What the Strategy is about and what else a strategist does besides drinking coffee
The Strategist and the Marketing Strategy: What a Strategist Does and a Few Words on Strategy – almost seriously
At the beginning the fundamental question: What is the marketing strategy for?
The easiest answer is: to achieve the goals an organization imposes on you (e.g. the management/the boss/the sales department/the marketing department).
Regardless of how the goals are framed, the factor that will effectively raise your chances of success is a plan. We often use the phrases “to have a plan” and “to have a strategy” synonymously, however, although not every plan has a strategy, every strategy has a plan.
What else could prompt you to have a strategy? Savings! Sometimes it is a goal and sometimes it is a side effect; either way, it is crucial.
Planning activities always allows you to organise processes, thanks to which it is easy to identify moments, which repeat or which have an identical effect, but at a lower cost.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It’s as simple as that.” – Earl Nightingale
Why is a marketing strategy so important?
With a clearly set marketing strategy it will be easier for us to achieve our goals. Both, our employees, as well as external partners, with whom we will have the opportunity to work, will know in what way our company is competitive, who the target group is, and how to measure the efficiency of our actions. The picture of our company will be clear; it will be tangible for contractors and for co-workers.
What is a marketing strategy and what does it comprise?
The marketing strategy
It is a set of actions chosen by management, through which the company aims to achieve their strategic market goals. These goals may apply to conquering new markets, introducing the appropriate products on those markets, raising the share of the company in a given market, raising profits, or creating a positive image of the company. The client is always at the center of marketing strategies, since all of the mentioned goals are concerned with the behaviour of the buyers of the goods and the services offered by the company.
Setting a marketing strategy includes:
- analysing market demand,
- segmenting the market and choosing the target market,
- considering the activities of direct competitors,
- selecting the products to be offered on the market, as well as level and structure of their pricing,
- choosing distribution channels,
- planning promotional actions and additional services.
When choosing a marketing strategy, the company must not only consider the current market situation, but also its own production capacity and material resources, i.e. its financial abilities required for the realization of the chosen strategy, skillset of the staff, and the possession of the necessary materials, resources, and patents (know-how).
An example of a project for one a hotel in Berlin
(a project carried out for one of our clients)
The scope of the conducted tasks:
- strategic audit of the client
- audit of the client’s organization of sales and marketing
- development of a three-year marketing strategy
- support for the client’s sales department during the implementation phase
- coaching of the client’s management team for the implementation of the marketing strategy
- training of all client areas involved
Designing a marketing strategy is both, a creative and, at the same time, an analytic job. A marketing strategy requires creating the right message, creating the product such that it reaches its target group and hard data analysis, drawing conclusions and skilfully improving results.
Responsible for all of this is usually a marketing agency which is believed to be as great as it claims on their website, as they are talked about on corridors in the business world, and/or in marketing departments. However…the most important person heading all of these activities, regardless of whom the task of creating and implementing the marketing strategy is commissioned to, is…the strategist.
The strategist drinks hectolitres of coffee during working hours and sometimes after work only to instil in the mind of the agency-client group a sense of common goal.
The strategist regulates all creative hearts so that they beat in the same rhythm, instils great ideas on fertile, copywriter ground. In short, the strategist is the person who provides shape and meaning to all marketing activities.
The strategist defines the goals.
This fundamental piece of information at the first stage of building a strategy makes a creative strategist go through hoops.
The strategist knows, however, that the goal should always be related to the business goals of the organization. He does not build a strategy just for the sake of building it. Thanks to a strategy, the company achieves the effects it aims for in a faster way.
The strategist harnesses reason (SMART goals) and precision (selects the appropriate KPIs). When e.g. thinking of sales, he shows, by how much exactly and in what time they want to raise them.
Sometimes one goal is not enough – in such cases, the strategist sets a hierarchy and/or a greater level of detail.
The strategist gets to know the competition.
The great market saturation, the Internet revolution, and global warming (the last one in the smallest extent, however) cause that finding a client, enchant him, and binding their client heart to our brand is not easy.
The strategist knows that it is extremely difficult to find a niche in the branch and that upon one click, a potential customer receives a list of all major companies that matter in a given branch.
The strategist sits and checks. The more they know about what your competitors are doing, the smarter the client leads their own business.
Where does the strategist start? With the most simple of things. He identifies the competition with which he fights for ranking in the search engine and benchmark war. A benchmarks is a website that is leader in the industry both, in terms of sales and high quality traffic. The tools listed below help him.
Link analysis: MajesticSeo, Ahrefs
Analysis of phrases and visibility: Senuto, SemStorm, SearchMetrics
Traffic analysis and estimation: SimilarWeb
Mentions and activities of social media: Buzz Sumo, Sotrender, Brand24
A comprehensive tool: SEO PowerSuite
In the next steps, the strategist prepares an analysis of the product offer. He checks what the client offers to customers and to exactly whom the offer is addressed, what the client’s area of activity is, its pricing policy and distribution channels. One of the first steps of a clever strategist is subscribing to competition’s newsletters.
The strategist meets the consumer
The consumer is the essence of all strategy, because in the end all activities are centered around him. The strategist collects information about him, studies his habits, and gets to know the consumer’s thoughts and feelings, which sometimes goes so deep that it reaches the consumer’s subconsciousness.
A good strategist knows a number of approaches to building a strategy, as well as many helpful tools. A clever strategist does not only listen to himself; he engages all people who are in touch with clients, thanks to which he obtains a complete picture, both in demographic and psychographic terms.. The website and data from Google Analytics as well as from the company’s fan page are also a mine of knowledge for the strategist.
