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Why a Marketing Strategy Always Matters. Always.   |   August 22, 2013

If you do any kind of business online—and these days, one would be hard-pressed to find a business that didn’t—then it’s critical to map out your integrated marketing strategy to achieve maximum ROI for the best dollar spend.

Marketing Matters in a Digital Age

Marketing—even historically—was never an easy task (why do you think the execs in Mad Men drank so much, hint, hint?) But with the growing importance of technology in the marketing schematic—data-driven customer management, PPC advertising, personalized marketing automation, social listening and 1-to-1 social media communication, a strategic marketing plan has become a non-negotiable.

Still, it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the possibilities for online marketing. PPC, SEO, SEM, content, social media, email, marketing automation, web design, PR, brand journalism, the list goes on. Oh yes, did we mention you still have a business and customers to attend to?

At our agency, we see a lot of variation in the marketing needs of our clients, who represent a broad variety of industries. Not surprisingly, the key to understanding and setting marketing priorities really stems from understanding just how important the online aspect is to business.

If you run a completely online business, then your marketing and online spend will compose the majority of the business cost—and it’s mission critical to make sure you get the mix right. Businesses that consist of some type of local presence-online blend have a different set of hurdles to cross—namely how your online marketing seamlessly supports offline or in-person sales efforts.

Regarding the “Strategy” Part in Marketing Strategy

With so many different directions you could run with marketing, may we stress the importance of strategy.

Marketing, at its best, is not a headless series of tactics and campaigns. Any and every tactical effort must anchor in a strategy that mirrors the business strategy. How else can you have any basis for understanding ROI?What is the product? Who is the target market? How will the product answer a need?When is the right time to purchase? Why purchase this particular product over its competitors?

Strategy requires taking a global view of the company and its core offerings, understanding the needs of various target market segments, and acting on insight from customer buying behaviors to build an integrated effort that attracts and develops warm leads, turns them into sales, and secures customers as repeat buyers.

This is where it’s critical to understand the field of professional marketing. In an age of specialization, marketing has splintered into a vast spectrum of consultants, agencies and firms that understand a piece of the marketing pie—and we love specialists!

But to get the kind of strategy that encompasses all of the facets, guides a business in the most strategic effort and then orchestrates and project manages that effort, you usually have to look to the major agencies and be prepared to pay buco bucks. This, quite frankly, is what puts “big agency thinking” on a tier of its own.

Mid-sized and larger companies usually already have some internal marketing infrastructure in place, but even then, will rely on outsourced marketing to fill in the gaps. When it comes to marketing efforts at any level, your best bet will be to find that strategic marketer who understands all of your various needs, and then holistically helps you prioritize and address them.

What shape is your marketing strategy in?