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What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is the overall game plan for growing your business through marketing – and it’s the plan of action every business needs to succeed.

Here’s something you might not know: energy drink Red Bull is an Austrian company. It was founded in the mid-1980s by a man named Dietrich Mateschitz, a European businessman who wanted to break into the lucrative soft drink business, who also enjoyed skiing.

Red Bull, which is based on a traditional Thai energy drink recipe, was first launched in Austrian ski resorts, as an energy drink that would enable skiers to stay on the slopes longer.

And there it would have stayed had it not been for a brilliant marketing strategy.

Red Bull’s initial marketing strategy identified that to compete with the big global soft drink brands, it would have to appear American. Red Bull began sponsoring US sporting events; its branding became US-centric.

So successful was this strategy that now most Americans assume Red Bull is a true-blue USA company.

There are many reasons why since its launch, more than 100 billion cans of Red Bull have been sold worldwide, but the fact remains that without an excellent marketing strategy this little Austrian company would never have gotten off the ground, let alone been given wings to fly.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is the overall game plan for growing your business through marketing.

It includes strategies for acquiring new customers, retaining and increasing the spend of existing customers, and building long-term sustainable growth.

Marketing strategies include elevating your brand and value proposition, identifying demographics, and researching the market and competitors’ positioning and marketing activities. It’s high-level marketing work.

Marketing strategies take in what we in the biz call the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

Marketing strategy vs marketing plan

They sound like they could be the same thing, but are actually quite different.

A marketing strategy is over-arching and covers all aspects of your business’s marketing activity. It focuses on defining marketing goals and the assets and resources required to achieve them. It involves research into the marketplace, consumer activity, and the positioning of competitors in the sector.

A marketing plan, on the other hand, details the steps you decide to take to reach those goals. They normally take in details of the marketing mix, which might include elements such as social media posting, paid search engine advertising, a print campaign, and in-store promotional activity.

For marketing to be successful, it’s necessary to consider both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

Without the high-level detail of a marketing strategy, how will you know what activities to plan out? And without a strategy directing it, a marketing plan can quickly turn messy and ineffective.

Marketing strategy vs marketing tactic

Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty.

We know that a marketing strategy defines our goals and vision; we know that a marketing plan maps out how we’re going to get there. Now, marketing tactics specify how to put this marketing plan into action.

Marketing tactics might involve collaborations with social media influencers; it might be timing your social media activity for when parents are on their phones waiting for the school bell to ring; it could be placing a television advertisement in a program that supports your branding.

Again, while marketing strategies are different, they cannot exist without each other. Every marketing tactic employed should be aligned with and support the marketing strategy.

Benefits of a marketing strategy

The standout benefit of a marketing plan is that it identifies your competitive advantage. It essentially outlines how you’ll stand out from the crowd.

A marketing strategy is also an integral part of brand building. It reflects the values of your brand and your business’s core proposition.

On a very tangible level, a marketing strategy allows you to plan out the marketing resources required – that can be the technical requirements but also human resources. This allows for more effective budgeting and means that money is spent on what will yield the greatest results.

Speak to the marketing strategy experts

Red Bull might never have become the powerhouse drink it is today – in fact, energy drinks as we know them may very well never have been invented – had a marketing professional not been called in to develop the company’s marketing strategy. It was during the research process that they discovered the importance of Americanising the marketing.

Take home lesson: marketing strategies are essential; they’re most effective when developed by professionals.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with extensive experience developing marketing strategies that deliver real business growth.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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