President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing but planning is everything.” He could have just as easily said, “marketing strategy is nothing but the importance of marketing strategy planning is everything.”
Great marketers know that marketing works when it is done consistently. Of course, the same marketing strategy does not always equal the same outcome or results for one company versus another. Still, the planning benefits of marketing strategy far outweigh not having one at all.
In an earlier post, we answered the question, “what is a marketing strategy?”, and we reviewed the seven elements of a marketing strategy. Now, we will unpack the importance of a marketing strategy and the purpose of a marketing strategy. Then, we’ll answer four more questions to help small business owners understand the importance of marketing strategy.
1. What is the purpose of a marketing strategy?
Your marketing strategy should distinguish your business in the mind of your prospects and customers, and build comfort and confidence in the attributes that motivate their decision to purchase your products or services.
A great marketing strategy will include brand messaging, competitive positioning, and the initiatives that will work together to reach your customers with enough frequency to move them to act.
2. What is a good marketing strategy? Or better yet, what distinguishes a great marketing strategy from a good marketing strategy?
A good marketing strategy starts with your customers’ perceptions. Your customers buy your services or products because they have a current problem they need to solve, a pleasure to fulfill, or a future pain they want to avoid. However, a great marketing strategy goes one step further and dives into your customers’ beliefs about your products and services, your competitors, and the status quo. It also identifies the perceptions you want to create and the beliefs you have to change.
When you’re thinking about the problems you solve, you have to think about them from your customers’ perspective. For example, you probably don’t have the following issues, but at MediaFuel, we help clients who are often dealing with these types of problems.
- They’re afraid they won’t ever see a path to marketing ROI (Return on Investment), and they’re not sure their agency cares about it.
- They’re confused about what’s working with their marketing and don’t know how to measure it.
- They know marketing works, but they are uncomfortable that they are creating the correct perceptions in the minds of their prospects.
- They are frustrated with the quality of the content currently being produced and don’t feel confident that it will improve perceptions.
These are just a few of the comments that we hear from clients who are considering our agency. Your marketing strategy will help you identify the problems you often help your clients solve, but from their perspective. One of the benefits of a marketing strategy is it creates a position your customer can easily understand.
Another element that distinguishes a great marketing strategy from a good marketing strategy is that it is based on the media preferences of your prospective customers. For example, some customers like to watch videos, others like to scan a blog or attend a webinar, and some like to read a thought leadership article or eBook. Understanding your customers’ media preferences will help you communicate the way they want to communicate.
3. What is the importance of marketing strategy in business?
It’s essential to have a marketing strategy in business. There is no shortage of ideas for most business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketing teams to help the company grow.
A marketing strategy will help you identify and select the best few marketing ideas that are likely to achieve the highest results. As we said earlier, the best way to win in marketing is to do it consistently. A marketing strategy creates a reliable roadmap that you can constantly check to ensure that you’re creating the correct perceptions among your customers and positively improving their value perceptions with your products and services.
Plus, when things don’t go according to plan, which will inevitably happen, you’ll be better prepared to calibrate your marketing efforts and ensure that you’re achieving the intended objectives and goals.
You’ll also reduce waste and eliminate the “try this, no, now try that mentality.”
4. What if your CEO says, “the marketing strategy planning process will take too long; we just need to get to tactics?”
Everyone wants to go faster. The problem is that we have to go through time. The best race car drivers, the ones that go the fastest, will tell you that to go faster, you have to slow down. Planning your marketing strategy should take about nine to twelve weeks and include the following elements.
- Identify and inventory the business goals and objectives the marketing strategy will achieve.
- A working session with your executive team to identify and inventory customer perceptions and beliefs.
- A competitive audit to identify the positions your competitors are trying to own in the mind of your customers.
- Qualitative in-depth customer interviews to identify and inventory the perceptions that motivate purchase decisions.
- Data modeling to explicitly identify the perceptions that are the most motivating.
- Search engine keyword research to identify the organic search terms and questions your prospective customers are asking.
- Synthesize the first four steps into a solid messaging strategy.
- Develop an initiative calendar to identify the content, channels, and media you will use to deliver your brand message to your prospects.
- Launch, measure, and calibrate your initiatives to improve continuously.
Far too often, small businesses skip the marketing strategy process and focus on initiatives, and far too often, they end up wasting time and money.
The planning process will help eliminate waste and help you get to your business objectives faster than you expected.
5. What are the advantages of a marketing strategy?
- Reduces waste
- Improves customer perceptions
- Improves conversion rates
- Identifies the best few initiatives that yield the highest return
- Allows you to course-correct more effectively and efficiently
- Provides measurable results
- Remove the guesswork from marketing
- Contributes to consistent, reliable, and measurable growth
- Empowers your creative team members to do their best work
- Enables you to crush your competition
6. What are 10 advantages of marketing?
- Every time your prospects see your brand, it creates compound interest
- People trust the brands they are familiar with
- It generates awareness for your brand
- It generates leads for your business and sales teams
- It helps you own a position in the mind of your customers
- It distinguishes your brand from competitors
- It propels the growth of your organization
- It clearly articulates your culture to prospective employees
- It helps your company stand out
- It generates more revenue than it costs
Isn’t it time you stopped talking about going faster and started planning your marketing strategy so you can finally run at the pace your business needs? Knowing the importance of marketing strategy and taking time to plan is the key to unlocking the growth potential in your business.