This guide explains what strategic marketing is and how you can improve your entire marketing capability through strategic marketing.
One of my favourite quotes is the famous quote by Albert Einstein:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
It’s a quote that guides not only how I see marketing but how I approach business and life.
In marketing, it is absolute insanity to go about things, day in day out, doing the same thing yet expecting different outcomes. To get the outcomes you want, you have to try different strategies, tactics and adopt new ways of growing your business.
Strategic marketing is a mindset and an approach that allows you to develop an effective marketing capability that delivers the goals and objectives of your business.
Marketing is essentially a cluster of knowledge and actions that allows you understand your target buyer better and communicate to them the value of your product or service.
50 years ago, marketing was a lot simpler than it is today. And that’s an advantage and a disadvantage. Because of how complex marketing has become today, you have a multitude of strategies to take onboard.
The challenge is, not every marketing strategy is going to be effective or at least, as effective as the one that works best.
Your goal as a marketer or a business owner, is to find the right marketing strategy for your business.
To do that, you need to understand and implement strategic marketing.
What is the strategic marketing process?
The strategic marketing process starts with defining your marketing goals and how they help you achieve your business objectives. Equally important, the strategic marketing process allows you to find and select the right marketing strategy that achieves these goals.
Strategic Marketing Process Steps
Given that strategic marketing directly influences many elements of your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to approach the process carefully. Below we’ll discuss the different phases of a strategic marketing process.
The first and foremost step is planning. Planning involves identifying your goals, objectives and why they are important for your business. Without knowing what your ultimate marketing goals are, your marketing strategy won’t be quite effective.
In the planning phase, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my business goals in the next 3 months, 12 months, and 3 years?
- How much sales do we want to generate?
- How much return on investment do we want to get?
- How much brand awareness do we want to achieve?
- How are we going to measure success?
In the analysis phase, you look at data, metrics, research insights and information that helps you understand your industry, competitors, target buyers and how your business falls into all of that.
There are two types of gathering information: quantitative (numbers and figures) and qualitative (insights and non-numeric information).
For example, quantitative data could be how much money your target buyers are willing to spend on your product. Qualitative data could be how your buyers perceive your brand. To gather insightful data, there are several categories to consider.
- Demand & Interest: How many people are searching or interested in your product
- Buyers Demographics Data: Age, Disposal income, interests, occupations, etc. What problems and challenges do they have? How does your product help them?
- Competitors Performance: How are your competitors performing? What gaps are there in the market. How does your target audience perceive your competition? How loyal are their customers?
- Marketing Cost: How much does it cost to generate sales across various channels? How much do you need to invest to generate the sales you want.
After you’ve gathered enough information and have a clear understanding of your target buyers, industry and where your business stands, the next step is to develop your marketing strategy and plan.
The development phase involves the “what” and the “how” of your marketing plan. You’ll be creating things like your marketing budget, marketing metrics, assets, advertising strategy, measurement tools, content strategy, branding strategy, etc.
In other words, the development stage is about developing your marketing mix. The marketing mix is a term used to refer the 4 main categories of any marketing strategy: product, price, place and promotion.
Product: what you’re selling. You’ll need to fully understand how your product solves your target audience challenges and how you can best communicate its value.
Price: assuming your product has demand, at what price will people be willing to buy it? Is your product a high-end product or a commodity? How does it compare to that of the competition?
Place: How and where will your target buyers find and purchase your product?
Promotion: How will you create enough traffic and interest from your target audience to discover and buy your product? What advertising channels will you focus on?
To learn more about how to create a complete marketing strategy, check out this guide.
And finally, the most fun part, the implementation strategy. This is where you transform all the knowledge and strategies that you gathered in the first 3 steps to an actionable framework to deliver your marketing and business goals. The implementation phase could take 1 month or several months depending on how complex your marketing plan is. In all cases, it’s important to set out a calendar and project timeline to detail how your implementation is going to happen and figure out all the dependencies and resources needed.
Measurement and Adjustment Phase
Last but not least, is the measurement and adjustment phase. There is no such thing as a perfect marketing strategy. There is always room for improvement. After you launch your marketing plan, it is absolutely critical to have a full measurement and reporting framework in place to track everything from brand awareness metrics to sales acquisition. This will help you understand which components of your marketing strategy are working best and which aren’t.