Don’t Develop a Marketing Strategy Before You Consider These 4 Things

You’re spending thousands of dollars on a website redesign. You’re running ads through Google. You’re even on Twitter!

But yet, nothing seems to work.

Sound familiar?

You could have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to market it, you’re not going to get as many sales as you should. #MichaelsWilder #marketing Click To Tweet

You could have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to market it, you’re not going to get as many sales as you should. In the process of not making as much as you should, you’re also going to keep wasting money as you try whatever hot, new marketing trend that the so-called “experts” are promoting this week.

While it may be tempting to jump straight into the tactical phase—creating content, running ads, and so on—it’s important to first step back and create the framework on which to structure your marketing strategy. Otherwise, you might as well be shoveling money into the fireplace.

So, before you decide on how much you want to spend, what channels you want to use, what your creative is going to look like, you need to consider the foundational principles on which you’re building that marketing strategy. Below, you’ll find the 4 key things you need to consider before you build your marketing strategy along with some questions to guide your thinking. With this information, you’ll be able to build smarter marketing strategies.

1. Audience

Who are you selling to?

This is the most basic question you need to ask yourself, but it’s also the one that will be at the core of everything you do. If your audience is too broad, you’ll waste time and money trying to sell to people who have zero interest in buying your product. If, on the other hand, you go too narrow, you’ll lose out on potential customers.

You’ll start off broad and narrow down your target audience as you refine your messaging and approach. The first thing you want to look at is simple demographics. What age group would be interested in buying this product? Where are they located? What’s their gender? What other interests do they have?

From there, you can create your “buyer personas.”

A buyer persona is a general representation of your ideal customer. You’ll need to consider the demographic details you’ve gathered along with the factors that will best help you to reach this audience.

Questions to Consider:

  • Who is going to buy my product?
  • What are your audience’s pain points?
  • Through which channels do they prefer to communicate?
  • What tone and style of communication do they respond well to?

2. Competitive Landscape

Remember back in school when you got in trouble if you didn’t keep your eyes on your own paper?

Well, now it’s the opposite.

You can’t succeed in your own marketing efforts until you know what your competitors are doing. If you know what they’re doing well, you can build your framework out from a foundation that has proven successful for another business in your niche. However, you also need to pay equal (if not greater) attention to what they’re doing wrong.

What isn’t resonating with their audience? What are they dissatisfied with?

While you want to focus mainly on the flaws of the competing product itself, it also doesn’t hurt to see how their messaging falls short and how you could improve it for your own purposes. 

Figure out how your business stands apart from its competitors. Then, consider how those differences could be framed to appeal to your target audience.

Questions to Consider:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does your product compare to the competition? (Consider factors like price, ease of access, location, quality, and values.)

3. Product Benefits

Now it’s time to think about your product (as if you ever stop thinking about your product).

Before you can build a marketing plan, you need to figure out how to position your product based on the previous two factors we discussed: audience and competitive landscape.

It’s likely that you’ve already put some thought into this interaction between product, audience, and competition, but now we want to look at it from a marketing standpoint. Think about the buyer persona and competitive landscape you established earlier. How, specifically, does your product appeal to that ideal customer? How does that benefit differ from what’s already on the market? How can you summarize this benefit in a simple, clear statement?

You’ll use this line of thinking to write your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your product’s unique selling proposition (or unique selling point, depending on who you ask) tells consumers how your product differs from your competitors’. For example, part of Wendy’s unique selling proposition is that its burgers are “fresh, never frozen.”

These one or two unique selling points will be key to telling your story in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Questions to Consider:

  • What unique benefits does your product offer?
  • What does your product offer that competing products do not?

4. Business Objectives

We don’t do marketing just for the such of marketing. (Well, we shouldn’t.)

Now is the time to evaluate the reasoning behind the strategy. Ask yourself this: “What am I trying to accomplish? What do I want to get out of this?”

I’m not talking about getting more Instagram followers or increasing your website’s organic traffic. That will come when you’re building out your marketing strategy and deciding which channels you want to use. For now, we’re just looking at the big picture goals for your organization.

For example, you could say that you want to grow your revenue by 20%. Or, you could say that you want 100 new people to download your software. Or, you want to increase cross-sales to existing customers.

Deciding upon a quantifiable measure of success will allow you to build a strategy that actually supports your business and your goals.

Questions to Consider:

  • What does success look like for your business?
  • How will you measure success?
  • What are your quantifiable business objectives?


These questions are the starting point for getting you to think critically about your product and how to position it to achieve your goals. Marketing strategies collapse when there’s a lack of consideration at this fundamental stage.

So, before you do anything, spend some time on these questions, and build your foundation.

Or, let Michaels Wilder do it for you. We have over 30 years of experience in marketing, and we’ve been there since the dawn of digital advertising. Contact us today, and we’ll work together to build a marketing strategy that’s as unique as your business.

Mike Speer Administrator
Chief Marketing Officer Michaels WIlder

Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer.

Chief Marketing Officer at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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Mike Speer Administrator
Chief Marketing Officer Michaels WIlder

Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer.

Chief Marketing Officer at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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