Marketing Strategy - Why it's more than a plan

11-12-2014

I often hear people talking about their marketing plans and can usually tell whether or not they’ve done the more important bit first - developed a marketing strategy. One of the usual telling tales is huge advertising spend with publications that their organisation holds in high regard, usually because the CEO reads it every weekend!

So let me kick-off with the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

The marketing strategy is a long-term document containing objectives linked to the organisations own objectives and defines important factors I’ll talk about more later on.

The marketing plan, is more about the immediate marketing tactics the organisation will deploy, usually over a 12 or 18 month period, created to delivery the marketing strategy objectives.

Better use of your marketing budget

There are a number of reasons why the completion of a marketing strategy is critical for business success, the most obvious one is maximising marketing spend. But here are the ways to deliver this.

  1. The organisation will focus on the most effective ways of taking on the competition, placing emphasis on the opportunities that maybe they are not.
  2. The organisations vision and objectives form an important part of the marketing process; why bother developing a business strategy if your marketing doesn’t follow suit?
  3. It allows you to differentiate your offer from the competition.
  4. In the long term, your marketing messages will be consistent and campaigns will tie together well - this is another telling tale when a company’s marketing campaigns change like the wind.
  5. In the long term, effectiveness of marketing campaigns becomes easier to evaluate, as you have more feedback and response information to analyse and take action upon.

What makes a good marketing strategy?

There are many models out there that will give you the why’s and wherefore’s of a good marketing strategy - my advice is to find one that strikes a chord with you, and feels like it delivers what you want for your organisation. My approach is to create bespoke strategies for every client, as a marketer, I think it’s crucial to get under the skin of a brand when you are developing a strategic framework, and the outputs should always be unique in my book. Here’s a suggested crib of subjects to consider though which should kick you off with yours. This is taken from a client strategy I developed in 2011, for a client I’m still working with today.

  1. Define the core objectives of the strategy, mid and long term, and based on the organisation's own strategic objectives
  2. Define the target audience - by segment
  3. What’s the campaign strategy? How do we build awareness, create interest and desire for the audience to take action
  4. How do we impact client perceptions? How do we want the audience to feel?
  5. What are the key messaging areas, built up of the organisations core Unique Selling Points?
  6. What’s the tonality of the brand we want to use, friendly, business-like, professional?

In summary

Strategies lead the way your business markets itself, using considered and well thought-out approaches you'll ensure everything performs the very best it can. We can help your organisation with your strategic marketing along with putting everything in place too. Feel free to drop us a line and we can discuss how we can help.