A few months ago, we discussed that a consistently executed content marketing strategy is one of the best ways to build customer trust. But what informs your content strategy? To develop comprehensive and compelling content, you must first create an overall marketing strategy.
To get you started, the Leverage Team has put together this guide which covers: what a marketing strategy is, why strategies are essential, and eight tips for developing a successful marketing strategy.
“Your brand is so much more than what you sell.” ~ Jon Iwata
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a company’s overall approach to reaching new prospective users, converting these individuals into customers, and building loyalty among your current customer base. It encompasses your brand’s entire story, values, goals, and key metrics and ensures that all aspects of marketing, from design to advertising, work in harmony. Consider strategy as the big-picture overview of your brand’s marketing. It should include:
- Value proposition
- Product or services offered and their unique competitive advantage
- Promotional campaigns and channels
- Content development, messaging, and content channels
- Target audience and buyer personas
Why are Marketing Strategies Important?
Because a marketing strategy clearly defines your values, messaging, and target audience, it literally drives the rest of your business efforts. A marketing strategy is also essential to foster brand awareness, support sales efforts, and stay ahead of competitors.
As we mentioned in our blog, The Top Five Tips for Creating an Amazing Brand, predictability is crucial for brands. Customers like purchasing from their favorite brands because they know what to expect. Inconsistent messaging and unpredictable brand experiences will confuse your target audience and potentially lead customers to assume they cannot trust your brand.
Support Sales Efforts
Marketing can bring qualified leads to sales teams. This enables sales staff to do what they do best (i.e., sell) instead of constantly hunting for cold leads unfamiliar with your brand. Marketing can also uncover customer pain points, enabling sales staff to develop more personalized sales approaches and solutions.
Stay Ahead of Competitors
A marketing strategy helps your brand to stay ahead of the competition in multiple ways. First, your strategy defines and sets clear, attainable goals and metrics. This allows your team to measure and test multiple approaches to determine what works best for your brand. While you are spending more money upfront to test, you are actually minimizing future risk by fine-tuning your messaging and overall user experience, which, in turn, also increases the likelihood that leads convert into paying customers. Secondly, testing helps to foster creativity and a culture of innovation. Lastly, a marketing strategy prevents duplicated internal efforts, draining company resources and wasting time.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
Tips for Developing a Successful Marketing Strategy
Piloting your business without a marketing strategy likely means that you aren’t sure what efforts are working, who is working on what, and in the process, wasting a lot of time and money. If your team is looking for a way to organize marketing efforts better, our team has created a list of eight tips for developing a successful marketing strategy.
“Organized marketers were nearly seven times more likely to report success than their peers.”
Create your marketing goals.
Your marketing strategy is only as good as your overall goals. In order to be effective, your goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You should also get granular with your goals – divide goals and important metrics by each type of promotion and promotional channel.
Determine your target audience and create buyer personas.
Research your audience and develop an understanding of who you want to target. Look at their income, age, relationship status, hobbies, interests, groups they belong to, and what social media platforms they are likely to use. Ask yourself: What are their pain points? How can you address their needs? What does your buyer journey look like, and how do you want to engage with your audience at each step?
Define your product or service and your unique selling proposition.
What makes your product or service different from the competition? How is your product or service beneficial for your target audience? What pain point does your product or service solve? What are all of the benefits that your product or service offers? Use this list of benefits to craft your brand’s value proposition.
Research your competitors.
Look to see what channels they utilize, what campaigns have been successful, and if there are any gaps in their strategy that you could use as a competitive advantage. For example, you notice most of your competitors utilize LinkedIn to promote their business. You also notice that few of them utilize LinkedIn’s articles or newsletter features. By developing a series of articles on LinkedIn for your brand, you can differentiate your company, educate potential customers, and position your business as an industry expert and leader.
Develop key messaging
Develop key messaging and determine content types and channels you will utilize to publish your content. Learn more about developing a content strategy in our blog, Eight Tips for Developing a Cohesive Content Strategy.
Determine what types of promotions and promotional channels you will use.
What tools and resources will you use to distribute promotions and marketing campaigns to your target audience?
Set a marketing budget
Determine how much you plan to spend on marketing initiatives and determine how you plan to allocate that budget.
Determine what KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics you would like to track performance.
Your KPIs should be based on your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase web traffic by 10% next month, your tracking metric would likely include bounce rates and website visitors.
Strategize with Leverage Marketing
If developing a marketing strategy sounds out of your wheelhouse, you aren’t alone! At Leverage, we have decades of experience helping clients define their goals and communicate their brand’s value. We are dedicated to creating bold brands, delivering polished products, and are always developing new, innovative ideas. If you want to refresh your company’s direction, call us today!