Marketing ‘road maps’ and why you need one

marketing strategy is like a road map

In my experience, there’s nothing that pales faces quicker than the words ‘marketing strategy’. Generally, it’s because people aren’t entirely sure what a marketing strategy is, and whilst they’ve been told it’s a good idea to have one, they are unsure how to start, unclear on what to include and doubtful whether it will be worthwhile / effective.

So what is a marketing strategy?

One dictionary definition of a marketing strategy is, “A marketing strategy combines all of a company’s marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. It should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business.”

In other words, a marketing strategy is your marketing’s road map and the directions your company’s marketing should follow to find the customers and sales it wants (in both new and existing markets) to achieve its business objectives.

Why have a marketing strategy?

Imagine taking a journey by car across the UK. You could set out immediately with enthusiasm, a vague idea of your destination and the route you will take.

Chances are, you’ll get distracted by something on the way and stop for a while. You’ll probably take a wrong turning, wasting time and fuel. You might start wondering what the point of the journey is. And if you do arrive, the destination might not live up to your expectations.

Plotting your route on a map, with directions and key stages marked out means you will be much more focused. You will know where you are going and what you plan to achieve by both getting there and the journey itself. Pre-planning the route means you know the places you’ll pass, the points of interest you will explore and mark off the ‘check points’ to both ensure your journey progresses on track and so you know when you’ve arrived!

A marketing strategy is just like the car journey. It helps you explore all the different options; which people and markets you want to reach; how to avoid/compete with/outsmart competitors; the new markets you’d like to test. Accompanying it with a marketing plan is like the detailed instructions you write out (or your Sat Nav gives you). It plots what you will do and when. Your marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) are the marketing results you measure to make sure you are on track.

It’s also important to remember that like a car journey, things can change. New regulations come into force; a competitor launches a new product; or you see an opportunity to go in a slightly different direction. With a marketing strategy and plan, that’s OK as you can re-route to take advantage of them. Your results measurement will often give you advance warning of something on the horizon for you to pre-empt and take early action.

What makes a great marketing strategy?

  1. Marketing strategies and plans should be living documents. They should be used and reviewed regularly.
  2. A marketing strategy and plan needs to have clear objectives – both for knowing you’ve reached your final destination as well as to check progress along the way.
  3. Everything within a marketing strategy and plan should be manageable, otherwise it will be ignored.
  4. It should be possible to measure and monitor all aspects within it.
  5. A great marketing strategy has a realistic budget. Great marketing strategies and plans use ideas, tools, techniques and tactics that maximise the return from every penny.

If you would like to combat your phobia of marketing strategies or would like to make your current one more effective, then do get in touch.  Contact Hannah on 01283 808460 | for a no-obligation chat to discuss your marketing road map and what you’d like to achieve from it.