This post was originally published on February 1, 2018, and updated in 2021.
Spontaneity can be awesome. Throwing your hands up in the air and letting the chips fall where they may is sometimes the perfect attitude. An impromptu road trip to find the best fish tacos on the East Coast? Count me in. An unexpected midday trip to the brewery next door for a bratwurst and a beer? Sure. I can even understand the reasons behind a good ol’ Vegas elopement. But blindly believing in a marketing campaign sans marketing strategy? No, thank you.
I bet you’re like, “Duh, Raka. Of course you need a marketing strategy,” and we’ll be like, “Yeah, but do you know why you need a marketing strategy?” For those who don’t—and even for those who do—what follows are the top five reasons why fully developed marketing strategies carry some serious weight.
Table of contents
- Set clear objectives and goals
- Target your key audience
- Organize and automate your process
- Work together more effectively
- Allocate necessary resources
- The importance of a marketing strategy
1. Set clear objectives and goals
Every great marketing strategy begins with a sense of determination and a desire to improve. While creative visions, abstract ideas, and letting your imagination run a little wild are great places to start, it’s also important to ground your ideas in data and research. This is where the actual marketing strategy comes into play.
More specifically, setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals is a great way of ensuring that you’re being as realistic and efficient as possible while also reaching for your objectives.
We recommend setting four to five SMART goals to start. Make sure they’re aimed at accomplishing something tangible for your business, rather than focusing on achieving vanity metrics (like social reach or site sessions). For example, you might say your goal is to increase marketing qualified leads by 25% by the end of Q1.
Establishing objectives and setting goals means putting your ideas into motion and holding yourself accountable for your progress, which is the only way to get anything done. A marketing strategy is rooted in the idea that a plan shouldn’t just sit on the shelf until it’s past its expiration date.
2. Target your key audience
Along the same lines, a marketing strategy drives you to clarify key points, like who your target audience will be. If you can already guess where we’re going with this, you’re an inbound marketer at heart. Buyer personas are super important for effective marketing. A buyer persona—if you didn’t already know—is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and what you already know about your existing customers. Basically, a buyer persona is a more specific representation of your target audience.
Targeting your audience is the only way your marketing strategy will make any sort of impact. If you’re trying to market avocado toast via Snapchat to 60-year-olds, you’re going to be pretty disappointed. If your goals aren’t aligned with your target audience, there’s a considerable chance that you might never even reach the consumer.
3. Organize and automate your process
Say you have this incredible idea for a marketing campaign all mapped out in your head: how it’s going to look, what it’s going to feel like, and how it will inspire and convert ALL of those leads. That’s great and all, but you’re ignoring a key question: how is this all going to get done? For your own sanity, organize everything.
Organization means enacting things like email campaigns, content marketing, and website setup. Automation is a marketer’s best friend, in this case—and HubSpot makes it easy. Using HubSpot, email campaigns and workflows can be created and scheduled in advance. Content can be planned, optimized, and posted all from one main hub. Social posts can be entirely automated. The best part of all? Thanks to segmented lists and personalization tokens, these organized, automated approaches don’t eliminate that personalized feeling that’s inherent to inbound marketing.
When you organize your strategy, you ensure that you won’t miss meaningful opportunities to convert leads. If your marketing strategy is a mess, chances are you’re not making any headway in that department. Organizing your marketing strategy makes it easy to pinpoint where you can turn a lead into a customer through tactics such as CTAs and forms.
4. Work together more effectively
More often than not, marketing is carried out by more than one more person. Whether it’s just one marketing strategist working one-on-one with a client or a whole marketing team working together, clear communication is critical. This is where process documentation comes in handy for teams. Documenting processes has many benefits for businesses, including reduced risk of errors, decreased time to complete tasks, lower costs, improved efficiency, increased quality of work, and heightened customer and employee satisfaction. At the end of the day, process documentation ensures that everyone knows what they need to do, how to do it, and who to turn to if they run into roadblocks.
If you want your vision to come to life, everyone involved in the process must be on the same page. Everyone has to be working toward the same thing across the board. This includes the client, the writers, the designers, and the developers. A well-documented marketing strategy leaves less room for miscommunication and creates more opportunities to create and progress.
5. Allocate necessary resources
Nothing is worse than encountering surprise expenses or realizing that you’re way over budget. With a marketing strategy, you can see exactly what your funds are going toward, but money isn’t the only “resource” you will use. Accurately allocating your resources also means knowing your team and dividing up the work fittingly to be certain that no one is overworked and that everyone is pulling their weight.
Process documentation comes into play here, too. It helps teams identify who is responsible for which deliverables and ensures proper accountability is in place. This way, there’s no question who should be working on specific tasks within your marketing strategy.
The importance of a marketing strategy
You know that impromptu road trip to find the best fish tacos on the East Coast? That’s all fun and games until you end up in Nowheresville, Western Pennsylvania, fresh out of gas, twiddling your thumbs, and eating Filet-O-Fish. Why? Because you didn’t plan, that’s why!
The same goes for a marketing campaign. In the end, you will benefit more from a solid marketing strategy than you will from just winging it. If you really want to capitalize on your great idea, develop a marketing strategy.