9 Essential Elements of a Successful Marketing Strategy
If you had a dollar for every time you have heard the following statement you would be booking your dream vacation, am I right?
There are many intelligent businesspeople out there who are unable to get their marketing right.
Now, there are different reasons this holds true.
In some cases, a business owner or leader is keyed in on other areas of the company, like perhaps research and development, profitability, or operations.
Now a bigger issue, is the nature of marketing is ever-changing. If you majored in business prior to 2010, you most likely weren’t taking courses on how to use the internet to bring in business or get your website to rank on the first page of Google, right?
So, where do people misstep when it comes to digital marketing?
This is a question that can lead to a variety of answers.
From an overall perspective, one of the biggest, and most common, mistakes you can make is not being strategic. We have all been there, where making quick adjustments and not planning for the “long game” has negatively impacted us on a professional level.
If you want a marketing plan that ignites business growth, then you need to create and implement a strategy that incorporates several different important elements.
Key Marketing Strategy Elements
1. Goals. Given that it’s extraordinarily rare for one to just blindly stumble into success, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.
You know what you want to achieve, now what?
It’s a great starting point, but there is more to consider – and that’s why there is an established SMART acronym to be used for goals.
SMART goals are:
- Specific. “I want to run faster” is a noble thought. Better yet is “I want to take 30 seconds off my best 5K time.” (With specificity, you gain the ability to track progress.)
- Measurable. When your goal is attached to a specific metric, you can see how close you are to achieving it. Sure, this can let you know if you need to adjust your plan, but, more importantly, it also keeps you motivated and moving forward.
- Achievable. Dreaming big is certainly admirable; choosing realistic goals, though, helps you avoid discouragement and disappointment. With our running example, a 30-second drop might simply not be realistic for elite, Olympic-caliber runners. For those athletes, they should probably aim for a couple of seconds (at most).
- Relevant. Since you want your goals to be anchored to larger objectives, relevancy is quite important. The runner who wants to get faster can set a goal to read a book per week—which is totally admirable—but it’s not going to take time off their 5K results.
- Time-bound. There’s a great quote out there along the lines of “a goal is a dream with a date on it.” That bit of wisdom is so appropriate when you think about how having a deadline in mind can keep you focused and ready to achieve your goals.
If you want to accomplish great things—you need to know what they are and how you’re going to make them happen. SMART goals are essential for directing you on the right path, which is why they must be included in your marketing strategy!
2. Responsibilities. As you know from running your business, everyone has a role to play to ensure your customers receive what was promised right?
No matter the size and scope of your marketing operations, it becomes difficult for it to be handled by a single individual. This is especially true if you are following best practices.
For example, you may want to stay connected to current customers via email campaigns, use your social media platforms to establish and grow brand recognition, and move up Google’s rankings with content marketing.
Where to start? Who is going to take lead on all of these aspects?
When you define and assign responsibilities, you gain considerably more mileage out of your marketing. Work smarter not harder!
All respective marketing best practices are performed by different specialists. In other words, you probably don’t want the highly technical person responsible for Local SEO tasks writing engaging blog posts.
As you create your results-driven marketing strategy, make sure you spend time identifying the appropriate people to perform the right tasks for you – and then have them do it!
3. Milestones. When we talked about SMART goals, we alluded to the importance of being able to track progress. Your best tool for measuring success is to establish milestones in your marketing plan.
Milestones are a lot like the markers found along a running course. They let you know where you are in the race and give you the opportunity to check your watch and see if your pace is on track for what you wanted to achieve.
Investing time to plan realistic objectives like these can pay off greatly if you do fall off pace.
In the event that’s the situation you find yourself in, don’t waste time blaming or becoming discouraged. Instead, take a deep breath and refocus. Clearing your head and viewing the situation with fresh eyes will enable you to determine what kind of adjustments are needed.
From there, you do a little “course correcting” and move ahead towards your goal.
Milestones are the support system and an invaluable part of your marketing strategy.
4. Research. We’ve established as much as we want to stumble into success easily, it’s not an option before you act, you need to plan first.
A big part of planning is spending time to conduct thorough research.
For your marketing strategy, that means doing things like:
- SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis
- Industry research
- Competition evaluation
When you decided to enter your respective industry, you undoubtedly took the time beforehand to perform your due diligence in assessing the market.
Your research provided guidance in determining your key differentiators and USP (unique selling proposition), understanding opportunities and threats, and seeing which market needs were not already being met.
