In the old days, marketing strategy could be as simple as display advertising on the business building or sending out newsboys to shout out the catchy headlines.
But times have changed.
Now, marketing combines so many types, activities, and tools, that business owners need marketing consultancy to determine what marketing initiatives are really worth investment. Or how to combine them into a coherent whole.
Let us walk you through ten elements of a well-rounded marketing strategy to help you make sense of the current marketing landscape. While you can rank some strategies over others, having all of them in your marketing checklist can help you gain tremendous growth rates and a sustainable competitive advantage.
Marketing Strategy Definition
Marketing strategy stands for an overall game plan that helps the business reach its target audience. A quality marketing strategy:
- is long-term
- is based on thorough market research
- details brand positioning and value proposition
- analyses the company’s spending capabilities
- aligns different promotional tactics with overall business goals
While a marketing strategy and a marketing plan are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a marked difference between the two. Marketing strategy tells what approach marketing should take to achieve business goals. The marketing plan contains steps to strategy execution: specific marketing initiatives and campaigns, timelines, budget considerations, and measurement tactics.
Years of experience in marketing consulting made the Rioks team determine the 10 most important elements that a well-rounded marketing strategy should include. These are:
- Brand positioning
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- PR and reputation management
- Influencer marketing
- Referral and loyalty programs
- Mobile app marketing
Follow along or skip to the strategy that interests you most.
Brand positioning is the process of affecting consumers’ perceptions of your brand. The goal is to make them start associating your brand with a definite set of characteristics that set you apart from your competitors.
Brand positioning and marketing and closely interconnected. Market positioning determines the choice of marketing communication channels and messages, web design, product packaging, naming, and CTAs. Likewise, a logo, website UX, marketing messages and visuals – all create this sticky association in the mind of customers.
Thus, whether you hire a marketing consulting company or draw a strategy on your own, brand positioning is the first thing to consider. It will take the following steps:
- Defining the target audience. A definite target audience will determine the necessary characteristics of your product as well as the brand communication strategy. Law firm branding agencies will definitely speak a language that would drastically differ from the one beer branding agencies apply in the marketing messages. You should learn to adjust your style and tone too.
- Competitor analysis. Do the SWOT analysis or the market and your immediate competitors. Look into the marketing strategies of successful companies that target the same audience, no matter the product.
- Identifying USP. Identify the unique selling proposition that will let you stand out from the competitors. Plan how you will communicate your USP to the customers.
- Creative development. Generate ideas about the images and short statements that would communicate your brand identity best. Hire a team of experts to implement brand positioning in your logo, web design, website copy, etc.
Brainstorming of brand positioning may sometimes trigger rebranding initiatives. But don’t be afraid of those. Although change may be difficult to manage, the calm waters of the blue ocean are well worth it.
Search Engine Optimization
Google processes 67,000 searches every second to help people find particular goods, services, or solutions. Each query is an opportunity to claim your business and earn a new customer. Since 95% of all clicks go to the first search engine result page (SERP), dominating one is so critical. And this is where SEO comes into play.
Search engine optimization makes your company visible in search engines and drives free organic traffic to your website. It is an umbrella term for all a variety of SEO techniques that make your website rank better for the keywords relevant to your business including:
- Keywords planning
- Optimization of website structure for SEO (creation of new and merging of the competing landing pages, setting the right hierarchy of pages)
- Increasing website loading speed
- Optimization for mobile and voice search
- Improvements to the UX
- On-page optimization (adding more relevant content, improving meta descriptions and title tags, optimizing headlines, adding appropriate alt descriptions to images, interlinking internal pages)
- Off-page optimization (getting high-quality backlinks and getting rid of spammy ones to increase the authority of the site, listing the business in relevant directories)
- Using analytics to improve the ranking of the existing pages and blog posts
One fact you should understand about SEO is that it’s not a one-time marketing campaign; it is a continuous endeavor that pays off in a longer term. And still, SEO brings a great ROI and minimizes future ad expenses, which makes it a proven marketing strategy for anyone to adopt.
