10 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy

If you’re browsing articles about creating a marketing strategy, you’re serious about building awareness of your business – and doing in a way that’s most impactful. Can you believe that some marketers and business owners jump right to it without a strategy in place?

The importance of market insights for brand strategy

By the end of this post, it will become clear to you that skipping this step and getting to the “real” work is a big mistake. Because this is the work. Creating a marketing strategy is, in fact, key to business success.

Key Components of an Effective Marketing Strategy

Just as it sounds, a marketing strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve success. But there is a long distance between intention and outcome, which is why creating a plan isn’t enough. To accomplish its purpose, the strategy must be carefully developed and effectively deployed. There are steps to follow and there are pillars which hold it all together so it doesn’t fall apart. These are the key components of an effective marketing strategy:

Targets

Your marketing efforts should be aimed at a particular group of people. This is the target audience for your message. You can have more than one target e.g. Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z separately or all together. What matters is that you have a well-defined target. This will help you design the messaging in a way that appeals to them.

Targeting can also go beyond generations to specify the locality of your audience, their occupations, or social status. And you can target people who meet certain criteria within your own customer base. For example, people who prefer some of your products over others. This process of targeting of people based on whichever criteria used in your database is that act of segmentation.

And whatever you do, whichever audience you pursue, having a target in mind when creating a marketing strategy is a must.

Techniques

Let us take techniques, tactics, and methods all to mean the same thing; and that is, the marketing activities undertaken to reach the target audience. An activity many think of – and isn’t realistic – would be like posting a photo that goes viral. Instances of virality can sometimes be chalked up to chance, but they are often the culmination of many months of strategic work. A social media audit is a crucial element to guide activities here.

social-media-audit-template

There are various marketing processes that you must have in your strategy for your business to succeed in today’s environment. Online and offline advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and event marketing, are among the most effective ones

The processes you incorporate in your strategy can vary depending on factors such as your target’s behavior and your marketing budget. But you must have at least some of the processes for the strategy to work.

Tools

Tools refer to the technical equipment that you need to accomplish your goals. This is a key component of your strategy because the techniques are dependent on the tools. The better your toolkit, the more efficiently you can deploy a technique.

There are many categories of tools and different alternatives within those categories. Based on their functions, you need tools for researching your target, monitoring the market, creating promotional messages and hosting information. You certainly also need communication tools.

There is a clear distinction between tools and techniques but the former are for the sake of the latter. Meaning, the tools you pick should be based on the processes you have in your strategy. For instance, you create social media profiles (tool) because you intend to integrate social media monitoring (process) – and you should be interested in both.

social media monitoring dashboard

Metrics

Metrics are criteria for measuring success. Saying that you have an effective marketing strategy implies that you also have parameters to measure its success; because otherwise how would you judge it to be effective? These parameters then must be incorporated in the strategy before it is deployed, in anticipation of the results of your marketing efforts.

There are many standard metrics used in marketing. These will vary between businesses and may even be different from one campaign to the next. For instance, in your first organized marketing campaign, your measure of success may be in the amount of awareness you generate.

summary-metrics-8-scaled

Further on, awareness may not be enough and you want engagement. Still further, you may want to judge your marketing strategy by the amount of revenue attributable to it.

You can find out which metrics are necessary for your campaign at this point on Step 8 when we discuss KPIs. What are those? Read on.

How to Create a Unique Marketing Strategy for Your Brand

A marketing strategy isn’t a shawl, it’s a suit. It must be tailored to your own business, if you are to achieve the results that you want. Let us take you through the step-by-step process of creating a marketing strategy that is customized to your unique brand.

1. Understand your brand position

When creating a marketing strategy, you want to lead with knowledge of where you are as a brand relative to your market. You probably have a pretty good guess of this but to be effective, why not conduct a SWOT analysis.

For the strengths, consider what makes your brand unique AND is of value to your customers. Your product or service’s unique selling point (USP) is an important strength to inform your marketing strategy. Other features may not be unique, but they can still be strengths.

Your weaknesses are the factors that reduce your brand’s appeal. If your business is new to the market, this may be a weakness to account for. Weaknesses to account for include all those that can’t be fixed right away. For other weaknesses that are fixable, eliminate them as soon as possible, preferably before deploying your strategy.

Opportunities include facts, situations, and circumstances that can be exploited to yield marketing success. When assessing opportunities, try to be as specific as you can. We mean, things that only you or a few people can make use of. For instance, the internet is a great opportunity for marketing in the 21st century, but in your SWOT analysis this doesn’t get many points because it is accessible to virtually anyone on the market. On the other hand, being able to offer your services over the internet or perform deliveries when your competitors can’t – or if they don’t seem to notice it is a great opportunity – that is something to highlight.

Your threats are the potential hindrances to your marketing strategy that come from outside your business. The reason for making note of them is so that you can devise ways to mitigate them.

With NetBase Quid, you can uncover a wide range of information to feed your SWOT analysis including the size of your market, consumer conversations around your target market, and the state of competition. And you can quickly create a crosstab comparison ranking your company against top competitors based on the criteria surfaced:

crosstab-dashboard-image

2. Define your marketing goals

As the purpose of marketing is to promote business, your marketing goals should be based on broader business goals. For instance, if your business is to prevent the spread of monkeypox, your marketing goal may be to raise awareness for the disease. If you want to generate an X amount of revenue this year, your marketing goals will correspond to what leads to accomplishing that business goal.

