No matter the role you choose in your marketing career, it’s helpful to understand marketing strategy. That of course assumes there’s a strategy in place or at least being developed.
The importance of marketing strategy
Marketing can be a field where teams just do and do and do. Run another campaign, crank out another blog post or chase the latest TikTok trend. And some of that can work and does work, but given the amount of tasks that could be done, it is so important to have a marketing strategy in place.
And it certainly includes understanding the customer, the channels and the workflows. But it also must include a high-level marketing strategy that outlines:
- the goals
- what we’re trying to accomplish
- and what it takes to get there – this quarter and eight quarters from now
The trick here is to have a good mix of short-term and long-term objectives. For example, you can drive some quick results with certain paid campaigns. You can also drive results with organic content initiatives, but they usually take a little bit longer to develop.
What exactly is good to understand for everyone considering a career in marketing? And as a part of a useful marketing strategy. Let’s discuss the basics here.
Probably the most important piece to learn for everyone on a team is to understand the customer. Who are they, what problems do we solve for them, and what kind of content is relevant to them?
Some teams already have flushed-out customer profiles that explain who the customer is, what they know about them, and so on. That’s great if that’s the case and as you are joining a new team, this is a good topic to ask about.
Even if they don’t have a well-documented customer profile yet, it’s highly recommended to create that. The worst customer profiles are the ones that exist only in some people’s heads. “Oh yes, we know our customer.”
Understanding the brand story
To create an efficient marketing strategy, it’s essential to understand why the brand exists and what problem it’s actually solving for those customers
From there, it’s good to understand the different levels of that story:
- The elevator version
- Different highlights for different customers and for consumers in different parts of the funnel.
- The in-depth version and what the company does specially.
Telling the brand story correctly also means we know what words and what details will resonate with our target audience.
Some brands – even successful ones – don’t have their brand story as well defined as it could be. Learning how to determine and formulate a brand story can be a differentiator in the market.
What marketing channels currently drive the best results can and does change, which is why a good strategy determines the priority channels and finds the right mix of the following:
- Website (SEO – all parts of the funnel)
- Email marketing
- Landing pages
- Social media
- Short-form video
- Direct mail
- And more
A lot of what I discuss in “Is marketing a good career?” comes back to implementing the workflow. But the design of the workflow happens when we construct the marketing strategy.
- Who does what?
- In what order?
- What are the checks and balances?
- Which pieces can be automated?
- When do we collaborate and with whom?
Those decisions have to be made in the strategy phase – even when we adjust them later. Without this, it’s like a football team saying they will win by passing the ball. But they still have to decide who exactly will throw the ball, when and to whom.
Tie in with other parts of the organization
The marketing strategy also needs to include how the team works together with other parts of the company.
- How do leads get passed to sales? And what’s a lead anyway?
- What marketing content do other parts of the company need and how do they request or retrieve it?
So much can be measured today, but we have to determine the goals and what we will measure. Whatever gets measured will then determine actions and behaviors.
That doesn’t mean we should have only one goal or only measure leads – for example. But what are the key measurements to track progress toward the marketing and business goals?
Even if somebody else on your team owns the creation and direction of the marketing strategy, it’s still good to understand the basics of what goes into a good and documented marketing strategy.