Since you have all that available, use it!
5. Buyer personas. It’s not enough to know the industry at large; you also need to understand your target market on a personal level.
Okay, we don’t mean you need to reach out to every potential client personally. Unless you only have like a dozen or so, that’s just not realistic (or achievable!).
Rather, the point here is that you spend some time—thinking about the kinds of people you want (or naturally get) as customers.
As you do this, your objective is to dive deep and really get to know them. A couple examples of this include:
- Their pain points
- Where you can reach them
- The types of messaging that will resonate with them
“Pain points” isn’t necessarily a matter of literal pain (unless you’re a doctor). In the context of marketing, someone who wants something and doesn’t have it is experiencing “pain.” Your product or service should provide a solution to alleviate their pain.
After you’ve created your buyer personas—you should aim for about three—you will then use them to create marketing that connects with your target market.
6. Data. There are two souls of marketing – technical and creative. Sometimes conflict emerges between them, but there’s plenty of ground for peaceful coexistence as well. That’s vital because each one plays a major role in an effective marketing strategy.
When talking about technical marketing elements, data should be the first thing that comes to mind.
You need raw data for at least four of the five parts of a SMART goal. (And you might even say data can be useful for ensuring your goals are relevant.)
The numbers you pull and analyze are going to help you measure marketing performance. Given how important this is, it’s crucial that you define the appropriate metrics before initiating your strategy!
Don’t forget, data points allow you to know where you’re starting.
Perhaps you’ve been trying out some things without having a strategy in place (and you certainly wouldn’t be alone in this…). It is entirely plausible that you might have accidentally stumbled across something that works.
(Hey, give us a dartboard, blindfold, and enough darts and eventually we’ll get a bullseye.)
If this is the case, then you want to identify what is working before you implement a strategy which could eliminate a potential strength for your company and brand.
7. Tools. Like anyone, you only have 24 hours in your day, and we all know that isn’t always enough time.
Time is the most precious resource we have – and that means you want to capitalize on every second possible.
In the world of marketing, there are tools you can use that help you gain back time in your day.
What kinds of tools are we talking about?
Some marketing tools can automate processes. An example of this would be the CRM (customer relationship management) software you use to manage business relationships and the information and data associated with that.
Other marketing tools are able to make compiling and analyzing data easier, such as Google Analytics.
Whichever tools, software, and programs you use, they should be factored into your overall marketing strategy.
8. Brand knowledge. As we’re fast approaching the end of this list of essential marketing strategy elements, it’s time to include knowledge as a key component.
Before we proceed to the importance of knowing about general marketing practices, take a moment to reflect on how well you know your own brand.
Can you summarize your brand for someone in ten words (or less)? Do you have 3-5 good adjectives in mind that describe the brand? How does your brand relate to your company’s mission and values?
You should absolutely know and be familiar with the answers to these questions if you want to be effective in your marketing.
Additionally, make sure you have a firm grasp of your key differentiators and USP. These are key for brand positioning and creating marketing messages to highlight why people should choose you, and not your competitors!
9. Marketing knowledge. This is the most important of these essential elements.
Knowing best current marketing practices is an absolute must if you want your strategy to succeed.
This is the foundation upon which all other outlined elements should be structured.
If you have a keen grasp on marketing, you will know which goals to develop, tools to utilize, and milestones to establish. You’ll also be in a better position to define responsibilities, determine appropriate data to use, and create stronger buyer personas.
Here’s the kicker, best practices in marketing change all the time. (Thanks, Google!)
As a business owner or leader, you already have so much on your plate. The last thing you need is to constantly stay alert for the latest Google updates or conduct endless research to find marketing software and tools.
That being said, you need those kinds of things to stay ahead in the marketing game, so what can you do?
A Solution for YOU
Keep in mind:
These are nine essential elements—not the only nine elements.
For optimal results, your marketing strategy should be comprehensive and capitalize on all available ways to reach your target market, establish and strengthen your brand, and influence consumer behavior.
Additionally, each marketing element has a variety of important considerations within them.
That means, to be done properly and worthwhile for you, marketing is often a highly complicated endeavor.
Given that you have other business needs and tasks, you might want to consider having a professional marketing agency handle it all for you.
If that’s the conclusion you reach, CP Solutions may just be the right marketing agency for your business.
Our mission is to provide results-based services for established companies who want to go to the next level. In other words, you have a solid base, but aren’t big enough (yet!) for your own in-house marketing department.