3 questions to answer, when developing marketing strategy
Over a period of time, the marketing function has seen added complexity through the rise of new media, complicated stakeholder landscapes and time-to-market pressure. While a lot of things are different, developing marketing strategy remains the same. It comes down to answering 3 essential questions.
The world is changing fast, but marketing strategy remains the same
Nowadays, the field of marketing is a land of opportunity. New interfaces, AI, MarTec, omnichannel – all made possible with data. While these technologies are developing at fast pace, I often hear people say that marketing has completely changed too.
I acknowledge that our tactics and way of executing marketing communication has changed remarkably with data and the development of new media, but I don’t think that marketing strategy is that much different. Ultimately, we can still break it down to a challenge of understanding the customer reality and developing a strategy to meet those needs – whether it is B2B or B2C.
With all of the new opportunities out there, I also think it is important to keep it simple. And this – conveniently enough – leads me to the three essential questions that you need to answer in order to develop an effective marketing strategy:
1. Who am I targeting?
Not a big surprise, I know, but your target audience is fundamental for your marketing strategy. It can be a broad, public group or a smaller, very specific niche – just make sure to define them and remember them at all times. Keep in mind that you can actually become too targeted. As marketers like Byron Sharp have argued, short-term digital execution has led us to target very specifically, which harms the overall top-of-mind awareness and thereby the growth of the brand. A development that has also seen a massive brand like P&G cut their digital spending.
2. What is my position?
What is your unique positioning that sets you apart from the competition? The positioning is at the heart of everything and it should be distinct in the minds of your customers. Think of it as the personality that must stand out from the crowd. Nike’s tagline “Just Do It” reminds us that everyone is an athlete with a brand personality of sportive spirit, athleticism and comfortable lifestyle.
3. What are my objectives?
Here, I’m referring to the objectives of the marketing communication, which is often lived out in a campaign. Ask yourself, what that particular campaign then needs to achieve, rather than mixing up different KPIs that you are not able to deliver on.
With these essentials in mind, we can dive into a few of the general rules of marketing effectiveness.
Creating marketing effectiveness
Marketing effectiveness is all about creating solutions that generates positive results on either short- or long term. Marketing Directors are often assessed on their ability to drive high rates of ROI, and I would argue that three core areas should be the point of departure for marketing that delivers strong business results:
Diagnosing what defines the current situation in hand through qualitative and quantitative analysis
Using core learning from the situation to develop a clear strategy with objectives and goals
Executing that strategy through the right tactics to become distinctive in the minds of the consumer
In prioritizing these areas, remember that they are equally important. For instance, if your initial analysis of a specific situation is off, it won’t matter how great a strategy you have developed. On the other hand, if you have properly identified what the situation needs and created a strategy to meet those needs, you won’t get far with poor execution.
Finally, becoming effective is also an exercise of focusing your efforts. In the land of opportunity, strategy is also what we decide not to do, and you should always acid test new solutions, technologies or ideas towards the strategy.
I hope you found these tips useful. If you want to read more about strategy as a topic, make sure to check out this post, that talks about defining what strategy really is as well as some best practices for you to work with it in your organization.
Moving into digital – which is no doubt an area of great opportunity – this blog post talks about how to develop a digital strategy and identifying the right initiatives for your organization.
Getting even more practical, this content marketing piece gives you 3 lead-generating strategies to try out on social media.