A marketing strategy is what sets your business up for success: it is a clear, outlined path that allows you to achieve your goals through a series of conscious, targeted actions. Find out why and how to create a truly effective one.
One guy who knew his stuff said, "You can't use an old map to explore a new world."
Yeah, Albert Einstein was concerned with anything but business, yet his words are perfectly applicable to the modern marketing context as well.
It is indeed a dynamic and ever-changing field, where the best strategies change with consumer trends and technological innovations.
The fact is, however, keeping up practically requires a full-time job, because what worked in the past may not work today.
Do you agree?
This is why every company needs a good marketing strategy well-planned and with well-defined goals. Once you have the right map, the chances that you will achieve the goals you set for your business are much higher.
This means that while you might be eager to start investing resource after resource into marketing the minute after you decide to start your business, you actually need to spend time planning so that you don't waste budget and energy (both limited) on the wrong things.
This means setting a strategy: having a compass that guides your efforts according to a long-term vision.
It is the key to the success of any business.
If you're feeling a little lost in this regard, don't despair, because I have some suggestions in store that will make it much easier for you.
In this article you will find everything you need to know, starting with the basics: read on to fully understand what a marketing strategy is, why it is so important to develop one, and What are the first steps to take to set it up most effectively, so that nothing is left to chance.
What is marketing strategy
As always, I like to never take anything for granted.
If what I am about to say is superfluous to you, go ahead and skip to the next paragraphs; however, if you are new to this field or would simply like to understand a little more about it, I am happy to help you out 😉
Let us therefore explain what is meant by a marketing strategy.
The marketing is everything that connects your company to your potential customers and those customers to your products or services. It involves understanding their needs, translating them into a dedicated offering, and then convincing them of the need to buy from you to solve problems or fulfill desires.
"The purpose of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him or her and sells itself," said economist Peter Drucker.
To do this effectively, you need a forward-looking approach that enables you to gain a sustainable competitive advantage: your strategy, viz. a master plan to reach potential lead And turn them into buyers.
Marketing strategy therefore includes all aspects that relate you to your audience: your positioning, the marketing mix, channels, tactics, the strategic partners, the public relations, and so on.
It should revolve around your value proposition, which communicates to consumers what you stand for, how you operate, and why you deserve their attention and trust.
It is what tells you what you want and where you want to go. It outlines your goals, your target market, the resources you have, your competitors, and the value you intend to offer.
In essence, devising a marketing strategy means defining:
- Who buys your products and services;
- How you will motivate them to do it;
- Who are your competitors trying to do the same thing;
- how you will measure the various activities and refine your approach going forward.
Thus, it involves identifying a whole range of elements, such as target audience, value proposition, offering characteristics, and brand positioning, content marketing, and much more.
Marketing strategy vs. marketing plan
The terms "marketing plan" and "marketing strategy" are often used interchangeably, yet they mean different things.
As I told you earlier, the marketing strategy is a general overview of the purpose of your business, the context in which you operate, and what ways to apply to entice people to come to you (ergo, it is defined primarily by your goals).
The marketing plan is instead the more detailed description of everything you will need to do to develop that strategy, that is, to apply and implement it. A sort of roadmap to follow that will guide you from one point to the next, with tactics and actions to be implemented.
We can say that the strategy concerns the "what," while the plan describes the "how"-and it is obvious that the former must necessarily precede the latter, because otherwise you risk missing the target 😉
Why is marketing strategy important?
I know, maybe even then what I'm about to tell you may seem obvious, but I'm sure that some people out there are instead used to following their instincts, not doing too much planning and often relying on good luck...
Or you simply wonder why you should focus so much energy on developing a long-term strategy that you will probably have to modify anyway, given the frequent and unpredictable changes that occur in an ever-changing environment.
Well, the answer is very simple: without a strategy in place, you're not going anywhere.
First, although your marketing strategy will require more or less regular adjustments, it gives you a template to start with and makes it easier to see similar or better results from each campaign without having to completely reinvent yourself from scratch each time. It is a process repeatable, which creates stability and a sense of predictability within the marketing department.
It is a bit like the Christmas menu: there are typical dishes that you repeat every year, but from time to time you might change methods or recipes according to preference, even introducing or eliminating certain ingredients.
Once you have a solid, repeatable marketing strategy in place, you can share it with your team and make it scalable, so that everyone is able to adopt it for the products and services you offer. This will help keep you on the same page and be consistent in all marketing campaigns.
Only then can you reach out and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage than competitors by understanding the needs and desires of consumers.
