Table of Contents
Without a comprehensive marketing strategy in place, your marketing efforts will just be a bunch of activities trying to copy what others are doing, expecting a large lead traffic.
We spoke about the marketing mix in one of the blogs. It helps in defining how to market to the target audience.
But before we get there, we need to take a few steps back and define an overall marketing strategy. The problem with many businesses is that they confuse marketing tactics with marketing strategy. Let’s understand the difference between a marketing strategy and a tactic.
Marketing Strategy v/s Tactic
Strategy is the broad marketing approach. Who are you targeting, what problem are you solving and how, why is your solution good etc. Your marketing strategy forms the core of all the things you do in marketing.
Tactics are specific actions you take to achieve the goals in your marketing strategy.
Let’s understand this further with an example:
Say you are a Bread manufacturing company. Your strategy will define who you will target, the marketing mix – product, place, price and promotion. It will also define the values your brand will hold and so on.
Your tactics are everything you try to get to the target audience. Now, in tactics, you will experiment with many different marketing methods and see what sticks with the audience.
For, e.g. say you are targeting a health-conscious young urban population in Tier 1 cities with large disposable income. You create a multigrain loaf of bread, neatly packaged, highlighting the health benefits of your bread. Your brand stands for transparency, honesty, and sustainability.
Your tactic could be to place an ad in online grocery apps like Instamart or Big Basket. Now, with experimentation, you will know if this tactic is working for you or not.
Again, in all the experiments you do, your core strategy will drive the tactic. Meaning, in your ads, you will focus less on discounting and more on highlighting the health benefits of your bread. This is because your Ideal Customer is a health-conscious young adult with a large disposable income.
Ok, now that we understand how these two are different, Let’s briefly talk about creating a great marketing strategy in the next section.
Creating a great marketing strategy
While creating a great marketing strategy, I primarily start by thinking about the pain point I am trying to address and for whom.
Step 1: Identify a pressing pain point
To identify this, you can either start with something you are experiencing yourself or identify a segment to serve first and see which of their problems can be solved by you (given your skill sets and network).
Once you come up with a hypothesis on the problem you are trying to solve, next step is to validate it. This is done through market research.
Step 2: Market research
There are some fundamental questions you need to answer while doing market research:
- Research and talk to your target audience to see if the pain point is present with a large enough audience.
- Next, find out if the pain point is pressing enough for the target audience to pay for a solution.
- Research on the current solution to the problem and find what is lacking in those solutions.
If you already have a solution/product that you are trying to market, then the chances are these questions are already answered.
Step 3: Identify your STP (Segment, Target Audience, Positioning)
With the research outputs, you should in a position to identify which segment within your target audience is best suited to approach. Then define a positioning of your brand in such a way that it stands out from the competition.
This exercise is very important to clearly define your positioning in the market.
Step 4: Create a Buyer’s persona
Once you have identified the target audience, next is to create a persona of the target audience. This must be defined as clearly as possible. As every other marketing plan will be derived from how the target audience is going to react.
Research and build a persona that most broadly defines your target audience.
Step 5: Create a Marketing Mix
Define the 4Ps in your strategy – Product, you are selling. Price at which you sell, Place where you will sell the product and Promotions you will use to reach your target audience.
That’s it. This is a simplified version of how you should go about defining your Marketing strategy. There are many more things you could do in getting your marketing strategy right, but these are the essential steps.
Some of the best readings I read recently on Marketing strategy were by Rand Fishkin (Founder and ex-CEO of Moz). These two blogs he wrote on marketing strategy resonated well with me:
- One was on how Marketing Strategy differs from Tactic, and
- The other was on how to create a good marketing strategy.
One thing to remember while reading this is that Rand now runs an Audience research firm called SparkToro. It is an important context to keep in mind while reading them.
If you want to go deeper into the topic of marketing strategy, HubSpot has a bunch of great resources. You can start here.
A video explainer
Hope it helps.
Until next time,