Do you ever feel like your business’s marketing strategies are falling short? Maybe you’re putting in the effort to develop solid promotional campaigns but the results that you expected just aren’t there. If this sounds like you, your marketing strategies might be lacking a few key ingredients needed to really capture the attention of your audience.
Even seasoned marketers can struggle with this. They focus on the end goal of making a sale without considering all the necessary steps along the way. In marketing, there are no shortcuts. The businesses that put the most effort into delivering a marketing strategy that’s geared toward their customers’ needs will always come out above the competition.
What is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is a company’s long-term game plan for reaching customers and encouraging them to pay for a product or service. This is where the overall goals and objectives for a company combine into one, cohesive and comprehensive plan. Many marketing strategies can be understood in just a couple of words or sentences. For example, GoPro’s marketing strategy focuses on leveraging user-generated content while Nike’s aims to promote customer values and bring inspiration to each and every customer. Although these marketing strategies seem straightforward and unembellished, they are the product of in-depth consumer analysis, budget planning, data collecting, and so much more.
Marketing strategy vs. marketing campaign
While many use the terms marketing strategy and marketing campaign interchangeably, they are actually completely separate entities. While a marketing strategy is a business’s overall battle plan, a marketing campaign is just one detailed process that furthers a brand’s journey toward executing that plan. The error of viewing both terms as synonymous to one another is where marketers start to see their efforts falling short.
Here is an example of how a successful marketing campaign can help execute a marketing strategy:
Spotify’s marketing strategies seem to change on an annual basis, and that could be one reason why they’ve seen so much success. In 2017, their strategy seemed to focus on personalized marketing, and boy did they deliver. The campaign that aimed to execute this was their Wrapped feature. In December 2017, Spotify launched Wrapped which gave users a flashback on their listening habits from the previous 12 months. Wrapped became so popular that Spotify continues updating the feature and releasing data to listeners every year. If you’re a frequent social media user, you’ve probably seen snapshots of other Spotify users’ Top Artists or Top Tracks. Not only does harnessing this personal data allow listeners to feel more engaged with the brand and encourage product use, but it also allows users to act as social media billboards for the brand.
Elements of a successful marketing strategy
Now that you know the importance of having a plan before launching any sort of campaign, let’s focus on developing a solid one for your brand. We’ve listed five key elements that may help you get started on curating the perfect marketing strategy.
1. Brand overview
The first step is to reflect on how your brand has been doing business. What are your current long term goals? Are they working and if not, what needs to change? Do your products or services offer anything of value? A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis can help you determine how your business is unique from other competitors, what your weaknesses are, and how external factors can either help or hurt your brand. Reviewing your brand’s current situation using a SWOT analysis can help you improve your marketing strategies while overcoming potential challenges.
2. Defining your target
Once you’ve outlined exactly what your brand has to offer, the next step is to identify your target market. This doesn’t mean excluding certain audiences that don’t fit your brand messaging, but it does mean focusing your efforts toward those who are more likely to buy from your business. In order to find your niche market, you need to do some market research. Ask yourself; what demographics usually purchase the products or services that my brand specializes in? What are the motivations of this group of customers? Will this target market benefit from my products or services? Will they be able to afford my products or services? These questions will help you better understand who you should be focusing your marketing dollars toward.
3. Competitive analysis
The better you understand your competitors, the more likely you are to outperform them. Analyzing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses and comparing them to your own can help you clearly see where your messaging needs to change, if at all. By comparing revenue, number of clients and employees, location, websites, social media presence, and past milestones, you could learn a lot about what direction your brand needs to take in order to earn yourself a leg up on your competition.
4. Develop a unique selling proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) should be a sentence that captures the essence of your brand. It should focus on who your target market is, what you have to offer them, and why your brand is the best option to provide the products and services that you offer. Your USP needs to be original and memorable, and it should also focus on what your customers value. Don’t take a generic stance on selling your products or services. Don’t just say “we offer high-quality products.” Be specific.
5. Building your activity plan
Once you’ve developed a strong USP, it’s important to determine how best to promote it to your target audience. What tools would be most efficient to use when promoting your brand? Is direct mail or email marketing more appropriate? Would social media advertisements catch the attention of your audience better than TV ads? Or, maybe your brand will benefit from launching a creative marketing campaign. The choices are endless and all dependent upon your business’s marketing goals.
We hope that these five key elements will encourage you to begin developing your own successful marketing strategy, or inspire you to consider refining your current one. If you’re looking for a digital marketer to help you get started, contact us today!