The Importance of Marketing Strategies
Emily Barnett - Account Manager
So, it’s the start of 2020, you’ve set your goals and are ready to kick start the new year, but have you created a marketing strategy yet? If not, sit back and let me tell you why it’s so important to your business.
Firstly, let’s get down to the basics, what exactly is a marketing strategy and why do you need one? Well, in short, your marketing strategy will determine the route you’re taking to meet your business objectives. If you have goals, financial or otherwise, you need a marketing strategy in order to achieve them. The strategy itself is a document that outlines these goals and objectives, breaking them down into activities and campaigns that can help you to achieve them. Your document doesn't need to be a huge report, a strategy can best be summed up in two or three sides of A4 with a timeline to run alongside it.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
If you fail to recognise the importance of a marketing strategy and don’t fully integrate digital marketing into your marketing plan, then you are at risk of losing out on business to your competitors.
The marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade with the introduction of so many new digital channels. Digital has become so prevalent in our lives, we are always switched on and the need for instant information gratification is so important in this day and age. The scope and scale, of digital marketing in particular, is huge. Don’t be scared or put off by this though, the best way to deal with it is to break it down and work out what is do-able with your resource/budget for the volume of marketing activity you want to conduct throughout the year.
An effective marketing strategy will enable you to have a strong purpose and position, sound understanding of your ideal customer, and a plan to reach the right person at the right time, with the right messaging.
Follow the below steps and you will be well on your way to building out an effective marketing strategy. Stuck for time? Give us a shout, we can help put a plan in place for you.
First and most importantly, if you haven’t already done so, define your company goals and objectives for the year. Whether it be to increase brand awareness, convert transactions through your website, provide better customer service to help with retaining clients, increase profit margin etc, setting out these business goals at the start is vital to putting together an effective marketing strategy that will work to meet these objectives.
Secondly, define your target audience. Using customer profiling and personas can be incredibly helpful in bucketing similar types of users into useful groups. This allows you to target your brand messaging and communications, use relevant platforms and get your messaging out to the right people at the right time. Knowing your target audience will help in deciding what channels your put your marketing efforts and budgets into. For example, if you’re marketing to a young school age demographic, there is little to no point spending your resource in LinkedIn campaigns. Channels such as Instagram and Snapchat would be better suited to this demographic. As well as understanding your target audiences interests, you need to understand their pain points which will help you to better understand their needs and how to service them.
If you’re not sure who your customers really are, try doing a social media assessment of your current followers: look at who is following your competitors and review your product orders. Data-led insight will really help you to narrow down your marketing efforts meaning you can identify key areas of focus.
When it comes to content, produce valuable, authentic and enjoyable content that resonates with your target audience, shows you understand the users’ needs and provides solutions for them.
Once you understand your target audience you will be able to set out your strategy to market to them effectively. In order to be as effective as possible, make sure your strategy is SMART.
Set your goals for the year using this methodology to ensure you’re not promising on something that isn’t realistic or attainable within the time and resource available to you.
Create a timeline of activities and campaigns
A timeline of activities, goals and KPIs needs to be set out at the start and met by everyone. This helps to make sure there is no duplication of efforts, you’re not bombarding your customers one week and leaving them with nothing for the following two.
So now you know why a strategy is so important and the steps you should take in making it truly effective, it’s time to get started. Set out clear KPIs, dates and objectives of when and how you want to reach your goals. Depending on how extensive your marketing plan is, we would recommend you checking your timeline at least every week to ensure you’re meeting all the required deadlines. Timing is critical; your plan must be consistent and will require constant attention, there is little point in creating a strategy if the timeline then gets forgotten about and only picked up every six months. If you don’t have the internal resource to keep on top of it, this is where we can help to make a huge difference in helping to execute your strategy.
There is a whole host of free timeline templates on the internet to get you started but be sure to include key dates, roles/responsibilities, target audience(s) and channel(s) and main content elements.
Once your strategy is finalised, now is the time (if you haven’t already) to communicate it to everyone within your business. Make sure everyone in your business is on the same page. This sounds simple enough but if you have multiple people in charge of different communication streams the messaging needs to be consistent and considered, not just through digital media, but across all channels. Everyone should have read and understood the marketing strategy in order for it have seamless implementation. Understanding the company’s goals and objectives and how the business plans to meet them is vital.
Last but not least, don’t forget to review how the strategy is working for you, are you meeting your KPIs? We would suggest reviewing progress every six months. This gives you a chance to scale up and scale back depending on what is or isn’t working for you. Don’t feel too constrained by your plan, if you feel it needs adjusting after six months then this is only a positive, you have learnt what is working for you and that’s a great result – you wouldn’t have known without a strategy in place!
If you have any questions around strategy or any of the other services that we offer, then we are happy to have a chat over the phone or over a cuppa – get in touch!