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What is a marketing strategy?

At its most fundamental level, a marketing strategy is a long-term goal or set of goals that a business works to achieve. Some standard components of a marketing strategy include digital marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. The purpose of bringing all these components together into one strategy is to drive lead generation—to reach potential customers, convert them into customers, and then turn them into engaged, loyal advocates of the products or services you sell.

The purpose of a marketing strategy

Quite simply, a marketing strategy is a plan of what your business wants to accomplish and how you will accomplish it. Marketing strategies are developed to accomplish a wide range of goals including: to educate, improve awareness among a target audience, drive engagement, get consumers to make a purchase, or shift the public’s perception of a product or service. Specific marketing strategies are focused on driving lead generation, enhancing customer lead scoring, and improving customer loyalty—among other things.

Types of marketing strategies

Common marketing strategies

  • Direct selling
  • Paid media marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media and viral marketing
  • Grassroots marketing
  • Cause-driven marketing
  • Earned media and PR

Digital marketing strategies

Email marketing strategies

Content marketing strategies

  • Viral campaigns
  • Blog and editorials
  • Podcasts
  • Video creation/marketing
  • Webinars/webcasts
  • Social media
  • Ebooks

Additional marketing strategies

  • Mobile app marketing
  • Internet marketing
  • Point-of-purchase (POP) marketing
  • Cobranding and affinity marketing
  • Conversational marketing
  • Relationship marketing

What is the right marketing strategy mix?

There is no standard marketing strategy mix. Many marketers start by defining the overall marketing mix, which can easily be broken down by the 4Ps (product, pricing, promotion, and placement). Understanding what your product or service can offer, and who your potential customers are will help you determine the right tools to reach them.

Your marketing mix can include content marketing, advertising, digital marketing, email marketing, customer loyalty programs, and social marketing. Depending on marketing conditions, you may want to balance your efforts between customer acquisition and customer retention campaigns and strategies.

How to design a cross-channel content marketing strategy

How to design a cross-channel content marketing strategy

Customers dictate when and on what channel you can interact with them. In a 2020 report, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the number of businesses investing in omnichannel strategies had jumped from 20% to more than 80%, meaning that many more marketers today are tasked with crafting cross-channel marketing strategies to keep up with customers.

Content plays an integral role in these strategies; it intrigues and offers value at each touchpoint along the customer journey.

However, the same content doesn’t work for every channel. You must write differently for an email than you would for social media. An ebook differs significantly—and appeals to a different audience—than an infographic. Business briefs and blogs strive for much different tones, and videos require greater attention to pacing and timing. Mobile also comes with unique requirements, as the content must be even more concise, punchy, and impactful. In a recent survey, more than 50% of customers say that they wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website, and that requires a focus on how the content renders on the site.

Customers demand a consistent experience across channels. A disjointed experience might make them drop off and allow another brand to capture their attention. How can you achieve this with content that spans different channels?

What are some effective B2C marketing strategies?

There are many very effective B2C marketing strategies, each appropriate for different circumstances. Most B2C companies work diligently to determine the appropriate marketing mix and then constantly monitor and optimize those activities. B2C marketers typically focus on customer retention and loyalty as a core objective. Here are some effective elements of a B2C marketing strategy:

Social media marketing and viral marketing Provides potential customers with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks. The goal is to create a campaign (or series of posts) that most viewers share.
Paid media/search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click (PPC) Methods of growing website traffic through paid advertising.
Internet marketing Combines web-based and email marketing to advertise and drive ecommerce sales.
Email marketing A process that targets specific customers and/or potential customers with a series of emails to influence their purchasing decisions.
Direct selling Marketing and selling products directly to consumers through face-to-face interactions and relationships.
Point-of-purchase (POP) marketing Marketing and selling to shoppers already in a store. POP materials include product displays, on-package coupons, shelf talkers that tout product benefits, and other attention-getting devices.
Cobranding A situation where two or more brands work together to promote and sell a single product or service.
Affinity marketing A partnership between a company and another company/organization that brings together people sharing the same interests.
Cause marketing A joint effort between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization to simultaneously promote and benefit from social and other charitable causes.
Conversational marketing Real-time interaction through live chat or a chatbot/digital assistant that gets the right information in front of customers and/or potential customers when needed. Follow-up questions are addressed immediately.
Earned media Unsolicited publicity, such as social media testimonials, word-of-mouth, or editorials, that’s created through efforts other than paid advertising.
Storytelling Using familiar communication formats to engage consumers at an emotional level through stories rather than facts and figures.

What are some effective B2B marketing strategies?

As with B2C, there are many effective B2B marketing strategies, each used in different circumstances. B2B marketing teams put stock into account-based marketing campaigns that closely align with sales initiatives. It’s common for B2B marketers to emphasize customer relationship management as a core objective for their marketing campaigns. Here are some effective elements of a B2B marketing strategy:

Content marketing Creating and distributing content relevant to a specific audience’s needs to attract those most likely to purchase your product or service.
Inbound marketing Utilizes many of the other strategies listed to earn the customers’ attention and pull them to your website/landing page.
Social media marketing Provides potential customers and/or customers with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks.
Search engine optimization (SEO) Focuses on increasing traffic to a particular website/landing page by making sure it appears among the top unpaid search results (first page) on search engines, such as Google, Baidu, and Yahoo.
Search engine marketing (SEM)/PPC Works to grow website traffic through paid online advertising.
Account-based marketing (ABM) A joint marketing and sales effort that focuses on a targeted set of companies using highly personalized marketing campaigns.
Retargeting Using browser cookie-based technology to identify users who visited your site but left before completing a transaction or converting. The cookie allows targeted advertisements to appear in the user’s subsequent web searches and interactions, even if those searches aren’t related to your product.
Earned media Unsolicited publicity that’s created through efforts other than paid advertising.
Referral programs A type of engagement loyalty program that incents people to tell others about the products or services they have bought or are using.
Events Marketing or promoting your products through in-person or online events, such as tradeshows, webinars, or webcasts.
Conversational marketing Real-time interaction through live chat or a chatbot/digital assistant that gets the right information in front of potential customers/ customers when needed. Follow-up questions are addressed immediately.

How to revive your ABM strategy

How to revive your ABM strategy

Even if your account-based marketing (ABM) strategy has been producing results, you may have recently noticed a decrease in conversions or a blip in your revenue stream. These signs may indicate it’s time to revisit that strategy to see what needs to be refreshed/revamped. Here are some suggestions on reviving your ABM strategy to address any recent changes in results or negative feedback from your accounts.

How to build a strategic marketing plan

Developing a strategic plan for your marketing campaign is essential to ensuring that you have a clear idea of what you want your campaign to achieve, how you are going to accomplish your objectives, and how you are going to measure your results. Most marketers start the process by setting goals. Common steps to build a strategic, focused marketing plan are:

  1. Set the goal/define the mission
  2. Establish measurable objectives (KPIs)
  3. Audit current marketing activities
  4. Outline tactics to achieve the established objectives
  1. Forecast expected results
  2. Establish and allocate budget
  3. Measure KPIs, evaluate, and adjust

Many marketing teams will add additional stages to the planning process. Some of these additional stages include:

  1. Aligning objectives with corporate missions and/or auditing the existing mission statement to ensure it remains valid
  2. Conducting a detailed SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
  3. Conducting a PEST analysis (political, economic, social, technical)
  1. Conducting a 5C analysis (company, customers, competitors, collaborators, climate)
  2. Conducting a GAP analysis