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What’s needed to build a strong marketing strategy?

Creating a winning marketing strategy that takes advantage of the key marketing opportunities available today is challenging because of the pace of change and continuous hype.

Smart Insights offers marketing leaders and business owners practical, strategic advice designed to help them achieve their goals. Our free blog format has a weakness in that although the posts are engaging, it’s difficult to see the big picture of how they relate. That’s why we offer annual and monthly memberships, for marketers looking to get ahead.

To help get you on track with planning, managing and optimizing your marketing strategy, we’ve picked out our top recommendations, so you can start driving results through marketing.

Our 10 marketing strategy success factors

Dan Bosomworth and I  went “back to basics” to work through what is needed for marketing strategy success. We’ve set out this in this manifesto. This is what drives us, what we advise, what we think gives companies a marketing edge. We’d like to know your views – which of our 10 points do you agree most or least with?

1. Digital marketing is marketing

Your marketing can still be successful without digital, after all, you could argue Apple do this. But if you’re not Apple and don’t have huge brand budgets you’re missing opportunities to engage your customers.

Our guess is that your customers and prospective customers are online making decisions about whatever you want to sell to or promote. Often it’s the first place they will go.

Core Module

Structure a plan using the RACE Planning framework

Structure a plan using the RACE Planning framework

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to structure a comprehensive omnichannel marketing plan, using the Smart Insights RACE planning framework

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2. You need a marketing strategy

You can market without a strategy, but likely will miss out on your full potential – see our 10 reasons for a digital marketing strategy. Problem is, there are so many exciting digital channels and options to test, that without focus, you’re wasting precious resources.

Core Module

Digital strategy success factors

Digital strategy success factors

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to define a structure and scope for your omnichannel marketing strategy

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3. Measurement and optimization are your foundation

Thanks to web analytics and a fantastic range of marketing monitoring tools, it’s never been easier to make marketing decisions based on a fact-base. Yet it seems that many don’t take full advantage of the insights available. We hope to help. Test, Learn, Refine is our mantra.

Core Module

Reporting on marketing activities using Google Analytics

Reporting on marketing activities using Google Analytics

Part of the Google Analytics Toolkit

Learn how to use reports to review performance in Google Analytics

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4. Joined-up, customer-centered marketing is essential

There are so many tactics and techniques, that it’s harder than ever to see the wood for the trees. Worse still, many channels become siloed do that we’re marketing around tactics and products rather than customers and integrated campaigns to engage them. We recommend joining up marketing to create high-impact campaigns that have a purpose with the audience front and center and the channels supporting the campaign goals.

Core Module

Assess audience customer journeys

Assess audience customer journeys

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn three alternative techniques for creating customer journey maps

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5. Keep communications human

Understanding customer characteristics, needs and behaviour and then offering relevant value to different groups of customers has always been at the heart of marketing. We love the opportunities digital media give through customer feedback tools to gain insights and then act on them through delivering more relevant communications, products and services – that’s why we’re called Smart Insights.

Core Module

Customer service and success

Customer service and success

Part of the Social media marketing Toolkit

Learn how to review the quality of customer service delivered by online channels and balance this against the cost to serve

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6. Be agile

To get ahead and stay ahead you need to move faster than the other guys. This means following the trends and the latest stats on how new digital platforms are being adopted by consumers and businesses and adaptive strategies to respond. It also means having the core people, process and tools to manage fast-changing marketing challenges efficiently .

Core Module

Define Digital Value Proposition​

Define Digital Value Proposition​

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to craft a powerful Digital Value Proposition (DVP) and how this differs from a brand proposition

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7. Inbound marketing trumps outbound marketing

Customers have control, marketing does not work like it used to, the way many of us first experienced it. Customers search, discuss and share what they’re looking for and what they think. Companies who tap into this are better able to reach and influence prospects. The inbound effect is where people come to you because they’ve heard the value you offer not just through interruptive outbound messages which will always have their place.

Core Module

Define content marketing strategy

Define content marketing strategy

Part of the Content marketing Toolkit

Learn how to develop a content marketing strategy using our content analysis and planning tools

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8. Engagement is the real challenge

So much advice on online marketing focuses on the channels and conversion optimization used to acquire customers. There’s relatively little discussion on building relationships with customers. For us, email marketing and CRM are still very relevant even in the age of social media, and practicing Social CRM is an exciting way to get closer to customers while creating the inbound marketing effect through inspiring, useful content that is easy to re-share.

Core Module

Set up email nurture and retargeting

Set up email nurture and retargeting

Part of the Email marketing and marketing automation Toolkit

Review the options for using email marketing to encourage conversions and sales

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9. Think global, act local

Although we are in the age of the global marketplace, we thankfully retain our cultural differences internationally. Adapting marketing for different cultural norms is often neglected. Remembering that we’re all human and that a customer’s motivation to consider what you’re promoting can also span culture offers huge opportunities to marketers who think about the customer need before the brand sell.

Core Module

Define audience personas

Define audience personas

Part of the Content marketing Toolkit

Learn how to develop a customer persona that can help you to target your marketing more effectively

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10. Markets are conversations

We loved this way back in 1999 when we read it in the The Cluetrain Manifesto. Since then it has become ever more true with the rise in social media. So, “Be Human”.

Core Module

Developing your marketing skills with Smart Insights

Developing your marketing skills with Smart Insights

Part of the Managing digital marketing teams Toolkit

Learn how to develop an action plan for enhancing your own marketing skills

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Transform your marketing strategy in 2021

So these are then 10 guidelines we try to practice through our marketing advice. But, although we’re big fans of best practice to help provide guidance and structure, following trusted formulas shouldn’t be the only approach. To stand out and differentiate from the crowd it’s thinking out-of-the-box is also important. That’s why we continue to publish and update marketing resources to support our members. Find out more about how your business will benefit when you sign up for Smart Insights today.



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