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The marketing strategies that a eBusiness owner follows are similar to those used by brick-and-mortar businesses. The key is to develop the right strategy to gain the attention of potential customers. Some popular Internet marketing strategies include search engine optimization, paid advertising (e.g., pay-per-click), banner marketing, and affiliate programs.
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements. A thorough marketing strategy covers “the four Ps” of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion.
- A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
- Marketing strategies should revolve around a company’s value proposition.
- The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.
Understanding Marketing Strategies
A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.https://de8794f01c8144464c8af28f36e6a062.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart (WMT) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.1
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans
The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan, which is a document that details the specific types of marketing activities a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.
Marketing strategies should ideally have longer lifespans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.
Benefits of a Marketing Strategy
The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization, or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.
Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.
Why Does My Company Need a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing plan helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. A 2019 study found that firms with a documented marketing strategy were 313% more likely to report success in their marketing campaigns.2
What Does a Marketing Strategy Look Like?
A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and PR campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the “four P’s”. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, Internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines
What Do the 4 Ps Mean in a Marketing Strategy?
The 4 P’s” are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The 4 P’s can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It can also be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.
Is a Marketing Strategy the Same As a Marketing Plan?
The terms marketing plan and marketing strategy are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.
Marketing strategies vs. marketing plans vs. marketing tactics
Although “marketing strategies” might seem relatively straightforward, there can often be some confusion when establishing whether you’re creating a marketing strategy, marketing plan, or marketing tactic. While all three of these marketing initiatives work together, they cover slightly different aspects and should not be used interchangeably.
A marketing plan is an overview of all your marketing initiatives. This will include all the campaigns you intend to run over a set period of time, your goals and ambitions for the projects as a whole, and any research you’ve compiled to support these aims.
Marketing strategies at first glance appear very similar to the overarching marketing plan. However, the strategies will take a closer look at just a few select parts of the marketing plan.
For example, if your marketing plan is to promote a new product or service, you might have a strategy dedicated to how you’re going to use email marketing to support these broader goals. Every marketing plan will most likely produce several marketing strategies as part of the broader plan.
While the marketing plan and strategies are committed to explaining what you’re going to do, marketing tactics go deeper again and establish how you’re going to do it.
Using the above example, the marketing plan is to build awareness for a new product. The marketing strategy is how you’ll utilize email marketing as part of this. The marketing tactics will detail the specific actions you’ll take as part of the marketing campaign.
Types of marketing strategies
Now we understand some of the different marketing terms, it’s time to zone in on marketing strategies and how these work as part of your business plan.
There are numerous different types of marketing strategies you can use depending on your business needs. While we’re not going to cover every marketing strategy type today, these are some of the main ones that you’re likely to come across:
1. Social media marketing strategy
Today, social media marketing is a huge part of any business’s marketing plan as it’s a hugely compelling way to drive traffic, build brand awareness, and take advantage of the social selling revelation that’s taking over online marketing.
With these figures, if you’re not utilizing an effective social media marketing strategy, you’re missing out on untold rewards.
2. Email marketing strategy
Anyone who’s ever told you “email is dead” is dead wrong. Capturing your customers’ emails and browsers should be an essential part of your marketing strategy and is an excellent way to continue a conversation with people who have expressed interest in your brand.
There are loads of email marketing tools available to help you in this area. However, you still need an effective email marketing strategy to produce consistent, compelling emails that convert readers into buyers.
3. Inbound marketing strategy
An inbound marketing strategy is all about pulling customers in and driving traffic to your website or products. Rather than using “disruptive” marketing techniques (like TV advertising), inbound marketing is about lead generation using people who have shown interest in your products, services, or brand as a whole.
Email marketing can be a good example of an inbound marketing strategy. If someone has subscribed to your mailing list, chances are they’re at least somewhat interested in what you have to say. This enables you to take a softer approach to your marketing, as these leads are already more likely to become sales.
Another inbound marketing strategy could be blog posts. People will only see blog posts relevant to their search terms and interests, meaning they’ve expressed a need that at least somewhat relates to what you’re selling.
4. Content marketing strategy
A content marketing strategy is likely to overlap with an inbound marketing strategy, but it is more specific. With content marketing strategies, you focus on content creation that will draw people in and build interest.
This is likely to cover blog posts and white papers and can even overlap with your social media marketing.
Effectively, any part of your marketing campaigns that require content will require an effective content marketing strategy.
5. Editorial strategy
Taking an editorial approach is a particularly vital marketing strategy for advertising companies as it highlights the content formats, workflows, and channels you’ll be utilizing to hit your marketing goals.
