Marketing has to be more than following basic concepts. Every marketing strategy that you employ has to be focused on achieving success not only now but also in the future.
Understanding the various marketing strategies will allow you to look at them in terms of short and long-term goals and deploy them effectively within your own marketing and sales departments.
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What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is what allows you to achieve your various marketing goals.
It’s important to understand that you may have more than one strategy, too, depending on your audience and the various goals your company is working toward.
Often, words like “strategy” and “objective” are muddled. Marketing departments have to work to establish an objective before moving into a strategy. This means that the sales department has to get involved, too.
Only after an objective is clearly defined is it possible to explore a strategy.
Common business objectives can include:
- Boosting an audience
- Improving dialogue
- Increasing sales
- Increase customer retention
- Improve profitability
Business objectives are going to encounter various obstacles. It is critical that the obstacles be identified, too, so that the marketing strategies can work to overcome them.
In some instances, a single marketing strategy can also be used to work on more than one objective.
For example, when the size of an audience is increased on social media, it can improve dialogue between consumers and brands while also increasing sales.
Starbucks has done a great job of increasing its audience through the use of hashtag campaigns.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola was able to boost engagement and sales through their “Share a Coke” campaign.
Any time there is a story that can be woven through a marketing strategy, it ensures that there is a reason behind offering business to a particular brand. It allows the brand to focus on both short-term and long-term successes.
Most marketing professionals will agree that there are only two ways to sell things. Of course, you can implement various strategies along the way, but it comes down to two ways.
The first is an activity that sparks an immediate response, known as activation. People see a promotion or a product and they act. It isn’t dependent on a relationship or long-term memories.
The second is about brand building and focusing on long-term growth. It ensures that you’re able to build on people’s memories and change their minds in one way or another.
The reality is that you have the ability to influence consumer behavior. You can influence it in the now as well as the behaviors that will follow into next week, next month, next year, and beyond.
The Importance of Marketing Strategies
Although there is a significant amount of “short-termism” found in consumerism today, there’s still room for long-term marketing strategies.
Many companies focus on the here and now. What can be done to sell right this moment? What’s the best way to get a quick payoff?
Account sales activation is about looking at what will get a particular customer to make the purchase.
There are already those who are active and who are interested in buying. This means that, with the right strategy in place, you can propel them through the sales funnel quickly and effectively.
Once you sell to them, however, what’s going to keep them coming back for more?
If you used a short-term sales strategy, you may have gotten their business this time. As for the next time, they may be attracted to someone else’s short-term strategy.
It’s why the long-term game is critical — and why you have to focus more on the narrative of your business as opposed to a quick and fast product position.
Building a Marketing Strategy
There are specific steps to build a marketing strategy that allows you to focus on long-term growth.
Define your goals
A significant amount of planning has to occur to ensure that barriers, trends, and more are taken into consideration.
Metrics to explore how a strategy is fairing is critical to track progress. Metrics can include monetary numbers of budgets and spending and ROI as well as other numbers such as followers and site visitors.
Define your audience
It’s vital to know who it is that you’re marketing to so that you can ensure that they connect with the marketing strategy that you choose to launch.
It’s more than knowing an age range and basic details. Create a buyer persona where you establish the goals of the “average” customer as well as the pain points that you must address.
Build a narrative
Explain what your unique value proposition is not only with your product/service but with your brand.
Be creative with your approach and offer a customer experience that people will remember.
Create unique content
Provide content that centers around your customer, not around you. Be sure that you prove that you understand the pain points and expectations and explain how you are going to deliver on your promises.
Launch exciting campaigns
Be innovative and create excitement around your brand. Each campaign that you launch should follow your strategy.
Each campaign should focus on a specific audience and have a specific goal.
Align your teams
Your marketing goals are only achievable when you align your teams toward working toward the same goals.
Marketing and sales cannot work independently. If you are to achieve long-term success, you must be sure that everyone is working together and that the messaging is the same out of every department.
Work to continue to improve the way in which you deliver content and interact with your audience.
Casper is a great example of a company that launched a campaign that was revolutionary. They were not only the first direct-to-consumer mattress company, but they were innovative in their approach.
When they launched, they only had one single mattress. And, since people like to try different mattresses, before buying them, Casper needed to change this consumer behavior.
This change in perspective was made by different campaigns. The first one was in NYC subway. Different illustrations showed how Casper’s mattress fitted in different people’s lives.
People got excited at the idea of what Casper was offering. They dreamed big and they dared their consumers to do the same.
When you decide to launch a strategy, it may take some added research. This is when you can count on content to help you.
Essentially, you create a strategy to help you reach your next goal — which is to establish a long-term strategy.
The research you obtain can tell you more about your audience and what they want from you.
Interactive content can make it easier for you to learn about your audience and have them open up more. Surveys, particularly, can offer the insight you need.
Concepts & Models to Shape a Marketing Strategy
There are a variety of concepts that will shape your marketing strategy. Further, you can incorporate various models that can have an impact on your ability to connect with your target audience.
Embrace All Channels
You cannot expect to find all of your customers and keep them engaged by using only one channel.
Of course, you can also get creative with search engines, in-app messages, paid-for communications, and more.
Within each channel, there are various ways to embrace content. Use hashtags and be sure that you are inviting participation as much as possible.
