Sometimes, when I tell people that I am a marketing strategy consultant I get a reaction that is similar to if I had said I hunted Sasquatch for a living.
You’ve probably heard the term “marketing strategy” before, but what does it even mean?
A marketing strategy is a roadmap for your business growth that takes into account things like your mission, target audience, competitors, and goals. It’s important to note that a business’ marketing strategy is a long-term vision with checkpoints along the way to track your progress towards the goals. For example, if you create an annual marketing strategy, you would have quarterly and maybe even monthly checkpoints to make sure you’re staying on track.
A marketing plan is a step by step guide of actions you will take to execute your marketing strategy and achieve your goals. The plan is the “how to make this is a reality” step of marketing. Whether you have a marketing team or are your own marketing team, this is where you’ll look at your marketing strategy and decide what actionable steps you need to take to achieve said goals. Then, you’ll divide your next steps by marketing category: online, print, social, in-person, paid advertising, etc. and map out how they get you to your goal.
Marketing tactics are the actual actions you will execute within your plan to achieve your goals. For example, an Instagram post, a blog post, a YouTube video, and a networking event all fall under the marketing tactics category. These should be played with and tested on a regular basis, gauging audience reaction and interaction along the way. Be sure to eliminate or rework what doesn’t work and modify and expand on what does.
Marketing strategy > marketing plan > marketing tactics > testing > revising > goal achieving
If one of the goals you defined in your marketing strategy is to get 50 new clients this year by way of your website > then part of your marketing plan would likely include paid social media advertising that sends people to your website > and the tactics for the paid social media advertising would include running and testing different photos in your paid ads, experimenting with Facebook vs. Instagram advertising, playing with the copy (wording) used in your paid ads > and tracking results to see what’s working and what’s not.
Having a marketing strategy is vital to your business growth because it keeps you on track throughout the year and helps you understand how every seemingly small action item works towards a greater goal.
Would you eat a salad for one meal and expect to lose 10lbs? No. The same applies to marketing. Marketing is rarely one big idea that changes the course of your business overnight, but rather a series of small, consistent tasks that build on each other to create a big shift.