It’s been said the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer, and the primary function to fulfill that purpose is marketing. Before marketing plans are put into action, they are preceded by a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy asks fundamental questions about both the business and its products. A marketing strategy explores unmet needs and desires of potential buyers and solving specific problems a buyer wants or needs fixed.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A common misperception is that a marketing strategy is the same as a marketing plan or a go-to-market plan. It is not. Marketing strategy asks core questions about a business such as:
What is our mission? Why are we in business? What do we stand for?
A marketing strategy will ask foundational questions about customers, such as “Who is our primary customer? What jobs do our customers need done? How will our customers change?
A company’s brand is also part of its overall marketing strategy. In the past, companies could “build brands” by manufacturing a desired identity through persistent advertising. With the segmentation of customers, multitude of channels to communicate with people, and complexity of today’s market, a brand is more a reflection of an organization from any number of customer interactions rather than something that can be created.
A brand might best be defined of what people generally think of you and your company. Part of this are sustained emotional ties – if any – there are between a company and its customers.
A marketing strategy and its associated brand should be an honest reflection of one another and might include the a company’s mission, vision, purpose, value proposition, customers, key brand messaging, and other data that will help in creating new ideas regarding marketing and communication with customers.
Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan
The most significant difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan is that the latter is a document, steps or process that would contain specific details regarding the marketing activities that must be carried out by the marketing function in support of a specific product or service.
In a marketing plan, specific goals and objectives might include, for example, a projected advertising budget, the anticipated response to that campaign, such as number of clicks on a digital ad. It might also include a target conversion rate, an average sales price, a lead to customer rate percentage and an overall return on a marketing activity.
A marketing plan may also include the timetable on when these activities would be conducted.
Marketing strategies ostensibly are much broader and endure much longer compared to the marketing plan, since the former refers to the company’s core beliefs, value propositions and elements of its brand.
How to Build a Profitable Marketing Strategy
Securing new customers for a business is one of the most important aspects of running any company. To ensure companies can win, they need to formulate the right kind of marketing strategy to match their business plan.
Key Elements of Any Marketing Strategy
Marketing is an imperfect art. Even when a company reaches authentic answers about its mission and value and potential customers are carefully segmented into different groups, a company must constantly test, monitor, analyze, and evaluate how effective the strategy and messages are in bringing in new customers.
After creating a marketing strategy, creators then move on to building a marketing plan. These efforts must continually be reviewed so that they can make the necessary changes promptly.
Marketing Plan Elements
What might a marketing plan include? Here are the things to consider:
- Select the right marketing metrics depending on the business objectives
- Create buyer personas to choose the channels that the company’s target customers often use
- Check average views on posts to determine how much content or how often social media channels need to be updated
- Accurately calculate how much the firm needs to prepare for earned and paid media
- Build a workflow and process, and a team with skilled members who have specific responsibilities and tasks
- Made use of content performance metrics for optimization of content strategy
- Use psychographics in creating detailed buyer personas instead of only demographics
- Create different content for each step of the marketing funnel
Other considerations my include:
- Conversion Strategy
- Joint Ventures and Partnerships
- Customer Referral Strategy
- Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
- Retention Strategy
- Financial Projections