Strategic marketing is the approach by which you build a difference from the competition, focusing on your strengths and capabilities to provide better service and deliver more value to customers. The goal of strategic marketing is to recognize and make the most out of the positive differences that highlight your organization compared to the competition in the eyes of the target public.
The difference between marketing and strategic marketing is sort of like the difference between a piece of cheese and using that piece of cheese to make some delicious cheesecake. While the cheese may be great on its own, it’s nothing compared to using it in a recipe that makes the best use possible of all the ingredients involved.
Marketing is the actions you take to attract an audience to your business. You aim to get people interested in what you offer and share information to help them decide to do business with you. Strategic marketing is based on uncovering the data you’ll need to create an effective marketing plan and execute successful campaigns.
Essentially, strategic marketing is about differentiating your company from its competitors by capitalizing on its strengths. It is about how to provide and promote specific value to selected customers. Therefore, strategic marketing requires a change of thinking, from: “Let’s do everything we can – and try to sell to everyone” to “Let’s do what we can do better than our rivals and sell to those market segments that find it valuable.”
Strategic marketing process
The strategic marketing process involves conducting research and establishing goals and objectives that will maximize the effectiveness and success of your overall marketing strategy. This process is beneficial as it helps you be more intentional with your marketing. You’ll be able to ensure that you’ve targeted the right audience, entered the right markets, and used the correct mediums.
The marketing plan helps you set your marketing on the right course to make your company’s business goals a reality. First, you have to define the goals and objectives you want to accomplish, as the entire process is about how to reach them.
A goal is an achievable outcome that is typically broad and long-term. Objectives, on the other hand, define the specific, measurable actions that you should take to achieve the overall goal. In short, goals provide direction while objectives measure how you should follow that direction.
Analyses should give you an understanding of how competitive you are, and how competitive you’ll need to be to outclass similar businesses and become a viable market competitor. In this stage, you should conduct market research, competitor analyses and create buyer personas.
Market research will give you an understanding of what your market looks like, including current trends, market shares, market positions, market segments, and an overall sense of the playing field. The information you discover would also validate your goals and objectives and let you know if they’re achievable.
Competitor analysis will teach you how your competition works, what is their position in the industry, and if there any possible gaps in the market that you can take advantage of to out-perform them.
Also, take time to study your target audience and create buyer personas. Aim to understand who your customers are, their needs, desires, interests, and where you’ll find them within the market. When you know your customers, you can understand their relationship with your business.
Once you have a clear picture of your industry and how you should present yourself in the market to achieve your goals, the next step is to develop your marketing plan. This stage involves defining the marketing mix based on your value proposition.
Your value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage. It clearly articulates why someone would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor.
Since the 1960s, the marketing mix has been associated with the four Ps: product, price, promotion, and place.
Product is a key element in the market offering. To achieve market leadership, firms must offer products and services of acceptable quality that provide the best customer value. According to Kotler and Armstrong “Anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations, and ideas”. The product also includes options, quality, design, features, packaging, and other related services.
Price is the amount charged for a product or service. The price depends on the customer’s perceived value of the product, and it can change your marketing strategy. A lower price makes a product accessible to a broad range of customers, while a higher price appeals to customers seeking some kind of exclusivity. Either way, the price must be higher than your overall costs to sell that product so your business can make a profit.
Advertising, direct marketing, and sales promotion. TV commercials, websites, internet ads, catalogs, trade fairs, billboards, and sales talks are some types of promotion. This category also includes public relations, such as the distribution of press releases or ongoing relationships with the media. Promotion encompasses what is communicated, who it is communicated to, how that audience is reached, and how often promotion happens.
Products are made to be sold to the customers. So, they must be made available to the consumers at a place where they can conveniently make the purchase. Therefore, the place is where your product or service will be sold, like in-store or online. Any physical or online location where the customer can use, access, or purchase a product is a place.
The final phase of the process is when you begin to act on your marketing efforts. As the name suggests, you’ll start implementing the strategy you’ve developed based on your research and planning. You’ll launch your product, emphases your value proposition, and begin seeing sales.
Your value proposition is a unique identifier for your business. Without it, buyers won’t have a reason to purchase what you sell. They may even patronize a competitor simply because that business communicates its value proposition clearly in its marketing materials and sales process.
After implementation, it’s also important to take time to review your processes and make modifications as necessary. As the market is constantly evolving, you may need to re-address certain things due to new trends or changes in the customers’ interests.
A comprehensive and precise strategic marketing plan, assuming you have the commitment to follow it, will open new doors to potential and existing customers, connect them with the information they seek, and uplift your business. Therefore, strategic marketing is a crucial element of any business that is looking to grow profitably.