What is your 2018 Marketing Strategy?

what is your 2018 marketing strategy?

2018 is coming fast

January 2nd 2018 still seems a long time away. In reality, it is only 15 weeks or so.  If your financial year is the calendar year, what are you planning to do to attract new business? What does your 2018 marketing strategy look like?

With 16 weeks to go, where are you with your planning?  Have you started thinking about setting targets for your business? Your targets form the core of your marketing strategy for the new financial year; without them it is difficult to develop and implement a new marketing plan.

Our previous blog talks about the process of moving from business growth targets to marketing budget, so today we just want to get you thinking about 2018.

Let’s have a look at just how long some things really take:

Do you need a new website?

If your current website isn’t working for you, a new website is going to take 2-3 months to plan, build and fill with content.

Yes, you can “whip one up” in a few days, but is one that hasn’t been carefully thought through going to work any better than your current one?

Do you know what marketing worked for you this year?

The time you need for this depends on how much information you’ve been gathering throughout the year.  If your CRM has a lead source field and you’ve been filling it in religiously, then the anaylsis will take just a few hours. If not, you have the choice: use “gappy” data or work to gather what you need. One will take, probably, a day or two. The other is unreliable.

Are you using the right marketing messages?

If your website isn’t working, the headlines and key messages aren’t resonating with the readers. Developing a new set of messages is a process. Starting with Who you want to talk to and the issues they face.

The time element for this is relatively small – a day or so – but it needs to happen early on because it impacts on everything you do afterwards.

What marketing are you going to do?

Once you’ve confirmed who your Ideal Client is and what you want to say to them, the next question is How are you going to get your messages in front of them in a way that will encourage them to engage?  In other words, what marketing will you do?

  • Will they come to you or will you have to go to them?
  • Does what you sell carry a high perceived risk factor?
  • What marketing channels should you use?
  • How long is the sales cycle?
  • How many do you have to sell each year to hit your targets?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourselves as you plan your marketing for 2018.

Again, the time you need to spend on this is relatively short – a day or two.

Are you committed?

In this situation, committed means both mentally and financially.  There is often a simple formula applied to marketing budgets: it should be X%. Even if that percentage didn’t deliver on targets last year, it will have to this year somehow. Your marketing performance analysis will tell you what you need to know about your marketing spend. From there you can calculate how much you need to spend. If last year’s marketing generated half the sales you needed to hit targets, this year you have to change one of two things:

  1. The marketing you did, or
  2. The amount you spent on it

After all, the definition of madness is continuing to do what you’ve always done and expecting different results.

The time needed for this will vary. The maths is easy: where are you going to find additional marketing funding from?  Do you accept reduced profits in the short term or do you cut the spend in other areas?

The mental side will take some time. After all, you have to accept that you are spending more. You have to accept that some of the new marketing channels you try may not work first time. For example, many people still believe that a single advert in a magazine should produce leads and they get disheartened when they phone doesn’t ring. In reality, almost no ads generate sales in the first edition.  They may not in the 2nd, but they should start to after that. This is because people start to recognise the brand and then read the ad. You have to commit to the long term for something like this.  That can take some time, mentally, to accept.

As you can see, there is plenty to do before 2018 starts. You won’t do much of this in December because you have Christmas to think about – and that’s far more fun. So you need to start thinking about it at least three months in advance.

Want to talk?

How much should you spend on marketing?

marketing budgetHow much should you spend on marketing is a question I get asked a lot.

Let me see if I can answer it.

There are companies who spend a huge amount on marketing. Red Bull is, perhaps, the most famous of these. The costs of running an F1 team, an international go-kart series and sponsor huge numbers of adventure junkies doesn’t come cheap. The last figure I saw was 38% of revenue.

At the other end, there are companies who spend almost nothing. If they can get all the leads they need through word of mouth, I wish them all the best.

So let’s return to the question. Seeing as I am a consultant, let’s start the answer by asking you a question – or three.

  1. What did you spend on marketing last year?
  2. Which marketing activities delivered a positive return on investment?
  3. Did that spend lead to you achieving your growth target for the year?

The final question is the most important of the three. Your marketing is there to do one thing: generate the sales opportunities you need to achieve your growth target for the year. Once you know what your growth target is, you can work out what you need to spend on marketing to achieve that target.

So what are the steps?

