What is Strategic Marketing?
The distinction between marketing and strategic marketing can be likened to the distinction between a carton of eggs and a carefully crafted omelet. At a fundamental level, they both involve eggs, yet the omelet results from a deliberate, structured process aimed at achieving specific outcomes.
In a similar vein, strategic marketing transcends the mere execution of marketing activities and campaigns on a day-to-day basis. It constitutes a long-term, multi-faceted approach to expanding a business and securing a competitive edge.
Strategic marketing encompasses all facets of an organization’s marketing presence. It includes content creation, spanning social media content, marketing emails, blogs, and pillar pages, while also addressing fundamental elements such as branding and the development of buyer personas. Additionally, it integrates logistical aspects like search engine optimization (SEO) and sales-marketing alignment, not to mention advertising, collateral, and various other marketing objectives.
The primary objective of a strategic marketing plan is to unify these diverse marketing efforts under a cohesive umbrella. It is imperative to be able to articulate the purpose behind each aspect of the marketing strategy, how it aligns with the broader strategy, and how it elevates the company above its competitors.
Building a robust marketing strategy requires a solid foundation that includes a clear understanding of the brand, the target audience, and the journey the audience takes to reach a buying decision.
Defining Your Brand
The brand holds immense significance in the perception of customers and forms the basis for promises and personality presented to the public. The concept of “The Golden Circle” is instrumental in conveying this idea, with the “what” representing the products or services offered, the “how” emphasizing differentiation from competitors, and the “why” serving as the pivotal element.
The “why” represents the company’s raison d’être, encapsulating the fundamental reason for its existence, distinct from a mere profit motive. In a saturated marketplace, the “why” must set the organization apart and define its uniqueness.
Once the brand identity is established, consistency becomes pivotal. Consistency in messaging is essential to fostering brand recognition. It takes several points of contact with the brand for a potential customer to form a lasting memory. Consistency in messaging, as demonstrated by Coca-Cola, underscores the importance of maintaining a consistent and harmonious brand message across various touchpoints.
Understanding Your Customer
After establishing the brand’s identity and values, the next step is to analyze the customer base. The creation of buyer personas, which are detailed profiles of the ideal customers, plays a crucial role in this process. Unlike target markets, buyer personas offer a more nuanced understanding of the customer base.
Start by considering broad demographic factors such as age, income level, and location. These characteristics help in focusing the marketing message and budget efficiently. Beyond these factors, delve into the interests, hobbies, media consumption habits, and communication preferences of the ideal customer. Developing a richly detailed persona enables the organization to filter marketing ideas effectively and tailor them to appeal to the right individuals at the right time.
For instance, Gatorade’s buyer persona, a dedicated athlete, informs its advertising strategy, consistently portraying athletes in strenuous situations, resonating with their core audience.
Timing Your Marketing Efforts
The buyer’s journey encompasses the process from a stranger’s first encounter with the brand to becoming a loyal customer. Understanding this journey and aligning the messaging accordingly is crucial.
Awareness Phase: At this stage, the goal is to transform strangers into visitors. High-level content, such as blogs and social media posts, aims to introduce the brand and make it visible to potential customers.
Consideration Phase: The focus shifts to converting visitors into leads. Here, the marketing strategy should address specific problems and demonstrate that the brand provides solutions.
Decision Phase: This phase targets the conversion of leads into customers. The brand can present its strengths and features to demonstrate its superiority over competitors.
In sum, a strategic marketing approach really is like crafting an omelet from eggs, bringing together various elements to create a compelling and unified marketing strategy. It hinges on understanding and defining the brand’s identity, recognizing the target audience through detailed buyer personas, and effectively timing marketing efforts throughout the buyer’s journey. By doing so, strategic marketing enables businesses to achieve their long-term objectives and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.