What's needed to build a strong marketing strategy?
Creating a winning marketing strategy that takes advantage of the key marketing opportunities available today is challenging because of the pace of change and continuous hype.
Smart Insights offers marketing leaders and business owners practical, strategic advice designed to help them achieve their goals. Our free blog format has a weakness in that although the posts are engaging, it's difficult to see the big picture of how they relate. That's why we offer annual and monthly memberships, for marketers looking to get ahead.
To help get you on track with planning, managing and optimizing your marketing strategy, we've picked out our top recommendations, so you can start driving results through marketing.
Our 10 marketing strategy success factors
Dan Bosomworth and I went "back to basics" to work through what is needed for marketing strategy success. We've set out this in this manifesto. This is what drives us, what we advise, what we think gives companies a marketing edge. We'd like to know your views - which of our 10 points do you agree most or least with?
1. Digital marketing is marketing
Your marketing can still be successful without digital, after all, you could argue Apple do this. But if you're not Apple and don't have huge brand budgets you're missing opportunities to engage your customers.
Our guess is that your customers and prospective customers are online making decisions about whatever you want to sell to or promote. Often it's the first place they will go.
That's why, now more than ever, investing in an integrated digital marketing strategy is critical for success for your business. Our consultation calls help marketers and managers identify their challenges and opportunities in the digital landscape, using our acclaimed RACE Framework which tracks marketing activities integrated across plan-reach-act-convert-engage.
Structure your marketing plan around a funnel proven to boost performance. Join Smart Insights as a Free Member for instant access to our free digital marketing plan template to hone your skills and drive the results you need.
2. Measurement and optimization are your foundation
Thanks to web analytics and a fantastic range of marketing monitoring tools, it's never been easier to make marketing decisions based on a fact-base. Yet it seems that many don't take full advantage of the insights available. We hope to help. Test, Learn, Refine is our mantra.
Reporting on marketing activities using Google Analytics
Part of the Google Analytics Toolkit
Learn how to use reports to review performance in Google AnalyticsLearn More
3. Joined-up, customer-centered marketing is essential
There are so many tactics and techniques, that it's harder than ever to see the wood for the trees. Worse still, many channels become siloed do that we're marketing around tactics and products rather than customers and integrated campaigns to engage them. We recommend joining up marketing to create high-impact campaigns that have a purpose with the audience front and center and the channels supporting the campaign goals.
Assess audience customer journeys
Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit
Learn three techniques for creating customer journey mapsLearn More
4. Think global, act local
Although we are in the age of the global marketplace, we thankfully retain our cultural differences internationally. Adapting marketing for different cultural norms is often neglected. Remembering that we're all human and that a customer's motivation to consider what you're promoting can also span culture offers huge opportunities to marketers who think about the customer need before the brand sell.
Define audience personas
Part of the Content marketing Toolkit
Learn how to develop a customer persona that can help you to target your marketing more effectivelyLearn More
5. Keep communications human
Understanding customer characteristics, needs and behaviour and then offering relevant value to different groups of customers has always been at the heart of marketing. We love the opportunities digital media give through customer feedback tools to gain insights and then act on them through delivering more relevant communications, products and services - that's why we're called Smart Insights.
Customer service and success
Part of the Social media marketing Toolkit
Learn how to review the quality of customer service delivered by online channels and balance this against the cost to serveLearn More
6. Be agile
To get ahead and stay ahead you need to move faster than the other guys. This means following the trends and the latest stats on how new digital platforms are being adopted by consumers and businesses and adaptive strategies to respond. It also means having the core people, process and tools to manage fast-changing marketing challenges efficiently.
Our data-driven RACE Framework is powered by the latest opportunities to reach high-value customers in the digital landscape. Thousands of marketers around the world are using our popular Framework to plan, manage, and optimize your business. Book your free consultation call to find out how.
7. Inbound marketing trumps outbound marketing
Customers have control, marketing does not work like it used to, the way many of us first experienced it. Customers search, discuss and share what they're looking for and what they think. Companies who tap into this are better able to reach and influence prospects. The inbound effect is where people come to you because they've heard the value you offer not just through interruptive outbound messages which will always have their place.
Define content marketing strategy
Part of the Content marketing Toolkit
Learn how to develop a content marketing strategy using our content analysis and planning toolsLearn More
8. Engagement is the real challenge
So much advice on online marketing focuses on the channels and conversion optimization used to acquire customers. There's relatively little discussion on building relationships with customers. For us, email marketing and CRM are still very relevant even in the age of social media, and practicing Social CRM is an exciting way to get closer to customers while creating the inbound marketing effect through inspiring, useful content that is easy to re-share.
Set up email nurture and retargeting
Part of the Email marketing and marketing automation Toolkit
Review the options for using email marketing to encourage conversions and salesLearn More
9. Markets are conversations
We loved this way back in 1999 when we read it in the The Cluetrain Manifesto. Since then it has become ever more true with the rise in social media. So, "Be Human".
Developing your marketing skills with Smart Insights
Part of the Managing digital marketing teams Toolkit
Learn how to develop an action plan for enhancing your own marketing skillsLearn More
10. You need a marketing strategy
You can market without a strategy, but likely will miss out on your full potential - see our 10 reasons for a digital marketing strategy. Problem is, there are so many exciting digital channels and options to test, that without focus, you're wasting precious resources.
Check out our 18 most important digital marketing techniques to make sure you're not missing any opportunities.
Transform your marketing strategy in 2022
So these are then 10 guidelines we try to practice through our marketing advice. But, although we're big fans of best practice to help provide guidance and structure, following trusted formulas shouldn't be the only approach.
To stand out and differentiate from the crowd it's thinking out-of-the-box is also important. That's why we continue to publish and update marketing resources to support our members. Find out more.