Your Growth Target is…

Already mentioned but needs to be reiterated because of its importance

How many clients do you expect to lose in the coming year?

If you are to grow your business, the number, and value, of new clients needs to be higher than the number, and value, of clients you lose. If your growth target needs two new clients a month, but you are losing one a month, your marketing needs to deliver three new clients per month to achieve your target.

How many new clients?

If your growth target is 10%, what does that look like in terms of new clients? The value of an average client can easily be calculated (annual turnover/number of clients invoiced). I understand that your clients can range from very small amounts to very large amounts, but you need to have an average to start this process. If you want to complicate matters and say you need X large clients and Y small clients, it’s not a problem, but you are making life hard for yourself. Partway through the year, you will need to assess your performance and adjust things if you find you are only picking up lots of small sales, rather than the mix you normally have.  If you are just picking up large clients, your problem is delivery resource rather than marketing activity.

How many leads?

For every sale you made, how many leads did you do sell to?  To deliver on your growth target, you need to generate enough leads to close enough sales (total number of leads last year/total sales). Now you have this figure, simply multiply it by the number of sales you need to make.  You now have your lead target for the year.

Which marketing channels worked best?

If you only use marketing that you know works, you maximise your return on investment from marketing.  If you continue to use marketing tools that don’t create leads, you are wasting money and reducing your ROI. How much did you spend on each channel and what was the ROI for each channel?

Is that enough?

If you simply repeat the marketing, that worked, you did last year, it is likely you will get a similar number of leads to last year.  Is that enough for you to hit your growth targets?  If not, how many leads are you short of your target?

What else?

What can you do that you didn’t do last year?  It may be that you can simply increase the amount of activity on the marketing channels you know worked.  If email marketing delivered 200 leads last year, and you need 300, is it likely that doing 50% more email marketing will deliver the leads you need?

The alternative is to do something new.  How much networking do you do?  Does your target audience go to trade shows and exhibitions? What do you need to spend on these to generate leads?  For new marketing activities, you will need to estimate, but I am sure that people within your network will have done them, so will be able to give you good advice to help with this.

What is the total cost?

By adding the spend for each channel you plan, you then have your marketing budget.

The question then is: do you want to spend that much?  The answer to that question depends on how important your growth target is to you.

 

Gotta be in it to win it

Business awards have never really been something I have considered entering before. Mostly because the categories don’t really fit.  It doesn’t make sense for me to enter a Marketing category, simply because most of my marketing is networking-based. Entrepreneur-type awards have never tempted me. What I do is nothing new, even if the way I do it is somewhat different to most marketing agencies out there. So what awards could I enter?

This year’s Croydon Business Awards included a Commitment to the Community award (they may have been there before – not sure) and it occurred to me that SME Needs does quite a lot within the community.

So, why not enter…

Croydon has over 13,000 businesses in the borough and over 200 entered.

So far our entry seems to be going well. We are really chuffed that SME Needs has been shortlisted for the Commitment to the Community award. We are one of 85 businesses shortlisted for the 14 awards being presented on the Gala Night.

It’s great to see a number of other companies we know well, including other Sussex Innovation members (Return2Play, Aio, Crystalusion, Safe in Sound) also being nominated. I wonder how many of the awards will be heading into the 50p building???

All we have to do now is complete another entry form and perform well in an interview on September the 6th.

We then find out on October 5th!

 

Do you close enough leads?

measure your marketingDo you want to grow your business?

To maintain and grow your business, you need a constant flow of new leads into the business. You also need to close those leads, turning them into business. The question is: are you closing enough leads?

Your marketing should be generating a steady, and consistent, flow of leads into your business. IF not, let’s have a chat. If the flow of leads is lumpy, I would hazard a guess, saying that your marketing activity is lumpy too. Are you doing some marketing when you get time?

To understand whether you are closing enough leads, let’s go back to the beginning:

How many leads do you need?

As you plan for the trading year, what are your targets? Many companies I talk to have a “standard” 4 new deals a month approach. Whilst that will be great for some, it may not be enough for others. For some, it will be too many as they either haven’t got the resources to deal with them or they haven’t got the marketing budget to generate that many leads.

You need to have a target to aim at.

I know that one big deal a month can be the equivalent of 4 deals, but you cannot rely on the big deals coming along all the time. What is your average client worth? Easy calculation: Divide your annual turnover by the number of clients you worked with in that time. If you have one, or two, clients generating a big percentage, take them out of the equation.

