A great marketing strategy is key to a successful business. Without it, your company will not be able to reach its full potential. If you need help with writing a plan that will work for your business, read on! In this article, we’ll cover the four essential elements of a great marketing strategy and some tips on how to execute them successfully.
Let’s take a look at the four key elements of a great marketing strategy.
A great marketing strategy will differ for every company and business because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. You’ll need to take a look at your strengths and weaknesses and the competition to find what works best for you. To find out these strengths and weaknesses, you will need to do some investigating.
The investigation phase of a marketing strategy is one of the most critical steps. This stage will define how well your company performs against your competitors and what you can do to make it better.
Before planning out your marketing strategy, research how you are currently doing in the market; what are your strengths and weaknesses? Where does your business excel? Are there any areas that need improvement?
A vital part of the investigation phase is customer research. How is your customer feedback? Identify who your target audience is, where they spend their time and what problems they are trying to solve. Spend time identifying your customers’ journey when they are looking to purchase products and services like yours.
When you have thoroughly completed the customer research, it’s time to look at what your competitors offer, their pricing, and their marketing approach. What gives your competitors their edge? Are they innovative? Do they provide excellent customer service? Is the quality of their products and services exceptional compared to the competition?
Take a look at the overall market in which you will be competing? Are there any political or legislative issues that could impact your marketing campaigns? Perhaps there are economic issues that could provide an opportunity? The recent lockdowns due to COVID-19 are a prime example. Businesses poised to sell online profited greatly once everyone was in lockdown. For companies able to sell and deliver their services online or remotely, this presented an excellent marketing opportunity.
You should benchmark your current performance during this phase. Identify your most important metrics, such as sales and revenue, customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, traffic by source, conversion by source, social engagement metrics, and whichever other metrics are essential to your business.
There are several marketing tools that you may find helpful for this:
- SWOT analysis can help you to plan out a high-level view of your business
- The Business Model Canvas will give you an easy to reference overview of your business, which will help to ensure that you do not miss the critical parts of your organisation while creating the marketing strategy
- PESTLE analysis can provide a deeper insight into your industry and market
- The Value Proposition Canvas can help you to match up offering to your customers’ needs
- You can use the 7 Ps marketing mix to dig deeper into your organisation and offering
The research phase of a marketing strategy takes a lot of time and effort to complete. However, after the research has been done correctly, planning and implementing new strategies will be much easier.
Goals and objectives
After you have collected all relevant information about your company and the market, it is time to define your goals and objectives. You should ensure that most of your objectives are SMART, which stands for:
Specific – Your goals should be specific with regards to what is being improved and by how much.
Measurable – Your goals should be measurable. For example, do not set an objective such as “Our business will do better”, as that is a somewhat nebulous aim. Instead, identify criteria that you can measure that correlates with making your business better.
Achievable – Is the goal achievable? For example, expecting a 100% conversion rate is not feasible, nor is planning to gain 100% market penetration.
Realistic – Your goal should be realistic with your business’ resources. So, setting a goal of publishing three 1,500 word articles a day for your blog is unrealistic if you have a part-time copywriter and are not intending to hire more people to achieve your objective.
Time-bound – Make sure your goals have a deadline by which they need to be achieved.
These criteria help you to know what you need to achieve with your marketing strategy.
Not all of your objectives need to be SMART, but this approach does help to stop you from setting poor goals. For example, this isn’t a useful objective “We will increase online sales.” How much would you increase online sales? By when? Is it online sales of any of your products or services, or should it be specific ones? With your current resources, is it even achievable to increase your online sales?
Strategy, Tactics and Actions
Once you have defined your objectives, you need to move on to the strategy, tactics and actions phase. You could view this as three separate phases, but I see this a three levels of the same task.
The strategy is the top-level actions you will take to achieve your objectives and why you have decided on that course of action. For example, if you aim to increase online sales by 40% over the next 12 months, your strategy might be to increase your organic search traffic and traffic from social media. The why might be that you already have a lot of content on your site, but the potential of that content has not yet been maximised for search and social.
The tactics are the next level down from the strategy. Continuing the above example, your tactics may be:
- Optimise existing content to ensure it is targeting relevant keywords
- Create social media content based on existing content
- Create new content based on keyword research
- Build a presence/profile on social media sites that your target audience uses
The actions are yet another level down from tactics. Here you will define specific steps that are needed to execute the tactics as part of the strategy. For example:
- Update title tags of content
- Write meta descriptions for content
- Add internal links to content to important landing pages
- Fix broken links
- Register profiles on relevant social media platforms
- Design cover images for the social profiles
- Build a calendar of content to go out on social media
You need to make sure that a specific person or team is named as responsible for completing each action and that there is a deadline.
Setting actions is vital so everybody knows what they need to achieve and who has to do it. Marketing strategies can fail without an action plan because key objectives are not met and there is no clear road map for achieving these goals.
Results and analysis
The final phase is analysing the results of your marketing campaign. Did you achieve the objectives you set? If not, why not? What worked well and why?
This stage is crucial as it helps you identify what to change so that your future marketing campaigns perform better.
Use all relevant data sources for this step, such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, brand monitoring tools, sales data from your eCommerce platform. Whichever data is suitable for the metrics that help you determine if your campaign was successful.
Note that you do not have to wait until the deadlines that you set in your SMART objectives. You can monitor your campaigns as they are running and if something appears to be majorly underperforming, feel free to make adjustments to improve things. You shouldn’t be wasting any of your marketing budget unnecessarily.
The key elements of a great marketing campaign are the investigation; objectives; strategy, tactics and actions; and results phases. We know that marketing for a business can be a challenge. If you need help getting started on your strategy or implementing one already in place, we can help you. We know what it takes to develop an effective SEO or content marketing plan for any size business, so don’t hesitate to reach out if this article has inspired you to change your approach!