When building market strategies I have come to develop a model with some basic steps that have proven to work well in my marketing work for multinational brands and campaigns, as well as for small startups.
In this post, I share this model and also give some brief introductions to two fundamental KPIs that all market strategies should be built around: ‘customer acquisition cost’ and ‘customer lifetime value’.
1. CORPORATE STRATEGY
The first step in developing an efficient market strategy is to define organisational OKRs (objectives and key results), the corporate vision and mission, in addition to outlining opportunities and threats.
Some of the main questions that always should be clearly stated and agreed upon by all stakeholders and preferably also communicated to the organisation at the beginning of a strategic market process are:
- Corporate mission and vision
- Organisational OKRs
- Major threats
2.THE DISCOVERY PHASE
After corporate strategies are defined, the definition of a market strategy can begin. The first part of this process, the discovery phase, aims to determine where the organisation are today, how it got there, and includes define:
- 2.1 Customer Lifetime Value
- Market-related planning work always should start with calculating the ‘Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)’ for each target audience as without knowing how much a new customer is worth it is impossible to calculate return-on-investment (ROI) on performed activities. The CLV usually can be attained relatively easy by analysing sales statistics from company CRMs.
- 2.2 Activity mapping
- Current- and historical marketing activities and their underlying strategies, objectives, outcomes and costs also should be defined, including:
- Digital communication assets, websites and apps
- Advertising (AdWords, Banners, Print, E-mail marketing, PR)
- SEO-audit (Keywords. SERP-positions, backlink stats and landing page audit)
- Social Media audit
- 2.3 Analytics Audit
- Working with organisations in all sizes I have come to learn that in most businesses there is no lack of analytics tools in place to track visitor stats. , e-commerce conversions or statistics for content marketing. Often, however, these tools are not set up properly, reporting on irrelevant KPIs that also are not founded in the business goals of the organisation.
- Another common problem is that the intelligence acquired from these tools many times only are accessible to certain members of the marketing team, resulting in important analytics intelligence not being shared with the management who ultimately has the last word when it comes to setting organisational goals, budget planning and building the organisation.
- To understand what is working and what is not within a current market- and analytics strategy, an analytics audit always should be performed in the first phase of strategic market work to visualise all analytics tools currently in place, KPIs that are tracked and the current reporting structure within the organisation.
- 2.4 Customer acquisition cost (CAC) analysis
- The key to cost-efficient market planning is to understand the customer acquisition cost for all marketing activities performed by an organisation to be able to compare and evaluate channel efficiency. If possible within the organisation’s current analytics structure, the customer acquisition cost for all major campaigns and channels also should be defined in the first phase of strategic marketing work.
- 2.5 Stakeholder Mapping
- All stakeholders in a market decision process always should be clearly defined as part of building a market strategy. This also involves stakeholders hidden high up in the hierarchy of the organisation. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities in the decision process, bottlenecks is identified, and am efficient decision structure can be implemented.
3. The Market Intelligence phase
This phase aims to build an understanding of the competitor landscape and is often based on multidisciplinary research methods including web research, surveys and general market data analysis. The goal of this phase is to identify a possible positioning- and differentiation strategy and some of the main questions this research should answer are:
- Main competitors and their product/service offerings.
- Competitors primary- and secondary audiences.
- The organisation’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the competition.
- Competitors corporate communication assets
- Competitors marketing activities and material including adverts AdWords, Banners, Print, e-mail etc.
- Competitors SEO-audit including backlink stats. and landing page audits
- Competitors Social media activities
- Competitors PR-activities
Based on learnings and insights from the discovery- and market-intelligence phases, one can start defining a market strategy structured around the following sections:
- Organisational OKRs
- Time planning and stop points.
- Available resources (monetary and staff).
- Main marketing-channels.
- Individual OKRs for each channel- and activity.
- Explicit agreements from all stakeholders that the OKRs are achievable within the limits of the timeframe and budget.
5. CONTENT STRATEGY
When a market strategy is set, strategies for content and marketing messages, also adapted to the individual channels and campaigns, should be defined and structured around the following areas:
- Communicated messages and strategies for each market channel.
- The keywords content should be built around.
- Editorial production strategies and budgeting.
6. ANALYTICS FRAMEWORK
In today’s diverse media landscape customers integrate with brands in many different channels. A customer might, for example, start researching a product using a smartphone on the way to work, continue on the work computer and finalise the purchase using an iPad at the dinner table. Consequently, for organisations to understand customer behaviours, to acquire CLVs and CACs, and to measure if strategic market work performs in line with organisational OKRs; KPIs for all major marketing activities should be stated, and analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Mix Panel or Optimizely put in place to track them. Some of the main KPIs that should be tracked and form the basis for an analytics framework are:
- Main keyword SERP-positions
- Backlinks (Growth, source, quality)
- Pages-per-session and average-session-duration
- Industry-average per KPI
- Visitor demographics- and psychographics
- Seasonal trends/fluctuations
- Campaign conversions