Are you tracking your leads?

Do you have some way of tracking every lead that comes into your business? Without something, you will never know if you close enough leads. This may be something like Salesforce, Hubspot or Infusionsoft. Alternatively, it can simply be an Excel spreadsheet. My advice: work with what works for you and what makes sense to invest in.

Are you monitoring your numbers?

Most CRMs will provide reporting for you, but Excel can easily calculate your numbers for you too. Let’s look at the numbers you need to track:

  1. How many people visit your website?
  2. How many leads do you get each month?
  3. How many of these become qualified leads?
  4. How many of these become new clients?

The 1st question is there because most people will check you out. Even if they are a referral, they will almost certainly visit your website to see what you are all about, so you need to know this number. If your website is doing its job, you should be getting a steady flow of leads into the business.

The number of leads you get tells you whether your marketing is working or not.

The number of qualified leads is also a reflection on your marketing, with a little input from Sales. If the number of qualified leads you have is far lower than your leads, you are attracting the wrong people. If this is the case, your marketing needs to be reviewed.

If the number of sales that come from qualified leads is insufficient, there are three possible reasons why:

  1. Your close rate is too low, so your Sales process needs to be reviewed.
  2. You are getting too many poor quality leads.
  3. You aren’t getting enough leads.

The only way you will know is if you are measuring your marketing.

I hope this helps.

How marketing data can help you close more sales

marketing data helps you sell more

You want more leads from your marketing so that you can generate more sales.

I know it’s an obvious statement, but let me challenge it for a moment.

What if you could close more of the leads you get?  Would that be just as good?

Your marketing is planned and implemented with the sole aim of generating more leads for your business. Now some will say that it is also there to develop and maintain brand awareness (usually those focused on social media), but brand awareness is there to ensure that people know who you are and what you do – so they can buy from you when the right time arises.

The question is: when is the right time?

Answer: when the data tells you it is the right time.

Let me explain.

As a B2B business (most SME Needs’ clients are B2B), you are luckier than most B2C clients.  You get a little bit more data to help you know about your clients. Let’s look at the data that is available to you and then we’ll combine it to help you close more sales.

IP Addresses

Google defines an IP address as: “a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.” When you are working in the B2B space, far more of the traffic to your website will come from fixed IP addresses, because many businesses have a fixed IP, rather than a dynamic one. (click here for an explanation of the difference between dynamic and fixed IPs) That means it is registered to them and so you can find out what company your visitor came from.

Email data

Your email marketing will tell you what the people on your mailing lists are doing. It will tell you who is reading (opening) your emails. It will tell you who is engaging with the Calls to Action you put in your emails. Over time, it will tell you who is engaged and who isn’t.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics won’t help you sell more (at least not directly), but it will tell you which pages on your website are working and which aren’t. It will tell you how many people are returning to your website (as a %age of total audience) and how they got there. It will even tell you how far down your pages they read.

Web Analytics

Web analytics takes things a step further and shows you what happens in individual visits and starts adding other data to those visits. Many platforms will add the IP address (see above) so you know what companies are visiting your website. If you know who your Ideal Client is, you’ve got a good chance of being able to close in on the visitor.

Web analytics will show you the path an individual visitor took through your website. Email data will show you the page they clicked through to, but not what happened then; web analytics will.

This data can show you WHO is visiting your website, what they are looking at and when they are returning. Would that be useful?

What shall I talk about?

Many sales calls go something like this:

  • Tell me about your issue.
  • These are all the things we do, so you can work out which are going to be useful to you
  • When can I come to your office and repeat what I’ve just told you?

Would this be better?

  • Tell me about your issue
  • This product/service is just what you need, as it will help with your issue
  • When can I come to your office and help you understand more about how this will help resolve your issue?

Imagine a scenario where you knew what products or services they were interested in. If you knew what they’d been looking at on your website, you know they’ve already starting thinking that service/product can help. All you’ve got to do is continue extolling the benefits and the results achievable from it. Guess what: web analytics can tell you what that person is looking at and how frequently.

When should I talk to them?

One of the most critical aspects of sales is knowing when to talk to your prospects. So if you know when someone has visited your website, you know when they are thinking about your business and your products or services. Web analytics can tell you when they return, with most platforms having functionality that will email you when someone returns to your website.

