Why A Marketing Strategy Is So Important And Which Marketing Strategy Is Most Effective
The Importance Of A Marketing Strategy – Not Just Another Buzzword
Marketing Strategy. Let’s face it. In today’s business world, we’re inundated with so many buzzwords, new vernacular, and terms-du-jour that it can be tough to keep up. Some of it, a meaningful new way of looking at things and some it, just plain rhetoric.
Truth is, a lot of today’s buzzwords are just a new term for an old principle – a way to make it feel like fresh thinking. But there are some fundamental concepts that never seem to change. “Marketing Strategy” is one them.
“At The End Of the day” What Is A Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a high-level plan to achieve branding and promotional goals associated with products or services. It is the structure through which all marketing energies will be funneled and aligns marketing efforts to the overall company vision as well as guiding day-to-day decisions and evaluating progress and changing direction.
All rhetoric aside, the sole purpose of a marketing strategy is to grow business.
The Importance Of A Marketing Strategy “Getting On The Same Page”
A marketing strategy is important because it provides direction and a basis for measuring performance. If successfully implemented, a marketing strategy will clarify opportunities, organize resources and manage priorities, leading to the achievement of consistent and planned results.
“Apples to Oranges” Business Strategy v. Marketing Strategy
Your business strategy outlines the goals and objectives of the business, while the marketing strategy explains how the business will achieve those goals and objectives. The business strategy and marketing strategy are separate but interrelated. The marketing strategy must support and ladder up to the business strategy.
“Mission Forward” How To Start Developing An Effective Marketing Strategy
To develop an effective marketing strategy, start by making sure you have a deep understanding of the mission, vision and business plan of your company. Narrow your attention to what aligns with your brand and most attractive to your target market.
Since this is a marketing strategy, you must focus on a strategy for research, analysis, branding, and promotion of products or services.
Analyze environmental realities beyond the outside your enterprise and immediate to your customers then build in flexibility with adjustable spending and plans for when uncertainty strikes.
“The Low Hanging Fruit” Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost And Lifetime Value
Customers can be worth more than what they spend with you today. It’s vital to understand the true value of a customer when developing the best marketing strategy. The lifetime customer value will allow you to understand how much you can afford to spend to acquire customers and remain profitable.
“The Deep Dive” Elements of an effective marketing strategy
- Know thyself: Effective marketing strategies begin with an understanding of who you are as a company. What is your reason for existing? What problems do you solve for your customers? What is your brand position, brand promise, and brand statement? What is the lifetime value of a customer, your churn rate and your cost of goods sold? How long is your expected sales cycle and what are your profit margins? This internal data is vital to forming a plan that is both realistic and profitable.
- Know thy enemy: A competitive analysis is an essential component of any good marketing strategy. Your business does not exist in a vacuum and your target market will be comparing and contrasting their options when deciding to become your customer or not. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your rivals. Take into account Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors. Discover what are the key success factors in your industry, rank those factors and rate your competitors.
Target Audience Segmentation
- A marketing strategy must be based on identifying target segments of your audience in order to deliver more personalized and relevant communications for stronger results. The target segments can be based on demographics such as location, income, age, gender or education. Segments should also be based on behavioural characteristics such as buying occasion, benefits sought, loyalty and usage rate. Psychographic segmentation is important because it deals with your target audience’s subconscious or conscious beliefs, priorities, values, motivations, and attitudes.
- Humanize your marketing strategy with Personas. Personas are a composite sketch of your target audience segment. Building these personas helps improve the way you solve marketing challenges because they ensure that activities involved in your marketing strategy focus on the targeted buyer’s needs and not just the internal requirements of your company. Personas personify your audience segments and your business picture the customers that it is in business to serve.
- Mapping your Customer’s Journeys. Your successful marketing strategy should include detailed customer journey maps to help visualize how customers are obtained. Customer journey maps show you what your customers do as they interact with your brand. Key areas of focus for customer journeys include customer profile, scenario, buyer stage, motivation, levels of satisfaction, goals, and expectations, touchpoints, channels, pain points, and opportunities.
- A brand is the perception customers have about your product or service. These intangible qualities have inherent value and help determine how much you can charge and your rate of retention. Brand promotion and awareness helps improve the results of your marketing but can be difficult to tie directly to sales and your return on investment.
- Defining and managing budgets is fundamental to the best marketing strategies. Marketing budgets are allocated across four major resources:
- Rolling budgets: Also called continuous budgeting or perpetual budgeting because you are constantly making a budget each month. Each time a period ends the budget is rolled forward one period.
- Incremental budgets: The current year’s budget is the basis for next year’s budget. Figures are adjusted according to incremental factors such as inflation. This budget is the easiest to manage and the least time-consuming. It works well in stable and efficient environments. It can, however, build on wasteful spending and repeat errors from the previous year.
- Activity-based budgets: Activity-based budgets assess demand on resources when setting budgets. The advantages of activity-based budgeting include attention to overhead and visibility into activities and costs. The disadvantages are they require a lot of effort and are of little benefit if overheads provide only a small percentage of costs.
- Zero-based: Zero-based budgeting starts from the ground up and takes the approach that zero dollars have been approved. All expenses must be justified for each new period. Time-consuming, zero-based budgets focus on a more complete review of expenditure, find unnecessary expenditures even without variances to the previous year’s budget.
Measurement, Reporting and Analysis
What we measure and how success is measured is a reflection of our strategic priorities. Metrics can be broken down into the following buckets:
- Brand metrics
- Awareness, brand health, and sentiment
- Market Share
- Cost per lead
- Conversion rate
- Marketing-Qualified Leads
- Sales-Qualified Leads
- Satisfaction and Loyalty
- Customer Satisfaction
- Retention rate
- Customer Lifetime Value
- Promotion is an attempt to inform, persuade, or remind for the purpose of influencing or generating a response from your target market. Promotional goals include improving brand rank and reputation, retention, increasing sales, and identifying new markets. The Promotional Marketing Mix is a combination of such tactics as contests, product giveaways, point of sale promotions, affiliate programs, sponsored events, public relations, social media, and advertising. Ideally, these promotions contain integrated marketing communications. Timing, authenticity, and relevance are also key to successful promotional strategies.
- Channels are important because they are the routes you take to get to your consumers. Direct channels like mail, email and text eliminate the middleman and allow you to market directly to your target audience. Indirect channels include partnerships and affiliations, search engines, sponsorships, paid referrals, and social media influencers.
- Brand metrics
“Moving the Needle” Which marketing strategy is the most effective?
The most effective marketing strategies are the ones are based on solid research and insights. They have objectives that are realistic, quantifiable and have included input from key stakeholders. There is clarity because they share exactly what you have set out to accomplish with the entire organization.
The best marketing strategies are also executable because they align day-to-day tasks with the strategy, remain focused yet flexible with an ability to monitor and measure progress towards meeting strategic targets.
All of this hard work is well worth the investment and will ensure your Marketing Strategy is a trigger for business growth – and not a lazy buzzword.
Director, Digital Strategy
Steve is a high-impact digital strategist with a creative yet systematic nature. He optimizes the performance of all things digital to successfully connect people with relevant communications at scale.