An effective marketing strategy can be the difference between a business hitting and missing its objectives.
In today’s hyperconnected world, consumers are more switched on and alive to trends than ever before, so much so that even the most subtle of messages and perceptions have the potential to make or break a brand’s image.
Securing a good template for marketing strategy is vital. If planned and executed well, marketing strategies can deliver serious returns that will make the rest of the boardroom take notice.
What is a marketing strategy?
Before we get on to what an effective marketing strategy template might look like, let’s start by answering the basic question: what is a marketing strategy?
Typically, a marketing strategy provides a game plan to help your business reach its objectives in a way that revolves around its value proposition. It is based on a detailed plan that includes marketing objectives, KPIs, target audience, channels and budgets.
A marketing strategy exists to help communicate and build a competitive advantage over rival companies in your industry who are targeting similar audiences.
What should a marketing strategy include?
Every company is different, so every marketing strategy will naturally be somewhat unique. However, there are some commonalities that all marketing strategies should contain.
Each of these components is covered in the Fabric Academy Marketing Strategy Course. Here we outline every step in detail with dedicated templates for each part of the process.
First, data and insights are the core of any successful marketing strategy. Before any marketing activity takes place, you need to grasp a thorough understanding of your business and marketing objectives, market landscape and target audience. Gaining this understanding can including anything from benchmarking your current position, market mapping and competitor analysis to gathering product and service insights and creating buyer personas.
The second phase is all about taking this acquired knowledge and building meaningful relationships though content. Here, you will need to find your purpose, define key values, develop a tone of voice and build a brand narrative. Consider how you will deliver key messages, ideally through a multichannel content plan that is carefully budgeted and effectively prioritises spend.
Heineken is a great example of a company following these steps. The popular beer brand knows its core market is comprised of millennial males, so it targets men who are keen followers of sport by sponsoring competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and more recently Formula E. Heineken also knows its target consumer group is disinclined to advertising, and therefore prioritises spend on event marketing, backing large festivals such as Coachella in the US.
Boost your career by becoming more strategic
Marketing strategies don’t end here, however. Today, the average customer journey is fragmented across many channels and devices, so ongoing measurement and analysis is critical to any effective marketing strategy. By leveraging analytical tools, marketers can track each touchpoint in a user's journey and use this data to inform future decisions and drive better results.
This will also enable you, the marketer, to showcase your impact. By evidencing the success of your campaigns, you will have the factual grounding you need to make a compelling case to advance your career.
Never waste a good crisis
Marketers can also show their worth by pivoting strategies to dig companies out of a hole, and in some cases turn a crisis into a commercial win.
KFC’s recent supply chain glitch with DHL is the perfect example. It was faced with the worst possible situation for a fast-food chicken brand – a chicken drought. However, rather than hit the panic button and pass blame onto DHL, who was actually responsible, the company and its marketing partners delivered a minimalistic but brilliant response via print ads in The Sun and Metro.
Knowing their audience was vast and varied, they needed an efficient solution to reach them in one hit. The response, FCK (an expletive anagram of KFC), accompanied by an apology written in non-corporate language, sparked activity that reached a combined audience of almost 800 million worldwide.
Following the campaign, which won a string of awards, KFC’s brand impression score with YouGov BrandIndex actually improved on its pre-crisis position.
Want to learn more about building an effective marketing strategy? Check out our insights and tools page for a detailed marketing strategy toolkit.