If your marketing is limited to tactics, your organisation may be at risk
A common misconception is that marketing = pushing out products via adverts, other campaigns, sales activation, social media posts, emails, etc.
BUT these are marketing tactics. If your marketing is limited to them, you expose your organisation to big existential risks.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”— Sun Tzu, author of the famous book, The Art of War.
It is like going for a holiday trip without knowing your destination and route. How will you know what to pack and whether you have reached your destination? Will you be able to stay there for the desired period and enjoy it?
You need very different preparation, resources and luggage if you are going to Sweden, than if you are going to India for example. And there are certainly locations you may want to avoid, such as war zones.
Marketing informs much more fundamental decisions before you get to tactics and campaigns.
Brand is also part of marketing. Not a separate discipline. Branding (such as logos, signs, symbols, brand colours and design), is part of your brand but not all of it.
The Elements of organisation-wide strategic direction
Some of the fundamental decisions dirven by or informed by marketing:
– How to segment the market, i.e. how to identify the groups that are most open to your organization’s proposition and offering, and that you can find and reach via your marketing plans. This is usually done based on factors like geography, demographic, customer challenges and behaviour.
– Most fruitful audiences for you. What audiences would give you the highest value returns* and impact benefits** per marketing spend?
* Example: stay with you for longer, use additional products or services, refer others to you
** Example: protect more ecosystems and communities or influence more organisations to adopt circular solutions
– Players and other factors on the market that affect the organisation’. Who offers similar or alternative products/services to yours? What are the unmet needs on the market?
An organisation’s macro and micro environment
– What products and services should you offer? What do you need to convince and convert your target audiences on? What do you want to be known for?
– Is there enough market/demand for your offering? Would people buy your product or service?
– Markets to test, penetrate, expand on, detract from. For example: sustainability measurement and certification, supplier engagement, Europe, US, Asia, etc.
– What pricing strategy should you have? How much margin can you make? Will you be a low-cost or value-for-money brand?
– How will you create superior value? What reasoning, perceptions and emotions will move your customers to choose or support your offering or cause over others?
– How will your brand reflect your vision, mission and values?
– How will you amplify and protect your brand?
– What is the distinctive value that you offer? How are you different? How will you communicate and back up your distinctiveness/differentiation in a compelling way?
– How will you distribute your product (e.g. physical or online shop, mail order, e-commerce, partners)
– What should the customer journey and customer experience look like? What touchpoints (platforms, channels, people etc.) do you need for it?
– What strategy will you use for your channels to engage, convince or convert your key audiences (e.g. social media strategy, SEO strategy)?
– When are the key times to engage with your target audiences (e.g. when are they making budget-related decisions, what external events can help amplify your efforts)? What narratives and external events will you use to reach them?
– What data and measurement do you need to plan, deliver and evaluate your marketing strategy and plans? How will you comply with privacy regulations in your marketing?
– What resources and governance do you need for your marketing?
– What assumptions are you making (e.g. about our target audiences’ pain points and decion-making process)?
– How will you manage marketing-related risk, e.g. reputation risk stemming from social media?
– Test, learn & refine strategy and plans do you need to verify hypothesis, and improve effectiveness and efficiency?
These decisions shape your whole organisation, not just your marketing. Here’s a helpful marketing strategy framework to help guide you through them and:
– Propel your organisation and impact
– Drive resilience, cross-team synergies and efficiencies.
Marketing strategy pillars
If making sustainability claims, ensure you are well familiar with the Green Claims Code (in the UK) or similar regulation relevant to your geography. Remember to liaise with relevant functions in your organisation that lead environmental and social processes, products and services to ensure that your marketing and communications reflect the reality and are sufficiently substantiated.
Just like you need to liaise with functions driving privacy compliance to ensure your marketing reflects regulations such as the Guide to UK GDPR and the cookie rules from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.
To have a scalable and sustainable impact (operations and mission-wise), it’s vital that you are clear on who you need to reach/convince/convert, and where, when and how to engage with these audiences. This requires plans, measurement, resources, skills, data and governance. This way, you can build trust and win hearts and minds.
Strategic marketing allows you to do exactly that.
See how Slavina Marketing helps brands leverage holistic marketing to boost clarity, focus and impact.