Marketing has continued to evolve over the years and is now recognized as one of the key aspects of a business plan. Implementing marketing tactics for your business can consist of numerous synergistic components that work together to make sure your business will perform at its best.
At the core of a marketing plan is the marketing strategy. Investing in a customized marketing strategy to ensure that your business is successful goes hand in hand, yet the importance of these strategies is often overlooked and not included in the creation of a marketing plan.
At our award-winning digital agency, Bold x Collective, we understand the significance of executing these strategies and are here to help you put them to use. However, building a marketing strategy from scratch has its challenges and can be a daunting task for many business owners.
If you need some guidance, look no further, and keep scrolling to learn more about crafting a marketing strategy that will serve your business.
Defining Marketing Strategy
Let’s get started on what a marketing strategy is, and the purpose it provides to your business. While no two marketing strategies will be the same, the reasoning can be defined as the process a business will put in place to achieve a specific goal.
This strategy will help you create objectives tailored to your business’s ideology and its mission moving forward. When creating a marketing strategy, it is important to incorporate your brand’s values and propositions and to ensure you can measure your success along the way.
Overall, the inclusion of a marketing strategy adds value to your marketing plan and acts as an individual component in ensuring your business has defined a distinct key competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
Another common area of confusion is the belief that a marketing plan and marketing strategy are the exact same. While both share similar elements and are vital parts of a business plan, there are two distinct operations that require different processes.
A marketing plan specifies how your business will approach overarching goals and future proposals and acts as a blueprint for upcoming business operations. On the other hand, marketing strategies are a call for a plan of action and provide a structure within which to release certain initiatives and marketing activities.
Often, a marketing strategy is developed to guide a business’ marketing plans and justify certain decisions. The marketing strategy stands for what your brand represents and guidelines your business wants to follow moving forward.
So now that we have established what a marketing strategy is, and what it is not, let’s outline the steps you need to follow to create a successful and personalized marketing strategy.
Steps: The Process
1. Establishing Goals
The very first step in outlining a marketing strategy is to define your business’s present commitments and goals you want to fulfill in the future. Ask yourself what do you want your business to accomplish and what are the Key Performance Indicators you want to achieve? It is also important to set up goals that follow the SMART goal format, which can be defined as follows:
Specific – Pick a certain focus to construct a specific and clearly identifiable goal. If your goals are too broad or missing an oriented approach or outcome, they will most likely fail to create any substantial impact.
Measurable – How will you track your progress? Make sure to identify milestones and metrics that clearly outline what success means to you and your business.
Attainable – Is this goal achievable and realistically implementable? Outline what you need to overcome to accomplish your goal and what plan of action is needed.
Relevant – Does this goal pertain to your business operations, and does it align with your current value proposition and mission moving forward? Establish the efforts needed for the success of the goal and if it can be justified in your marketing strategy.
Time-Bound – Set up a timeline to accomplish the goal that includes a step-by-step overview and clear start and end dates. Think about whether this is a short-term or long-term goal, the motivating factors behind the goal, and how much of a priority it is.
The goals you identify will correlate with the marketing strategies you want to put in place and can vary across marketing disciplines. These goals can also be changed or better altered after the collecting research.
2. Market Research
The next step is to conduct thorough research that details the historical data of your industry, current trends, and the overall market structure. Understanding the market means making informed, evidence-based decisions. Another component of market research includes studying your competitors.
Look at what strategies other brands have put in place and what strategies have worked, as well as what hasn’t worked. A PEST & SWOT analysis may help to structure the information you find into manageable sections.
3. Consumer Profile
Another component of your research will be researching the target market. Before carrying out a strategy, or even a marketing plan, you must understand your consumer. Outlining target segments will help determine the unique needs and benefits of your consumers as they relate to the product or service you are providing.
Establishing how your business will fulfill these needs and the unique opportunities presented by your target audience is beneficial in tailoring a unique marketing strategy. Make sure to develop a deep and holistic understanding of the overall target market, a specific target audience, and any potential markets as well. By understanding this, you can cater the messaging in your strategy to resonate with your target audience.
4. Present Resources
So, now that you have ascertained your goals, an understanding of the market and your consumers – what’s next? It’s time to evaluate the overall capabilities of your business. It’s vital that you conduct a financial analysis to set a budget to work with.
Determining the tools, you have at hand as well as any resources that will help you carry out a successful marketing strategy is also beneficial. Lastly, dissect past marketing campaigns and analyze the plans put in place as well as the big picture and broader context of your marketing strategy.
5. The 4 Ps of Marketing
To create a methodical and detailed strategy, you must define the 4Ps of marketing- the product, place, price, and promotion. These elements make up your business and will provide guidelines for the direction your marketing will take.
For instance, the marketing positioning determined will help to identify the opportunities available in the market. Without distinctly breaking down these 4 components, not only will create a strategy be unsuccessful, but your business operations will have difficulty moving forward towards a common purpose.
6. Strategizing the Final Strategy
Lastly, it’s time to put everything together and unify all the information into the brand messaging and positioning to create a cohesive strategy. It is also important to determine the focus areas.
For example, content marketing strategy may be a priority, in which your strategy might have a focus on social media management, digital marketing, or even creative production. Structuring future marketing plans and campaigns that have your customized strategy serving as a backbone is the end goal.
Example: Starbucks as a Case Study
Let’s look at an example to see how all the pieces fit together. A brand that has achieved global recognition and is a market leader in its respective industry is Starbucks. Let’s summarize the marketing strategy of Starbucks and identify the key takeaways.
With its immense growth over the years and loyal consumer base, much of Starbucks’ success is attributable to its cogent and efficient marketing strategy. First, let’s see their current mission statement, “inspire and cultivate the human spirit wherever it is, in every cup”. This consumer-first approach promotes the idea of quality coffee and a relationship-building mentality.
As a brand’s mission directly relates to their marketing strategy, we can conclude that their strategy is based on the values of being a premium brand and fulfilling consumer needs with not only the offering of their unique products but their services as well. Their dedication to promoting these values consistently is the main element of their strategy and can be depicted throughout their marketing channels, campaigns, and branding.
First, their products are of superior standards and are unique with distinct menu choices and drink combinations. This is also reflected in the higher pricing, and with the identical interior designs of each location. Looking at promotions, one successful promotional campaign that aligned directly with their strategy was the implementation of their loyalty program.
This program spoke directly to their target audience and resulted in increasing consumer usage and building a stronger relationship with this segment. This helps achieve their long-term goal to establish authentic connections. Their social media channels also utilize consistent messaging and language to further advance the recognizable aspects of the brand.
Overall, Starbucks’ continuous investments in every aspect of their business, including branding, social media, social responsibility, product development, and consumer experience, are all complex and individually operated categories that fulfill the ultimate purposes provided by the marketing strategy.
In conclusion, a marketing strategy serves as a long-term tool that will guide your marketing plan and will guarantee that all campaigns and goals you set contribute to a unified objective.
A marketing strategy will create a structure that serves as a reference when determining certain reasoning behind making creative decisions and will summarize the big picture of your business’s marketing.
Without a marketing strategy, it can be easy to lose focus and get caught up in short-sighted individual strategies that can serve to the detriment of your business’s main goals. Need assistance with developing the right digital marketing strategy for your business?
We’re here to help! Get in touch with our team at Bold x Collective, where we can help you create a bold and creative marketing strategy that works for your industry. Our team of expert strategists, marketers, and creatives are ready to help.