What is a marketing strategy & why does a business need one?

A marketing strategy details how a business can achieve its goals using marketing – giving the business focus and helping it achieve buy-in from key stakeholders.

Almost any business can benefit from a marketing strategy, but it can be particularly beneficial for businesses that are:

  • Looking to grow
  • Seeing a decline in sales
  • Launching a new product or service
  • Moving into a new market
  • Looking to target a new audience
  • Seeing increased competitor activity

Marketing can be highly effective for business growth, but for best results it needs to be approached strategically. Jumping in and creating adverts on social media can be counter intuitive without understanding or knowing what the business wants to achieve. Creating a strategy ensures that all marketing works toward a goal or goals.

In our experience, businesses that come to us without a marketing strategy often have one thing in common – they’re spending money on marketing but not seeing a return on their investment.

This frequently happens when an opportunity for marketing presents itself, perhaps the chance to run a PPC campaign or paid social media advertising and the business decides to invest. However, this type of marketing activity, done outside of a pre-planned strategy, often won’t have the desired impact.

Running a magazine advert that encourages readers to visit a website, without optimising the website for those visitors, is likely to mean missing out on sales or enquiries.

Developing a marketing strategy is the best way to ensure that the effort and investment put into marketing is working towards achieving the business goals.

How we create a marketing strategy

Each time we work with our clients to plan and create a marketing strategy, we use a number of core steps. Here’s what our process looks like…

1. Learn about the business

Before we start work on a marketing strategy, we’ll spend time getting a deep understanding of the business and the future goals.

Ideally we’ll have a face-to-face (or Zoom) meeting at the business premises where we’ll discuss:

  • The history of the business
  • The customers and their personas
  • The products and / or services and the business USPs?
  • The competitors – who are they, where are they, how do they differ?
  • The business opportunities and challenges
  • The sales process
  • The short / long-term business goals and objectives

2. Marketing audit

Once we’ve got a sound understanding of where a business is now and where it wants to be, we’ll move onto the next stage – auditing any current marketing activity.

We’ll look at how the business has been promoted and measure the success of both online and offline activities. Depending on what’s been done historically, we’ll review;

  • Social Media activity – which platforms are currently used and what’s the engagement like? 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – what are users searching for and does the business rank for those keywords? How does the competition rank? Is there an existing SEO marketing strategy?
  • Website analytics – how many website users? Where do visitors come from?
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) / Google Ads – are they performing well? Are conversions in the form of a sale or lead?

3. Create the strategy

Now we have all the information we need to start creating a strategy. We’ll use the insight we’ve gained and develop a strategy to achieve the agreed marketing objectives. 

A strategy brings clarity to the messages we’ll convey in the marketing activity. It’s also important to understand the audience (their personas) and the messages they want to see. This will ensure we ‘target’ the right people and not simply everyone – not everyone is a customer.

Using our extensive marketing experience, we’ll determine which digital marketing tactics are best suited to meeting the marketing goals. Business KPIs are identified and continually monitored, so we’re sure the marketing is supporting the business goals for growth. 

4. Develop 90 day plan

Once the strategy is completed and approved, it’s used to inform a 90 day plan which puts the marketing into action. Using online workflow systems to outline all elements of the marketing plan, both inbound and outbound, allows us to work collaboratively with our clients and adds fluidity and flexibility to the marketing. The activity will often be a cocktail of blogs, SEO, email marketing, social media, PPC etc all of which is designed to attract, engage, educate and convert. 

Repurposing content is a key part of the plan. Creating original, interesting and engaging material, means it can be used in many ways. For example, a video created for a website can be also embedded in a blog, turned into gifs for social media and form part of an email campaign. Strong marketing messages can be reimagined and repurposed time and again for multiple audiences. 

5. Report on success of 90 day plan

We’ve developed our own online bespoke marketing dashboard, which we populate with metrics specific to our clients KPIs. The dashboard includes the functionality to compare data month on month and the results often influence and shape ongoing marketing plans. All clients have access to the dashboard and use it, not only as a reporting tool, but as a way of demonstrating the benefits of outsourced marketing to business colleagues.   

A marketing strategy helps reach business goals

Using a strategic and integrated approach, we can help determine the marketing tactics that are most likely to help businesses achieve their goals and deliver an attractive ROI. 

We’ve found that the very best results come from an integrated approach. When marketing activity works together seamlessly, it provides a consistent, positive experience, making it easier to retain customers and convert prospects. 

Nigel ReeceManaging Director

If you’d like to discuss your marketing strategy, get in touch today.

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