What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a set of well defined actions to obtain a desired marketing-specific objective for your brand, such as increased revenues, customer conversion, customer retention, brand awareness, competitive advantage, and many others. It’s basically a road map to achieving greater results.
Marketing strategies can be long-term or short term. In a long-term marketing strategy (in the order of many months), you will have various marketing campaigns that will be driven by short-term marketing strategies (days, weeks, up to a month). With the exception of differing timelines, both long-term and short-term marketing strategies offer the same benefits for your business.
You don’t necessarily need a marketing professional to define a marketing strategy for you. With some knowledge of marketing basics, you can easily create your own Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing, or email marketing strategies which covers the most commonly used platforms for marketing. Having a simple marketing strategy is better than having no marketing strategy. This post will identify both why you need a marketing strategy and how to create an effective one.
Benefits of Having a Marketing Strategy
A lot of brands are unable to leverage their full potential simply because they lacked a marketing strategy. While your marketing strategy will generally focus on one or two very specific objectives, the strategy implementation will almost always result in secondary outcomes. A well-crafted marketing strategy has the following benefits:
- Manage Resources: Businesses have limited resources and using them effectively is key. Having a well-defined marketing strategy, time and money is used intentionally and effectively. It also helps companies plan their staffing and software subscriptions to ensure optimal utilization of all resources.
- Provide Focus and Direction: Like any other strategy or plan, having a marketing strategy provides entrepreneurs and marketers a clear road map. This road map ensures that the marketing efforts are focused on achieving the desired outcome.
- Implement Company Vision and Mission: The marketing objectives can be closely tied to the vision and mission statements of your brand. This ensures that the marketing objectives are aligned with the greater company objectives.
- Generate Brand Recognition: Even if increasing brand recognition is not your primary marketing objective is, increased brand recognition will often be a secondary outcome from any marketing strategy.
- Gain Competitive Advantage: A marketing strategy’s messaging can be incredibly effective in highlighting a product’s unique value proposition that distinguishes you from your competitors, especially with consistent and planned messaging tailored for customer psychology.
- Attract New Customers: This is generally the ultimate primary of secondary objective of almost all marketing strategies. Marketing strategies can help businesses acquire more customers from their current market, or penetrate new markets as well.
- Understand Customers and Refine Your Product: Marketing strategies provide you with valuable data. Harnessing the power of marketing analytics can help you understand what your customers like and don’t like and mould your product accordingly. This helps you achieve product-market fit.
How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
- Set an Objective: Any strategy or plan is first informed by a well-defined objective or goal. Ensure you are identifying SMART objectives (Simple, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). This helps focus and mould your strategy to ensure you are moving in the right direction to obtain the desired outcome. Without an objective, your marketing strategy will be like a ship without a compass.
- Set a Budget: Marketing should not be seen as a business expense, but rather as an investment into the business as effective marketing can take a business to new heights. But this does not mean endless spending. Your marketing strategy needs to have an allocated budget which is better estimated once the objective is set. Or, if money is the driving factor, then maybe you should set your objectives after defining how much you can afford to spend.
- Identify your Target Audience: You need to know who are your target audience before you launch a marketing strategy. This is informed by generally understanding who your customer is first, and then going deeper and defining more specific characteristics of the person your marketing strategies is specifically curated for. Ensure you segment your target audience using not only demographic characteristics (age, gender, location, education, occupation, income, etc.), but also psychographic characteristics (interests, hobbies, spending tendencies, personality, etc.).
- Pick a Platform: It’s important to pick the right platform depending on your product and marketing objectives. For example, if you’re selling a B2B product and want to use social media, then you shouldn’t market on TikTok. LinkedIn or Instagram would be your better bets. If you already use various platforms and want to link them to create a marketing funnel, then you can use tools like Zapier to automate your marketing strategies for you.
- Create Relevant Content: Content is what drives marketing. Before launching your marketing strategy, pre-determine what kind of content is required to achieve your marketing objectives. Making good marketing content doesn’t only include interest-generating pictures, videos, webinars, articles, etc. it also means ensuring your messaging is right by writing good copy.
- Use Marketing Automation: Implementing a marketing strategy can be time-consuming and expensive. However, marketing strategy execution entails a lot of repetitive that can be automated using marketing automation tools. This enables you to more effectively utilize your limited resources and increase productivity, freeing up time to focus on monitoring and refining the marketing strategy to ensure your objective is achieved.