At this point, we don’t recommend you call them immediately, as that would be a little too big-brother-ish. But there’s nothing stopping you calling them later:

You: Just following up on our last conversation

Them: That’s great timing. I was looking at your website yesterday

You: Were you? What were you looking for?

Them: Just checking your [insert your product name]

You: How about we have a coffee and talk more about [insert your product name] and how it can help you.

Following up when you know they are interested in you and thinking about you dramatically increases the chances of you moving them further through your pipeline and to closing them as a new client.

If you would like to see how this works, click here.

 

Four ways Marketing helps Sales close the deal

Marketing has two roles:

  1. To develop the leads your business needs to grow.
  2. To help your sales team close the deal.

Let’s talk about the latter.

Once your Sales team takes on a lead, they have one goal: to close the deal. To do this, they must convince the prospect that your business can deliver on the promises the sales person makes. To do that they must do X things:

  1. Demonstrate that they understand the issues and problems they are trying to resolve.
  2. Show you, as a business, has the knowledge and expertise to resolve the issues and problems.
  3. Prove it.
  4. Help time the conversations.

Understanding their issues

Every business has one or more Ideal Clients. To develop a marketing plan to target the Ideal Client, they will have developed a clear picture of the issues that Ideal Client faces. This information will most likely come from two sources:

  1. Previous experience dealing with similar companies
  2. Market research

The development of the needs and issues should involve Sales when possible, but if not, this picture has to be shared with Sales.  Without the knowledge, they are at a disadvantage.

Showing you have the knowledge

The next stage, once you listed the needs and issues faced by your Ideal Client, it to match your solutions to their issues.

A sales person who can confidently explain how your business can resolve specific issues will be well on their way to closing the deal.

But a savvy buyer will accept that they can talk the talk. Now they expect them to prove that your company can walk the walk.  They want evidence that you can deliver.

Proving it

The evidence can be produced in many ways. It is the role of Marketing to collate and to share this information in a way that supports the Sales team.

  • Case studies on the website or gathered together for use in proposals.
  • Video or written testimonials shared through automated emails, based on pipeline progress.
  • Stories the sales team can use during sales meetings or networking events.

To do this, Marketing needs to liaise with both Sales and Operations to understand who the happiest clients are, what projects have gone particularly well and what the results have been. Marketing can then work with the client to produce a picture of what happened, what the results were and how happy the client was.

Helping Time the Conversations

Imagine, as a sales person, being able to time your next call to your prospects when you know they are ready to move through the pipeline. Although not strictly a Marketing function, web analytics products are often pitched at Marketing as a way of showing the performance of marketing campaigns. Web analytics will do that, but it will also tell your Sales team exactly how their prospects are engaging.  Our personal preference is a product called CANDDi, but there are many others out there.

Imagine knowing WHO is visiting your website, what they are looking at on your website and when they come back?  Would that help your Sales team?

I hope this helps explain how Marketing sits alongside Sales.  If your business is Sales-led, a Marketing function can help Sales work more effectively. If you have the age-old issue with Marketing and Sales trying to compete, bang their heads together and talk to them about how they should be working together.

I hope this helps.

7 reasons why your business must have a marketing budget

marketing budgetAll businesses must market themselves in order to attract new prospects and then convert them into new clients. So why it is that less than 50% of small businesses have a marketing budget?

If you want to achieve the growth targets you have set for your business, these are the reasons why you must have a marketing budget.

1. You cannot be sure of hitting your targets without one

As I think back, it’s amazing how many companies I talk to set a target of 4 new clients a month, particularly once they clear about £1million a year, turnover-wise. How can you possibly set a target like that without working out what you need to spend?

2. If you don’t budget, marketing will fall to the bottom of the list of expenditure

When sales, or profits, fall, the first things to get cut are training expenditure and marketing spend. Both are a mistake, but let’s concentrate on marketing rather than training.

If you don’t put marketing near the top of your company expenditure, it is very easy to decide to cut your marketing budget to maintain monthly profitability. The problem is that if you cut your marketing budget, profitability will continue to fall rather than rise again. Your marketing brings in new leads that increase your profitability. Your marketing keeps your current clients spending with you, keeping up your profitability.

3. Marketing now delivers sales later on, so you cannot tie the two together.

Your CRM will provide you with a good indication of how long it takes to convert a lead into a client. You will need to add a period of time in front that the sales timeline in order to see how long it is between when your marketing budget is spent and when it starts to come back in again.

