Increasing customer reach and competitive edge with strategic marketingPosted on: December 6, 2021
What is strategic marketing?
According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), strategic marketing’s central focus is to understand continuously changing markets in order to build competitive advantage. By aligning all marketing activities, strategic marketing seeks to maximise opportunities to develop products and services that deliver both customer value and financial profit.
Strategic marketing cannot take place without strategic thinking: business leaders must closely examine both an organisation’s goals and where it sees itself in the future.
Strategic marketing helps a business to:
- Evaluate the current business environment and company position within it
- Create a roadmap of company goals and how to achieve them
- Bring stakeholders together under shared objectives
- Identify and fulfil customer needs
- Increase market share and revenue
What is a strategic marketing plan?
A strategic marketing plan aims to align overall marketing with business goals. By outlining the goals and tactics of every marketing campaign, it guides decision-making ventures and clarifies priorities for leaders and managers. It also offers a reliable, evidence-based method of measuring marketing success.
Practical marketing strategies ensure a stable flow of business and revenue for a company. While the plan specifics will vary from business to business and sector to sector, they share key components:
- Company positioning and mission: What is the purpose of the business? What is the desired public perception? Using the mission statement and corporate objectives, this planning step poses key questions to guide and influence the marketing strategy.
- Opportunities and situation analysis: Are there pre-existing or emerging market opportunities? If so, how can these be harnessed in both the short and long-term? During this step, tools such as PEST (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analyses are used to evaluate the internal and external factors influencing the business and the market it operates in. It offers a framework to examine business fundamentals – including competitors, product lines, industry trends and current and prospective customers – in order to gain a clear, objective view of marketplace position.
- Strategies and goal-setting: What is the target audience for the product or service? How best can this audience, or these audiences, be reached? This step of the planning process requires market research to identify the audience’s needs, demands and preferences, as well as further information regarding market segmentation. During this phase it’s critical to assess budgeting needs, make decisions about how money will be spent, and set measurable goals.
- Marketing mix: How will marketing campaigns or other initiatives be used to achieve the goals? What tactics would be most effective? This stage involves making decisions regarding service or product development, pricing, promotion, product placing and distribution. Using outcomes and data from the market research, marketers should identify the tactics and channels that will reach target customers when and where they will be most receptive.
- Plan implementation and control: Who will be responsible for which marketing activities? When will the launch take place and what will it look like? This step is where the marketing plan is put into action – involving all aspects of implementing the plan and monitoring – and, if necessary, adapting to – the results. Strategic marketing is a dynamic process; regularly measuring and evaluating outcomes will help identify whether adjustments are needed to maximise results. Updating the plan is also a useful way to reflect changes in customers, competition and business position and reception. This step includes tracking metrics such as revenue, customer feedback, sales, and website traffic.
There is a wealth of case studies of businesses who excel in strategic marketing but, even among these, tech giant Apple stands out: the company has won the CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence for 13 consecutive years. Its numerous strategies – including iterative customer involvement and enabling customer discovery and differentiation – all serve to make it a global icon of marketing.
What is a strategic marketing consultant?
While there are, naturally, many in-house marketing roles, the demand for independent consultants is growing. If a company is hesitant to invest in a large, expensive marketing firm, they may instead choose to invest in one individual expert who can train their existing, internal marketing teams. With many teams in need of upskilling, an objective perspective, or access to the latest market trends and marketing tools, it can be a lucrative business.
Put simply, a marketing consultant helps businesses to reach their customers. Career advice experts, Monster, outline the role in more depth – consultants: research market trends and data; provide information regarding promotions, brand management, and media channels to support marketing success; and guide the implementation of marketing strategies for various products and services.
Responsibility-wise, a consultant could be involved in competitor analysis, planning and implementing social media and other campaigns, creating new product and service ideas, tracking marketing activities and analysing data, compiling reports, budgeting decisions, and producing promotional materials.
The average salary for a marketing consultant ranges from £27,970 (Indeed) to £58,105 for roles based in London (Reed). However, roles can far exceed these benchmarks depending on sector, experience, employment set-up and a variety of other factors.
How to get into marketing strategy and digital marketing
To kick start a career as a marketing consultant, applicants usually have:
- A degree in marketing, communications, business or a related field
- Relevant work experience
- Marketing expertise, including content, SEO, PPC, analytics, marketing automation and lead generation
- Solid understanding of strategy and strategy implementation
- A portfolio demonstrating marketing expertise and success
This list serves only as a guideline as entry requirements vary. Many marketers also build on their expertise and boost employability with part-time or full-time professional qualifications and accredited courses. For example, postgraduate courses are now offered by many leading business schools and institutions, acting as excellent stepping stones for those looking to expand their current skill set.
Professional development for the competitive global business environment
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