Marketing requires strategy – what is yours?

One thing is to market your business. Something else is to have a marketing strategy. Most people do the first part – not everyone does the second. And even though some might experience a bit of success without giving it more thought, marketing without strategy is mostly the same:

A waste of resources. Simple like that.

Let’s start from the top: the business strategy. It creates guidelines for all your business activities. Across everything.

Many management teams have therefore internalized the idea that a company should only have one strategy.

But today it makes way more sense to have a sales strategy, a communication strategy, a HR strategy, and a marketing strategy.

Your marketing strategy can be designed as part of your overall business strategy, or it can be created as separate material for your marketing team. Either way, one thing is certain: it should be there.

“Clearly defined marketing strategies improve the effectiveness of the marketing work that is implemented in everyday life,” says Ronni Madsen, Chief Creative Officer at Generaxion. 

“If you have to think about why, what and for whom at every campaign, you waste time and energy”.

What does the marketing strategy include?

The easiest way to bring the various components of your strategy together is by asking questions. The right questions. Then you can let the answers to them form the framework for your marketing strategy.

1. Why do we exist?

A slightly existential start – but also the most important question. By defining a purpose for your company’s existence, you quickly find the concrete long-term value in what you do as a company. In a way that your customers – current and potential – understands.

Such a so-called mission statement may sound a bit lofty, but a few clearly formulated main messages, which your marketing communication can take as a starting point, form the strongest possible foundation for your marketing strategy.

2. Who are we selling to?

Selection, definition, and knowledge of target groups as prerequisites for successful marketing can hardly be mentioned too many times. Which needs do the company’s services best meet? What unites the individuals, groups or companies that have these needs? 
A company can easily become comfortable with the idea that it knows its customers and their expectations or ways of working – and in the whirlwind of everyday life also forget that customer understanding needs to be updated and increased continuously.
“Customer expectations for, for example, digital services or new types of products change rapidly. Often due to competitors’ actions, new distribution channels or other changes in the market environment”, says Mads Jakobsen, Head of Strategy & Client Management at Generaxion.

“If you want to react effectively to it in your marketing – not to mention proactive planning – you must assess the needs or behavior of the target groups on an ongoing basis”. 

A common mistake made by many companies is to define the target group too broadly: it rarely makes sense to direct marketing to, for example, “all over 18 years who are interested in food”.  

Ronni Madsen also warns about defining the target group too narrowly.

“A business can easily make its market unnecessarily narrowly. For example, one of our new customers did not think that his own product range would be of interest to young adults at all. But a few tests quickly showed that their products appealed to younger consumers who are into ecology and timeless design.”

3. What factors differentiate us from our competitors?

Der kan være mange eller få forskelle mellem virksomheder, brands og produktsortimenter, men det er væsentligt at afklare, hvilke af disse forskelle kunderne finder troværdige og meningsfulde.  

Hvilke rationelle grunde får kunderne til at vælge vores service eller produkt? Og hvilke følelsesmæssige og konkurrencemæssige fordele har vi sammenlignet med andre?

”Når disse kendetegn bliver anerkendt og styrket i virksomhedens drift, kan strategisk markedsføring øge værdien af ​​brandet,” siger Ronni Madsen. Han fortsætter, at selv i de køb, hvor de rationelle aspekter er i centrum, kan følelser i høj grad påvirke den endelige beslutning.

“Customers commit to brands that they feel are relevant and that meet their needs – and this increases long-term demand”, says Ronni.  

If you, as a company, are not quite sure why you are being chosen, Ronni suggests just asking current customers. “It is always worth trying to find out the reasons why a company is not selected or that deals are lost. It gives marketing confidence to highlight important issues in communication.” 

4. What is your marketing goal?

The goals for marketing are closely linked to the entire company’s goals. Does your company work e.g. “only” to maintain its market position – or to achieve strong sales growth? Or are you aiming for a foothold in completely new market areas?

Once the desired business goals for the next year or so are clear, let’s get down to what kind of marketing efforts can be used to achieve them. These goals should be linked to clear metrics.  
“Are your day-to-day marketing efforts meeting the strategic goals that are being aimed for? It’s something you simply must check from time to time – even when things are going well”, says Ronni Madsen.

Update your strategy – when it is required

How do you as a business recognize a situation where you should stop and update your marketing strategy? Most obvious: when something in the market changes. Often it only requires small adjustments.  

Mads Jakobsen points out that strategic and complete “turnarounds” are only rarely necessary. Adjustments and minor changes should be made in everyday life, and the strategy developed as needed – without large workshops.

“Often a few well-founded discussions between key people are sufficient. As a business partner, we provide e.g. to constantly analyze and take our observations to our customers.

​​The overview is created at the beginning of the collaboration

At the start of a new partnership with Generaxion, a brand team often makes an overall overview of the customer’s entire marketing. 
“We thoroughly assess the customer’s touch points, i.e. the website and the presence on social media, as well as the paid marketing there might be. We collect observations on both content and technical issues. Our analysis typically also covers the competitors’ activities and the digital demand for the industry”, says Mads Jakobsen.

The observations become the basis for decisions – the more business areas, the more comprehensive. 

“The customer naturally decides which of the measures we recommend should be implemented. Usually, the first things to fix are obvious and will save budget and increase the effectiveness of marketing”, says Mads Jakobsen. 

The marketing plan translates strategic choices into practice

The marketing plan is a concrete “playbook” for every day, which decides on target group-specific initiatives: desired effects, message content, media selection and measurements. 
“The measures are aimed at key points in the customer’s purchase journey and together form a strategic framework for our marketing. Some of the measures are focused on short-term result expectations, while others build long-term efficiency”, describes Ronni Madsen. 

“Strategy is the backbone that keeps the everyday work of marketing in place. When target groups, competitive advantages and long-term goals are clarified, the marketing plan’s initiatives will not stray into side roads”, concludes Ronni Madsen.