In essence, these are the benefits of a well-designed marketing strategy:
- aligns your team to specific goals and helps you create an organizational plan to meet customer needs;
- ties your efforts to your business goals: creating-and following-a marketing strategy is essential for setting the direction to go (this applies to all activities related to your business);
- allows you to identify and test what resonates best with your target audience, staying in tune with your customer base, developing the right products for them, and communicating information about that offering more effectively;
- allows you to increase the reach of each of your activities, improving the brand awareness And reaching even those who have never heard of you;
- makes you gain knowledge of the target market, demand, and competitive differentiation that make investment in product development profitable (increasing your ROI);
- provides your company with an advantage over the competition, optimizing your brand positioning.
How to set up your marketing strategy
If you browse a bit online, guides on how to create your marketing strategy, with steps to follow and actions to take, you'll find plenty - and some even very detailed (like the one by Hubspot, for example).
But you know what, though, is that sometimes it might seem like a super difficult thing, like climbing Everest....
Instead, it only takes a few steps and is simpler than you think!
That's why what I want to do is to give you the guidance you need to set it up from the ground up: guidelines to put into practice from the very beginning.
That said, there are 5 key elements you need to consider to create a solid and effective marketing strategy.
Here they are.
The first step in creating an effective marketing strategy is to clarify what your overall business and marketing goals are. In other words: what is the end result you are trying to achieve?
Yes, it is clear that we all want to sell more and earn more.
But I'm sure there's more to it than that - or at least, to achieve that goal, you have to necessarily identify other short-term goals that will enable you to do that: increase your customer base, your engagement, your brand awareness, your authority...
Always make sure that everyone is SMART: specific (specific), measurable (measurable), achievable (attainable), relevant (relevant) and time-based (time-based).
These will also be measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan.
#2 Targeting and positioning
Here you need to answer the question: who are you addressing with your offer?
Every product or service has ideal buyers, and you should know who they are and where they are.
Characterize your customers according to their needs and peculiarities, while also conducting market research and analysis so that you are able to meet their expectations more effectively.
The purpose of any marketing campaign is in fact connect with the consumer.
To help guide the development of a strong marketing plan, your strategy must include a complete profile of your target audience if you want to make an impact on those you are trying to reach.
Not only that, do a competitive analysis. This is a crucial step to understand what differentiates your product or service from the competition and thus define your positioning. You can do this through a simple SWOT analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to your brand.
#3 Value proposition
When you are aware of the context in which you operate, you can develop your value proposition (in this article I explain how to do this thanks to the value proposition canvas).
Define your brand's value and offerings to make sure they are in line with what your audience thinks is important, industry trends, the competitive environment, and what you actually offer, i.e., your product.
#4 Promotional Tactics
Your marketing strategy should determine how you reach your target audience, that is, the channels and activities included in your marketing mix.
This is about deciding how to make sure your target segment knows about your product or service. You also need to tell them why and how you are able to meet their needs.
Craft your message and figure out how to spread it-that is, find the most appropriate venue for your content, based on consistency with your brand and offerings. You can do this through traditional channels such as print, radio and television, as well as digital channels in the web marketing, or through public relations campaigns.
For each channel, it then identifies a specific action plan and a budget default.
#5 Monitoring and evaluation
Well, a final but crucial step is that of thedata analysis: you need to monitor and evaluate your marketing strategy based on KPI specifics, to be aware that it is working well.
This is one of the most crucial steps in anything you do in business: once you have tested something, you need to analyze the results and possibly make the necessary changes to make it even more effective and profitable.
Well, after giving you a whole host of information on what a marketing strategy is and how to set it up, I hope you have a little clearer idea.
Above all, however, I would like to emphasize one thing. Marketing is not just about advertising and promotion: it is about get in touch with the customer. It is about anything that enables you to support and guide him in meeting his needs.
Not only that, a marketing strategy establishes your company's vision, mission, and goals. It brings together key elements that show a comprehensive understanding of the market And where your product or service fits.
Finally, last but not least least, your marketing strategy should revolve around your value proposition - and be sure to remember that those who propose nothing but fluff don't get very far.
Of course: creating a comprehensive marketing strategy is not something that can happen overnight. It takes time, hard work and dedication to ensure you reach your ideal audience. It also always takes the ability to challenge yourself and modify what you planned in advance.
But don't give up: rely on your clients' feedback to refine your strategy and have the courage to show yourself to them in all your authenticity, offering what you hold most valuable: your knowledge and skills.
What do you think about that?
Let me know in the comments!
And if you need a hand with your digital marketing strategy, ask for a consultation, I will be glad to help you.
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