What is Strategic Marketing?
Words can be confusing. Take these: Goals, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics.
- The goal each week is to win the game.
- The objective of each game is to score more points than your opponent.
- Great teams devise a particular strategy each week to exploit their opponent.
- During the game, various (offensive and defensive) tactics are used (run, pass, blitz, etc.) to achieve the objective.
The goal for the season, of course, is to win the Super Bowl. If you win that game you are the champions. In marketing terms, you dominate!
When talking about marketing, though, some of these terms convey meaning that is often more complex and difficult to understand. Let’s start by looking at Strategy and Tactics.
Strategy and tactics are used to achieve marketing outcomes. They are often discussed as if they are interchangeable, but when it comes to marketing, they rarely are. Here’s why.
Strategy is the “What”
A marketing strategy is put in place to achieve your marketing objectives. Strategy is high-level planning. It’s the overarching theme of what your marketing is trying to accomplish. In other words, you have a product or service that will benefit users. What is your plan to explain that value to prospects? How do you educate them about the benefits of what you have to offer? You begin with a marketing strategy!
Tactics are the “How”
Tactics are determined by strategy. Tactics are specific actions taken to carry out the strategy. Tactics are what’s done – it’s how strategy is accomplished. A strategy helps you identify systems and procedures (tactics) you can use to deliver products and services of value to your customers. That’s how you accomplish your goals.
Too often, strategic planning is cast aside in favor of the latest marketing tactics (read: social media). This is a huge mistake. Tactics should always follow strategy. That’s because your strategy explains why you are doing what you do and what you anticipate to get out of it. Your strategy is the roadmap you refer to when you need to recalibrate or make decisions.
A marketing strategy should include these elements:
- What you want to achieve from your marketing. This could include more leads, more subscribers, more sales or an increase in website traffic. These are your objectives.
- A starting point. You need to take into consideration where you currently are.
- A means for measuring your effectiveness, a way to identify your success.
- Specific, quantifiable SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
- Stating which problems you solve for customers.
- An understanding — that you can articulate – about what makes your offering different from competitors. It should include something about you.
- A definition of your target audience – who they are and who they are NOT.
- A plan with which to communicate the benefits of what you have to offer.
- An understanding of your product and its place in the industry you serve.
- Competitive intelligence
- A process for constant improvement. You should be able to refine your strategy as your business grows and changes.
- A timeframe for accomplishing this (while always measuring back to your goals and objectives).
A good marketing strategy includes budgeting time and resources to achieve your goals. Are you getting the results you want from your marketing? Sometimes an outside perspective helps. If your marketing strategy could use a tune up, or a set of fresh eyes, contact me anytime.
Next week, we’ll discuss a content strategy focused on your ideal customer.
We’d love to know what’s working for you. Share your marketing successes and frustrations in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments!
At Crest, we help companies:
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists