable and realistic goals. Below is a series of steps made to strengthen your campaign development process and improve growth.
Marketing Process Steps
1. Mission Statement
The first step of the marketing process is to define your mission. Your mission explains why you exist and sets your core values. Every part of your marketing campaign ties into your mission. Your mission statement informs everything from your business goals to your target market.
For example, clothing company Patagonia’s mission is: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” This mission statement influences the company. Some influences include the materials Patagonia uses to make clothing and the content it releases through social media and blog posts.
To write your mission statement, start with a simple sentence explaining what you do. Next, list your core values. Use them to write a statement, explaining how you do what you do, and follow it up with the reason for it. Use this information to create marketing tactics that align with your mission.
Your mission helps determine your unique value proposition, which you then use to craft your marketing messages, such as taglines, alerts via email, content strategy, and social sharing initiatives. It even gives you a jumping-off point on building relationships with individual customers.
2. Situational Analysis
Before you start marketing, have an idea of what you want to achieve through your various marketing channels. Knowing where you stand allows you to set realistic business goals.
Assess both external and internal factors that affect your business. These include competition, economic factors, location, customer engagement, and others. A common way to analyze these factors in marketing is to perform a SWOT Analysis, which is an evaluation of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Your strengths refer to what you do better than your competitors. What is the unique advantage that would make people choose you over another business? Is there something your business does best that makes you stand out? What do customers like about your products and services?
Weaknesses refer to areas in which you can improve. Be realistic about your weaknesses. Identify all factors that make your business weaker than others in your market. Why did current customers choose your competitors over you? Are there parts of your service delivery model that you can improve? Do you have a high staff turnover? Is it hard to figure out how to use your product? Identifying these weaknesses helps you fix them.
Gaining the Competitive Edge
Opportunities are those factors that can help you achieve a competitive advantage or other ways in which your business can benefit. If the main competitor in your service area divested the part of their business that competes with yours, you could consider that an opportunity. If you have a supplemental product line that you can use in new ways, this is also an opportunity.
Potential Threats to Growth
Threats are the opposite, meaning they are the external factors that could negatively impact your business. Threats could include rising material costs, a labor and manufacturing shortage, new regulations in your industry, or a new chain competitor with existing brand recognition moving into the area.
Analyzing Your Operational Landscape
Your situational analysis also refers to the landscape in which your business is operating. If you are a small, local business, your customer base might be limited to a certain geographic region. If you’re operating an online e-commerce shop, your customer base could be limited to your country or it could be international.
To create your situational analysis, consider:
- The results of your SWOT analysis
- Your potential customer base
- Prospective competitors and their current success rate
- Potential collaborators
- External factors that might impact your business
For example, if you want to open a bakery but the other bakery in town is struggling, you might consider another location with a bigger client base.
3. Marketing Strategy
Take the results of your situational analysis to create your marketing strategy. Start by identifying your ideal customer. Conduct research to determine their preferred communication channels. Use this information to build user personas that are based on real behavioral and psychographic information.
If you’re a new business, look through market research on your industry to gauge the characteristics of your best potential customers. If you’re an established business, look through past customer data to identify your most valuable clients and note any similarities between them.
It’s no longer enough to develop ads and hope they attract people to your business. Effective marketing strategies communicate your unique value to customers and help them visualize how your company will benefit them.
Identify the problem you aim to solve for your customer and build your marketing messages around providing solutions. Your mission statement, situational analysis, and user personas will help you determine your value and how you solve customer problems.
The final step in your marketing strategy is to set measurable marketing goals. Break them up into short-term and long-term goals. List steps you will use to achieve each goal. As a new business, your short-term goals will likely include building brand awareness and growing your customer base. Strategies might include getting more followers on social media and achieving a certain number of clicks from Google ads.
After you’ve come up with a marketing plan, develop a realistic marketing budget so you can start creating campaigns and deploying your strategies. If you need help with your template, check out these budgeting templates.
4. Marketing Mix Planning
Traditionally, the marketing mix referred to the four P’s – product, price, place, and promotion. The current marketing mix factors in prospective customers with three additional P’s – people, process, and physical evidence.
To break these down quickly:
- Product refers to your product or service.