Remember, your marketing goals must be SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. A strategy based on SMART goals is effective in two senses: You see a path and an end in sight, and you are motivated because you know they are achievable (it’s right there in the A).

You may ask, “How am I, so new to marketing, to know that my goals aren’t too ambitious or ambitionless?” In Step 10, we talk about industry benchmarking. This is where you seek to know how your industry typically performs in the kind of endeavor you are engaged in.

3. Understand your target audience

Earlier on in the guide we mentioned that you must define your target audience for your marketing strategy to work. This step is not about finding your target audience, as you should have done that already. Rather, it is about getting to know them.

Okay, so you want to target millennials with a product that you know they will love. But can they afford it? Do you know why they will absolutely love your product? Are there any specific attributes of your commodity that align with the zeitgeist around your target demographic? These are just sample questions but it’s how you should proceed when defining your target.

Using the buyer persona that we know you already have for your business, you can dig deep into research on your target on the NetBase Quid platform. By pooling thousands of online conversations from across the social web and beyond, you can gain better insight into them to make sure that your marketing messages appeal to your audience.

a360-1

4. Create a budget

Implementing your marketing strategy is going to require a certain amount of expenditure. Create a budget that respects the expertise of your analysts, freeing them from manual processes and allowing them to focus on what they do best – extracting insight to inform data-driven business decisions. Anything less is compromising on the effectiveness of the strategy.

Expenses to take into account beyond tools to budget for include advertising costs, sponsorships, content creation, and SEO expertise. Getting promotion in the press is important as well. NetBase Quid can help you score news coverage by finding relevant stories and journalists within your market – or you can use the insight to drive work with a media relations agency.

5. Set up the marketing team

You may not have a marketing department yet. That’s okay. But to implement your plan, you will need a couple more hands. When setting up your team, you want to define roles clearly so there is no overlap and redundancy. Not only could this cause confusion and friction, this would lead to unnecessary costs.

At the very least, you need someone to oversee the day-to-day progress of the campaigns. This could be you provided you’re not already wearing another hat. If you incorporate social media marketing into your strategy, make sure to have an accounts manager to oversee your profiles across all platforms – because although the job is straightforward, it is time-consuming. And there’s definitely an art to social sharing as well. You also need content creators for the various formats you intend to use in your campaign. You can hire these on a freelance basis to minimize costs.

6. Outline the marketing techniques

This is one of the pillars of an effective marketing strategy. Outlining the techniques you are going to use is part of charting out the path to success. You can look at your techniques and immediately know whether your marketing goals are attainable.

Some techniques to consider include social media marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, influencer marketing, content marketing, and event marketing.

7. Update your toolkit

Next, examine your set of tools in your martech stack to make sure that whatever your strategy requires is adequately supplied. Tools include a well-optimized website, social media accounts, email service provider (ESP), customer relationship management (CRM) software, and social media management tools

NetBase Quid is one of the most important tools to have in your marketing toolkit. As a foundational tool, it not only helps you design your marketing strategy, appearing in nearly all the 10 steps, but also it plays a bigger role in the implementation phase through ongoing monitoring and discovery. This is so much easier to understand through a demo, so be sure to reach out!

8. Define the key performance indicators (KPIs)

Remember the metrics we talked about earlier? Meet key performance indicators (KPIs). Now, your head will spin trying to grasp the difference between metrics and KPIs. But that is not important. All you need to know is that both are measures of success and they are quantifiable.

However, you should be careful to track what really matters to your brand at this particular stage. Some of your KPIs may be social media engagement, website visits, content reach, and revenue growth. Or, they can be super specific based on your industry – as we see with a crosstab analysis tracking KPIs against competitors for airlines below:

airline-crosstab-KPIs

NetBase Quid allows you to track your campaign progress by constantly monitoring defined KPIs across various marketing channels.

9. Establish a timeline

Your strategy, like the marketing goals, should be time-bound. Establish a timeline that your team will follow for the implementation of the strategy.

This allows you to plan for successive stages and ensure the campaign remains on track.

10. Perform industry benchmarking

Industry benchmarking means comparing industry averages with your own success or goals. It helps you orient your strategy to the probabilities. This keeps you grounded in your ambitions, but it can also give you wings once you understand the state of your market and have the ability to plan for it.

With NetBase Quid, you can easily perform benchmarking for your industry to know what to expect based on historical data. You can use this information to refine your marketing strategy in terms of the goals you have set, your target, your brand health and position, potential expenses and going rates for various services, as well as the measures of success i.e. KPIs/metrics.

Access to market, consumer, and competitor intelligence through advanced AI technology is a definite game changer here, as is the ability to integrate with a variety of other third-party marketing tools. The danger of running a fragmented system that bogs down your business with gaps and delays looms large – so watch out for that!

To learn more about NetBase Quid, reach out for a demo today.

The importance of market insights for brand strategy

Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Media coverage for historical & real-time monitoring

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources