A sound strategy is the key to a successful marketing effort.
One of the most common questions I get when talking with clients about their marketing is, “Where do we start?”
Whether it's a rebrand, new website, or lead generation campaign, a marketing project can be overwhelming, especially if it’s not what you do every day. That’s why my go-to answer about where to begin is, “You start with a strategy.”
Marketing strategies provide direction and structure for your marketing efforts. A well-planned and executed strategy can help you meet your business objectives and reach your target audience. It will also help you optimize your marketing budget and resources. By having a clear strategy in place, you can ensure your marketing initiatives are focused, effective, and aligned with your overall business goals.
These statistics back up the importance of having a strategy in business:
- A survey of 1,000 CEOs by McKinsey revealed that 94% of them believe that having a well-defined strategy is essential to success.
- A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a well-defined business strategy are five times more likely to achieve their business objectives than those without a strategy.
- According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, companies with a clear business strategy are twice as likely to be successful as those without one.
The phrases ”goals,” “strategies,” and “tactics” are often used interchangeably. However, they are quite different in their meaning. My favorite definitions are:
- Goal – Win the war
- Strategy – Attack uphill
- Tactic – Fat guys behind rocks, skinny guys behind trees
In other words, a marketing strategy is an approach to achieving a marketing or business goal. Tactics are tools (e.g. – website, email, social media, etc.) that are used to accomplish strategies and, ultimately, goals.
Business-to-business (B2B) companies implement marketing strategies for a variety of reasons, including:
1. Increase Brand Awareness
A marketing strategy helps to create awareness of your brand and its offerings. It also helps to differentiate your business from competitors.
2. Generate Leads and Sales
Marketing helps generate leads and sales by creating awareness of your product or service, targeting potential customers, building trust and credibility, and providing an incentive for customers to purchase or take action.
3. Build a Positive Reputation
A successful marketing strategy will help to build a positive reputation for your business, which can lead to increased loyalty from customers.
4. Launch New Products
Through targeted marketing activities, businesses can effectively reach their target markets and create interest in their product.
5. Provide Clear Direction
Having a clear marketing strategy will help to provide direction to the marketing team and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
6. Track Results and Evaluate Performance
A marketing strategy provides a framework for knowing if a company’s marketing is working. This helps to ensure that marketing efforts are effective and on track.
Goals provide the direction for strategy development, and strategies are the steps taken to reach those goals. The strategies must be tailored to the particular goals so that they are realistic and achievable. There are many types of marketing strategies. For example:
1. Marketing Communications Strategy
A marketing communications (marcom) strategy is a plan designed to help an organization reach its marketing goals and objectives. It involves selecting the most effective combination of media, messages, and tools to reach target audiences. It includes tactics such as advertising, public relations, direct mail, email, search engine optimization, and social media. The strategy should be tailored to meet specific objectives and budgets and should be regularly monitored and evaluated for effectiveness. I’ve blogged about the importance of having a written marcom plan.
2. Branding Strategy
A branding strategy is a long-term plan that helps a company create a unique identity in the marketplace and differentiate itself from competitors. It involves utilizing marketing tactics such as logos, slogans, color schemes, and images to create an unforgettable impression of the company in the minds of customers. The strategy should focus on creating an emotional connection with customers by delivering a consistent message across all mediums that reflect the company’s values, mission, and culture.
3. Brand Awareness Strategy
A brand awareness strategy is a series of tactics a company or organization uses to increase the visibility and recognition of its brand among its target audience. This can include a combination of tactics such as content marketing, social media campaigns, influencer marketing, events, digital advertising, and public relations. The ultimate goal of brand awareness strategies is to create a positive perception of the brand in the minds of consumers, thereby increasing their likelihood of engaging with it.
4. Lead Generation Strategy
A lead generation strategy definition is a plan of action aimed at capturing the interest of potential customers and converting that interest into inquiries, sales, and other types of leads. Generally, it involves creating content, such as blog posts, ebooks, and webinars, that are relevant to a target audience and providing a way for them to contact the company. This strategy is used to identify and target potential customers, build relationships, and increase overall sales.
5. Website Strategy
A website strategy is the process of planning, creating, managing, and optimizing a website to achieve specific business objectives. It involves a number of components, such as website design and development, content production, search engine optimization (SEO), user experience (UX), analytics, marketing, and online advertising. It is an essential part of any online business and should be carefully thought out and executed to ensure success. I’ve written about why is good business to start with a plan when building a new website.
6. Talent Acquisition Marketing Strategy
A talent acquisition strategy is a comprehensive plan to identify, attract, and onboard the best talent to an organization. It includes the processes and initiatives used to source and hire the right people, such as job postings, job fairs, and employer branding. A well-defined strategy ensures that an organization is able to identify and recruit the best talent that aligns with its core values, strategic goals, and culture. Want to learn more? Here’s a helpful guide for talent acquisition marketing.
Sun Tzu said, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
Without a clear marketing strategy, a business runs the risk of spending time and money on marketing efforts that don’t deliver a good return on investment.
A thorough marketing strategy is essential for B2B businesses, as it helps you to focus your resources, reach your target audience, and measure the success of your campaigns. With a well-crafted strategy, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are successful and help you to reach your business goals. That’s what great marketing is all about.