All About Strategy: What's a Marketing Strategy, and How Do I Establish One?
Welcome to my favorite subject: marketing strategy.
I love to talk about it—and I love to do it.
Here’s why I love it…a well-developed strategy simplifies your everyday marketing efforts as it makes the implementation straight-forward.
In simplest terms, it’s the true north on your compass. Go there!
When our clients hear “marketing strategy,” I think their reactions go one of two ways. Either 1) I’m already doing that, or 2) that sounds complicated, and I’m intimidated by it.
I hope this blog will help remove the intimidation factor around strategy and help you think a bit differently about it.
So, what is marketing strategy? Marketing strategy could be defined in a lot of different ways. When I think about marketing strategy, it’s taking that 30,000-foot view to the organization and goals and pulling in the right balance of research, best practices through experience and personalization of efforts to meet those goals.
How does it benefit my company? A solid marketing strategy allows a company to plan critical marketing efforts to help meet organizational goals—efficiently and effectively—while staying on brand and on budget. It also allows an organization to measure their success and adjust where necessary along the way.
Can I just do this “in-house?” Of course! But, chances are, if we’re having a conversation about marketing strategy, you need some help—whether it’s augmenting what you’re currently doing or helping you realign your strategy to your goals. One obstacle companies face when developing a marketing plan in-house is that many times their leaders have deep experience in the industry, but aren’t able to look across industries for best practices that might perform better for them.
Can I use the last plan and strategy? Goals change over time, and your marketing strategy needs to evolve and change as well. Many times a marketing plan is “evolved” year over year, which oftentimes is not enough change to yield the results you’re looking for. Fresh perspective from an agency like Approach can often better align the work so your marketing team can operate more efficiently.
Another challenge is knowing what to measure. Companies often set business goals and need to align marketing objectives to those goals so they aren’t confusing activity with measurable results.
How do I even begin? What might a collaborative process look like? The most important step to working together with a client or internal team members to develop a marketing strategy is listening. You know your business, your industry and your clients. You are your own experts. When partnering, we work closely with those experts to outline the marketing strategy, using that expertise. With best practices from across industries and tried and true tactics, we can outline a plan to scale. That scaling might be with budget, timelines or capacity. We meet you where you are.
What are some of the things we should evaluate when developing a marketing strategy? During the development of the marketing strategy, we always evaluate past work. That means taking a look at what campaigns or marketing efforts were successful and why, and also what didn’t work and why. Knowing the weaknesses is as important as knowing the strengths of the company and the marketing efforts.
We also evaluate capacity. Each organization is unique, and each marketing professional brings a unique skill set. We really strive to meet organizations where they are, and knowing capacity and skill sets allow us to customize and personalize the strategies and tactics we outline.
How long does this take? We need to get moving! A typical strategic marketing plan takes 3-4 weeks to develop in partnership with the organization. This includes a research phase, a strategy and planning phase and an implementation phase.
Will a marketing strategy benefit my employees and company as well as my clients? As marketing plans come together, organizations benefit in a number of ways. With a clear focus on strategies, tactics and measures of success, marketing teams can operate really efficiently—freeing up capacity for professional development, expanded roles and more success overall for the marketing team. In addition, by investing the time up front, organizations can better manage marketing budgets with out-of-pockets and advertising. Each activity and investment will be directly tied to an expected outcome.
Marketing efforts are the glue of any organization. Marketing is the voice of the customer, which needs to be heard by the company and felt by the customer. A solid marketing plan keeps everything on the rails, from operations to delivery.
Need help getting started with your content marketing strategy? We can help. Approach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.