If you’re on this page, you probably know marketing is important. You also know that adding “strategic” makes anything sound more impressive.
But what is strategic marketing?
Not to be redundant, but it’s where strategy meets marketing. It’s a way to align specific tactics – like PPC and lead generation – with big-picture business goals and assets. Figuring out strategic marketing means answering questions like…
- Who’s in our target audience (TA)?
- How can we reach our TA?
- How can we use our business strengths to power our marketing?
In this article, we’ll explain what strategic marketing is, how it connects with tactics like PPC and lead generation, and how it can help grow your business.
What Is Strategic Marketing?
Strategic marketing is a set of high-level guidelines, values, and principles that guide a company’s marketing efforts.
Here’s what that mean’s in laymen’s terms.
When most people think modern marketing, they think of paid ads; social media; SEO. Specific tools that drive leads and increase sales, especially on digital channels.
But what happens when a tool or tactic stops working? For example, imagine…
- Your top PPC ad stops working
- Your SEO keyword list gets stale
- New, important channels appear (e.g. TikTok)
What do you do then?
You develop new tactics. To do this well, you need strategic marketing to align business goals, business assets, and marketing operations.
Strategic marketing tells you…
- How you can differentiate yourself from the competition
- Which competitive advantages can attract your customers
- Which channels are likely to work for you – and which aren’t
The answers to these questions turn into new, effective marketing tactics – like ad campaigns, landing pages, SEO content pillars, and more.
Why Should I Use Strategic Marketing?
Strategic marketing does a few important things for your business.
First, it gives you a steady strem of effective marketing tactics. A PPC campaign might stop working, but if you understand your business and your customers, you can always create a new one. Ditto for campaigns on other channels.
Here’s an example. Today, TikTok is massive; it has more traffic than Google. If your business relied on Instagram and Facebook ads as a tactic in the past, you have to adapt. Smart strategic marketing will help you find a fit between your business and TikTok.
Second, strategic marketing makes sure messaging and targeting match across channels. It gives your business a coherent front across all your digital and physical marketing channels. This creates consistency, supporting and reinforcing your brand everywhere.
Third, strategic marketing creates a perfect fit between your business and its marketing. Here’s an example.
In the 80s and 90s, Apple was the underdog to Microsoft. They ran their 1984 ad and marketed with the “Think Different” slogan. This was a perfect fit at the time, catapulting Apple over Microsoft in the consumer tech segment…
Fast-forward to the present, and Apple’s ads don’t evoke anything remotely similar. That’s because their 57% market share makes them more of an Empire and less of a Rebel Alliance.
But today, when Apple is the market leader, the same marketing creative wouldn’t work. Something more mass-market is necessary.
As businesses evolve, messaging should too – and strategic marketing makes sure it does.
How do I use strategic marketing in my business?
To use strategic marketing in your business, you need to define and understand 3 things:
- Your brand;
- Your customers;
- Your market.
Here’s how you go about it.
Understanding the Market
Before you do anything else, you need to understand your market. This means understanding things like…
- Who your competition is
- What their strengths and weaknesses are
- How others market and what works today
- Your own place in the market
You’re likely to know a lot about your market from observation. Broad competitive analysis, detailed SWOT analyses of key competitors, and data-driven research can help you learn more.
On a tactical level, you can learn a lot about the market with tools like Facebook Ad Library (for FB/IG ads) and SEMrush (for PPC/SEO).
One important tip is to look at the market from your target audience’s perspective.
For example, 80% of Instagram users look products on IG before buying them. Many interact with product listings directly on Instagram. If your competition has shoppable Instagram posts or live shopping features, these probably work in your niche – and you need them too.
Understanding Your Customers
Once you understand your market, it’s time to study your customers.
You can do this with customer research and tools like customer avatars. Reaching out to customers with surveys, interviews, and meetings is valuable too.
You may already know your customers, but don’t skip this step. We live in a fast-moving world. It pays to know what your customers want, buy, and expect today; for example…
Not understanding trends like these can cost your business in the long run.
“How can I sell this product?” is a tactical question. But “What else can I do for my customers?” is a strategic one. And that’s what you’re trying to do here.
Understanding Your Brand
Now that you understand your market and customers, it’s time to understand where your brand fits.
This can mean using SWOT and PESTLE analyses. It can mean collecting use stories to understand how consumers connect with your products. It can mean analysing business assets and processes to find unique advantages.
You want to ask questions like…
- What can you do that the competition can’t?
- Which unmet needs and wants can you address?
- What can you do for your customers that nobody else is doing?
- How can marketing help reach your business goals?
The better you “get” where your brand fits with your customers and market, the better your marketing results.
For example, the Silvi e-commerce brand is in the competitive bedding product. By focusing on anti-acne pillowcases and bed linen, they still managed to sell over $350,000 of product in just their first 6 weeks. This is what happens when you understand your brand and its part in your strategic marketing.
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Juggling tactics like SEO, lead generation, and PPC is hard enough. Finding the bandwidth to think about long-term strategy can feel impossible.
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Why not jump on a call with us to see how we can help your business?
If you work with us, we’ll help you create a marketing strategy and turn it into data-driven, creative, and profitable campaigns…
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Create a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is created in four phases: planning, analysis, development, and implementation. This strategy typically includes relevant research on your target audience, the market, and your brand. It also involves analysing the fit between your goals and research findings.
What Happens If I Overlook Strategic Marketing?
Without strategic marketing, you might luck out and run a profitable campaign (or two). But over time, without direction, your marketing efforts will stop delivering ROI. This turns your marketing efforts into a time and/or money sink.
Why Is Strategic Marketing So Vital?
Strategic marketing connects your marketing activities with market realities and your business goals. The result is a high-level, top-down strategy that consistently wins new business. Strong strategic marketing increases ROI, adds to brand value, and grows sales.
What Are the Four Ps of a Marketing Strategy?
The four Ps of strategic marketing are product, promotion, place, and price. Professor E. Jerome McCarthy devised this handy list of marketing elements in 1960. Even today, the same “marketing mix” is used to promote products or services!
Is Strategic Marketing Important for Small Businesses?
Strategic marketing is *especially* important for small businesses. It can give you an outsize advantage over larger competitors with bigger budgets by turning business assets into a competitive edge.