Have you ever wondered, “why would a business want to develop a marketing strategy?” A marketing plan is essential, but it’s nothing without a marketing strategy.
Search Google, and you can find thousands of quotes about the importance of planning. But, what is a plan without a strategy?
Typically, a plan is a list of steps taken to accomplish a goal. A plan tackles questions like how, when, where, who, and what? However, a strategy is more significant than a plan. Strategy tackles the question of why? It has a large scope and looks at the result, as well as the many paths to the desired outcome.
In today’s fast-paced market, where there are multiple marketing channels, ever-changing consumer priorities, and a heck of a lot of noise, you must establish a marketing strategy with a clear purpose and goal.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
Let’s start with what a marketing strategy is not. A strategy isn’t a budget, it’s not a list of to-do items, and it’s not a calendar.
“Strategy is not planning — it is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry to create sustainable advantage relative to competition and deliver superior financial returns,” explains Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management. “Strategy tells you what initiatives actually make sense and are likely to produce the result you actually want.”
A strategy is focused on long-term developments versus routine tasks. It’s your blueprint or a roadmap that defines goals, identifies how to maximize your strengths, and how you’ll meet your present objectives. Your strategy also sets clear boundaries that streamline decision-making.
On the other hand, a plan is a detailed outline of the steps and tasks needed to execute your marketing strategy. Implementing (and acting on) a marketing strategy will positively affect your business and help you reach your goals faster, including these benefits.
Save Time and Money (and Reduce Heartbreak)
There is an old saying; “Throw mud at the wall and see what sticks,” which means we’re just going to try a bunch of things and hope we find some morsel of success. That’s a recipe for wasted resources.
Strategy is about making choices—what are our initiatives, who is our target audience, what are our strengths and weaknesses, and what are our real competitive advantages?
These decisions are critical to ensure that effort is put toward the most promising opportunities that will provide the greatest return.
Without a clear overarching marketing strategy, we string together mostly reactive tactics that rarely help us reach our goal. We often operate from the rear-view mirror, looking at what happened last year to plan this year.
However, you’ll always be reactive without a clear picture of where you want to go. A marketing strategy puts you in the driver’s seat and in better control of outcomes.
A Better Plan
A strategy is a big-picture map; the plan is the step-by-step directions to get where you want to go. If you have the right map, the path from A to B (and C, D, and maybe even E) is a whole lot clearer.
A true marketing strategy enables you to identify the key steps and milestones to move from where your business is now to where you want it to be. This is invaluable for informing your planning and daily sales and marketing activities.
More Engaged Employees
While a marketing strategy most directly impacts sales and marketing employees, it has a ripple effect on everyone in the organization. At the core, your brand is your message to the world. It’s a representation of your company and everyone that works there. In today’s environment, marketing can’t operate in a silo—the marketing strategy needs to reflect the organization’s greater mission, vision, and values.
If employees understand the big picture and their place in it, they feel a sense of belonging and that their work is part of a bigger vision. They align their actions to the plan, put more effort into their work, and have a greater sense of accomplishment when marketing goals are hit. Your entire team will be proud to say, “that’s my company!”.
Developing a marketing strategy should always come before a plan. Even if you’re actively marketing your products or services, it’s worth taking a step back to create a strategy. However, don’t try to make a strategy fit your current plans. Plans can change and adapt if your strategic marketing vision is in place.
It’s Easy to See Why a Business Would Want to Develop a Marketing Strategy
Creating a marketing strategy is hard, and implementing it can be even more difficult. Working with the right team and having an outside perspective can help. RED66 has helped a variety of businesses reach their marketing goals through effective strategy development and implementation. And, as a full-service marketing agency, we do the heavy lifting to ensure that the day-to-day tasks get done.
Let’s talk about your vision and how to create a marketing strategy that makes your goals a reality. Contact us today!