Marketing Strategy: Definition, Tips & Examples
Every successful business will have a well-thought-out, clearly defined, and specific marketing strategy.
Just like going on a hike without a map, running a business without a marketing strategy can be risky.
But what exactly is a marketing strategy? And is there any difference between a strategy and a plan?
Read on as we dive into everything you’ll need to know about creating a marketing strategy. Including the importance, the benefits, and the steps to creating your own.
Table of Contents
- A marketing strategy is the game plan that a business undertakes to reach potential customers.
- Any marketing strategy should revolve around the value proposition of the company.
- The main goal of a strategy is to achieve and communicate a competitive advantage over the business’s competitors.
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a business’s overall game plan. This encompasses everything to do with their marketing efforts. Though it’s predominantly focused on the ability to reach their target audiences and turn them into paying customers.
A typical marketing strategy would include a company’s value proposition and its core brand messaging. It would also include relevant data on target customer demographic as well as any other high-level marketing elements.
Any high-level marketing strategy will cover “The Four Ps” of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion. This strategy is otherwise known as the marketing mix.
Importance of Marketing Strategy
A clear and reliable marketing strategy should be based on the company’s value proposition. This is essential as it communicates to consumers what the company in question stands for. As well as how it operates, and why the consumer should give it their business.
This helps to give marketing teams a sort of blueprint of what should inform their initiatives. This helps to give the same message across the company’s products and services.
For example, American big box department store Target. They outline its proposition as creating products that represent their shared values and are available at a great value.
Being able to curate the right marketing strategy for your business can give you a number of far-reaching key benefits. This is both to users and businesses. Some of these benefits include:
- Providing your company with a clear identity
- Giving your business an edge over your competitors
- Helps to assist in the development of goods and services with the highest potential for profit
- Allows your organization to be highly scalable and experience growth
- Helps your company to make the best use of its resources and deliver a pitch-perfect sales message
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plan
While the marketing strategy and the marketing plan sound like they’re one and the same thing, the truth is that they are different ideas and documents.
A company’s marketing strategy will be outlined in its marketing plan. The marketing plan is a document that lists the specific types of marketing activities that a company is aiming to undertake. It will contain things such as a timeline for rolling out the various number of marketing initiatives included in the plan.
A marketing strategy should realistically have a much longer lifespan than a single marketing plan. This is because they contain long-term initiatives such as the value proposition and other key elements of a company’s brand. These elements will typically hold constant over the long-term existence of the company.
So to put it simply, a marketing strategy will cover the big-picture messaging aspects and messaging of a business’s marketing. While a marketing plan will delineate the logistics and other such details of a specific campaign.
Benefits of a Marketing Strategy
The main goal of a marketing strategy is to get a sustainable competitive advantage over competing companies. This can be achieved by understanding the wants and needs of a business’s target market.
A marketing asset can be judged on its effectiveness when it comes to communicating a company’s core value proposition.
When a strategy is paired alongside a strong level of market research, the business can benefit from the extra layer of knowledge. It can also potentially identify any untapped audiences. This is in order to achieve its bottom-line goals and increase its overall sales.
The 6 Steps of Building a Marketing Strategy
Let’s take a look at the steps you will need to follow in order to create your own marketing strategy:
1. Create a Documented Marketing Plan
The first step in creating a successful marketing strategy is to create a marketing plan. This document will note everything that you aim to achieve so that executives, marketers, agencies, and other stakeholders within your organization can understand the following:
- What your marketing objectives are
- Who it is that you’re targeting
- How you aim to differentiate yourself from your competitors
- How you aim to reach your audience
- What you will measure your success by
2. Research Your Target Audiences and Your Market
It’s imperative that you have a clear view and understanding of what to expect from both the market and your specific audience. In order to achieve this, you should do the following:
Identify Market Trends
When entering a new market, it’s vital that you can understand it. Identifying and knowing the current trends of the market can help to guide your efforts. As well as keep yourself fully updated with your competitors.
