What is a marketing strategy?
10th August, 2017
What is a Marketing Strategy?
The Oxford dictionary defines a marketing strategy as:
“A plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service.”
Fairly obvious. But what does it entail? Who is it for? And how can you make sure it is effective?
More good questions. First of all:
Before you even start creating a strategy, you need to decide what your aims are for the business or organisation so that you know what the strategy should be trying to achieve. Listing out your products and services is a good start, along with targets and KPI’s for each item.
Look at your customers. Ask yourself:
- What do they do for a living?
- How old are they?
- What do they have in common?
- Are there trends?
Building a profile of each type of customer is key to ensuring your marketing resonates with the right people.
Closely review your direct competitors as well as the market leaders in your field. Try to establish where their marketing is working well for them, what brings good engagement and how they appeal to each segment of their audience.
Establishing a budget is really important. Unregulated spending is equally as bad as having a budget of nothing at all - so have a think about what you can realistically invest each month or each quarter.
This is the crucial part. The effective output of your strategy should be a step by step plan detailing exactly what you’ll be doing and when you’ll be doing it. Using the information you have gathered so far, plan out every aspect of your strategy.
- Social media - which channels you will focus on and how often you will post
- Blog posts - what you will write about and how regular they should be produced
- Newsletters and mailshots - online or offline, their purpose and their frequency
- Print and promo - how much literature you will need to buy and what it is for
- Industry events calendar - including networking, exhibitions and trade shows
- Media and PR - including advertising, press releases and sponsorship
- Customer incentives - everything from loyalty cards to competitions
Finally, a good strategy should have success metrics with a record of how effective each channel is at achieving your aims. Recording success metrics in an honest and realistic way will enable you to keep optimising your strategy and ditching tasks that aren’t working for you.
Throughout the year it’s a really good idea to keep checking back to your research, carefully considering how each task relates to your customer types and your company aims. This should ensure that your efforts stay on track and the focus of your marketing doesn’t drift - although that’s sometimes easier said than done. Organisations such as small businesses and nonprofits often can’t afford to dedicate a wage to a marketing manager, let alone find the funds for a marketing team, which is why outsourcing your marketing can be a great alternative solution.
A creative marketing agency can take care of everything and work within your budget to ensure you meet your goals without overstretching.
Not sure where to start? Score your marketing free with our on-site tool and discover what you should be prioritising.