Spontaneity can be awesome. Throwing your hands up in the air and letting the chips fall where they may is sometimes the perfect attitude. 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.
1. Establish Objectives and Set 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 goals is a great way of making sure that you’re being as realistic and efficient as possible while also reaching for your objectives. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, you might say you have a goal of increasing 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 everyone knows 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. Plans are meant to be executed!
2. Target Your Audience
Along the same lines, a marketing strategy drives you to clarify key points, like who your target audience is going to be. Inbound marketing without a target audience is like ice cream without milk (leaves you with an inexplicable feeling of emptiness).
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 that your marketing strategy is going to 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 huge chance that you might never even reach the consumer.
3. Organize and Enact
Would you ever try to build Ikea furniture without assembling a team, figuring out a budget, doing some scheduling, following the instructions, executing the plan, and then posting about it all over social media? No, probably not.
OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but a marketing strategy is kind of like that. There are a lot of moving parts that have to work in conjunction for you to make any sort of progress and the strategy is essentially the backbone of your marketing vision.
Say you have this kickass idea for a marketing campaign all mapped out in your head: how it’s going to look, what it’s going to feel like, how it’s going to 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 set-up. Automation is a marketer’s best friend, in this case. Email campaigns can be arranged in advance. You can use a content planning calendar to schedule your content marketing. 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’re ensuring that you won’t miss important opportunities to convert leads. If your marketing strategy is a mess, chances are that you’re not making any headway in that department. Organizing your marketing strategy makes it easy to pinpoint the places where you can turn a lead into a customer through tactics such as CTAs and forms.
4. Work Together
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.
If you want your vision to come to life, everyone involved in the process has to be on the same page. Across the board—the client, the writers, the designers, and the developers—everyone has to be working toward the same thing. A marketing strategy leaves less room for miscommunication and creates more opportunities to create and progress.
5. Allocate Resources
Ah, budgets. 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” that you will use. Accurately allocating your resources also means knowing your team and dividing up the work fittingly to make sure no one is overworked and that everyone is pulling their weight.
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.