Today, social media and online marketing are driven by digital transformation. Digital marketing has changed the way nearly every business communicates with its current and future customers, especially since the pandemic. However, 63 percent of digital marketers still struggle to personalize their services to their intended audiences today. The challenge for brand owners is understanding how marketing strategy can help execute impactful plans and generate ROI. Business marketers must align their business goals with their marketing plans. Following are seven reasons why marketing strategy is critical for marketing return on investment.
1. A strategic marketing agency can help you understand your ideal customer profile:
Understanding buyer motivation and audience behavior is critical for any business. This is especially true in niche businesses where markets, services, and products offered may be highly specific and narrow in focus. Since one brand can’t be highly valuable to every customer, it may be necessary to narrow the target audience and identify your ideal customers. The development of a marketing strategy can help in profiling your ideal buyers and specifically target them with points of relevant value as they progress through the buyer’s journey.
2. A strategic marketing agency can help you understand your customer personas:
To capture and engage your ideal customer, you need to know and understand them. What is each buyer’s role in the decision to buy your product or service? Are they motivated by the economics, utility, or user experience? Is sustainability, customer service, or low cost most important to them? How do they discover and learn about products and how do they make decisions? Your solution and your message to each potential buyer must address their pain points and desires. An effective marketing strategic plan should probably include market and customer research to validate who you are selling to, why they care, and what processes they follow in making a buying decision.
3. A strategic marketing agency can help you illuminate your business goals and values:
It’s important for your company’s leadership team and your marketing messaging to be able to effectively articulate your brand’s ethos and values. People today tend to buy from brands with meaning and purpose. Your marketing strategy and messaging plan may be to target potential customers, investors, employees, colleagues, vendors, and partners. To reach the right audience with the right message, your marketing strategy requires a clear position on why, for whom, and how.
4. A strategic marketing agency can help you establish benchmarks and KPIs:
Marketing strategy creation can help you quantify metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that define the success of your campaigns, projects, and investments. Once you understand the metrics that matter the most, you can track and understand how your target audience responds to your marketing and which investments and strategies you should prioritize. Over the long term, this measurement and analysis can create the baseline to determine success or failure.
5. A strategic marketing agency can help you build a budget and plan of action:
Marketing plans are critical to ensure advanced scheduling, prioritization, proper resource allocation, and cost control. Your marketing plan will guide your team in decision making and in performance analytics. Understand all the variables in your plan, including communication channels, messaging platforms, and events. The goal is to align the short and long-term goals of your business with the marketing plan so you receive the best possible return on investment.
6. A strategic marketing agency can help you understand how you compare to your competitors:
One of the best ways to know where you stand in your market is by conducting a competitor analysis. Formulating a marketing strategy can help you understand who your competitors are targeting and how, as well as what’s working for them or not. It can be an opportunity for learning and for validating your own actions.
7. A strategic marketing agency can help you create a baseline for trend analysis:
We can see things well in hindsight because tracing patterns is simpler. A marketing strategy executed well over a period of time can help collect enormous sets of usable data for trend analysis and subsequent decision making. Data is essential for understanding audience behavior, competitors, and other market patterns that can be leveraged to push a marketing plan forward.
Developing a marketing strategy will help you focus, reduce waste, and make better business decisions. Whether you manage a business in Arizona or anywhere else in the world, a strategic marketing agency can work with you and your team to write your own roadmap that will help you navigate through the unknown ahead.
Direct mail and mobile marketing lead business investments in local media advertising. This some encouraging news for North American print and direct mail service providers: In 2022, US local ad revenue is forecast to surpass the previously impressive rebound of 2021, with direct mail leading to capture more than a 20% piece of the pie. BIA Advisory Services forecasts overall local ad revenue to grow 10.1% year-over-year in 2022.
This will be the second consecutive period of year-over-year growth, considering that US direct mail ad revenue has declined -5.1% annually between 2015 and 2020 (source: IBIS World).
US non-political advertising mail volumes were down in 2020 as retail, leisure, beverage, and travel services paused or reduced their direct mail campaigns in the face of the pandemic.
Counterbalancing that commercial decline, 2020 was a record year in election campaign ad spending that included high volumes of political direct mail. Political mailings helped printers stem some of the lost commercial ad mail revenue in 2020. With minimal local elections in 2021, commercial mailings made up for the massive void left from 2020 political mailings.
Despite the numerous issues facing the USPS, there are still millions of local and regional brands confidently relying on printed mail’s higher response rates and lower customer acquisition costs.
65% of the average company’s revenue comes from current customers. Yet most companies don’t have structured customer referral or reference programs. This is a miss.
This summer, my wife and I bought a new house. Nice buying experience with our real estate agent. This week (5 months later), the agent called to say hi. She had a fresh-baked pie she wanted to deliver to our home to show her thanks. By the way, could she video the event of bringing the pie to our front door? With our permission, could she share the video on her social channels? Sure, why not, we said. Happy to help.
Three things happened here:
- She reconnected with us. (A reminder of our positive experience/relationship. Maybe a trigger to refer to her if we know someone in the market).
