Every executive understands that having a well-defined strategy and clear objectives for one’s business is crucial. Your overarching business strategy and objectives impact every aspect of your organization and form the foundation of your marketing strategy.

However, whether it’s due to lack of resources or time, marketers sometimes find themselves scrambling to put together a marketing strategy that overlooks some key steps that could significantly impact marketing ROI. In the following post, we examine some of these important steps that get overlooked and how you can address them:

#1 Establish a framework for your marketing strategy

A marketing framework or model are useful tools that can help structure thinking and planning as you develop your strategy. Creating a framework early on is critical in establishing a solid marketing strategy and having a foundation to build upon. Furthermore, a framework can be just what your organization needs to go from a “tactical” to a “strategic” approach.

There are various types of frameworks and models that have been templatized for marketers to pick up and make their own. Porter’s Generic Strategies is a great framework to use. You can find a great primer for applying this tool in the University of Cambridge website.

If Porter’s Generic Strategies model doesn’t suit your needs, consider these other marketing models to get you started in the right direction.

#2 Assess your current overarching marketing approach

Another key area that should not be overlooked is reviewing your current approach to identify holes and opportunities. Chart the overarching strategy that your company employs today and articulate your goals. Questions you should answer include:

  • Are you focused on being a low-cost provider to attract customers or on value-added differentiation that customers are willing to pay a premium for?
  • Is your service or product focused on a narrow set of industries or companies or a broad range of sectors and organizations?
  • Do market conditions and data affirm that the strategy you employ today is sound or is a shift warranted?
  • Do you have clear short, mid and long-term business goals?

#3 Create detailed buyer personas to support your strategy

Define your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas by creating composite, fictional representations of your ideal customers. They’re semi-fictional because while real customer names should not be used, real customer data should be analyzed and applied in developing your buyer personas.

These profiles or personas should instill a clear image of who your ideal customers are and what makes them tick. Effective personas include vivid detail on a range of characteristics that span each persona’s goals, challenges, needs, behaviors, likes/dislikes, skills, responsibilities and pain points.

HubSpot has a great persona template available for free to download to help you get started developing your own buyer personas.

#4 Determine your Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Examining your addressable market brings into focus where it is that you’ll find these ideal customers. This includes not only expected firmographic characteristics (e.g. annual revenue ranges, number of employees, primary industry, etc.) but also other influential characteristics (e.g. installed technology, public vs. private companies, etc.)

Here are some key steps to take to help you determine your TAM:

  • Conduct a top-down market analysis by gathering industry research and reports to get a better idea of what your TAM looks like and establish a reasonable estimate of your market share. However, don’t solely rely on this data, as it should primarily be used to “paint a picture” of your TAM.
  • Follow up with a bottom-up analysis approach which relies on analyzing your organization’s own data by examining your current pricing strategy to make an appropriate estimation on how large your customer base can be. As an example described by For Entrepreneurs, a software startup successfully selling human capital management software at $20 per employee per month might reasonably take the number of employees in its target market and multiply that by pricing to estimate its TAM.
  • Research the competition to determine how much market share they currently take up in your industry and identify who are the biggest players leading charge.

Looking for more strategies to help you determine your market size? Check out the following article from Entrepreneur for some great strategic tips.

With a well-articulated strategy, solid ideal client profiles and a clear definition of your total addressable market in place, you’re in a great position to generate more qualified leads and drive revenue.