When developing marketing plans, most companies go right for the “tactics” without considering an overall strategic approach to achieve their goals. As a reminder, tactics are the practical actions and activities marketers perform every day. They include writing blog posts, sending out tweets, reaching out to the media and refreshing online content. On the other hand, strategy comes from the overarching vision and purpose that will drive the tactics for achieving corporate goals and objectives. Therefore, strategy is a crucial component of success. In order to create an effective marketing strategy, think about the answers to these key questions.
Incorporating Strategy Into the Marketing Plan
1. How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? This question centers around brand development and awareness. To answer this question think about and articulate what your values are, the type of corporate culture that exists and the customers you want to attract. In part, marketing messaging will evolve from the answers to this question.
2. What is your competitive advantage? Carving out a unique selling or value proposition sets you apart and earns a corporate distinction in the marketplace. Additionally, it helps the business-development team develop better sales presentations.
3. Where are your greatest opportunities? Every company needs to continually seek out short- and long-term opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, tunnel vision often sets in and prevents companies from becoming more creative, innovative and proactive in taking advantage of marketplace opportunities that are yours for the taking. Make sure you have cross-departmental teams to assess how to capitalize on your skill sets and product/service offerings. These lead to surprising breakthroughs that can accelerate growth and capture more market share.
4. What are the most effective ways to communicate with your target audiences? There are many marketing channels available, but putting together the right mix for your company requires a clear understanding of who the best prospects and customers are. What do they read? How do they access information? What engages them? How frequently should you reach out? The answers to these questions will help build an integrated marketing approach.
Strategy and Tactics
Simply put, strategy involves the “what” of the marketing plan: what are you trying to accomplish? Tactics address the “how”: how the company is going to accomplish its goals? A carefully developed strategic marketing plan outlines exactly what the organization is trying to achieve from a larger, big-picture perspective. It takes into account the current marketplace, lifecycle, competition and opportunities. A strategic plan also includes input from a variety of departments including finance, sales, R&D and senior management. When strategy and tactics work in tandem, your organization can efficiently and effectively reach its goals.