Many people don’t know exactly what marketing strategy is or what market strategists do. They may have some idea about the components of a marketing strategy, but few really know what goes into building a strong approach.
An effective marketing strategy has to account for a business, its industry, and current trends to create a comprehensive, actionable, and results-driven set of activities focused on one particular goal or a set of goals.
Below are 6 essential components of a marketing strategy in 2016:
- Understand the company mission. Marketing strategists need to understand a business’ short- and long-term goals to develop an effective strategy. Why does the company exist? What’s important to owners/executives, stakeholders, and consumers? Finding the drive for the business will inform every marketing tactic it uses.
- Choose an approach. Most enterprises follow a set of guidelines when building a strategy. These approaches provide a framework for success that executives and marketers can use to work from and measure over a period of time. For instance, Duct Tape Marketing is a 7-step marketing system that accounts for every part of strategy creation, from developing a plan to creating a schedule of regularity to evaluate and reach strategic goals.
- Spend time on research. A marketing strategy starts with a status quo evaluation and relies on consistent updates to tweak the approach and activities and drive results. Include research in the initial phases of strategy development, and schedule routine updates to measure success and help your company tweak. Look at the details of the target market, including personas, interests, and where it spends time online and in the real world. Also understand what competitor companies do well and where they need improvement. A comprehensive picture of the current state of affairs provides a launch pad for other activities.
- Identify weaknesses. The flaws of a company are the flaws of its marketing strategy. Marketers need to know if the business uses aging equipment, if it doesn’t have the infrastructure to continue with a digital transformation, or if it’s having internal issues. Knowing the drawbacks can help marketers focus on the benefits while consulting the company on emerging markets, industry trends, and valuable investments.
- Create an actionable timeline. A company’s strategy includes time-sensitive goals and a plan of action to get there. Create a calendar with set dates or timeframes for success measurement, tactic update dates (i.e. when to refresh content online or optimize articles for current keywords), and when to revisit the overall strategy. Identify someone to take ownership for the timeline. This person, whether a strategist or marketing champion, will play an instrumental role in ensuring the plan’s efficacy.
- Identify your brand and what motivates your audience. There are four common traits (Ego, Freedom, Social, and Order) and 12 archetypes (maverick, jester, regular guy, nurturer, innocent, ruler, sage, magician, hero, creator, lover, and explorer) your brand may fall under. Knowing your brand archetype can help you pinpoint your target consumer’s pain points and leverage your products and services to satisfy them.
Some companies may choose a simple, one-goal marketing strategy to gain market awareness. Others may run a multi-faceted plan to focus on different market segments, objectives, and measurements of success. Either way, selecting an approach and making each goal actionable will improve the likelihood of success. Revisit and change your strategy as often as needed to start seeing measurable results.
Every PWG Marketing client goes through our systematic, step-by-step marketing strategy process and a marketing plan is created, resulting in a custom Inbound Marketing Game Plan built around your business goals.
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