Whether you run your own small business, work at a startup or a large corporation, it's clear that marketing activities can provide an excellent return on investment (ROI) - in good times or bad.
In the early days of the pandemic, many companies cut their advertising budgets - but it didn’t take long for them to change course. According to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report, the global ad market is projected to see 9.1 per cent growth in 2022, on the heels of 15.6 per cent growth in 2021. Marketing activities are guided by a marketing strategy.
In this article, you will learn:
- What a marketing strategy is.
- Why it’s important.
- How to write a marketing strategy.
- The implications of not having a marketing strategy in place.
- How to become an effective marketer through education.
Let’s get started by looking at what a marketing strategy is.
What is the overall objective of a marketing strategy?
According to JCU Associate Professor Josephine Pryce, “The overall objectives of a marketing strategy are to define clear, realistic and measurable objectives that set the overall direction, goals, tactics and actions for describing and positioning its products and services.”
A marketing strategy should address the “Four Ps” of marketing - product, price, place and promotion.
- Product: what the company is selling.
- Price: the cost of the product or service.
- Place: where the product or service is purchased.
- Promotion: the type of advertising used by the company to reach its target audience.
How does a marketing strategy help a business?
A top-notch marketing strategy guides a business towards the marketing activities that are likely to move the needle for the organisation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average company spends 7.5 per cent of its total revenue on marketing, so it’s hard to overstate the importance of spending that money on the right activities.
Deciding how to allocate a marketing budget without a marketing strategy is risky and is unlikely to create the results you are hoping to see.
In creating a marketing strategy, companies establish:
- What demographics make up their target market, and what problems they are experiencing.
- How they can provide value to their target audience.
- How they stack up against the competition.
- Where advertising dollars will be spent (like social media, paid search, print or television).
This information gives them the ability to make data-driven decisions for a cost-effective marketing spend that is more likely to provide a strong ROI for the organisation.
How to write a marketing strategy for your business
Your marketing strategy needs to answer several questions:
What are your business goals?
Your market strategy is going to be heavily influenced by your business goals, so you should define your business goals before you do anything else.
You may want to build brand awareness and appeal to a new customer segment. Or maybe you are aiming to go from 15 per cent to 20 per cent market share in the next year.
In some cases, growth is not your objective. For example, a business that is experiencing supply chain issues might not want to ramp up its marketing efforts and acquire customers that can’t be served in a timely manner.
Who is your target customer?
Again, you have to define the demographics of your customer base and the problems they are experiencing to build a great marketing strategy.
In addition, consider what other factors impact your customers’ purchasing decisions.
Let’s say that your average customer cares deeply about the environment and your company shares the same values. In that case, they would likely love to hear about your environmental efforts.
What are the benefits of your products?
An effective marketing message is always built on what the customer really wants. An enthusiastic hiker may not be concerned with the materials being used in their hiking shoes - what’s more important is whether or not they can comfortably and safely hike for several hours on rough terrain.
You might want to focus on the added benefit to a person’s work or lifestyle when marketing a product or service.
For example, if purchasing a laptop, the benefit of a top-notch processor is better performance. But the customer may not be focused on the processor itself. What you want to convey to them is how the processor will allow them to get more work done.
How do you measure up to the competition?
You can have an amazing product, but be competing in a crowded marketplace with other high-quality products. You need to stand out in a way that matters to your customers - it could be your pricing, service, values or something else.
For example, your company may sell B2B payment solutions. Your company takes three weeks to implement its solutions for a client, while competitors typically take three months. If your clients don’t mind waiting, you shouldn’t focus too much on this benefit. But if a long wait costs them a lot of sales, you have a competitive advantage that can be marketed to potential customers.
What are your marketing goals?
Your company can have a wide range of marketing goals - they can be directly related to revenue (for example, qualified leads) or indirectly related to revenue (like website traffic or social media followers).
In any case, you should decide upon Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your marketing efforts so that you always know if you are on the right track.
- Marketing goals you might have could include:
- Generating high-quality leads.
- Increasing brand awareness.
- Boosting engagement.
- Increasing traffic.
- Increasing sales.
- Acquiring new customers.
What are your marketing methods?
Choosing marketing methods should be one of the last pieces of your marketing strategy - you first need to define your business goals, target customer, product benefits, competitive differentiators and marketing goals.
You need to choose marketing tactics based on where your customers can be easily reached. Ask yourself, is your target market more likely to respond to online marketing initiatives like emails or webinars? Or should you avoid digital marketing tactics in favour of traditional channels like television or print advertising?
Other marketing methods might include:
- Brand storytelling
- Contextual marketing
- Digital press releases
- Brand extensions
- Video marketing
- Community building
- Optimising blog titles
- Retargeting customers
Conducting market research can help you establish which methods work best.
Do you have the resources to execute your marketing strategy?
A generous marketing budget will make it much easier to execute your marketing strategy, but you also need a marketing team that has the time and skillset to achieve your marketing goals through your chosen marketing methods.
Let’s say you want to invest heavily in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), so that your business ranks on the first page of Google for valuable keywords, but you don’t have any SEO specialists or content marketing professionals on your staff. In this case, you would either have to hire SEO specialists and content marketing professionals or run a different type of marketing campaign.
Tools and techniques for writing a marketing strategy
A marketing strategy has several components. Here are a few tools and techniques to help you get started:
- Marketing Audit: evaluate your current marketing strategy, looking at how your organisation is approaching marketing from every angle.
- SWOT Analysis: SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By doing this type of analysis, you can identify challenges faced by your company, as well as areas where your company is well-positioned.
- Four Ps: many parts of a marketing strategy can easily be tied back to the Four Ps, so a deep understanding of product, price, place and promotion can make a huge difference when you’re building out a strategy.
What are the implications of not having a marketing strategy in place for your business?
According to a CoSchedule survey, marketers with a documented strategy are 313 per cent more likely to be successful.
Not having a marketing strategy, on the other hand, can be disastrous.
A/Professor Pryce warns, “The main implication of not having a marketing plan is that the business will not attract sufficient customers and result in the business’ closure. Less severely, the impact includes budget problems, poor investment in marketing activities and inability to grow the business.”
JCU Online can help you become an effective marketer
If you want to learn how to drive marketing strategy with data-based insights, JCU Online’s MBA Global will give you the skills you need to take your marketing skills to the next level.
The MBA Global includes the subject Marketing Strategy, Analytics and Development, which focuses on marketing concepts and how to apply those concepts to marketing situations that you are likely to encounter in the business world.
This course is 100% online and allows you to study one subject at a time, making it possible for you to complete your degree in two years part-time from your home. Our online learning environment will give you the same quality experience you would get studying on-campus, as weekly collaboration sessions, video conferencing, podcasts, and webinars help you stay connected to peers and academic staff.
Don’t have a Bachelor’s degree? You may be able to use relevant work experience to gain entry into the program.
Find out more about JCU’s online MBA Global.
Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 535 919