As discussed in my last article, marketing is more than just putting up signs and slapping your name on something. It’s much deeper than that! Strategic marketing comes down to understanding how people work and investing time into activities that are aligned with those things.
In this article we will discuss another important part of strategic marketing — what makes it worthy the term “marketing.” To make sure you have all the right terms, here are some definitions.
Strategic marketing refers to the process of finding out who your audience is, and then using that information to create content they want, advertise products or services to them, and promote your product through various channels (social media, word-of-mouth, etc.).
This is very different from traditional direct marketer tactics like advertising or spamming. These types of strategies are not designed to help you connect with new audiences, but instead to get as many clicks for yourself or your competitor.
Market research is an integral part of any strategic marketing campaign, which brings us back to our topic.
As we have seen, marketing is not advertising. Advertising is one tool in your arsenal, but it should be done with discretion.
Marketing includes all non-advertising activities that promote your product or service. These include things like social media postings, supporting articles and blogs about your products and services, sharing pictures and videos about your company, responding to comments and questions you’ve received from previous interactions, etc.
All these activities are important parts of promoting your business because they cost nothing extra. You do not need special equipment to produce engaging content. All you need is an internet connection and some creative juices going!
Furthermore, these can easily be done outside of work hours so they do not take away from other areas of your life. Your colleagues will likely appreciate the effort you put into promoting your company.
These are all part of what I refer to as “marketing intelligence.” They help you learn more about your market and yourself as a brand leader.
What is marketing?
Marketing is not about telling people to do things or spending money trying to get them to buy what you have to offer. That would be advertising, which is definitely not strategic.
Instead, it’s creating an environment where your customers find yourself doing things that are profitable for you. It’s establishing relationships with these new buyers so that they keep coming back.
That’s why marketing isn’t just about TV commercials or print advertisements, though those types of media can play important roles in building your business.
It includes everything from offering rewards and incentives to online ads, social media postings, influencer outreach, and more.
A few years ago, there was an explosion of ‘marketing’ strategies and tools. Now that boom has slowed down to a trickle.
What is the difference?
Marketing used to be considered anything from advertising to telling people about your company and its products. But today it has become much more specific than that.
These days, experts use the term “marketer” or “marketing professional” to refer to someone who takes a systematic approach to creating and executing marketing campaigns. This person is also referred to as a marketer, advertiser, brand strategist, communicator, etc.
And while all these terms have their place, they can sometimes get mixed up.
Generalizing like crazy isn't helpful. So let's make sure we know what the difference is!
Creating a marketing plan is definitely one of the most important things marketers do. And if you're not quite sure whether your job fits into this category, don't worry - that's totally normal!
But before you can call yourself a "marketing professional," you'll need to understand the fundamentals of what makes up a good marketing strategy.
Being able to market is not like being able to cut costs or increase sales, it’s more like learning how to play chess. You don’t just go into a room full of people and try to win by brute force.
You have to know when to move your pieces and when to put yourself in a position where you can gather intel or make a push for a deal. It takes strategy.
And while marketing isn’t necessarily an easy skill to learn, someone who knows what tricks of the trade are must be done well if they want to keep up with the ever-changing field.
It’s great to know some basics, but thinking about ways to promote a product or service means doing research and figuring out which tactics will work best for your audience and your company.
That’s why there so many cases of companies that seem to spend lots of money on advertising only to see little–if any–return. They marketed using strategies that have already been tried and failed time and time again.
The professionals know when to use them and how much should be spent on each one.
With the explosion of social networking sites, it is easy to get distracted by all the ways you can market through them. While creating an account at each site is almost always worth it, using these accounts for marketing purposes comes down to what your business is trying to achieve.
Making a profile on LinkedIn, for example, will help you connect with other professionals in your field. Using Facebook for businesses means that you can create pages where people can interact and discuss products and services.
By having conversations in this setting, you can gain insights into what people want and need from your competitors’ offerings. By being interactive, you also give yourself exposure since everyone else would be looking at your page!
These sites are definitely not set up to make money, but they do provide valuable information about how to improve your business. It’s important to remember that use of social media for marketing doesn’t just happen automatically. You have to put time into it.
A strong marketing strategy begins with knowing who your audience is and what they want. You will find that most businesses have never marketed to anyone but their own self-interests!?
This is very limiting, and not effective in the long run. The best way to market a product or service is by thinking about it from someone else’s perspective – how would this benefit them?
By doing this, you open up your eyes to new ways to convey information about your products and services. You become more creative, and look for opportunities to spread your message. This can be done through social media, word of mouth, advertisements, etc.
Your potential customers will begin to see you as an expert in your field, which is one of the first steps towards buying something from you. Plus, being aware of other people’s needs gives you an edge over competitors who may think they know better than you do.
Strategy always includes having a goal, so make sure you are constantly looking at what tools you have to help you reach yours.
A few years ago, marketing was not as focused as it is today. Companies would spend most of their time trying to get people to buy their products or services rather than determining who their targeted audience was.
With the growth of the internet, however, marketers have found new ways to connect with potential customers. Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter give way for companies to advertise their products to different audiences, which has become very common.
However, there are times when advertising online can feel more like spamming instead of targeting an appropriate audience. This is why having a good understanding of what types of markets you want to reach is so important.
It is not enough just to know that your product works if you are looking to sell it to everyone- you need to know how to position it in order to appeal to a specific audience first.
A few weeks ago, I gave you my tips for how to boost your social media presence through sharing, liking, commenting and messaging. While those are all important ways to connect with others online, marketing is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal.
That’s why I asked you if you were doing anything else to market your business. Are you investing in new equipment or software? Conducting research and gathering information about yourself and your product? Finding out who your competitors are and what works for them?
All of these things are part of developing a marketing strategy, but some people get confused about the difference between marketing and strategizing.
The term “marketing” can sometimes be used interchangeably with “advertising.” Sometimes it even seems like more marketers use jargon than leaders. This makes it hard to understand exactly what they mean when they talk about marketing.
So let me make this clear: marketing isn’t advertising. Marketers create strategies to promote your company, not products. They don’t focus only on creating eye-catching ads, instead thinking about ways to spread your message to as many people as possible.
What is strategic marketing, then? Strategic marketing is using every tool at your disposal to achieve your long-term goals.