There is a lot of confusion about what a marketing strategy really is. Business leaders hear the term used by so many professionals who have very different skill sets and offer very different products, so it is not surprising that this confusion exists. Hopefully this post will add some clarity for you.
As the image at the top of this post shows, a marketing strategy should guide all aspects of your marketing. More often than not, professionals providing specific types of marketing products will say they provide a marketing strategy but what they mean is they provide a messaging strategy. There is a big difference: Your messaging strategy ensures that you are sharing a consistent message across all platforms and media. This is sometimes referred to as an advertising strategy because it focuses on promotion.
But marketing is not just about promotion or advertising, and your marketing strategy needs to go well beyond messaging to address all of the aspects of your business that impact business growth and brand development. You may have heard of “The Five P’s of Marketing” which are illustrated in the image below, and describe the five areas a marketing strategy must cover.
As this image illustrates, People – your target audience – are at the center of all marketing efforts, and it is the focus on People that connects everything else. However, all of the other components of your marketing strategy – together – support the flow of people to your business, as this illustration implies. Promotion includes (but is not limited to) your messaging but, while an a messaging strategy is necessary, it is not sufficient on its own. Without a strategy that addresses the other four areas as well, even the best messaging strategy would fail to build your business. This is why most business owners can spend a lot of time, energy, and money on advertising but see little result.
So, a marketing strategy is one that addresses all five areas, and is advertising platform agnostic or independent. A business strategy consultant who focuses on marketing and has the expertise and experience to optimize your business growth can provide a complete marketing strategy. If your marketing agency does not have such a person on their team, they are likely providing a messaging strategy, not a marketing strategy.
Do you need a better marketing strategy? We can help! Contact us. We’d be happy to assist.