Let’s imagine that is six months. If sales are slowing down now and you start cutting the marketing budget, you will see a dramatic downturn in sales opportunities in six month’s time.

If you are seeing a drop in sales opportunities, it is likely that some of our marketing isn’t working. You do need to makes some changes to how your marketing budget is being spent. You need to identify what is, and isn’t, working and then invest more in what is working, as well as looking at other marketing channels.

4. You cannot plan an effective marketing strategy without a budget

Your marketing budget has to be set by your marketing strategy, not the other way around. The marketing budget is determined by your growth targets.

Your CRM will tell you how many leads you need to generate a sale. The average sale value will tell you how many clients you need to acquire to reach your business targets.

No. of clients x leads per new client x average lead cost = your marketing budget.

If you start cutting the marketing budget, particularly if it’s done in a swathing manner, you are simply cutting down the number of leads you are going to generate in the coming months. Of course, if your Sales Team can increase their conversion rate, you won’t need as many leads!?!

5. Your marketing team won’t know where they stand

Whether you have an internal marketing team, or you outsource your marketing, you want them to be effective. If they don’t know what they can spend from one month to the next, how can they plan what to do from one month to the next? You want your marketing budget to be spent as effectively as possible, so give them a budget to work with. If you need to, set the original budget at a lower figure and then spend more when you can, but don’t cut the budget.

6. Your marketing will be inconsistent and so lose effectiveness

Our society bombards us with messages. We receive 100’s of marketing messages a day in the form or emails, social media, advertising, networking etc. There is only so much room in our heads for messages. The new ones simply push the old ones out (have you seen the memory scenes in Disney’s Inside Out?)

If you want your brand and your stories to be remembered by your target audience, you need to maintain a consistent flow of marketing activity to ensure you aren’t erased from the back of their minds.

7. You have to shout louder than your competitors

When the economy slows down, both you and your competitors are chasing after the reduced number of new clients out there. If those potential clients are going to recognise and then engage with you so that you have a chance to sell to them, you must ensure they see your marketing messages and remember them for when they decide they need a new supplier. To do that means more marketing, not less. He who shouts loudest, lives longest!

The calculation in 4 above may be more than you are comfortable spending. If this is the case, you will have to accept lower growth levels for the business. You may be lucky and your marketing and sales are more effective that history suggests (that will be great) but you cannot rely on that happening. If you want to achieve your growth targets, you have to commit a budget and then stick to it.

I hope this helps.

Marketing Planning – a case study

This month’s blogs have all been around planning your marketing.  Obviously I’m going to say marketing planning is essential, but let me give you an example of what can happen when you do.

Case Study Ninja started in 2016 and I met Sarah, the founder, at a Croydon Tech City event.  For those of you who know Croydon (not the Kate Moss and Tiger Tiger version), you know if has a rapidly growing tech scene and is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Croydon Tech City hold regular events aimed at new tech entrepreneurs, to help them launch and grow their business ideas.

As you must when networking, Sarah and I followed up our brief chat and business card swap with a further conversation.  I found out that she’d already been talking to other marketing agencies, but I still had an opportunity to pitch. Thankfully I won the work and we set about planning how to take Case Study Ninja to the world.

Who

We brainstormed who to target, why that person and the pains, needs and issues they had.  We matched how Case Study Ninja helps them to their needs and finally looked at the what would stop them buying.

How

The second session looked at what channels and how we would take Case Study Ninja to market. Of course, we considered what social media channels to use, but also what other online, and offline, channels would be used.

The Result

Case study Ninja now has over 70 clients and is thriving.  More detail can be seen in our case study here, but I recommend you also check out their website. If you use case studies as key evidence to help you win new clients, you should seriously consider using them.

Planning your marketing isn’t something you can leave to your marketing consultant. You must be directly involved, for a number of reasons:

  1. You know your business better than your marketing consultant will. Your input is vital.
  2. How will your consultant know what skills you have within the business, and what needs to be found?
  3. Have you been truthful about the budget you have available and what could impact that budget? If not, how can your marketing consultant know what is going to happen?
  4. Finally, you get more from your marketing being a success than anyone. It’s in your interests to be involved.

I hope this helps

Do you have the marketing skills you need?

do you have the marketing skills you need?

