As we’ve already mentioned in the first part of this article, a marketing strategy could be extremely useful to gain insight, facilitate a thorough approach for all team members, align their creative efforts, provide powerful monitoring capabilities, and guarantee tangible results and flexibility.
It also provides a detailed overview of everything needed to be done and helps align the efforts of all the employees. But to implement an effective marketing strategy you have to gather large amounts of data, analyze them and use this information to plan everything down to the smallest detail.
A marketing strategy should basically focus on key strategic elements (goals, tasks, etc.) and present their relationships and interdependencies. Visualization makes the marketing strategy easy to understand.
However, if not done correctly, your marketing strategy will not bring you the results expected. Moreover, there are so many online guides to creating a marketing strategy, many of which are either too vague, outdated or purely theoretical, making them inapplicable. Thus, we hope to present you with valuable, battle-hardened insight and tips that are the result of years of marketing experience.
Define Your Strategic Goals
One of the most important things you need to do when creating your marketing strategy is to define the results that the company wants to achieve. Such goals might be increasing brand awareness, implementing a cost-effective approach, organizing the work-distribution process, implementing monitoring capabilities, increasing flexibility, introducing a new product, or entering new markets.
How to Formulate Your Goals
Well, as we’ve mentioned in the first article about implementing a reliable and effective marketing strategy, before starting with your strategy, you have to do a competitor research and define your buyer personas. While doing this, you’ll most certainly mark areas you need to improve to achieve greater results.
The goals are not precise tasks that need to be performed such as “Create buyer personas” or “Redesign website.” They’re more thorough and address broader issues, serving as a guide to making precise tasks for each goal. A goal should represent all of the tasks needed to be done in a certain area.
While formulating your company’s or department’s goals, focus both on current, existing problems that need to be addressed immediately and long-term marketing opportunities that require a more thorough approach. This will help shape your marketing strategy efforts both long- and short-term.
Each strategic goal in your strategy is related to another. This way “Optimize service communication in all channels” is directly contributing to “Make the value proposition more attractive for prospects.” It is a good practice to link the goals to one another, symbolizing their relations. This way marketers will be able to know who they are dependent on for desired results and managers will be able to easily monitor processes and required tasks.
Once your goals are defined, it’s advisable to group them into strategic themes. Each theme should represent a broader area of interest. Good exemplary themes are “Product Communication & Development,” “Business Growth,” or “Teamwork and team capabilities.”
This differentiation will help everyone within the team to get a better idea of what’s expected of them and what their work output is contributing to. It’ll also mark certain goals as part of the same theme, enabling a more thorough understanding for the viewer.
Add Strategic Initiatives to Each Goal
The strategic initiatives are time-framed projects and programs outside of everyday operational activities, designed to help the company achieve its marketing and business goals. Examples of such initiatives are “Creating and using a dashboard to monitor progress,” “Creating a Blog Space,” or “Planning and conducting an ICO.”
Each strategic initiative is always linked to a goal. If you come up with an initiative but you can’t link to a goal, you either didn’t formulate your goals adequately or the initiative is not contributing to the results you want to achieve and thus might be unnecessary.
Initiatives give goals an additional depth, presenting an in-detail view of all creative efforts required. Let’s say we have a goal “Raise Brand Awareness” that is part of the “Business Growth” theme. Strategic initiatives connected to it might be to “Create a Blog Space,” “Optimize Newsletters,” “Create Social Media Content Strategy,” or “Participate in niche events.”
The initiatives put the vision into practice. Each of them should have a description explaining how the given initiative will influence the goal it’s linked to. This will increase the understanding of employees and stakeholders regarding the strategy and will prove whether an initiative is contributing to the overall strategy or it’s unnecessary.
Key Performance Indicators
As marketers, you have probably worked with KPIs, yet in the marketing strategy, you’ll have a countless amount of those to track. A KPI or key performance indicator is a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, or initiative. KPIs could be quite simple such as “percentage of employees being HubSpot certified” or much more complex such as “COCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition” that’s equal to the total marketing investment, divided by the number of acquired customers.” KPI Library is an extremely useful platform to help you come up with relevant and useful KPIs.
Here’s an example of the most significant email marketing KPIs:
The performance regarding each strategic initiative should be tracked by at least one KPI. It’s also advisable to set a target you want to achieve as this will allow you to see the progress made towards completing this goal. Linking KPIs to initiatives will help you monitor their performance, indicating potential problems and weak areas.
At the final stage of implementing your marketing strategy, comes the need to distribute specific activities related to a particular initiative to each employee based on their role within the company or the department.
For example, if we have to break the initiative “Create a Blog Space” into tasks, it should look similar to this:
- Create Page Structure & Design
- Design Page & Blog Post Template
- Create Content Strategy for the Blog
- Pick Topics
- Write Posts On the Topics
- Edit Content
- Add CTAs & Pictures
The RACI Matrix is a chart that maps tasks and initiative against 4 roles:
- (R) Responsible – The person responsible for delivering the task and making the decisions regarding it. The “Responsible” role could be assigned to more than 1 person, but it’s a good practice to keep the number of people involved up to the required minimum.
- (A) Accountable – The person is both responsible for the task and its completion. They’re not doing the work but are responsible for making sure it’s finalized. It’s highly recommended to have just one accountable person per initiative.
- (C) Consulted – This person assists the Responsible one by providing information, insights, and guides. For example, if you’re a copywriter writing an article about a complex tech product, it’s advisable to consult the product development team before reading Google and trying to get it all on your own.
- (I) Informed – A person who’s not directly involved in the task, but the outcome can affect them or their work. Thus, they should be kept Informed regarding the progress on the task. Usually, communication in such cases is one way to ease the internal process of knowledge-sharing.
Exactly the 4 roles of the RACI matrix are responsible for its name.
The RACI is extremely useful when distributing tasks as it gives you a clear view of what everyone within the team or department has to do and makes it easy for managerial personnel to organize the internal processes. It helps to communicate the tasks to each person without overloading them with work they can’t handle. Most importantly the RACI is a great way to present each employee with a clear view of what’s expected of them, thus aligning the efforts of team members across the whole marketing department.
In case you don’t find the RACI to be the perfect fit, there’re other similar role-based matrixes that could serve you better such as:
- CARS (Communicate, Approve, Responsible, Support)
- RASCI (Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted, Informed)
- RAS (Responsible, Approve and Support)
- CLAM (Contributes, Leads, Approves, Monitors)
A Marketing Strategy can be an extremely useful tool that drives tangible results and strengthens the individual performance of each employee. It also presents team members with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the goals they contribute to.
Overall, implementing a reliable and effective marketing strategy could greatly increase the results of your marketing department, get you the leads you desire, and drive up your business. Yet, creating an effective marketing strategy is a complex process that includes collecting and analyzing large volumes of data, doing weeks of research, and months of planning. So, roll up your sleeves and start defining your strategic goals!