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Effective Marketing Strategy, Plans & Tactics to Grow your Business

Effective Marketing Strategy, Plans & Tactics to Grow your Business

The difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan comes down to the purpose and application.

Effective marketing strategy is determined by your business strategy – where you want to go, what market you’ll serve, how you’ll go to market with your products, etc. A marketing plan is goal-driven events and tactics to help you achieve that vision.

Marketing means something different to everybody, as does a marketing strategy.

To one business, “marketing” might mean more blogging, to another, a particular campaign designed to provide leads or even a new logo and brand for their 20-year-old company.

One definition

“The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” – American Marketing Association

But I like this one better

Marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. … In other words, marketing has less to do with getting customers to pay for your product as it does developing a demand for that product and fulfilling the customer’s needs.” BusinessDictionary.com

While definitions are great, it doesn’t really help entrepreneurs, business owners and marketers determine the “why” and the “what” behind their marketing efforts.

And because of this, we are constantly getting a request for 2 things:

“Do I need a marketing plan?” or “Do I need a marketing strategy?” Which one do you need? The answer is you need both!

Well, it’s kind of a trick question. You need a marketing strategy and then a plan to bring that strategy to life. If you need some help getting that plan together, just send me a message and I can give you some tips.

So what’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a plan?

A Strategy is an explanation of the goals you need to achieve with your efforts.

A Plan is how you are going to achieve those goals.

Effective Marketing Strategy, Plans & Tactics to Grow your Business

An Effective Marketing Strategy is:

  • The “why” behind your company.
  • The “what” that defines what you deliver, how you deliver it and the message/position you will use to define your product or service with your intended audience.

It is the “way” you will achieve the goals set forth by the company.

An Effective Marketing Plan is:

  • How you are going to achieve your goals.
  • The large campaigns, the individual events, or the marketing tactics live here.

The marketing plan is the matrix of ideas, systems, and events.

It is the application of your strategy to create a roadmap that will get you from point A to point B.

However, if someone wants to jump into the “how” or the plan, without first defining the “why” and the “what”, they can end up wasting valuable time and resources, or completely missing the mark with a wonderful plan that is neither realistic nor effective.

Marketing strategy is the brainstorming — the approach.

The thinking. The ideas. The angles. The way.

Marketing planning is “the doing”.

The executing. The vision brought to life.

Let’s look at some examples:

Lucy’s Insurance Agency

  • Business Goals: Grow personal life insurance clients by 30%
  • Marketing Strategy: Focus on growing market segments within specific verticals such as new parents.
  • Plan: Sponsor new parent packages at the local hospital. Partner with local auto dealers for SUV and minivan purchases. FaceBook advertising based on life events.

Robert’s Bakery

  • Business Goals: Secure at least $30,000 in new business in the city
  • Marketing Strategy: Build relationships with the top 25 influencers in business circles
  • Plan: Join a networking group, send targeted emails to influencers once a quarter with the latest updates, and host a VIP night with special incentives to share the cupcakes with other event organisers.

Bow Wow Pet Park

  • Business Goals: Grow revenue by 35% this year.
  • Marketing Strategy: Tap into ancillary audience networks of current clients.
  • Plan: Create a pet owner rewards program, and market through direct mail, text, social media, and email.

Keep in mind that when you strategise the direction for your marketing, there are a number of other factors to consider first. If you fail to look at the whole picture, you may end up unintentionally copying a competitor’s strategy, or worse, missing the mark with your whole campaign.

Work on outlining:

  • Goals
  • Focus
  • Brand personality/brand voice
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • Your market position (as it stands today)
  • What you’d like your future market position to be
  • Competitor analysis
  • Unique selling proposition/core differentiators
  • Analysis of your current customers
  • Analysis of the Marketing P’s – product, place, promotion, price, people process (do any of these need to be changed, improved, adjusted, etc?)

Once you have all of this information gathered, then you can begin the process of identifying the STRATEGY you want to use to build the MARKETING PLAN that will lead to the achievement of your goals.

 

What Are Marketing Tactics?

Marketing tactics are the tactical actions that direct the promotion of a product or service to effect specific marketing goals.

For example, a case study is a tactic. The content you create to perform that tactic may include blog posts, white papers, and videos.

Here is a strategic actions list of plan that you can use to direct your content creation efforts.

The purpose of this list is to help you choose the right options you need to execute and influence so you can make your goal a reality.

Paid:
Buying brand or content placement in a publication, website, search engine, social network, etc.

Common content types:

  • Magazine ad
  • Billboard or signage
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google AdWords

Pay Per Click (PPC):
A paid marketing tactic that displays digital advertising in media where you pay only when someone clicks on your content.

Retargeting:
Re-targeting Display Ads – The majority of your website traffic won’t convert on the first visit. Retargeting enables businesses to attract visitors back in a cost-effective way.

Sponsorship: 

Sponsorship is a type of paid marketing tactic in which you provide money in exchange for your brand representation in an event, etc.

Common content types:

  • Event
  • Podcast
  • Webinar

Advertorial + Native Advertising

Typically a type of paid marketing tactic in which you buy placement of content that looks like the typical kind of piece that appears in a publication or other medium.

Common content types:

  • Magazine ad
  • Advertorial
  • Sponsored blog post
  • Sponsored conference speech

Endorsement + Influencer

When someone of fame publically provides positive review of your brand, product, or service.

