The Importance of a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
In business, everyone running the show has a clear objective in mind – success. Whether that success is measured in sales, traffic, leads, helping others, or filling an unmet need, the endgame is the same. In order to achieve this goal, a clear strategy must be developed. Once the strategy is defined, a marketing plan should be developed to detail the steps to achieve the goal. A well-thought-out marketing plan will help guide all business decisions and activities to ensure the focus remains on achieving success. It serves as a road map for success.
You know the old adage: “failing to plan, is planning to fail”
A successful marketing strategy and plan should be developed by a skilled marketing professional, whether in-house or by a top marketing agency.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a long-term, forward-looking approach to planning with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. It refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective customers and turning them into customers. A marketing strategy would identify a company’s competitive advantage over its competitors, key messaging, target demographics and other high-level elements.
What is a Marketing Plan?
The marketing strategy informs the marketing plan, which is a document that details the specific marketing activities and costs to achieve business goals. A marketing plan is proactive, strategic and consistent. It’s a specific path used to achieve success. It should cover all forms of relevant marketing including website, search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword strategy, search engine marketing (SEM), social media, online profiles/reputation management, email marketing, content development and design.
And although it may seem like common sense to have a clear marketing plan, due to limited resources or lack of knowledge, many companies tend to play whack-a-mole when it comes to their marketing! They jump from one marketing “opportunity” to the next, without a long-term plan or clearly articulated goals.
Having a marketing strategy and plan in place is key to business success! Here’s how we do it:
Know Your Audience
It’s of the utmost importance to identify your audience. Once you know who your audience/customers are, then it becomes easier to serve them ads/messaging where they are, that speak directly to their needs, and that succinctly drive home why your product or service solves their needs.
“Great marketing is when you distill your message to what’s essential and serve it to the right people at the right time.”
- Josie Fox, Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Google My Business, Facebook Audience Insights and others can provide information on your customers such as age ranges, gender, location, times of most activity, devices used, and search behavior. That information can be pieced together with current customer purchase data, customer feedback/ratings, as well as insights gleaned from analyzing the customer journey. From here you can better personalize your content, identify your highest value customers, address any shortcomings your brand may have and determine why some customers purchase your product or service, and some do not. You can even go so far as to create customer personas to help guide communications with different segments of customers.
Establish a Clear Plan and Timelines
For a sustainable marketing plan, setting clear tasks and objectives is imperative. It gears your team towards a certain workflow with specific timelines. Are we trying to blow out the summer inventory to make way for the new fall inventory? We can do that with a dedicated promotion; what does that look like and when should it run? Are we trying to become the top-rated local company in your particular niche? What steps are needed to achieve that and how long will it take? Your marketing strategy serves as the tool to answer those questions with detailed instructions on how to accomplish these objectives in time. For example, implement a staff contest to garner more 5-star Google reviews between January and March. Or launch summer clearance promo on social media and the website to run from Aug through September.
Divide and Conquer
Likewise, a good marketing strategy will make what seems like an insurmountable workload manageable, by breaking out achievable tasks, along with divvying up the duties to different members of the team. With social media marketing, someone will take on the timely tasks of posting, responding to messages, liking comments and responding to reviews, while another may take on the job of placing ads via Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google for a specific campaign. Each team member knows their role, stays on the same page for consistent messaging, and shares in the overall success.
Your marketing strategy helps propel your business above your competitors with consistent and authentic branding. Your strategy provides the tools to determine the best marketing initiatives and solidify the effectiveness of your message to your customers. In following the marketing strategy, it also allows for the opportunity to utilize bolder or simpler strategies than your competitors. This in turn enables your business to stand out, engage with new customers and maintain loyalty with existing ones in an efficient and effective manner.
A clear path to success is achievable with a marketing strategy that enables you to know your customers, provides a clear path with timelines, divides the workload to manageable tasks for your team, and provides your company with a competitive edge above the rest. Thompson Marketing Partners, a marketing agency St. Petersburg, FL specializes in exactly these type of marketing strategies and detailed plans of execution. Contact us and we’ll start the process with a discovery call in which we’ll ask a variety of pointed questions related to the brand, existing strategy and tactics. We work hand in hand with our clients as partners to ensure their marketing success!