Another strategic marketing approach is content marketing – creating and distributing content that provides value to your customers and demonstrates your expertise. Quality content can skyrocket your SERP rankings. But content marketing strategy is not only about bringing relevant leads to your website. It is also about building relationships with your leads and customers.
Blogging might be the first thing that springs to your mind in relation to producing content as part of your marketing strategy. However, there are many other types of content that promote brand awareness and facilitate lead generation including:
- Case studies
- Social media posts
To get the most out of your content marketing efforts, it is important to think quality over quantity. Second, take time to promote your content: content is a king, distribution is a queen, they say. Last but not least, develop a well-thought marketing automation strategy around your content.
The latter means that you should not let your readers go if they are not ready to buy right away. Invite them to subscribe and use retargeting campaigns to increase conversion. Here is a beginner’s guide to retargeting advertising that will show you how potent the approach is.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is often a combination of content marketing and paid advertising connected by the single medium – social media platforms. It is a great tool for engaging your audience, promoting brand awareness, generating sales or driving traffic to the website.
However, each social media site has a distinct peculiarity of its own and does not work equally well for all types of companies or marketing goals. For example:
- LinkedIn has proven itself as a leading platform for B2B marketing
- Facebook has the greatest number of monthly active users and the most elaborate advertising tool that allows tracking visits to your website and interaction with your page and (re)targeting custom audiences
- YouTube helps to tell your brand story, educate customers on the best uses of your product, or just to host corporate video content for its better loading speed
- Instagram is the platform for visual storytelling that may work great to connect to people on the emotional level
- Quora can effectively prove your expertise in the subject matter and help to distribute your content to the engaged audience
Knowing the marketing tips and hacks for each of the platforms, you can make social media a vital element of your marketing strategy.
Paid Media Advertising
Paid advertising often requires a large marketing budget. Still, the development of a well-rounded marketing strategy, basing campaigns on quality marketing research, and learning from the best marketing campaigns, make the investment well worth it.
Paid media advertising has many forms and each is a science of its own:
- Paid search marketing (PPC) and Google Ads
- Social media advertising
- Display advertising
- TV and radio commercials
- Print ads
Automation, in-depth analytics and precise targeting options make digital advertising show outstanding results. However, it is important not to jump into a definite digital advertising channel because of its popularity. Or just because everyone else is doing so. You should create an advertising strategy depending on the preferences of your target audience and the stage of the customer journey.
For example, paid search marketing is an excellent choice for local marketing and generating traffic to your website. Retargeting campaigns launched using Facebook or Google Ads would help to engage leads on the stage of consideration.
There has been lots of buzz about the effectiveness of email marketing, as well as questions if it is dead or not. We, in Rioks, have seen many executives refuse from email marketing as an element of a marketing strategy because of their own frustration with nasty ever-ceasing marketing emails cluttering their mailboxes.
But committing all sorts of email marketing sins is not an example to mimic here. With the average ROI of $43 on every dollar spent on email marketing, the strategy is really worth attention.
Here is why email is present the marketing strategies of all top companies:
- Low cost. Email marketing is a truly low cost yet effective customer acquisition tool. In fact, 40 times more effective than social media according to the McKinsey study.
- Automation. In many cases, you no longer need support or sales representatives to follow up with the leads – smart email automation can do the job. Setting up a well-through email automation sequence, you can enjoy the enhanced business results for years.
- Personalization. Modern email automation tools allow great segmentation opportunities so that you can deliver messages based on users’ interests or prior actions. This contributes to better personalization and higher sales rates.
- Communication. Email marketing is not only about marketing, but it is also a great tool for engaging and retaining customers loyal to your brand.
PR and Reputation Management
Public relations (PR) has a great impact on the bottom line of the company. And no, bad PR is not good PR anymore. The increasing popularity of online reputation management (ORM) – dealing with negative online mentions of the company and making sure positive ones outperform in SERP – proves this very well.
Modern customers want to buy from the brands they like and support. This makes PR and reputation management an indispensable part of a marketing strategy, especially during product launch and pre-launch marketing.