Common content types:

  • Ad
  • Email
  • Web page

Testimonial
A form of endorsement in which a customer provides a positive review of your brand, product, or service, but need not have fame.

Case Study
A positive customer story which typically details the problem they were facing, how your product or service solved the problem, and the results your solution produced for the customer.

Common content types:

  • White paper
  • Web page
  • Video
  • Signup page
  • Social media
Advocacy

An earned marketing tactic in which a customer or fan shares positive sentiment for your brand, product, or service with others in your target audience.

Common content types:

  • Social media message
  • Blog post
  • Meetup

Referral
A cross between earned and paid in which you incentivise your customers or fans to share the positive sentiment for your brand, product, or service with others in your target audience.

Common content types:

  • Social media message
  • Blog post
  • Website badge

Affiliate

A cross between earned and paid similar to endorsement in which you incentivise an influencer to share the positive sentiment for your brand, product, or service with your target audience.

Common content types:

  • Blog post
  • Webinar
  • Email

Crowdsource

A method of gathering ideas from your customers + target audience to create new content that attracts more prospects like your best fans.

Common content types:

  • Blog post
  • Podcast
  • Webinar
Engagement

The strategic connection to customers + target audience through content types that foster and build relationships.

Common content types:

  • Social media message
  • Blog post comment
  • Survey
Event

A planned occasion in which you either physically or digitally meet your customers or target audience at a specific time.

Common content types:

  • Conference
  • Webinar
  • Meetup
Live Streaming

An event marketing tactic in which you record and share your meeting in real-time as it unfolds.

Common content types:

  • Conference
  • Facebook Live
  • Podcast
Personalisation

Including the actual name of the person you’re communicating with in the content you’re sharing.

Common content types:

  • Email subject line
  • Website
  • Popup
Marketing Automation

Strategically (and automatically) sending content to customers + target audience based on their activity and interests.

Common content types:

  • Email
  • Popup
  • Ad
Co-Branding + Partnership

When your brand collaborates with another business to create content that attracts a mutually beneficial target audience.

Common content types:

  • Webinar
  • Podcast
  • Ad
Content Curation

When you gather content from sources you don’t own (and mainly content you haven’t created) to share with your customers + target audience.

Common content types:

  • Content hub
  • Social media message
  • Blog post
Content Syndication

When you publish content first on your owned channel, then provide rights for other publications to republish your content.

Common content types:

  • Article
  • Video
  • E-book
Earned

When another brand, influencer, publication, etc. mentions or covers your brand, product, or service in content they create and publish.

Common content types:

  • Article
  • Social media message
  • Podcast
Gamification

Applying game playing techniques into content to engage your customers + target audience.

Common content types:

  • App
  • Quiz
  • Ad
Tool

Interactive content that helps your customers or target audience solve a problem.

Common content types:

  • Analyser/optimizer
  • Calculator
  • Tester

Research
Can be curated or original, presenting findings or answers to specific questions your customers or target audience often ask.

Common content types:

  • Survey
  • Report
  • Blog post

Repurpose
When you take existing content and turn it into a new piece to maximize the work you’ve done with minimal effort.

Common content types:

  • Blog posts into e-book
  • Webinar into video
  • Webinar or Video into Podcasts
  • Social media messages into blog post

Republish
When you publish the same piece of content in the same medium, often after optimizing it to increase its results.

Common content types:

  • Social media message
  • Blog post
  • Course

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Developing content and enhancing your web properties to help those searching for specific information to naturally find your content.

Common content types:

  • Web page
  • Blog post
  • Guide

Contest
An engagement marketing tactic in which you give your customers or target audience the chance to win something in exchange for their participation.

Common content types:

  • Poll
  • Social media message
  • Landing page

Media Outreach
An earned marketing tactic in which you strategically provide information to a media outlet to encourage someone to create content that positively covers of your brand, product, or service.

Common content types:

  • News release
  • Pitch packet/kit
  • Email

Guesting
When you provide content, information, or appearances to other sources to reach your target audience.

Common content types:

  • Blog post
  • Webinar
  • Podcast

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Strategic enhancements to increase the number of people who take a desired action.

Common content types:

  • Ad
  • Landing page
  • Home page

Blogging
A content hub that distributes primarily written content but also often includes audio + visual + video.

Common content types:

  • Blog post
  • Infographic
  • Video

Social Media
Online communities where users share information often via micro-messaging, images, and links.

Common content types:

  • Forum
  • Wiki
  • Q&A

Email
An electronic letter you send to your customers’ or target audience’s inboxes with the intent of influencing a specific action.

Common content types:

  • Newsletter
  • Blog post email
  • Behaviour-driven email

Marketing A.I.
Behaviour-driven recommendation and recognition technology that delivers specific content to individuals.

Common content types:

  • Product recommendation
  • Content recommendation
  • Display ad

Guerrilla

Unconventional actions + content that aim to attract the most attention possible.

Common content types:

  • Dirty sidewalks cleaned to show only your logo
  • Public bus wrap
  • Beer coaster postcard

I have listed a lot of ideas, and it is important that you choose the marketing strategies that are most likely to influence your goal.

About The Author

Leonie Hunt

Leonie knows that in the marketing world it is not a "one size fits all". She helps small to medium businesses get more customers and ultimately make more money by implementing simple, effective marketing strategies that are tailored to each client’s requirements. She works with solopreneurs, sole proprietors, small business owners, local businesses to help them get online and get it happening – the right way for their business!

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