Marketing strategies are essential for both start-ups and multinational corporations.

Developing and implementing a marketing strategy helps brands to promote their business, target the right audiences, use their resources and generate sales. Although, creating effective marketing strategies takes time, expertise and analytical market research.

What is a Marketing Strategy?

Marketing strategies are long-term and forward-looking plans of action. They outline how a brand will promote and sell their product or service. Marketing strategies are often confused with marketing plans. But it’s essential for brands to understand the difference. Marketing strategies detail a brand’s marketing objectives. Whereas, marketing plans detail how these objectives turn into actions.
Marketing strategies must be included in a brand’s business plan and created before launching a new brand.

This is because it’s impossible to understand the competition, financial goals and how a brand fits into the marketplace without one.

Good marketing strategies are developed after detailed market research. Like a brand’s business plan, marketing strategies must be adaptable. In the digital age, the marketplace is changing all the time. Marketing strategies must be capable of adapting to these changes, recognising trends and recommending potential courses of action to help keep a brand competitive. To do this, marketing strategies must be assessed and adjusted from time to time.

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

As we’ve mentioned above, before creating a marketing strategy it’s essential to have conducted market research. This helps to establish the right target audience and understand the competition. Brands must also establish their product or service’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Only then can a brand begin creating their marketing strategy. Good marketing strategies incorporate the 4 Ps of marketing into their marketing mix:

1. Product

What does the customer expect from the product or service? What features does it need to meet these needs? What is the USP? Is it different from competitor’s products or services? How is it branded?

2. Place

Where will the products or services be available for purchase? If a product or service is available in multiple places, it’s essential to be able to calculate the percentage of sales from each location. How can the right distribution channels be accessed? How will transactions take place and what is the cost of getting the product or service to the customer?

3. Price

What is the value of the product or service to the customer? How does it compare to the competition’s price points? What is the profit margin? What discounts should be offered?

4. Promotion

How will marketing messages reach the target audience? How will the features and benefits of the product or service entice the target audience? Is there an online and offline advertising plan? How do competitors run their promotions? What marketing tactics are the most effective?

When creating a plan, be specific and use detailed steps, infographics and budget projections. Also, ensure the brand guidelines are adhered to and keep the tone consistent across all platforms.

Comprehensive and detailed marketing strategies will also help brands to get loans and attract investors. It’s important for sources of finance to see that brands have thought about their marketing and have set themselves up for success.

The Benefits of Marketing Strategies

A lot of marketing initiatives fall short because their marketing strategies aren’t well thought out. It’s important for brands to not disregard marketing strategies because of the time and financial resources required to create one.

Good strategies define a brand’s vision, business goals, and outlines the best possible opportunities to increase sales. The following are more detailed benefits of good marketing strategies:

Use of Resources

Marketing strategies help brand’s use of their resources. The research that goes into developing marketing strategies details how marketing funds can best be used to get marketing messages to the target audience. It will also determine which messages are the most effective. This helps brands focus their financial and personnel resources to get an optimised ROI.

Budgeting

Professional marketing strategies have starting points, a predetermined duration and budgets for marketing campaigns. Without this, brands would waste their money by placing advertisements at the wrong times on the wrong platforms. Marketing strategies establish budgets for advertising campaigns and create the criteria to test the ROI of each campaign. This helps to identify successful marketing approaches and optimise future campaigns.

Growth

The aim of all successful brands is to grow. But rapid-growth can cause issues for brands who haven’t prepared for it. Marketing strategies can provide a blueprint for growth. They help to identify the areas that are worst affected by growth and create plans to address the customer’s requirements. Marketing strategies can find new markets where a new product or service can be successful.

This can help to guide a brand’s investment in their distribution and sales channels to reach new audiences.