Understand Customer Expectations and Pain Points
Understanding your market can only get you so far. You also have to mix that knowledge with an intricate understanding of your target audience. Knowing exactly what makes these people tick can help you to narrow your focus and sell more effectively.
Being able to identify pain points within your customer base can also help you create new products and services. Or help to adapt existing ones that will boost your sales.
3. Define What You Are Bringing to the Market
Whenever you enter a market as a business, you need to fully understand your place. In order to do this, you should do the following:
Undertake a Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is the process of figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of your direct competitors. This is with the aim of getting a better understanding of how you can conduct your business and reach audiences that they’re missing out on.
Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes you stand out from the competition. It allows you to approach your business from an angle that no one else has done before, helping carve out your own niche within the wider marketplace.
Decide on Your Brand Values
There are a number of things about your business and digital marketing efforts that may evolve. But one thing that should stay the same is your brand values. This is what your company stands for and what you should base your business model around.
Figure Out Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the way in which you speak to your audience. It comes through your copy, your social media posts, and any other chance where you are speaking as your business.
You should decide what you want your voice to be. It could be serious, funny, kind, gentle, anything that you believe will engage with your audience the most.
4. Set Your Marketing Goals
A marketing goal or objective is a quantifiable, reasonable, and defined statistic. It will serve as the driving force behind all of your marketing efforts. They also act as the direction in which you want your business to constantly head to reach.
One common rule of thumb when setting your goals is to make sure you are following the SMART guidelines. This is Specified, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
5. Identify Your Approach
There are a wide variety of different ways to approach your marketing. Let’s take a look at what you should keep in mind during this process:
Know the Marketing Funnel
One of the most important marketing visuals is the marketing funnel. This is a way of documenting and measuring what stage of the customer journey prospective consumers are at. There are 5 stages of the funnel:
- Pain aware
- Solution aware
- Product aware
- Most aware
Depending on the prospect, most will begin at the top and it is your job to get them to the bottom.
Choose Your Tactics
Marketing tactics are the different actions that can be used to drive the promotion of your business’s products or services. What tactics you choose will wholly depend on what industry or sector your business is in, as well as what products or services you’re providing.
6. Execute Your Plan
The final step of the plan is to transform your ideas into reality.
Once this has been done, you can analyze the results and tweak your strategy accordingly.
Top 4 Types of Marketing Strategies
There are countless different types of marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at what we consider to be the top 4:
1. Digital Marketing Strategy
We are currently living in the digital age. Therefore, it only makes sense that the best form of marketing is digital online marketing.
This involves reaching out to potential customers via social media platforms, an email list, messaging services, or any other digital channels. Your online marketing efforts can also boost other forms of marketing such as word-of-mouth marketing.
2. Content Marketing Strategy
This strategy is the successful publication of content. This is mainly done online nowadays through blogs, landing pages, and white papers. However, you can still publish articles in magazines, newspapers, and other tangible forms of media.
3. SEO Content Strategy
While this is similar to content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is slightly different. SEO is using specific keywords and phrases in order to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs). Your SEO efforts help people to organically find your business through their search pages.
4. Product Marketing Strategy
Product marketing is the interface between marketing, sales, and product development.
It mainly focuses on the bottom third of the marketing funnel. This is the part that turns cold leads into qualified leads. And allows them to make the final actual purchase decision and convert them into loyal customers.
Your business marketing strategies are an integral part of running a successful business.
Being able to efficiently market your goods or services allows you to increase sales and boost business growth. Therefore ensuring the long-term health, success, and stability of your business.
Without a solid marketing strategy, it is far more likely that a business will struggle to attract its ideal customers and end up failing.
FAQS About Marketing Strategy
Writing a marketing strategy involves a number of different steps. The main parts are identifying your goals, researching your market, and testing your ideas.
In the current day, social media marketing is perhaps the most effective marketing strategy. It is one of the strongest marketing channels to build the awareness and presence of a brand whilst also increasing sales.
A marketing strategy can help the business by giving it clear and actionable information on how to market its products or services.
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