It’s similar to the sort of marketing strategies you would expect to see in a news or media organization and can be essential for brand publishers or advertisers to keep their marketing efforts and ideas in focus.
6. Marketing communications strategy
For example, is your tone of voice serious or humorous? Are you marketing yourself as an expert in your industry? What is the message you want to get across?
7. Digital marketing strategy
Digital marketing probably doesn’t need much introduction… This marketing strategy will encompass all your online marketing, SEO, social media lead generation, performance marketing, and more…. Effectively, if it’s online, it should be covered by your digital marketing strategy.
8. Internal marketing strategy
Although internal marketing will be less vital for SMBs, it can be a vital part of the marketing efforts for large companies. A good example of an internal marketing strategy would be an internal email that lets employees know they’re eligible to become shareholders or asks existing shareholders to support a new initiative.
Internal marketing can also cover more mundane issues, such as keeping staff up to date on any changes to the company, branding, or internal procedures.
9. Public relations strategy
If you’re in business, you’ll probably know how complicated PR strategies can be. Not only does getting PR right ensure you keep your customers happy, but it’s also vital for protecting your brand image in the eyes of your stakeholders, the media, and even governmental bodies or other influential institutions.
Any large business should have a dedicated PR team in charge of the brand’s public image. In addition to protecting it, good PR can also offer invaluable word-of-mouth advertising.
10. SEO strategy
SEO should form part of all the different marketing strategies. Still, you may find it beneficial to have some of your marketing efforts explicitly dedicated to SEO, as this is likely to be your primary source of lead generation.
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is pretty much what it says on the tin: the art of using keywords and phrases to boost your visibility when users search for relevant terms on the internet. Getting SEO right is arguably the best way to drive traffic to your website and should be front of mind in all your digital marketing and content marketing strategies.
Naturally, SEO goes beyond just keyword optimization and considers a plethora of other aspects to help you rise on those search engine results pages (SERPs). So, it’s a good idea to have at least one marketing team member dedicated to the latest SEO trends so you can rank #1 on Google.
Types Of Marketing Plans And Strategies
1. Market Penetration Strategy
When a firm focuses on selling its current products to existing customers, it is pursuing a market penetration strategy. The marketing activities that will dominate in this type of marketing plan are those that emphasize increasing the loyalty of existing customers so that they are not vulnerable to loss to competitors, attracting competitors’ customers, increasing the frequency of product use, and converting nonusers into users.
Increasing awareness through marketing communications and increasing availability through expanded distribution are common marketing activities in this type of plan. Identifying new use occasions and new uses for a product may increase usage frequency or convert current nonusers into users. For example, the advertising campaign for orange juice that has the tagline “It’s not just for breakfast anymore” was an effort to expand usage. Price promotions might be used to encourage competitors’ customers to try the firm’s product if there is reason to believe that such a trial will result in repeat purchases. Loyalty programs can be very effective in retaining existing customers. This strategy reduces risk by relying on what the firm already knows well—its existing products and existing customers. It is also a strategy where investments in marketing should pay back more quickly because the firm is building on an existing foundation of customer relationships and product knowledge.
2. Market Development Strategy
The efforts to expand sales by selling current products in new markets are referred to as a market development strategy. Such efforts may involve entering new geographic markets, such as international markets. Creating product awareness and developing distribution channels are key marketing activities. Some product modification may be required to better match the needs of the local market. For example, as fast food restaurants have moved into international markets, they have often changed their menus to better match the food preferences of customers in local markets. Expanding into a new market with an existing product carries some risk because the new market is not well known to the firm and the firm and its products are not well known in the market. The return on marketing investments in such a strategy is likely to be longer than for a market penetration strategy because of the time required to build awareness, distribution, and product trial.
3. Product Development Strategy
Creating new products to sell to existing customers, a product development strategy, is a common marketing strategy among firms that can leverage their relationships with existing customers. For example, American Express has been able to leverage its relationships with its credit card customers to also sell travel-related services. Similarly, cable television companies have expanded their offerings into Internet and telephone services. Research and development activities play a dominant role in this strategy. The time required to develop and test new products may be long, but once a product is developed, creating awareness, interest, and availability should be relatively rapid because the firm already has a relationship with customers. A product development strategy is also riskier than a market penetration strategy because the necessary product may not be possible to develop, at least at a cost acceptable to customers, or the product developed does not match the needs of customers.
4. Diversification Strategy
A diversification strategy involves taking new products into new markets. This is really the creation of a completely new business. This is the riskiest of strategies and the strategy likely to require the most patience in waiting for a return on investment.
Marketing strategies can be used to sell products or services through advertising, promotional activities, or public relations. An excellent way to reach your target audience is through social media. Social media allows you to reach people instantly and for free.