Marketing Strategy – Strategy then Strategic Implementation
In our last blog, Andrew talked about how simple marketing strategy can be, as he compared planning your marketing strategy to planning your child’s birthday party.
In today’s blog, we are going to take a deeper dive into what marketing strategy actually is. Focussing on the strategy behind your marketing plan and then the strategic implementation needed to put your plan into action.
This ‘Marketing Strategy’’ topic is intended as a scene-setter. It is about getting your head around the big picture concerning a planned and strategic approach to the marketing of your business. Use this as a starting point and come with us on a journey as we highlight the most important aspects of marketing strategy in our 10 part series.
Strategy doesn’t come easily to everyone, but it is often much easier to be strategic about a marketing plan if you are able to take an objective look at the whole picture.
I have dedicated my life to strategic thinking and marketing planning for businesses in a range of industries and today I want to share that knowledge with you to take some of the mystery and fear out of marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy Definition?
Explaining marketing strategy is closely linked to the significance of creating a robust marketing plan for your business. When you are being strategic about something you are looking at the entire picture and planning activities in a logical sequence relative to a goal or objective you would like to meet.
Marketing strategy broken into its simplest definition comes down to two stages, namely:
Strategy Development: Time spent mapping out the overall plan of attack, i.e., developing your marketing strategy.
Strategic Implementation: The time you spend, usually a significant amount of time, implementing the plan of attack. (i.e. implementing your marketing strategy)
Marketing Strategy is a term that gets thrown around quite often by people who may or may not be strategic thinkers. It has become a buzzword of sorts in recent years and used to draw people into a product or service with the mere mention of this powerful word. These people all think that marketing strategy is the same thing – following the same process or set of steps for any customer they work with because it is a solid strategy.
A quick search on the internet has put my mind at rest, however, and proven that there are numerous definitions available for marketing strategy. While marketing strategy is a finite concept, there are infinite marketing strategies to ponder and implement depending on your business, goals and objectives, target market, and finances.
For those of you who enjoy a nice ‘formal’ textbook style definition of a term – marketing strategy is:
“a long-term, forward-looking approach to planning with the fundamental goal achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.”
Marketing Strategy in Action
When you put something into action, you are using a plan to direct your actions. The first part of marketing strategy is to develop that plan, and the second part is to implement that plan.
NOTE TO SELF: Marketing Strategy works much more effectively if you do things in the logical order. (i.e. Create your marketing strategy first and implement it second. In direct comparison to a plan where you start implementing activities, and your strategy plays catch up.)
To a certain extent, generating traffic of qualified prospects and then converting those prospects into loyal customers, sales and profits, is what a Marketing Strategy is all about.
However, the whole system works a lot more efficiently if you put extra consideration into your up-front marketing strategy development and decision-making stage.
Traffic vs Targeted Prospects in your Marketing Strategy
Imagine for a minute, that you own a fashion boutique that is run by a small staff of sales consultants. Your boutique is selling high-end, quality designer jeans to an up-market clientele. (We are talking Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci expensive.)
For the sake of argument, let’s say that you have already defined your primary and secondary target market. This target market consists of females, who can afford $1,200 jeans. So you spend your marketing budget appealing to this target market.
Your marketing dollars have generated 500 people to come through your boutique in a single day. At this point, you might be pretty happy with yourself, but real happiness only occurs if you make a sale. Without generating sales, you have essentially just paid for your high-end boutique to be trampled on by “tyre kickers”, leaving you with a messy shop and more than likely in the red with your marketing budget.
So here is the first of many key objectives of marketing strategy, which is to attract targeted prospects into your business.
Quality Traffic = Targeted Prospects
The outcome of your marketing strategy might be to generate 20 targeted prospects per sales consultant into your showroom with whom your sales consultants spend an average of 30 minutes gently assisting half of them into the perfect pair of quadruple-stitched, thigh-hugging designer label jeans at over 1k a pop!
The same principles apply to your website, where you want traffic that consists of target prospects, not just ‘hits’ or ‘visits’. Your marketing dollars are only working for you if they are being spent on attracting your target customers.
Planning Effective Sales Conversion Systems in Your Marketing Strategy
Sales by Daniel X. O’Neil
Let me take you back to that high-end boutique selling jeans at $1,200 a pair. Only this time, you are faced with plenty of target customers.
Imagine the sheer frustration you would feel seeing all of these customers, primed and ready to buy, walk in and walk out of your boutique without making a single purchase.
At this point, you would begin to realise that some part of your system is letting you down dramatically. I suspect that you need to increase the effectiveness of your sales conversion strategy.
Having an effective system for sales conversion in place helps to ensure that you optimise the investment you have made in generating traffic (targeted customer traffic) to your business in the first place.
Whether it is a showroom, a website, brochure or outward bound external sales presentations, your business needs an effective sales conversion system.
What Tools are Involved in Marketing Strategy?
Your sales conversion systems may include:
- Powerfully written copy on your website generating email enquiries or phone calls
- Compelling email letters or newsletters encouraging customers to pick up the telephone
- Skilful telephone call management techniques converting queries into in-person appointments
- Discerning selling skills in a face to face setting that convert qualified prospects into loyal customers
- Exceptional follow up skills and methods assisting to enhance your sales conversion rates
Marketing Strategy in a Nutshell
So if we nutshell things we could say that Strategic Marketing is about first developing a marketing strategy and then taking a disciplined approach to strategic implementation.
This means implementing the same items in the plan in roughly the same order that they were laid out in the plan.
Two Big Goals to Kick in Marketing Strategy
- Generating increased traffic of targeted customers
- Ensuring an effective sales conversion systems to convert target customers into loyal customers
How does Marketing Strategy Help Kick Goals?
Well now, this is one of my favourite subjects.
Strategic Marketing helps us achieve those critical goals (i.e. Traffic and Conversion) by serving as a structure to help you:
- Take a planned and disciplined approach to the marketing and growth of your business rather than simply jumping in and launching a brand and spending money
- Analyse and select the most profitable target market customer groups to ensure you do not waste money reaching low-profit customer groups
- Define the most appropriate brand positioning for your business to ensure that your brand is perceived in the most positive way possible when targeted customers are reached
- Help uncover opportunities for new referral sources and product/service innovations
- Serve as a process for creating the most compelling and powerful communication messages and selecting the most cost-effective and high-impact promotions tools to reach your target customers
- Provide a framework and system to assist in a disciplined implementation of planned activities and the monitoring and controlling of your marketing activities to maximise success, sales and profits
Back to the Baker Marketing “Marketing Strategy Guide”
The structure of our “Marketing Strategy Guide” topics is intended to step you through the most important planning and decision-making areas for your business.
This was day one of the ten topic guide and my objective was to get you thinking about the overall marketing of your business and perhaps for you to start making some notes of any good ideas, innovations or inspirations that you may encounter.
Next time we get stuck into what I consider to be the single most important marketing decision that you make for your business – the selection of your Primary and Secondary Target Markets.
In the meantime, think about what we have highlighted today and evaluate if this is the path that you have taken in planning your marketing strategy. If you feel that you haven’t been overly strategic about your marketing, or you feel a connection to this blog, but you are unsure of where to start, get in contact with one of our senior marketing consultants at Baker Marketing and ask about a strategic marketing consultation for your business.