In this ever-changing economy, developing products and expecting customers to buy them is not enough. You must have a strategy to attract the right audience by creating unique value and using the right communication channels.
Your strategy is the key to creating an effective marketing plan and executing a successful marketing campaign. Before you jump into action, though, it’s important to understand the importance of strategic marketing, its phases, the areas of business it covers, and the different types of marketing strategies.
Strategic marketing is a set of coordinated efforts meant to differentiate your business from your competitors by amplifying the unique value you provide to your customers. Strategic marketing is long-term in nature and serves as a foundation for all marketing decisions.
The process starts by identifying your company’s objectives, followed by your target markets, competitors, and customers. The next step is to determine how you’ll reach these groups through advertising, public relations, sales promotions, direct mail, or other channels. The final piece of strategic marketing involves monitoring progress and adjusting the plan as necessary.
Strategic marketing involves three key phases.
The first and most critical step of your strategic marketing process is formulating a solid marketing plan that acts as a roadmap for a successful strategy. In this phase, you should develop a thorough understanding of your vision, mission, and values.
You should also define where you are, where you want to go, and how you’ll get there. Then, create short-term objectives that work as stepping stones toward your long-term goals and mission.
To create a successful plan, you must conduct a SWOT analysis and define your marketing mix.
SWOT analysis is a technique you can use to identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. During this stage, you should conduct market research, do competitor analysis, and create buyer personas. It helps to better understand your respective marketplace, what your customers want, and the gaps that exist between you and your competitors that can be used as an advantage.
Read more on TechRepublic: SWOT analysis: Why you should perform one, especially during times of uncertainty
Once you’ve conducted the SWOT analysis, the next step is to define your marketing mix. This is composed of four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. It involves determining what product or service you are selling, what your pricing strategy is, where you will sell goods or services, and what channels you’ll use to introduce and promote your business.
The implementation phase is the stage where you act on your marketing efforts. It includes collecting resources to develop and market your product, creating a marketing hierarchy, preparing campaign timelines, and designating key stakeholders to execute and evaluate your strategy.
After implementation, it’s important to review how successful your marketing strategy is by comparing actual results with desired outcomes and making necessary adjustments where required. As market trends continually evolve, you need to continuously improve your marketing strategy. This often involves returning to the planning phase and continuing the strategic marketing cycle.
Different businesses adopt different marketing strategies based on their target markets, product offerings, and messages they want to communicate to their customers across different channels.
You may find that some combination of content marketing, SEM, social media marketing, and conversational marketing among others works best for your business’s unique marketing needs.
Content marketing is about creating and sharing valuable content to attract prospects and convert them into potential customers. Consider the ways you can educate people about your product or service offerings and create brand visibility through content. This may be informative articles, blogs, webinars, infographics, podcasts, videos, e-books, white papers, or another type of long-form content.
Related: 3 Best Content Marketing Strategies for Startups
Paid advertising includes traditional methods such as TV commercials or print media as well as search engine marketing (SEM). With SEM, you bid on ad space with the search engine or ad platform and pay every time someone clicks an ad. The primary goal of these tactics is to grow website traffic and drive more sales.
Related: Best Google and Facebook Ad Alternatives for SMBs
Most of your prospects are already using at least one social media platform daily, and by engaging with them on these platforms and with a proper strategy, you can convert them into valuable customers. It’s important to be thoughtful about which social media platforms you use to reach your audience as well as the messaging you use to engage with them.
Related: 10 Social Media Best Practices for Small Businesses
Conversational marketing is about engaging with prospects in real-time. By leveraging channels like SMS, live chat, or social media direct messages, you can address your customers’ inquiries much faster than you can with email.
You may also consider leveraging an AI-enabled chatbot to address simple questions quickly and effectively while allowing your staff to prioritize more complex questions. Approaching your customers with the right information at the right time and with personalized messaging is an effective way to build customer loyalty and grow your business.
Related: Are Chatbots Right for Your Business?
Strategic marketing plays a pivotal role in any organization’s success. It gives you an edge over your competitors with a unique value proposition and targets the right audience to gain maximum return on investment (ROI).
A marketing strategy informs your marketing plan and guides your business by setting a roadmap to achieve your goals. Further, a strategic marketing mindset enables you to identify various market trends and opportunities that arise with changing consumer demands.
A strong marketing strategy also ensures that all of your team members are on the same page and working in a similar direction to achieve organizational objectives. With optimal utilization of resources, you can generate maximum profits with minimum resources.
Read next: How to Create a Strategic Marketing Plan
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