Marketing strategy can easily be confused with a marketing plan. Marketing strategy is about defining clear marketing objectives that are relevant to the wider business context, aligning cross-business strategies to understand how marketing can be utilised (in the medium to long term) to deliver against measurable goals i.e. change reputation, increase sales, establish new territories for growth.
Unlike a marketing plan, your strategy should change infrequently, and only if a change occurs that affects the business as a whole (new legislation, significant innovation, competitor shifts and/or crisis management etc.) As a starting point, here are some crucial questions that your marketing strategy should set out to answer:
- How will the company’s purpose be encapsulated and communicated with consistency (through tone of voice, image and initiatives)?
- Who have you identified as your relevant target audience? Where and how should they be communicated with?
- What have you learnt – what are your advantages and where are your opportunities?
Answering these questions isn’t always easy though, and you might have to dig deep to find the answers. Here are some ideas to get you started
Start at the top – before delving any deeper, agree on the key business priorities that marketing can help address
Explore your landscape – analyse your competition (who? appearance? experience? offering? strengths and weaknesses?) and market (trends? behaviours? history? innovation? purchase journey?)
Segment your audience – Identify your audience and dissect them (age? location? lifestyle? interests? what can you offer them?). Adopting market research and focus groups (offline, online, formal and informal) at this stage can help identify audiences or confirm/disprove assumptions.
Understand your toolkit – map your channels and output, define roles and leave no platform unturned
Get set for delivery – understand how you want stakeholders to interact with the strategy. For your marketing teams, for example, it will be important to translate big-vision thinking into relevant and easy-to-understand objectives that are practical to implement.
Once the foundations have been laid, a marketing plan (a list of initiatives to be implemented in the short term) can be conceived to focus attention and resources in the right places. Crucially, all initiatives should deliver against key measures for the business.
Done correctly, a successful marketing strategy will function as a usable roadmap that outlines your strategic vision and a clearly defined set of goals. When dealing with a marketing mix of many moving parts, it will help you see the wood for trees.
If you would like to talk to us about your marketing strategy, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch