To build an effective marketing strategy, a business needs to first build a viable outline of its goals and objectives. Although almost any company nowadays actively engages in various initiatives, many marketers fail to build successful digital marketing campaigns. The most important thing to achieve something is to have a ready-to-go, thoroughly polished plan.
Creating an effective marketing strategy is a laborious task. It involves multiple stages and research. However, every effort is worth the time. A complete marketing strategy gives a holistic view of what needs to be done. Also, it helps align the efforts of team members, presenting each employee with a clear view of what their key objectives are.
These efforts will also help you acquire valuable insights during the ideation process. These include USPs (unique selling points), competitive analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and content ideas.
How Does An Effective Marketing Strategy Look Like?
On a daily basis, we have a countless number of tasks, overlapping with one another. When we add the constantly evolving market and customers’ consent, it’s just impossible to aim all your marketing efforts in one direction, follow the same style, and create a holistic omnichannel brand reputation online.
Often, the success of a complete marketing strategy is hard to estimate. That’s true because marketers act much more as a support mechanism for the business. Yet, a successful deal with a client is the result of both the salesperson, pitching the offer, and the marketer, planting the initial emotion towards the brand and attracting users’ attention.
The contribution of the sales team is easily measurable, being the price of the closed deal. However, the marketer’s achievements are much more complex to determine, as it’s tricky to estimate what percentage of successful deals could be attributed to them.
An effective marketing strategy is a thorough game plan that shows how the company will reach and convert potential clients and achieve greater results.Also, its ultimate goal is to support the overall business efforts in line with the KPIs and objectives.
What You Need Before You Start
So, how to create a digital marketing strategy? First, make sure you have access to a significant amount of information up front to build a thorough plan. An effective marketing strategy will give you a birds-eye-view of all goals and initiatives of the business.
First of all, to attract and convert leads you should know who your target audience is. Get to know their demographics, location, what channels they use, what drives them to act, their preferences and pain points.
In other words – you need to make a psychographic profile of your ideal customer. You have to use the data you have about current clients, listen to conversations in social media and forum threads. In addition,conduct interviews with current and potential customers to get additional insights to start building an effective marketing strategy.
Then you have to group the collected information into buyer personas, that will help you get significant insights into all client-related goals in your marketing strategy.
Another useful data you’ll need to know is where on the market you currently are and what competitors are doing. Competitor research will help you kick start an effective marketing strategy for growth. Such information will be useful to come up with ideas on how to increase your market share and reach a larger audience.
A SWOT analysis is an honest and informative presentation of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Its main purpose is to help you identify problem areas in your business performance that you need to address and opportunities you can leverage.
Use the data you gathered during the competitor research to compare your company against others in the same industry. This way, you can then come up with competitive advantages, unique selling points, and market opportunities for your product or service.
For example, let’s say you’re selling consumer goods and among your strengths is your service. However, your weaknesses are the lack of customer driven marketing strategy and the inability of users to purchase your product online.
Digitalizing your currently outstanding service with direct sales channel (website eCommerce, Amazon, eBay, etc.) is an amazing opportunity to increase your market segment. Also, you will manage to reduce the threat of losing clients due to the inability to offer a convenient service for the digital era.
Another vital element of an effective marketing strategy is the strategy canvas. It is a line graph that displays the company’s performance in key areas and overlays it with industry or competitors benchmarks. As with the SWOT analysis, the easiest way to do it is to use the information you gather via your competitor research. Take the current market position of competitors and industry leaders. Then, turn it into a score against which you could rank your company for each key area.
The main purpose of the strategy canvas is to present your company’s current position in an easy-to-grasp infographic way. It helps align team efforts and point out weak links within the division. This way, you will know what you need to improve and how quickly you should address each flaw.
Using Balanced Scorecards
A balanced scorecard is the core of successful digital marketing campaigns. It’s a block diagram displaying key goals, their relations, and progress made on them to provide managers with powerful monitoring capabilities.
This holistic view of all initiatives, goals and their connections also grants your marketing team an additional layer of flexibility. That’s because when you change a certain element of the strategy you can view what goals and initiatives the changed element affects and in what way.
What are the Key Elements of a Balanced Scorecard?
One of the main characteristics of a balanced scorecard is its multi-level approach – breaking the marketing strategy into layers you could easily view and understand, seeing the relations between them.
Useful exemplary levels that will help you understand the internal process better and see their external impact is to break the scorecard into 4 perspectives:
The finance perspective consists of goals relating to the financial aspect of your marketing efforts, usually presented as the highest layer as it’s the financial expression of all other goals’ results. Examples: “Control Marketing Costs” or “Increase Revenue Stream.”
The customer perspective includes goals relating to the customers’ viewpoint. Examples: “Raise Brand Awareness,” “Generate More Leads,” “Educate Target Market” or “Clear Value Proposition.”
The process perspective involves goals connected to the internal processes that are happening behind-the-scenes from a customer viewpoint. Their results directly affect the goals at the customer level. Examples: “Automate internal processes,” “Introduce a Reporting Framework,” or “Facilitate product development/service design ideas.”
The employee perspective consists of goals linked to the employees and the corporate culture within the company. These goals are the basis of the marketing strategy and support all others. Examples: “Adopt a Proactive Mindset,” “Think Critically,” or “Optimize Marketing Toolkit.”
Scorecards present goals at different levels within the organization to align efforts and ensure all team members understand what’s needed of them. This way the marketing strategy is presenting the goals of all stakeholders – employees, managers, partners, and investors.
Balanced scorecards are incredibly useful because they serve as a simple infographic presentation of your whole strategy, breaking complex relations into easy-to-gasp goals, layers, and initiatives.
Although if done correctly the marketing strategy can be an extremely powerful tool that drives your company’s or department’s success, it’s a cumbersome initiative that requires a ton of research, both initially and during the creation. Furthermore, an effective marketing strategy without a knowledge-centric approach, using all aspects of the strategy to gain insights and polish your creative efforts, is as good as missing.
So, roll your sleeves up, open an Excel sheet and a browser, and start surfing the web to collect the data that will help you slash through the competition and become the audience favorite. Start gathering your data and look for the upcoming second part of this article, where we’ll explain in detail how to create and polish each part of the marketing strategy.