What is Marketing Strategy?

Hello there my name is Martin Henley, this is the WTF series and this is episode 5 where I’m answering the important question what is marketing strategy?

In addressing the question what is marketing strategy there are seven things I’ll be sharing with you – we’re going to give you a definition of marketing strategy; we’re going to remind you of our definition of marketing; we’re going to look at a definition of strategy; before we think about the difference between strategy and plan; how people feel about marketing strategy; why you need a marketing strategy and how you do marketing strategy.

Let’s go Ricky

Did we find a definition of Marketing Strategy?

In addressing the question – what is marketing strategy? we’re going to need a definition and we found one at investopedia.com. They tell us that “a marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers.” What’s interesting is that we didn’t find many definitions of marketing strategy and that we found this one at Investopedia. The reason I think this marketing definition wins is because it also gives us a little nice definition of what marketing is “reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers. Essentially what Investopedia are telling us is that a marketing strategy is a plan for doing marketing.

How does Effective Marketing define Marketing Strategy?

So Investopedia have given us a definition of marketing strategy, which includes their definition of marketing so I just want to quickly remind you of our definition of marketing. We define marketing in episode 2 what is marketing? In that episode we define marketing as “the investment you make in time, energy and money in finding winning and keeping customers profitably. So I’m happy to agree with Investopedia that a marketing strategy is a business’s overall plan to find win and keep customers profitably.

If we really want to understand marketing strategy we need to understand the word strategy and we’re going to need the definition and we found one at businessdictionary.com. businessdictionary.com tell us is that “a strategy is the art of combining and employing the means of war, in planning and directing military movement or operations.” So it feels to me like a strategy is perhaps a little bit more serious than a plan. What I really like about this definition is it gets to the root of the issue, it’s about combining and employing the means of war, it’s about the resources that you have and how you invest those resources to get the return that you’re looking for. 

Understanding strategy in a militaristic sense is really interesting and useful and this is why people reach Sun Tzu  and his art of war if they are starting a business. Strategy, it seems to me, is about investing your resources and it’s about being deadly serious about how you are going to win the battle of being successful in your business.

What is the difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?

So now you might be wondering what actually is the difference between a strategy and a plan and we were wondering also so we went to the Cambridge dictionary and we found a definition of plan. The Cambridge dictionary tell us is that a plan is a set of decisions about how to do something in the future – so it’s not terribly different from employing the means of war to win a battle. A plan is about making decisions about the way that your future is going to be so for me it doesn’t matter really matter what you call it, you can call this a marketing strategy you can call it a marketing plan. I don’t particularly care what you want to call it as long as you understand that this is your opportunity to identify the resources you have and how you are going to invest those resources best to be successful in your business.

How do people feel about Marketing Strategy?

Point number four is the question how do people feel about marketing strategy? 

What I’ve learned in the 15 years that I’ve been running my business, The Effective Marketing Company, is that people don’t particularly like marketing strategy. The reason they don’t like it is because they have very limited resources if they are a small business. Small businesses would much rather be getting on and getting things done than rather sitting down and planning; what they might see as navel-gazing. I can demonstrate that this is true because you might remember in episode 2 when we were defining what marketing is, we did a search on Google to see how many people were looking for the precise phrase what is marketing? And we found that phrase was getting that six thousand six hundred searches per month. What interests me is from those six thousand six hundred searches not one person then goes on to ask Google the question what is marketing strategy?

So we know people don’t like marketing strategy and we know people aren’t looking for marketing strategy which might explain why we found it so hard to find a definition; because there’s no market for this question. What I can tell you is that most small businesses don’t do marketing strategy because they don’t see it as a reasonable investment of their resources; their time, their energy and their money. They would rather just get on and get things done.

Why do you need a Marketing Strategy?

Because you are sharp people you’re thinking why do I need a marketing strategy? You have just told us that most businesses don’t bother investing in marketing strategy why would I need one?

There are three very good reasons for needing a marketing strategy. The first is that this is about how you invest your resources, you only have so much time, so much money, so much energy to make sure that your business is successful. This might be your only chance to have a successful business, if that were the case I’d be thinking very carefully about how I invest those resources and I’d have a strategy for how I invest those resources.

When I think about businesses and I think about strategy I think about sailing. I don’t know too much about sailing but what I do know about sailing is that if you are going somewhere and you are sailing you are never going in a straight line to your destination. When you are sailing you are dependent on the winds, and you are dependent on the tides, and you are dependent on the weather. What happens when you are sailing is you go so far in a certain direction to make use of the wind, then you might cut across the wind and go to another point and then you’ll change direction constantly on your way to the destination. That is exactly what it’s like running a small business because you know you want to be successful but every day something will happen that will distract you from the success that you deserve. These constant interruptions will blow you of course and if you don’t know exactly where you are and exactly where you’re going the chances of you reaching your destination become more and more limited.

If you need more reasons why you need a marketing strategy you need to think about what Brian Tracy said. Brian Tracy said that “every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution” and then he points out that that is a 1,000% return on investment. So I’ll ask you the question; what do you do in your life, in your business that gives you a 1,000 percent return on investment because I can tell you doing your accounts won’t give you a thousand percent return, hiring people won’t give you a thousand percent return, even producing goods is not likely to give you a thousand percent return. So if it’s true what Brian Tracy is telling us that thinking carefully about your resources, thinking about where you are, thinking about where you’re going is giving you a thousand percent on a return on investment then I would say that marketing strategy is a really sound thing to be doing in your business right now.

How to do Marketing Strategy?

That brings us to point number seven and I’m hoping that if you’re hearing me, you’re getting excited at this point and you’re thinking “you know what, I do need to think about what I have to invest in my business; I do want a thousand percent return on my marketing investment; but I don’t know how to do marketing strategy.” Well the good news for you is that marketing strategy is full of marketing jargon so we will be going through marketing strategy in future videos. 

What I want to tell you right now is the most important thing about your marketing strategy is that you need to write it down, you need to have a marketing strategy document that you can refer to so you know constantly where you are, where you’re going and you can make sure that you are on track. 

The other thing you need to remember is that a marketing strategy, like most things in marketing is a cycle so you do it once, you review it, you do it again and it constantly evolves. Because you constantly need to know where you are and where you are going this is a cycle. 

Once you understand that you need to know that there are six components to an effective marketing strategy. The first is what they call a situational analysis – you need to know before you start exactly where you are. Once you know exactly where you are then you can start thinking about where you want to be, which is where we think about objective setting. Then you need to think about how you position your business so that people who are looking for the products and services that you supply know where to find you. In fact they find you before they find your competitors. Once that’s happening you can get proactive and start thinking how do I go out and find more customers. Then you need your sales team to convert those consumers, those prospects, into customers. Finally you need to measure everything that you do so you know that you are being effective. These are the steps that we’re going to be going through in the next few videos.

Did we adequately define Marketing Strategy?

If you are still with us well done. You now have had a definition of what marketing strategy is; you’ve had a reminder of our definition of marketing; you know what strategy is; you know the difference between strategy and plan – there isn’t much; you know how people feel about marketing strategy; you know why you need a marketing strategy and you’re getting a sense already of how to do marketing strategy.

What should you do if you found this marketing strategy definition interesting or useful?

If you have found this marketing strategy definition interesting or useful please take a second to like, share, subscribe maybe comment, maybe there’s a piece of marketing jargon that you would like to see defined find in this fashion.

If you found it really useful then why not  head across the Effective Marketing Company blog and subscribe there and you will get this marketing jargon, bullshit busting goodness in your inbox every single day.

We are done here Ricky.

Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation.

Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.



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