Yesterday I met a man in the lobby of one of Jamaica’s best known companies. We were early for our respective appointments and began chatting.
“So what’s your main business?” I asked. “I’m in ICT – management systems and transforming the way businesses communicate internally.” After speaking for a few minutes in a “Jamerican” accent about his business he asked, “so what do you do?” “I’m a marketer,” I replied. “Oh really. I’m a marketer too!” As he elaborated my suspicions, too dark to express, were confirmed, but happily he acknowledged after a while that as an entrepreneur he had to market his firm, but with only one basic college course in marketing he needed a deeper understanding of marketing strategy. He then asked for a definition, but had to leave for his appointment almost immediately so I do hope he gets to read this.
Based on Blythe (2010) a marketing strategy is generally considered to be the identification and pursuit of a marketing opportunity based upon a specific target market and a particular competitive advantage. The marketing strategy needs a clear focus and should be consistent with the organisation’s overall goals and needs to take account of the key dimensions of planning: customers, competitors and internal factors.
Remembering a definition is easy. The real difficulty is achieving a competitive advantage that your target market will find attractive and is willing to pay a premium for. What’s even harder is defending your competitive advantage from competitors’ attacks. Business can be viscous. Smile in your face but they wannna take your place. Heeelllooo my Entrepreneur Friend. Are you there yet? Entrepreneurs may never be sure when they do get there, but what they do know for sure is that the journey is the real reward. For some, the only reward.
Happy hunting my friend!
Herman D. Alvaranga is a marketing and sales strategist.