What is Marketing Strategy?
There always seems to be quite a bit of confusion around what marketing strategy is and isn’t, so we’re going to give you the in’s and out’s of the process. If you are a business owner and haven’t had this conversation with a marketing person yet, we’re hoping to clear some air so that this can speed up the process for you on both sides of the relationship.
Just like prepping for a major race at Saratoga or your first 3-day event, there is a pre-determined strategy to define how you arrive at the finish line. Not having a strategy is, depending on the situation, possibly dangerous, undoubtedly foolish, and in the end, maybe an expensive mistake.
Most of the resulting headaches may be avoided by having a strategy, which is not to be confused with a tactical plan.
MARKETING STRATEGY IS – understanding who your ideal customer is, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, and where they live/get their information. This goes beyond knowing just who your target audience is. Some of this is common sense; some of it requires research to get specific.
MARKETING STRATEGY IS – developing your messaging (or brand promise) and visual branding elements that support your message with a feel and a voice that is appropriate for the message. This needs to follow the above ideal customer research work. If you are talking to the wrong audience, all the best creative will miss the mark.
MARKETING STRATEGY IS – creating a funnel of all the areas where your company will be seen and how you will “touch” your customers as they go down the path to a purchase decision. The accepted number of “touches” before someone will even be able to recall your company name is — 7.
Think about that for a minute. Seven of anything is quite a lot.
A touch can be an ad, but could be an article written about your industry or product, some relevant website content that a prospect reads, a public presentation on a related topic by your company, a sponsorship of an event, a press release, a catalog or other direct mail piece, a newsletter, or email, a billboard, a radio ad and so on. These are all of the tactics that are determined after you know the WHO, WHY, and WHAT.
MARKETING STRATEGY IS NOT – a list of different tactics, a bunch of ads or e-blasts created quickly just to “get something out there” or reposting funny videos on social media that have nothing to do with what you offer.
Why is all of this important to guiding your customers down a path to a decision?
Before you go to market, you need to understand the problem you are solving and who needs your solution MOST. If your answers do not address a known issue – the new product doesn’t solve an existing problem, for instance. The messaging won’t have the impact you are seeking.
Strategy first, then tactics. Just like the Army.
Marketing’s job is to organize the behavior the buyer will want to participate in. This approach sounds passive at first glance, but you can’t make a horse drink if it’s not ready. And people take some convincing to make a switch, change a provider, adopt a new service, and change is scary. There is quite a bit of behind the scenes connection
What are the touchpoints in your customer journey? If you are doing this correctly, your customers will refer you to their friends. How do you make this happen? By making all of the touchpoints that someone will connect with your brand enjoyable, informative, and exciting.
Marketing doesn’t end with the purchase – the real goal is to gain customer retention.
Be intentional with referrals and your campaigns and where they continue to find you.
Last but not least, measure your results. If you don’t know what is working (or more importantly, not working), you are wasting resources. By using a strategy that ticks all of the above boxes, you will have clarity regarding your incoming leads. Know for certain how well your website is funneling people, and who is converting from a lead to a customer when you follow a strategy.
At Full Gallop, a more in-depth conversation happens with decisionmakers and a creative brief is built taking into consideration the existing brand, determining if something needs adjusting or updating, new possible messaging and then once that is completed, we review it with our client to be sure that it feels right to them. Your company needs to be able to live with, own, and feel good about the new strategy before anything is created for tactical implementation.
With almost 20 years of marketing experience, our lead strategist, Amanda MacDonald, will work directly with you and your team to recommend the best course of action to reach your business goals.
Are you ready to take the next step and chat with us about creating your custom marketing strategy? Schedule your no-risk exploration call