Understand The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is, essentially, the buyer’s journey. Often, when you engage in sales activation, you’re targeting those who are already interested in buying.
They may be only hours or days away from making their decision. However, an effective sales funnel accounts for all types of customers. You can be sure to nurture leads at all levels so that you can enjoy long-term growth.
There are five stages of a sales funnel to consider:
Any good marketing strategy will account for the five stages. You may have campaigns that are focused on each level as your approach will be different.
For example, a quiz may help to make people more aware of the benefits offered by your product while a calculator can help with the consideration process.
Then, a lookbook can help with retention so that all are aware of your extended line of products.
Conduct PEST Analysis
As you engage in various marketing strategies, you have to explore how four external factors will impact your company.
PEST focuses on the factors of Political, Economic, Social, and Technological.
In the world we live in, you can damage your brand accidentally if you don’t pay attention to these factors in an ongoing way.
Failure to look at a campaign that may have a political or social edge may cause disruption — and not in the way that you would wish.
There may be opportunities or threats, so a proper PEST analysis will allow you to explore the market trends and ensure that it molds the strategy that you put forward.
Consider each of the factors carefully:
Some companies are choosing to get political while others are staying neutral. Regardless of what you choose, it needs to be a consideration.
Further, various politics may affect such things as tariff restrictions consumer protection laws, and more.
Consumers are more focused on environmental factors so you have to factor in such things as sustainability, waste management, climate change, your carbon footprint, and more.
Consider the societal implications of a marketing strategy based on what your target audience believes and how they behave.
You may want to consider such things as health consciousness, social classes, culture, age distribution, and more to determine how your audience is motivated.
The technological aspects require you to consider advancements as well as what you may be spending on research and development.
This is an area where you want to stay ahead of your competition without leaving your target customers behind due to problems with infrastructure or even understanding.
Perfect examples of companies that don’t conduct PEST analysis are the ones that suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the cancel culture, such as Blockbuster and KFC.
Address Pain Points with Interactive Content
Pain points can vary:
No one wants to read a block of text to see how you’re going to address a pain point. Seeing is believing.
Share a story and provide unique content to show how you’re able to deliver on your promises of being unique and innovative.
Interactive content can help you to address the pain points carefully.
Quizzes can provide a chance to address the convenience issues that a customer is experiencing while showing them what you can offer, specifically, based on their input.
Even an interactive lookbook can be a way to show how diverse your selection is, ensuring that customers know what to expect when they choose to do business with you.
As you address their pain points, you also put them at ease. They see that you understand them and that you’re using interactive content to go out of your way to show them what you can do.
This can help to establish a long-term relationship because they grow to understand that you have the means to help them throughout any pain points they have now or may encounter in the future.
Successful Applications of a Marketing Strategy
Throughout every industry, there are success stories. Companies have learned to research their target audiences and have better dialogue with their audiences to understand their needs and wants more effectively.
Content has become more important and, thus, more strategic. Much of this comes from how the consumer has evolved.
They don’t want to be sold to — they want to be included in the process. It’s why a narrative has become an effective long-term solution.
Tell a story of how you have come to be. Show consumers who you really are.
Nike has been successful for years because they have a brand narrative that people can identify with. And with each passing campaign, it is more successful than the next.
Their equality campaign, which has been going on for several years, is proof that people want to connect with Nike because of their story.
SoulCycle, too, has developed a narrative that allows them to be a high-end fitness experience that inspires people to not only connect with the brand but become addicted to the brand.
Those who have chosen to spend the money on a single class as opposed to a monthly gym membership are fanatics. They’re engaged, and the brand is more powerful because of it.
Red Bull is known for being an energy drink that gives you “wings.” Those wings equal the ability to get involved in extreme sports.
Their narrative has become focused on the sponsorship of extreme sports competitions and sharing stories of people who are out there, living life to the extreme.
There’s one thing in common with all the brands that are successful. They understand their buyer persona thoroughly enough to tell a story.
They share story after story that resonates with their persona. It leads to more participation and more revenue. More importantly, it achieves long-term growth.
Why Narrative Design is a Strategy to Employ
In the end, you have to think about the best way to reach your target audience. Once you know who they are and what they want, you have to deliver content that they simply cannot ignore.
While there are a lot of ways to establish a marketing strategy, the narrative design is what will allow you to focus on the long-term.
You have to build your brand as it has the greatest impact on your cash flow and your profits.
Brands that have already told their story and have the allegiance of consumers experience less volatility in the marketplace.
A perfect example of that is Nike. Although they’ve participated in some questionably political and social campaigns, their sales haven’t fallen because they have a narrative that people identify with.
No one simply decides to launch a narrative design strategy. It isn’t something you do to get immediate sales. It’s something that you build over time. It works behind the scenes.
Periodically, you let it peak out as you share more of who you are and how you can help your audience based on the campaigns that you launch.
A good narrative design is about branding and activation. In many instances, it’s a 60/40 split, though you have to decide the split that’s right for you based on where you are in the development of your brand.
Think about it. When all is said and done, you need customers to keep coming back to you. The narrative allows you to establish allegiance and gain a strong footing in the industry.
The more you know about marketing strategies, the easier it is for you to pursue the right path for your own company. You desire bigger and better things — and they are completely achievable.