Why do I need a marketing strategy
If you’ve been wondering why do I need a marketing strategy, here’s six good reasons.
- It’s a roadmap that helps you understand your market and therefore tailor your product/services to better meet their needs, which in turn increases your revenue
- Having a marketing strategy in place makes it easier to stay focused on achieving your business goals (and not waste money on ineffective marketing activities)
- It supports working out the right price for your products/services and set your annual marketing budget
- You can identify the opportunities that will deliver you the best return on investment
- It helps you, and your staff, understand and promote your brand position
- It is a foundation for all your marketing and communication campaigns
I say a lot “as with everything marketing you need a strategy behind it”. But its not only having a strategy that's important. It’s also important to document your strategy - to get it out of your head and onto paper!
What is involved in documenting your marketing strategy?
There are varied opinions on this. Some people prefer lots of detail and covering every aspect of your business. Me, not so much...
Being a KISS fan, (Keep It Short and Simple), I follow the same principle when developing a marketing strategy. So, a basic marketing strategy will include your:
If you wanted to cover everything, you could also add detail around:
- vision and mission
- competitor analysis
- your marketing mix - the 7 P’s of marketing (product, price, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence)
- what makes you different to your competitors (your unique value proposition)
- and the list goes on
You can see why developing a marketing strategy can be overwhelming and time consuming, and why many businesses don’t go through the process. However, it’s well known that marketers who document their strategy are more likely to be successful.
In fact, Coschedule surveyed nearly 1600 professional marketers and found they are 538% more likely to report success if their strategy is documented.
Many people (even marketers) get confused between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
How is your marketing strategy different to your marketing plan?
Your marketing strategy focuses on understanding and articulating your business goals, your market, your brand position and your marketing budget, and identifying strategies and activities to achieve those goals.
For example, if one of your business goals is to increase revenue by 10% annually for the next five years, the strategies you identify to achieve that goal might be to:
- increase brand awareness online
- expand range of product / services offered
While your marketing strategy is more a what document, your marketing plan is focused more on how. Therefore, a good marketing strategy is the foundation of your marketing plan.
This means your marketing plan outlines the activities that will deliver the goals of your marketing strategy. While the above activities from your marketing strategy may seem simple, your marketing plan will be a to do list that covers how you will deliver those activities. Bascially, you plan has more "how to" detail.
If we use the above example, for activities related to Strategy 1 – increase brand awareness online, your activities might include:
- conduct research to understand which social media platforms our target market are on
- invest in social media marketing campaign to engage audience and drive traffic to website
- establish regular newsletter to engage existing audience to encourage sharing and referrals
- invest in developing a website
Your marketing action will outline each activity and include further detail:
- what strategy the activity is aligned to
- what the marketing activity is
- the actions to be taken
- who is responsible for carrying it out
- the timeframe it will be delivered over
- what the budget for the activity is
- your key performance indicators (what does success look like)
- and the outcome (obviously completed after the activity is finished)
What does having a documented marketing strategy do?
Having a documented marketing strategy and action plan will help you make sure your marketing activities are always aligned to your business goals, your market and your brand position, as well as making sure you get a return on your investment.
Check in on a regular basis (I recommend monthly as a minimum) to measure how your activities are performing. If something is not delivering to expectations then review how it aligns to your strategy and adjust if necessary.
Keep in mind however, there is no silver bullet and you need to allow time for your marketing strategies to be effective.