When Marketing Is Strategy: Niraj Dawar

Strategic marketing is not about buying lots of expensive media to broadcast your brand’s message to people. It's not spending money on advertising to get more clicks for your website or app. And it's definitely not paying too much attention to what competitors are doing.

These are all tactical, or lower-level strategies that can be effective when applied properly, but they won't necessarily create long term success for you or your business.

Strategic marketing is instead about using consistently high-quality tools and methods to promote your company and product in ways that will genuinely help you achieve your business goals.

It includes everything from investing in technology to grow your business, to finding new ways to connect with other people to generate referrals and traffic.

This isn't limited to digital tools either. For example, social media is a powerful tool for marketers (and everyone else!). But investing time and resources into this medium won't bring you success if you're just trying to gain followers. You'll have to figure out how to use these features to generate results beyond simply "likes" and "+1s."

There are many different types of strategic marketing, and only some are considered pure advertisements. Some marketing is so good at generating interest and engagement that it boosts word of mouth around your company! This is referred to as influencer marketing.

Influencers are individuals who already have an audience and trustworthiness.

What is marketing?

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

So, what is marketing? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the process of creating awareness of an organization or product among potential customers through promotional activities.” Or, as BusinessDictionary defines it, it's "creating public perceptions and identities for brands."

And while those definitions include some references to advertising, they also emphasize the broader concept of marketing as including things like brand messaging, promotions, advertisements, market research and more. In fact, according to Harvard Business School, there are eight key functions of marketing that make up the discipline.

These functions include branding, media relations, sales promotion, consumer insight, market research, community engagement, corporate communications, and strategic planning. All of these areas play different roles in shaping how well your business does and developing long term strategies.

Marketing process

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

So, what is marketing? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the action of promoting products or services by communicating about them to potential customers.”

That sounds pretty broad! But when you break down that definition into components, you get some very specific terms like communication, promotion, and customer.

Communication refers to telling someone something about a product or service. Promotion means talking about how good an item is for your health, not just why they should buy it. And a customer is anyone who buys a product or service – including yourself!

As professionals in our field, we must be aware of the differences between branding, advertising, and marketeering. Branding focuses on creating a strong image or perception of a company, advertisement features a message with supporting images and logos, while marketeering is integrating all three of those concepts together.

Branding is definitely important, but advertisements are more dynamic than that. Marketeers use psychology and sociology to create messages that influence people. They also research effective messaging and strategies before producing one.

If you’re ever struggling to describe your job, try using these as tips instead. Having a clear understanding of the term helps put things into perspective.

Marketing strategies

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

So what is marketing, then? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the art of influencing people to buy products or services by creating public awareness of a product, its features, and seller’s expertise in producing the item.”

That sounds pretty close! But that definition doesn’t really tell you much about why marketing happens and how it works.

It could be because someone advertised for a car for a mile down the road, so everyone goes out and buys one because they noticed the advertisement. Or maybe someone paid off your neighbor’s mortgage with a free housewarming gift, which creates an uncomfortable feeling in their space and makes them want to move.

We’ve all seen advertisements before – brands trying to get our attention and influence us into buying their products. It’s like a trick question - if the advertising isn’t working, wouldn’t they just stop doing it?

The answer seems obvious, but companies spend enormous amounts of money engaging in such practices every day. It's part of the business model.

Creating a marketing plan

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

A marketing strategy is what actions you will take to achieve your business’s mission, which is to make money. Your marketing strategy should be focused on creating long-term gains for your company by investing in strategies that are more expensive now, but give you longer-lasting returns.

Something like advertising is a very common way to market a product or service. By spending money on advertisements, you are putting yourself out there so people can see your products and pick up sales from those who are interested. This is usually done through TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads, etc. – all of these create audience exposure that could lead to new customers.

Other ways to promote include having a website with lots of information about your services, doing direct mail campaigns (postcards sent to potential clients), sending emails, and promoting on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Identify your target market

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

A key part of any successful marketing campaign is knowing who you are targeting. Who is your audience? What messages will they need to hear?

As a business owner, you should be aware of what products and services work for your competition so that you can take some ideas from their success and improve upon them.

It’s also important to know whether there are already enough alternatives in place or if new approaches are needed — something that isn’t always the case.

In both instances, it’s smart to do some research and find out what works by testing different strategies against each other. That way you can pick up helpful tips and still maintain your own unique style!

Market research is an integral part of any successful marketing strategy. By understanding who your potential customers are, as well as the current state of play with competitors, you can begin creating effective campaigns early on.

Design your marketing message

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

A few years back, when I first started working in digital marketing, we used to refer to it as ‘marketing'. Now, it's called'strategic marketing'. That makes more sense!

I remember there was one very special day when we were assigned what they referred to as our "Brand". We were asked to come up with ideas for our brand and then brainstorm ways to promote it. It was quite fun to see how creative everyone got.

But now that strategic marketing is the norm, creating a strong brand isn't enough. You have to actively market not just your product, but also yourself. This is important because people will assume responsibility for your success or failure depending on whether you are successful at promoting yourself.

It's easy to get distracted by all of the other things that must be done to promote a company and its products. But too much promotion can actually do more harm than good.

As marketers, we need to emphasize why people should choose us over the competition. And since most of the time people already know who your competitors are, that is pretty easy to do.

What about after the sale? Are there any obligations left for you to fulfill? If so, make sure you don’t forget them!

Your word of mouth can easily determine the success or failure of your business, so keep an eye out for talking points such as “good seller", “reliable" and “professional.

Develop your website

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

A well-marketed product is one that clearly communicates its purpose, is easy to use, is persuasive, and elicits strong reactions. As we discussed before, marketing online does not mean making an advertisement and putting it up on YouTube or Facebook!

That would be the very first step in what seems like a never ending process of digital marketing. Rather, it means developing a solid business website with content that engages users and compels them to take action.

Your site should tell people who you are, what you offer, and ask if they want to do business with you. You can’t just put up a pretty page anymore – you have to invest into creating content people will find useful and engaging.

You must know your audience, and how they spend their time online. What types of sites and apps do they visit? How much money do they make? These questions help you determine what messages to convey through your channel.

Running a website comes with many responsibilities, but none more important than telling your potential customers about your company and products. If you're too busy spending all your energy promoting yourself, then no one else will get the chance to talk for you.

This doesn't necessarily mean don't give interviews or hold press conferences, but instead focus on producing quality content for your social media pages, blogs, and website. Let others bring you out, rather than chasing after the spotlight for yourself.

Create your social media profiles

when marketing is strategy niraj dawar

As we discussed, having an online presence is very important to running any business effectively. Starting with a good profile on each of the major platforms can really help you reach out to people and promote your company.

Running your profile makes it easy for people to contact you or visit your site because it has your name, email address, and phone number. It also allows others to look at all of your posts, including those that are promotional, so they can get a sense of who you are as a person and what you stand for.

You should make sure to update your personal information as needed, but stay within guidelines. For example, don’t include details such as your Social Security Number or passport info unless you need them.

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