Public relations aims at gaining free exposure in the media and creating a favorable association with your brand. It entails:
- writing press releases
- writing guest posts or getting featured in third-party publications
- arranging interviews and speeches by company leaders
- organization of marketing events
- dealing with bad publicity
Reputation management starts with careful media monitoring and may presuppose making takedown requests and acting as a spokesperson on an issue or a conflict. Constant monitoring and social listening also help to spot areas for product and service improvement. This way you can proactively avoid public criticism.
Influencer marketing is very close to PR and paid advertising but definitely deserves a place of its own in the modern-day marketing strategy. In fact, it is often called the next big thing in marketing. The very fact that Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew 1500% in the last three years proves it is.
Influencers are strong voices in your niche that have a large number of followers from among your target audience. Influencer marketing is hiring influencers to recommend your product or grow awareness of your brand. And it works. Statistics say 49% of people rely on influencer’s recommendation and 80% of marketing experts point out the effectiveness of influencer marketing. More than that, they note that traffic and leads that come from this source have better quality.
While locating influencers sounds like an easy job, it is quite risky to engage in influencer marketing without using professional marketing consultancy or a dedicated software as fake accounts and ballooned numbers of followers are abundant.
If you add this strategy to your marketing checklist, be sure to be super selective and consider these four questions before even giving it a try:
- Does this influencer reflect our brand identity?
- Has the influencer ever made a faux pas that damaged the reputation of the brands they recommended?
- Is the influencer’s audience really relevant to our niche?
- Does the influencer commit to sharing in-depth analytics on marketing campaigns?
Referral and Loyalty Programs
One of the common marketing strategy mistakes is to focus on attracting new customers forgetting to leverage the ones you already have. Referral and loyalty programs are a good way to increase repeat purchases and make your clients your active promoters.
With referral programs, you encourage the customers to spread the word and bring their friends to your business. A trusted referral is a holy grail of advertising. According to Nielsen’s Trust In Advertising study, 84% of customers consider referrals from someone they know the most trustworthy source of information about the product.
In loyalty programs, you reward customers for staying loyal to your business and buying from you rather than your competitors. It can be executed through loyalty cards giving access to additional discounts or collection of points that can further be converted into bonuses or gifts.
Loyalty programs don’t just increase the company’s revenues but also fight the perception of indifference, which is the core reason why people leave.
Making referral and loyalty programs part of your marketing strategy, follow these tips:
- Keep it simple. Make your programs easy to understand and to use, don’t include too many conditions and small font messages.
- Use personalization. Personalize your offers and gifts, making customers even more loyal to your brand.
- Make customers aware of the programs. Advertise the programs you launch and frequently remind the customers of programs in place.
Mobile App Marketing
Mobile app marketing is a new yet very promising marketing strategy. Yes, you’ve heard it right. While thousands of companies think about how to market the apps they have created, the most progressive ones use brand apps for advertising.
Smartphones have become integral parts of our shopping experiences, whether it is an in-app purchase or in-shop research. 82% of Internet users have been shopping using their mobile devices and 35% use only their mobile devices to make online purchases. It’s time for brands to tap into this trend.
Here are the four ways to ace marketing with the help of mobile apps:
- In-app purchases: Conversion rates from mobile apps are three times higher than from e-commerce mobile sites. Mobile apps promote purchases as they provide better mobile-first navigation and allow buying in one click.
- Omnichannel experience: Modern customers are seeking and appreciating omnichannel buying and support. Mobile apps are critical to an omnichannel strategy.
- Customer activation: Push notifications and in-app messages are excellent means to activate users that substitute paid advertising.
- Brand loyalty: Mobile apps promote brand loyalty and increase brand awareness. They are also a great means of handling loyalty programs.
There are so many diverse advertising channels and approaches to marketing that it is difficult to predict their effectiveness for your brand or draw them all under an umbrella of one robust marketing strategy. We hope the article helped you make sense of the most effective types of marketing that you can leverage. If you want to know more about the best way to combine various elements into a well-rounded marketing strategy, assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, or outsource marketing to Rioks, feel free to send an enquiry.
What strategies are you using to promote your business? Which strategy brings the best results? Is there another strategy that deserves a place in our list of Top 10? Please share in the comments – we’d love to know!