Marketing 101: 5 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy that Moves the Needle

11/15/2017 RRD

Marketing 101: 5 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy that Moves the Needle

When creating an initial marketing strategy, it’s hard to know where to begin. The options of how to spend your budget through both traditional and digital channels are endless and ever-changing.

There isn’t a universal recipe to build a marketing strategy that will get the most ROI out of your advertising dollars, but finding the right multichannel mix is obtainable if you take a tactical approach. Whether you are the owner of a mom-and-pop business or the CMO of a Fortune 500, here are five steps you need to know to create a marketing strategy that moves the needle.


1. Identify your audience.

Just like recognizing what products and services you have to offer, establishing your target audience is key before crafting your strategy. Develop a persona of your brand’s ideal customer through interviews or customer data in order to define who you are trying to reach. Consider demographics (e.g. age, gender, income), location, and behavioral data (e.g. people who are frequent customers versus infrequent customers).

2. Choose a mix of advertising channels.

After recognizing who you are going to reach, evaluate where they consume media. It’s imperative to avoid assumptions such as “Millennials only interact with digital channels,” and “older consumers rely on traditional media.” Actually, deploying both print and digital tactics can be effective across generations.

The research company LaunchLeap paneled a group of 18-to 35-year-olds about how they respond to television ads on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, and the results were quite different than some might expect. The overall average was 4.1 stars, indicating TV is still an effective marketing tool to connect with Millennials. In addition, research debunks myths about Millennials and direct mail. USPS Mail Moments found that 64% of Millennials would rather scan direct mail for useful information than email. Consider all options before making a decision on where to start spending.

3. Create a plan.

Your overall marketing strategy is a flexible blueprint to reach a certain goal and is different from a marketing plan. Once you have a marketing strategy, you will need a marketing plan outlining the specifics.

Devising your marketing plan can be the hardest task of all. While it’s important to use a mix of options, keep it simple. If you launch your marketing campaign with too many advertising media, it will be difficult to measure what is working (without doing a professional study). Plus you need a sufficient budget for each to get realistic results. A basic plan to activate your marketing will be both effective and affordable.

4. Measure preliminary results.

Tracking data is vital to continuing to move the needle with your marketing strategy. The annual CMO Survey predicts that in the next three years, spending on marketing analytics will jump from 4.6% to nearly 22% — a 376% increase.

A chart showing the expected budget growth in marketing analytics.

Data is like DNA, telling a story and providing insight into where your budget is best utilized. Within your data, pinpoint the key performance indicators that will measure successes. KPIs for direct mail include response rate, conversion rate, and lifetime customer value, among others. Digital KPIs will vary depending on the channel, but examples include engagement, traffic, and conversions.

5. Optimize your strategy.

After thoroughly examining data from your pilot marketing strategy, you are ready to make revisions. Remember that your initial setup is a rough draft. Once you have figures to conclude results, this is the time to shift budget between channels in addition to making tweaks to the campaigns already running.

Another approach to make decisions about potential adjustments is through A/B testing, which allows two variables to be performed against each other to see which yields the best results. For digital campaigns, you might experiment with colors of a button or content on a landing page. For direct mail, you might test format and copy. This infographic from Visual Website Optimizer claims the right testing methods can result in as much as a 300% uptick in conversion rates.

Even if these steps feel overwhelming, remember this outline provides guidelines for setting up your strategy, and it can be tailored for both small companies and large corporations.

Contact us to learn more about creating custom multichannel marketing solutions for your business.

This post was originally published November 15, 2017.


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