You love what you do.

You’re great at what you do

Are you great at telling others how they will benefit from working with you?

Let’s look at why you need to think carefully about this.

You’ve set goals for the business. They’re ambitious and so will take some work, so you need things to work well to achieve them.

You’ve got a marketing strategy that is aligned with your business plan and aimed at your goals. Now it’s time to look at the marketing plan and what needs to be done.

  1. Do you have the marketing skills needed?

Unless you run a marketing agency, it shouldn’t be automatically assumed you have the skills you need. As a business owner, I’d be confident that you can talk to anyone. You can quickly and easily talk about what you do and about some of your clients and the work you’ve done for them. For the networking that most small businesses do, you can probably do this well and be the figurehead for the business.

Whether you have the skills to run an Adwords campaign or to build a following on social media is another thing.

  1. Should you be doing the marketing?

As the business owner, you have a lot of hats to wear anyway. As the Managing Director, you are the figurehead for the business and the leader. Your role is to make sure everything gets done, not to do it.

If you are still heavily involved in the operational delivery within the business, is your time best spent delivering for your clients or trying to attract them? Unless you are going to pay your marketing resource more than your hourly charge rate (bet you don’t), you are far better off earning the money.

  1. Do your staff have the marketing skills?

In the early days, your staff are expected to contribute and do whatever needs to be done. As you grow, they have specific jobs to do. These jobs need to be done to keep the company running smoothly and to keep the clients happy.

Some of the staff may well be able to do some of your marketing, but what is the impact of taking time away from their specific job? Would that mean you need to add resource to get their “proper job” done?

Unless they are under-utilised, I’d suggest you will be better off keeping them doing what you originally employed them to do.

If the goals you have set for the business are ambitious, you need everyone doing a great job.  That means doing the job they are best at. For you, that is running the company and ensuring you have happy staff and happy clients. Your staff need to be doing their jobs, so you have just one more question to answer when it comes to getting the marketing skills you need to have within the business…

Do you recruit or do you outsource?

I hope this helps

So just what is a marketing strategy?

what is a marketing strategy

There is a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy, but many people get them mixed up.  Let’s discuss…

Perhaps the simplest way to explain the difference is this:

  • Your marketing strategy is what you aim to achieve
  • Your marketing plan is how you are going to do it.

The development of your marketing strategy and plan is the 3rd step in the process we take all new clients through, after measuring the marketing performance over the last 2-3 years and then understanding exactly who is in the target audience.

Your Marketing Strategy

As a business, you will have a set of goals and targets for the next year. They usually include a growth target – we want to grow by 50% in the next 12 months. Your marketing strategy is the first step in achieving that goal.

What does it include?

Your marketing strategy will include the following:

  1. Your long-term business target (50% growth for example) alongside what this means in reality
    1. Are you going to sell to more clients or sell more to your current clients (market penetration)?
    2. Are you going to sell more products to your current market (product development) or, are you going to sell your current products to different markets (market development)
    3. Perhaps you are taking the trickiest route to growth – diversification (new products to new markets)
    4. How many net new clients does this mean?
    5. Whether you assume you are going to lose any current clients – or keep them all
  2. What you sell and why
    1. For stakeholders and for staff to understand the business
  3. The key routes to market
    1. Not the tools you are going to use, but whether you will primarily be using online or offline, whether you are using predominantly a referral strategy or an account management one.

Your Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan will include:

  1. The specific marketing channels and tools you will use
  2. What you expect to achieve from each tool/channel:
    1. How much website traffic
    2. Which social media channels have how many followers?
    3. How many phone calls?
  3. How does each channel contribute to achieving your overall goals?
    1. Which are primarily awareness generation tools?
    2. Which will engage your target audience?
    3. Which are aimed at generating the leads you need?
  4. What is the competitive situation?
    1. How many competitors do you have?
    2. How does your product/service differ from the competitors?

Your marketing strategy shows what you want to achieve, with the plan showing how you are going to get there. You cannot develop a marketing plan without having a strategy in place that matches your business plan. After all, there are two key parts of your business that will help you achieve your business goals:

  1. Operations: ensuring you deliver on your promises to your clients and, ideally, keep as many as possible.
  2. Marketing: developing new leads to generate the clients you need to grow the business.

If the two don’t work together, it will be very difficult to achieve your business goals.

I hope this helps.