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What is strategic marketing?

Posted on: February 28, 2022

Strategic marketing is key to the success of businesses both large and small. Every marketing activity that even a one-person business carries out should be carefully thought out in terms of return on investment (ROI). The old adage “time is money” really rings true in marketing management, and with social media offering a vital connection with customers, it can be easy to spend many hours on writing posts and curating content without knowing whether they will create engagement that converts into sales.

This is why a marketing plan is crucial to help business owners and marketing teams to stay on track. The marketing plan is the keystone document of a marketing strategy. Within the overall plan document, there may be other individual plans such as one relating to digital marketing and social media posts. Sometimes the latter is referred to as a content calendar.

Why marketing strategy is important

Marketing strategy is important because it helps businesses with decision-making, setting goals, and budgeting. It also helps refine customer profiles and define the target market. 

Many businesses stumble when they try to appeal to anyone and everyone. However, when a brand knows exactly who its customer is, less time and money is spent on figuring out marketing communications because everything from the tone of voice to the content is more certain. This knowledge alone will give a brand a competitive advantage.

What are the four Ps in marketing strategy?

Defining the four Ps provides a solid foundation to keep brand management effective and relevant.

  • Product – how does your product make life easier or better for the customer?
  • Pricing – is your price competitive based on your target market?
  • Place – is your product available locally or globally? How and where do you advertise?
  • Promotion – this is dependent on the other 3 Ps. Timing is also a prime factor – is your product affected by the seasons, events or holidays?

From defining these four points, you can understand your customer demographic and create your marketing mix. This is the combination of activities that will work best for your brand or business and can be informed and substantiated by market research. 

Depending on where your market is, you could invest resources into pay per click (PPC) advertising, direct mail, OOH (out of home) advertising, email campaigns, or targeted social media content. Metrics should be continuously monitored to ensure that the marketing strategy is on track. The marketing mix can be reviewed and adjusted accordingly if the resulting figures are not what was expected.

Sometimes a fifth P is part of the strategy and that stands for People. Your company culture and the people who make up your teams can directly impact how well the strategy is executed. This is most obvious when staff are client-facing such as in sales, but is as important if they are working behind the scenes. 

If the business has a strong vision and mission, it helps staff to feel invested and motivated to hit targets. Training staff well and listening to their feedback helps to strengthen the fundamentals of the other four Ps.

How to analyse a marketing strategy

Analysing your marketing strategy involves a cost-benefit analysis. This should show the direct correlation between company marketing resources and (hopefully) performance increases. Is it possible to achieve your goals with fewer resources or by outsourcing some of the work? For example, not everyone is skilled in video production, which could be part of the creation of assets. Would it save more time and deliver a more impressive result to pay a creative agency to produce your video?

The external environment plays an important role in the success of a marketing strategy. Marketplace influences such as competition, consumer behaviours and trends, and regulations all have a part to play in marketing decisions. 

A marketing strategy can’t rely on what worked before and has to be constantly evolving in response to a changing world. The shift to digital platforms, whether that’s for communications or the complete retail experience has been accelerated in the past couple of years due to the pandemic. Businesses that had not been investing in their digital presence were at a disadvantage when lockdowns caused stores to shut with uncertainty about when they might re-open. These companies were forced to change their strategy and their approach overnight or face failure. 

No marketing strategy could have predicted Covid-19, but a robust multi-channel marketing strategy would have been more adaptable in such a moment of crisis.

SEO as part of the marketing strategy

As digital marketing becomes the core of a robust marketing strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) and the real-time tracking of metrics through analytics have become integral. SEO can even be used with videos and podcasts by publishing the transcripts of the content. This means that search engine “crawlers” can parse through the content looking for keywords and boost the page’s Google rankings.

Optimising copy on websites and blogs is an important way of getting more exposure that many businesses overlook. Quality writing and genuinely useful content is intrinsic to reaching the right audiences and requires careful content planning as part of the marketing strategy. 

Even the naming of products and various marketing initiatives are important when it comes to internet searches and how well the names can be utilised on social media, for example, as hashtags. Some brands test names and prototypes through trials on social media to build products that are tailored to the medium. Sometimes these are referred to as social ecommerce businesses or incubators.  

Whatever the product or service, understanding how to optimise your content and expand reach by repurposing it across social media can lead to press opportunities, partnerships, and new business.

Make your mark with an online MBA

The opportunities for online businesses and ecommerce to be successful have never been greater. Marketing is potentially the biggest spend a business faces in order to be noticed in a crowded digital space, so a tight marketing strategy that can adapt according to market conditions is invaluable. 

If you’re already in the world of business or want to step up your professional qualifications and employability, an online MBA from the University of Wolverhampton will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need. Entrepreneurship and brand-building requires shrewd financial management, so for postgraduate study that specialises in this area, discover further information about our online MBA Finance.

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