- Price is how much you charge for each product or service and should factor in your costs, market pricing, and how much customers are willing to pay.
- Place speaks to where and how your products are displayed and sold.
- Promotion refers to every promotional activity for a product or service including online, offline, and in-store.
- People are your front-line customer service workers and anyone in your company who interacts with a customer
- Process is the method by which a product reaches a customer. If you’re in e-commerce, this would be all logistics associated with packaging and shipping.
- Physical Evidence involves physical proof of your brand and/or a client transaction. It encompasses everything from your website and social media to a proof of purchase that a customer can use to return an item.
Using Marketing Mix Planning to Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Use the goals you outlined previously to start this part of the marketing process. Knowing your goals will help you create your marketing mix strategy. You can use your goals and budget to start planning how you will market your product or service.
You can start running test ads in your area and ask for feedback to determine if they accurately represent your message. Decide your unique value and how you will use it to create your branding. For example, if your goal is to differentiate yourself by product quality, you would focus on the product.
Ask your customers why they like your product and which features offer the best value. Create ad copy that communicates this to customers and run ads in various channels like social media ads, banner ads, or even traditional media advertising.
Choose distribution channels that will appeal to the target customers defined in your user personas. Make sure that all your branding is consistent. Your website should use the same fonts and colors as your logo, business cards, catalogs, and other materials.
Check your website for ease of use before launching it. Your website will serve as your primary branding tool and a core component of your place and process in the marketing mix. It should be responsive and offer a good experience to each customer.
The final step in the marketing process is implementation. In this stage, all your hard work and strategizing will pay off. Look through the results of steps 1 to 4 to create advertising and marketing strategies.
You can use your marketing strategy for your campaigns or hand it off to a professional marketing firm if it makes more sense and fits within your budget.
When your marketing team implements its strategy, evaluate the results using key metrics and performance indicators that will help you gauge your level of success. A comprehensive marketing strategy is ongoing and needs to be refined regularly.
Measuring the outcomes of your strategies allows you to learn from your less productive activities. With this information, you can refine your goals and strategies and deploy new activities that help you better reach your goals in the future.
Although you won’t change your company’s mission statement, you can use this marketing process regularly to change your strategies to match the current climate. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses around the world to shutter for people’s safety, companies had to shift the way they did marketing. While their missions remained the same, they had to change marketing messages and strategies to appeal to customers in a new way.
You probably won’t have to deal with a global pandemic regularly, but the world is constantly changing, and new factors that can affect your business will always pop up. Knowing how to use the marketing process helps you stay prepared so you can refine your marketing strategies to align with the current climate.
Marketing Process Examples
Patagonia has successfully aligned its marketing strategy with its mission. The company routinely reacts to fluctuations in the market to refine marketing campaigns while living its mission to “save our home planet.”
Three years after the recession of 2008, Patagonia ran a Thanksgiving ad titled “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” This ad campaign was a reaction to customers’ hesitancy to spend money. The ads implored customers to choose a used jacket over a new one. Patagonia will take back used items and resell them because it’s eco-friendly and reduces the environmental impact of making new clothes. The company’s revenue grew by 30% in 2012.
Patagonia's Don't Buy This Jacket Ad
Patagonia knows its customers and what they value. This company appeals to what customers want. Its target customer base consists of athletic people who like outdoor recreation. They care about the planet and like clothing that is durable and lasts.
While Patagonia's clothes are more expensive than its competitors, its customers are willing to pay more because its clothes are more sustainable. Patagonia’s marketing process shaped its content creation and allowed the company to build better interactions with customers.
How You Can Develop Your Marketing Process
Following this strategic marketing process can help give direction to your marketing efforts. Start by creating your mission statement. If you already have one, then knowing where to begin can be daunting. There is a lot of information to collect and track. If you’re not sure how to go about developing your marketing plan, check out this marketing process template.
Using the marketing process model to create your strategy will help you develop goals that align with data. You can create realistic goals and implementable strategies, rather than launching random advertising campaigns and hoping they reach the right person.
Now that you have an understanding of the marketing process and you have developed your mission, start your situational analysis. Take it step-by-step. You can start with your initial business plan and existing customer data. Completing each step will help you generate new ideas and strategies you can use to successfully market your business.