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Straightforward marketing strategy options to get your business heading in the right direction

Getting started – develop your business strategy with an easy-to-use marketing planning tool.

In this series of articles, I take a look at an easy-to-use strategic marketing planning tool. Known as the Ansoff Matrix, the enduring popularity of it is probably down to its simplicity. In short, it says a business has only four possible strategic choices – depending on whether you choose to market new or existing products in new or existing markets.

‘Where to play and how to win’ is a great phrase summarising the benefits of using it. In these articles I have provided examples to make particular points and help develop your understanding of it, and how you can apply it to your business when planning its strategic direction.



Marketing is fundamental to a business. It isn’t just the higher-profile promotional activities such as your website, advertising, e-newsletters and social media – it’s the planning and preparation work you do before implementing your campaigns that’s where the real value is. A business needs to play to its strengths and what makes you stand out – your ‘USPs’. These need to be proven, not just the rose-tinted thoughts of a management team.

The Ansoff matrix is a helpful guide to help you categorise your product and market strategic options – but do note that the four options introduced may not all be relevant for all businesses. 

  • A marketing plan itself seeks to answer three big questions
    • ‘Where are you now? – the analysis and evaluation
    • ‘Where are you trying to get to?’ – setting the direction with aims and objectives
    • ‘How will you get there?’ – the strategies and campaigns to achieve those objectives
  • In your marketing plan you need to include the basics, such as your values – empathy and the right tone of voice are particularly important at the moment with so much uncertainty around.
  • Successful marketing is about managing a process and getting the best from the resources involved – and your investment in those.

A 2020 example of a business considering its strategic options is John Lewis & Partners looking to reduce their dependence on retail sales. Making the headlines was the news their famous ‘Never knowingly undersold’ slogan/promise is to be replaced. This is not unsurprising, given the level of competition they face from online retailers in particular. Business press articles reported the business is looking at sectors including financial services, garden centres and ‘affordable property’.  To me, these make sense as they would fit with John Lewis’s brand values and core customer base, though their recent job loss announcement reflects the pressure high street retailers face from those online competitors.

Next time, we answer the question – What actually is the Ansoff matrix?


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Common sense is as rare as genius

Ralph Waldo Emerson