- She gave us a gift to show her gratitude. (Very thoughtful).
- She shot and posted a public video of us happily receiving the gift. (Viewers of this video can see that she creates lasting relationships with her customers).
Total investment in this simple appreciation initiative for each of her customers? Maybe $20 and an hour each? Immediate ROI: unknown. Longer-term ROI: no-brainer.
Does your company actively encourage customer references and referrals? If not, why not? Too Expensive?
Read our article Do you know your Customer Lifetime Value?
Put your horse before your cart. Your brand is your horse and your marketing campaign is your cart. The harness connecting the two is your marketing strategy.
Too often, a company executes a campaign to attract new customers, but its brand marketing strategy hasn’t been assembled or connected. The horse just gets old and the cart doesn’t move.
Before our team starts to execute a client’s marketing campaign, we typically ask questions about your brand and marketing strategy. This extra pre-work saves you time, money, and frustration.
We ask to dig into the essence of your brand: What’s your purpose? (Why your brand matters in your customers’ lives.) What’s your company’s vision, mission, and values? (Where you want to go in the future, how you add value today, what you believe in.)
Next, we look at brand positioning: How your brand is positioned in a distinctive place in the mind of a customer in your target market. How your brand identity reflects your strengths.
What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? What’s your ideal customer profile? What’re your competitors doing? What market factors affect your goals?
We then build a marketing strategy with goals, tactics, and measurable KPIs. With a strong horse and a well-connected harness, your cart moves faster and farther.
Who are your brand’s top 5 direct and indirect competitors? Can you compare their strengths & weaknesses to yours? How do your products compare on price, quality, service, and total brand experience? What potential future competitors may emerge?
Take an objective, detailed assessment of the market’s leaders and challengers. Then, validate your unique selling proposition (USP) compared to competing brands.
Competitive analysis can inform/inspire you to develop or improve your brand’s offerings. You’ll not only learn how to compete, but you may identify applications and segments that competitors aren’t.
Developing your strategy
Identifying exactly what makes you unique should be the driving factor of your marketing strategy. Without doing your due diligence and researching your market and competing brands, other marketing efforts could be completely wasted. You can create/adjust your strategic investments and prepare for changes. You’ll better understand your current risks and establish critical factors for success in the future. This process could even open your eyes to potential issues you didn’t notice before.
“How should I start?”
To start informally and with little cost, search for your product category (and your city or “near me”). What competitors are displayed? Visit their websites and social media, list their product features/benefits, and compare them to yours. Then, ask your customers why they buy from you and ask non-customers why they don’t. One main factor could be as simple as your competitors ranking higher on Google than you. Every business in your market is constantly competing for relevant keywords. That could be one reason customers choose one over the other.
Read more on SEO and ranking on Google here
Be objective and self-honest about your findings. There is no benefit in lying to yourself. The more you can accept your uniqueness, the better off you’ll be. You can’t be the best at everything so prioritize what you’re best at. Overall, just make sure you always learn and improve.
For even more information on finding your main competitors: Click here
“What is the definition of marketing?” someone asked in a group. Several people gave different answers that were unclear. Then, I web-searched it and also found different definitions…The top results were wrong (IMO). Several were focused on selling or advertising (“getting potential customers interested in your products.”) Looking at the bigger scope of things, this perspective is grossly incomplete.
To me, marketing is a combination of:
Understanding your market (via research or experience)
Creating value (innovating or iterating with something better)
Educating someone (who may appreciate that value)
Connecting with them (messaging)
Earning their trust (credibility, proof, reputation)
Fulfilling their expectations (great customer experiences)
There’s no particular order here, but it’s logical that *understanding and *creating value come first and are connected to everything else in the chain.
You can read more about how we develop a Marketing Strategy here
The Key is to INSPIRE
If all those things happen, there MAY be an opportunity to inspire action (maybe “get them to buy.”) With that said, marketing is not selling, just as selling is not marketing. Selling can be as simple as offering a random product to a random person and hoping to create a sale. But, marketing on the other hand, has more to it than that and we wouldn’t want to confuse the two.
When I was at HP, our marketing team worked closely with R&D to develop future products that wouldn’t hit the market for years to come. We had to understand the market first and then design a new product that would offer real and differentiating value. That is the pre-beginning of the product lifecycle.
Where do people get it wrong?
“Marketing” often gets a bad rap. It can get too unfairly associated with activities that some people dislike (teleMARKETERS, pyramid MARKETING schemes, ‘junk’ mail, infomercials, etc.).
Overall, Marketing covers everything from pre-development R&D to staffing to internal cost controls to shipping to post-sale customer service. It’s everything that goes into delivering customers value and fulfilling the brand promise.
In fact, I simplify the definition of Marketing to: “Introducing and delivering something of value to people who appreciate it.”
Suppliers that do that better than their competitors get the win – and so do their customers. That’s the hidden beauty of great #marketing.
