Marketing can be explained as the act of promoting and selling your products. Marketing is anything that a business does to positively increase the buzz and awareness that a consumer audience has about a product or service. Marketing can include a website, promotional video, trade show appearances, or paid advertising. But marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum and marketing efforts aren’t performed without a reason. The reason behind marketing efforts lies in marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy is a determination of the business goals that you want to achieve and the marketing efforts that you need to perform in order to achieve those goals. In short, marketing strategy is “what” you want to do with your business. Your goals and vision shape your marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy differs from a marketing plan, which is the “how” part of marketing. A marketing plan is the act of performing, or implementing, marketing efforts in order to achieve your marketing goals. A marketing plan includes things like optimizing SEO, blogging, and sending out catchy emails.
Marketing plans are flexible and are meant to be reviewed and tweaked. Marketing strategy is, for the most part, static and unchanging. Marketing strategy is based on marketing goals, so, if your marketing goals change, your marketing strategy will change too.
A marketing strategy is made up of several components:
Your business mission is why you opened your business. What purpose are you serving? Your mission is the driving force behind our marketing strategy and our marketing plan.
Our business mission at ThriveHive is to help small businesses grow. What is your mission?
Your long term goals are the business goals that you want to accomplish in the future – at least a year away from now. How you want your business to grow and succeed. Long term goals will shape your marketing strategy as a whole.
Your short term goals are the business goals that you want to accomplish in the next 6 months to a year. Short term goals will shape your marketing strategy in terms of the efforts that need to be set forth.
The message that you want your business to communicate is also part of your marketing strategy. Messaging is the idea that you want to get across to customers – both in terms of your business and your product or service.
You can’t figure out HOW to do something unless you know WHAT you’re doing, right?
In order to market your business, you need to develop a marketing plan. And in order to develop a marketing plan, you must first develop a marketing strategy. Once you have a marketing strategy and know WHAT you want to do, you can figure out HOW you can get things done and actually DO them consistently.
Keeping your business mission and messaging in mind, take a look at your goals. Your marketing strategy will lend itself to developing a marketing plan based on your budget and the resources you have to achieve them.
For example, if you want to have a national, instead of a locally based business, you’re going to need to develop a marketing strategy that utilizes online marketing or other locally based marketing strategies. Your marketing plan will include an SEO optimized website, social media engagement, and email blasts.
If you want to get 10 more customers a month but you have limited resources, you’re going to develop a marketing strategy focused on local marketing that is focused on families or community. Your marketing plan will utilize activities that you can do when you’re marketing without a budget like blogging and participating in community events to spread the word about your business.
Related: Marketing Without a Budget in 2015
Marketing strategy is the overall marketing framework of your business shaped by your marketing goals and how you can achieve those goals. Marketing strategy and marketing plans go hand in hand – figure out what you want to do, develop how you’re going to do it, and get to it!