The strategist launches the next artillery of helpful tools:
- User Persona Creator
Finally, he chops up the whole consumer body into different sectors and groups. He chooses the fillet piece best matching the task at hand, and then observes the selected consumer group under all its facets.
A good strategist knows the consumer’s needsbetter than the consumer’s mother. However, the similarities end at this point, because unlike a mother, a strategist makes use of the knowledge gained without any scruples.
He sits, lurks, and busily turns the consumer’s innermost desires, hidden fears and even completely innocent habits into the foundations of an effective strategy.
When he finally reveals it to the world, you, dear consumer, will have no other choice, but to begin desiring the advertised brand. When a skilful strategist points his marketing canons at you, you are lost; the brand will encourage you to play; exactly when you are bored, they will invite you to eat a delicious cake when you fancy eating something sweet and they will whisper in your ear that it is good to be yourself at times when you need to build up your self-esteem.
The strategist takes a look into your wallet.
Well, that’s it! Budget and resources are critical elements of the strategy. The strategist knows that the marketing strategy is a long-term (at least an annual – and often even 5-year) investment that requires a decent budget and the work of the entire team.
The strategist asks himself the question: how to choose the budget?
Bare minimum budget – extinguishing a fire: it will allow you to slowly organize processes and communication, but you should rather not think of a broad reach.
optimum budget: as the name suggests, this is the budget thanks to which you can achieve your goals comfortably by evenly scheduling them in time, dividing them into all necessary communication channels, corresponding to the needs of recipients and companies.
Leader’s budget: in this case, the task is clear: you want to be the first in the industry. This will not happen if the company’s budget does not reflect this. When estimating expenditures, the strategist will first compare them to the competition‘s expenses, taking into account the additional effortrequired for counter measures when the competition reacts to the campaign.
The strategist develops ways to link the product with the consumer..
The brand is the principle of order in the chaos of market data, consumer needs, product characteristics and the characteristics of competitors’ brands. The brand has many dimensions.
Its logotype is more obvious and clearly visible, but what is more important in the brand is what you can not see and what consumers have in their heads and hearts.
In moments when the strategist wants to influence someone, he calls upon beliefs, sensations and emotions that the average consumer links with the brand and its image.
The image of the brand becomes particularly important when the market is rich and consumers have many products to choose from (think about yogurts, jeans and candy bars, but also about cars, banks).
In situations, when products no longer differ in price, quality, or functional features, soft factors decide which ones will end up in the consumer’s basket. Such factors are based on how much the values, emotions, and associations with a given brand appeal to the consumer.
He chooses brands that appear to be the most attractive to him.
Hence, the best thing a Strategist can do is to build a brand positioning around a set of values, emotions, information and associations that the consumer should have in mind.
Now, the last thing that needs to be done is to find an effective way to instil the chosen positioning into the consumers’ heads and hearts. The state of a strategic bliss and marketing success ensures compatibility between the image and the positioning. Then consumers reach for products of a well-positioned brand with great enthusiasm and satisfaction.
The strategy goes to war: about campaigns.
The strategist already knows what type of consumer he is interested in, knows the consumer’s psyche like his own pocket and knows better than the consumer himself, i.e. why the consumer drives an Audi, why he does not like radish, and he plays golf, although he does not like to.
On the table, next to the consumer target group’s wallet, there also lies a ready-made brand positioning. Now, to become a marketing success, one only needs to find a way to inform the consumer about it.
The strategist starts to create a communication strategy and look for copywriters. The communication strategy changes the positioning of the brand into its image.
First, it is necessary to decide on the channels that the brand will communicate with the consumer, i.e. on the selection of media. Again, the golden rule is very obvious: the brand’s story has to be told where potential consumers can hear it..
With the decisions about the type of media, the Strategist is almost ready to call the creative ones … he just has to think about what to tell them.
The strategist is looking for The Great Idea, an idea that will become the main topic of all the messages that make up the campaign.
If everything goes according to the plan, then the Great Idea, like informational sediment, a trace or echo, will stay in the consumers’ minds long time after watching the advertisement.
The Great Idea needs to be simple but also credible; thus, the strategist’s task is to provide arguments that will convince the consumer. Now, finally, the time has come to confront the creative department, which turns the brilliant strategy into noticeable advertising.
The idea is the most important. It should be attractive, rich, and associated with the product. Oh, the whole secret of strategy.
It has to infect like a flu virus, have the simplicity of a chisel and a charm that even the most over-stimulatedconsumer cannot resist.
People, in their vast majority, want the world to be simple and unambiguous. Advertising provides them with a vision similar to their ideal. Therefore, the main tasks of a strategist are to skillfully simplify the reality and adapt it to the consumer’s needs on the one hand, and to the actual product features on the other.
The strategist is now in possession of all necessary data, so he can proceed to plan the activities in time (remember the beginning of the article?). Whatever tool he is using, the plan should answer the following questions:
What?– what types of content will be used
To whom? – matching the types of content to person
Why?– reminding of the needs, context, and objections of the recipients
When? – matching the publication time to the recipients
How? – which channels will reach with communication (earned, owned, paid)
Now there is only one stage left – the evaluation, i.e. the systematic analysis and evaluation of the progress and effectiveness of the strategist’s actions.
The strategist knows that he needs to collect and analyzeall information and adjust the strategy accordingly.
Why? The main reason is the changing environment, which the strategist affects himself by his campaign. Acting online has to do with changing algorithms, with competition, emerging new solutions and disappearing companies. By not validating their actions at least once a month of, the strategist deprives himself of valuable knowledge that can be decisive for the success of his campaign – or his client.
Finally, if you find some irony somewhere within this article, please feel free to keep it 😉 And if you didn’t I still hope you had a good read.