If you want to read more about marketing vs. selling. Click here
Every strategy is unique
What digital marketing strategy is best for your business? As with many “make or buy” business decisions, there are trade-offs between time, money, and quality that will affect your ROI and opportunity costs.
And just like building a house, there’s not just one “best way” to build new customer demand for your brand. A lot depends on your urgency, your patience, and your willingness/ability to invest, test, and scale.
The chart below is overly simplified, but it provides a directional overview of some basic options for digital marketing investment. All of these options presume that your website is optimized first and that your business is prepared to manage growth in demand.
The rabbit and turtle icons suggest the comparative timeline needed to achieve results. The dollar signs loosely suggest the comparative investment levels, not the potential ROI. The ROI of course depends on how much time you are willing to commit to your strategy.
Well-targeted PPC advertising with the right message to your target audience can make your phone ring in the next 48 hours. There is a significant cost involved, but we help you work the funnel math and optimize your conversion rate for maximum ROI. When working with a PPC marketing strategy, there must be very clear goals.
Targeted advertising can be super effective in driving sales and getting one-time purchases, but actual customer acquisition and brand recognition come from the other forms of marketing you have. The main downside of PPC is that once you stop paying, your results stop as well. There is no way to organically (for free) build a community or drive sales with a strategy like this. With that said, it becomes even more important to discuss your main objectives and choose the right mix of strategies.
SEO drives 10x more traffic than social media and has lower customer acquisition costs than PPC ads over time. The key is “over time.” When properly executed, it can grow and sustain your exposure to many more people who are actively in the market for your services.
Although there may not be immediate results within a day or a week, when you commit to a long-term SEO digital marketing strategy, the results prove to be far more beneficial than other methods. Over time, your business can work its way up the Google rankings and be found by more customers than any other organic method could produce.
Check out more information we have about SEO: Click HERE
Finally, it’s not “either-or.” The best ROI can come from a multi-touch strategy. Not everyone researches, discovers, or buys in the same way. A blended approach can help your brand reach and nurture your future customers at multiple points along their buying journey.
For even more information on different digital marketing strategies: Click here
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing
Marketing is not always about trying to sell something, building and maintaining a strong customer relationship is even more important in the long run. When the customers have an excellent first experience with you, they are more likely to remember your brand and genuinely care for your business.
A friend of mine recently had day surgery, then went home. The next day he got a handwritten thank you/get well card signed by all the clinic’s staff. Although it was such a simple gesture, it had an unusually personal touch.
Another friend received a plant at her home a few months after he bought his house. “Hope you are enjoying your new home!” the handwritten note read, signed by his realtor.
No coupons, no upselling offers, no “we appreciate your referrals.”
Just gratitude, thoughtfulness, and a genuine human connection. These are fundamentals of delivering a brand promise and building strong customer relationships. Exceeding expectations, giving before asking, being consistent, and being genuine.
Once a brand has mastered these traits and cultivated a delightful brand experience for its customers, only then is it ready to spend money on advertising and demand generation.
Read more about the concept of Brand Positioning: Click here
You can’t fake authenticity
Some businesses implement CRM (customer relationship management) strategies selfishly. They only engage their customers directly in hopes to reel them back in the future and make more money off of them. Any attempts to give your customers an authentic human connection should come from a place of gratitude. Each and every customer is a catalyst that is helping your business grow, so it is only fair that they feel appreciated for giving you their business. You can always sell to someone once, take their money, and be happy with that; but the brands that actually care about their customer relationships will be the ones who continuously grow over time.
For more info on Customer Relationship Management, read this article: Click here
When creating strategic marketing plans for our larger clients, we often include a PESTEL analysis to complement a SWOT analysis. Our PESTEL analysis audits the external macro-environmental factors that affect a company’s marketing plan.
Read more about our Marketing Strategy: Click here
What is a PESTEL analysis?
It’s an acronym (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal) for the factors beyond our control. It helps identify latent or future opportunities and threats that can be applied to SWOT.
What PESTEL factors may affect your supply and demand?
If inflation rises, will profits be squeezed?
If interest rates rise, will the economy slow?
-Population growth rate
-Emphasis on safety
-Emerging & potential enablers/threats to your product
6. LEGAL – laws concerning:
-Health & safety
This analysis helps create and adjust marketing strategy, objectives, investment plans, and resource preparation. Additionally, a PESTEL analysis gives your business or organization a strong basis for ethics and accountability. By understanding all of these different factors, you are able to develop a business plan that more closely aligns with the macro-environment. The world is a very dynamic place with a lot of these things changing every single day and you want to make sure you are prepared and able to execute correctly.
Obviously, every industry is different so no two analyses will be exactly the same. However, the principle remains the same: those who are aware of their external environment are more likely to adapt strategically and reap the benefits of these changes. By using a thorough PESTEL analysis, we are able to form a smart marketing strategy that will complement the SWOT analysis as well, and put you in a position to succeed.
For even more information, check out this article about the reason to do a PESTEL analysis. Click here
Website, marcom, sales support, product marketing, events. These are important functions, but there is more to marketing than this.