Businesses must have a clear understanding of what is marketing strategy, and how to create one for their company. Every business needs a marketing strategy to define and meet marketing objectives, allocate resources, and improve sales. And it must be documented and shared with everyone in the marketing team.
Companies with a documented marketing strategy are 313% more likely to report success. However, only 16% of businesses have a fully documented marketing strategy.
Having a strategy isn’t enough. You have to document it so it can be used appropriately by key individuals.
If you are just starting out and not sure what marketing strategy is, how it is different from digital marketing strategy, and how to create one, this article is for you.
What is Marketing Strategy?
Marketing strategy is a process to reach your marketing goals by utilizing limited resources efficiently. It is a complete guide that you use to select, prioritize, plan, and execute marketing projects to increase sales and/or conversions.
Marketing strategy defines the long-term objectives of the business that it wants to achieve. It is a broad term that is used to lay out the overall marketing objectives of a business.
For example, the inbound marketing strategy focuses on pulling customers to your business with the help of useful content. This is a long-term strategy that sets the vision of your business. And it tells your marketing team what they’re supposed to do.
A marketing strategy covers:
- Company’s value proposition
- Brand messaging
- Demographics of the target market
- Long-term objectives.
Ideally, your marketing strategy must cover all the 4Ps of marketing: Product, price, place, and promotion. In a nutshell, your marketing strategy is an explanation of marketing objectives. It explains what you want to achieve with marketing.
For example, if you want to generate online sales (objective), you’ll use inbound marketing or digital marketing as a strategy. And from there, you’ll develop a marketing plan to achieve your long-term goals.
Types of Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategies have different types. The type of strategy you’ll need for your business depends on several factors. Since marketing strategy is aligned with objectives, therefore, it all comes down to what you want to achieve with marketing.
Here is a list of the types of marketing strategies that are mostly used:
- Segmentation marketing strategy
- Functional marketing strategy
- Content marketing strategy
- Digital marketing strategy
- Direct marketing strategy
- Offline marketing strategy
- TV marketing strategy
- Social media marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan
Well, marketing strategy is a complete process that has a wide scope. It lays out the complete process for reaching the target audience and converting it into customers.
On the other hand, a marketing plan is a subset of a marketing strategy. It defines the plan of action to achieve marketing objectives and ultimately marketing strategy. You’ll define specific measurable tasks with well-defined goals in a marketing plan to support marketing strategy.
Let’s take an example.
Your marketing objective is to generate sales online via your website. In this case, you’ll be using a digital marketing strategy.
Now you’ll create a marketing plan based on your strategy that will include identification of target audience, identifying marketing channels, creating and managing marketing campaigns, and analysis.
You’ll move from strategy to plan.
Marketing Strategy vs. Digital Marketing Strategy
Digital marketing strategy is nothing but a type of marketing strategy. It is specifically focused on online marketing channels such as website, social media, content, etc.
Not all businesses have a digital marketing strategy but every business has a marketing strategy. Businesses interested in using online marketing channels to reach their target audience need to develop a digital marketing strategy as a category of their main marketing strategy.
So, your marketing strategy might be too broad and it can include several types of strategies such as direct marketing, digital marketing, referral marketing, and so on.
How to Develop a Successful Marketing Strategy
Developing an effective marketing strategy for your company gets easier if you know the basics. Marketing strategy is derived from the 4Ps of marketing:
So, every marketing strategy must address the following questions:
- Who are you trying to reach? (Target audience)
- Where will you reach them? (Marketing channels)
- How will you persuade them to buy your product/service? (Marketing tactics)
- How will you measure marketing success? (Marketing metrics)
You can develop an effective marketing strategy by answering these four questions in four steps that are outlined below:
1. Create Buyer Personas
The first step is identifying your target audience. The best way to do it is by developing buyer personas. It is the semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Here is how it looks:
Buyer personas tell you who your ideal customers are, what are their interests and challenges, their demographics, and much more.
How to do it?
You’ll have to collect this data from your target market through surveys and interviews. Use a buyer persona template and add as many details as possible.
2. Identify Marketing Channels
Once you have created buyer personas, you’ll have a better understanding of marketing channels you can use to reach your audience. For example, if surveys reveal that your ideal customers use social media and spend a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram, you must use social media marketing to reach your audience.
The marketing channel must align with your marketing strategy. If your strategy is inbound marketing, you can’t use direct mail as a marketing channel.
You must choose marketing channels smartly to reach your target audience.
3. Set Goals and Define Tactics
Next, you need to define specific goals. Use the SMART goals approach as discussed here and here. Then you’ll need to create a plan of action (also known as a marketing plan) to achieve your goals.
Read this guide on how to develop a marketing plan.
The goals must lead you to your marketing objective. The long-term objective is divided into actionable weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals.
4. Implement and Track
Finally, implement your strategy and start tracking progress.
Implementation is challenging as it requires a lot of hard work and commitment from your marketing team. Around 98% of marketers are of the view that strategy implementation takes more time than formulation.
Make sure your marketing strategy is implemented and executed by following these tips:
- Have it documented
- Communicate it
- Create tasks and projects for your marketing team
- Set the right expectations
- Update and evolve quickly
- Share results/failures with your team.
There is no right or wrong marketing strategy. However, there is always a right and wrong way to develop and execute a marketing strategy. Knowing what is marketing strategy isn’t enough. You must understand its philosophy, how to create one, and how to implement it successfully.
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