A marketing strategy is a plan that helps us in achieving our marketing goals and our business/organizational goals. Without a marketing strategy, you can not measure what works best for your products/services.

While tactical activities can give you results in a short period, the strategic activities can benefit you for a longer period consistently.

Back in 2017, I was running a lead generation ad for an MLM client. It was a tactical move. We generated a good number of leads from it and the client was happy with it. But, there was a problem.

While we generated almost 450 leads at approximately Rs. 120($2) per lead, I wasn’t personally satisfied with it, although it is the best that I could deliver. The ad had a reach of about 15,000 and impression approximately 78,000. The frequency was above 4. Yet, we could generate only 450 leads out of it. What about those remaining in 14550. Why those people didn’t respond to the ad?

I know that we can not convert all the target audiences into our customer in just one campaign. But, what bothered to me was, weren’t those 14550 people my target customers? and if the answer is yes, what am I going to do to convert them into my customers? and if the answer is no, why was I targeting them? If they weren’t the right people, I could have excluded many of them from my targeting options, this would have reduced our cost per lead drastically.

I had no answers to the above questions because it was a tactical activity and not a strategic activity.

A strategy helps us understand where we are going wrong and how can we correct it to optimize the marketing spend, decrease customer acquisition costs and make the business more profitable.

The objective of the strategy is not to reduce the marketing spend, but to optimize it so the money, time and resources are utilized in a structured and optimal way to maximize the results and gains from your marketing activities.

How to prepare a marketing strategy?

This question has a very broad scope. There is no common formula that can be applied while preparing the strategy. It requires knowledge of the products/services that you are offering, consumer behaviour, consumer awareness about your offerings, purchase lifecycle and most importantly your experience in that particular niche.

Marketing strategies can be categorised into two basic marketing methods – Push Marketing and Pull Marketing.

These two marketing methods remain common for all marketing strategies irrespective of the domain, audience, purchase lifecycle, offerings, etc.

Push Marketing

In this, our target audience is not actively looking for the products/services that we are offering. We assume that they might be interested in our products/services. We target these people based on their Demographics, Interest, Behaviour, Location, etc.
E.g. Facebook ads. People check their FB newsfeed to consume the content shared by their social network or the pages they follow. They are not looking for our services, still, we show them our ads assuming they might respond.

Pull Marketing

In this, our target audience is actively looking for the products/services that we are offering. We target them based on which website they are spending their time and with what intent.
E.g. Google Search ads. We show the ads to those who are actively looking for our products/services based on what they search on Google.

Just because you are paying some money to Facebook or Google or any other marketing platform for the ads, doesn’t mean people will click on it and you will start getting lead/sales for your business.
Your ads will be shown to your target audience based on your targeting methods, but the decision on whether to click on your ad or not is taken by your target audience only. The strategy helps us creating a structured campaign that will help us drive action from our target audience to our communication and help us in measuring the results of the campaigns.

Which marketing strategy is suitable for you?

This is where your understanding about consumer behaviour, purchase lifecycle and domain expertise play a major role.
If your consumer knows nothing about you or the products/services that you are offering or the problems your products/services solve, it simply means they are not looking for it. Pull Marketing will never give you the results in this case. You have to run Push Marketing for running Awareness campaigns, prepare your marketing funnel based on that, and, depending on the audiences’ response you can slowly start doing Pull Marketing campaigns.

You can also run Push Marketing and Pull Marketing campaigns parallelly. Your target audience is the key in this. You have to show the right content at the right time. Running aggressive marketing campaigns with heavy discounts will never give you the results if your target audience is not aware of the products/services that you are offering.

Preparing an audience-centric strategy is the only way you can generate good results in your marketing campaigns.

I am sharing some key points that you must cover in your marketing strategy. You may have to add more points if needed – as per the requirements of the specific niche for which you are running the ads.

  1. Audience segments: Create audience personas based on their interest, behaviour, demographics, location, etc. Find their pain points, their position in the purchase lifecycle. Find what are the different platforms on which you can target these people and what is the audience size on those platforms. Do this research thoroughly.
  2. Marketing method and KPIs: Based on your research on the audience, decide which marketing method to be used for each of these audience segments. Define the Key Performance Indicators – the parameters that you are going to use to measure the success of this campaign.
  3. Platforms, budgets and schedule: Depending on the audience size and marketing method, you can easily decide on which platform do you need to target them, how much money do you have to spend and for how much time do you need to run the campaigns.
  4. The communication or Ad Copy: You can decide the communication based on the pain points that you identified in the first step. Make communication as much personalized as possible. Every digital platform is flooded with ads. People tend to react more when the ads talk about their pain points.
  5. Analysis of the results against the KPIs: Analyse the data of the campaigns thoroughly. You may have to do some tactical moves during the campaign based on the response of the audience. You must run the campaign for a significant time to gather enough data for analysis. The analysis will help you understand what is working for you and what isn’t. Always measure the results based on the KPIs defined by you while preparing the strategy. There is no point in counting Likes when your objective is to generate the leads for the business. Although someone liking your FB ad post is a positive indicator, it can not be used to measure the success of your campaign specifically run for Lead Generation. Counting the Post Likes can help in case of Awareness campaigns, but not in a campaign specifically run for generating the leads.
  6. Start with step 1: Based on the conclusions derived from your analysis, start with step 1.

No strategy is perfect. You have to prepare the strategy, execute it, analyse the results, make necessary changes to the strategy and then relaunch the campaign. This cycle keeps repeating.

Never forget to keep a provision for a retargeting campaign. We must retarget people based on the actions taken by them on our ads or landing pages. I generally prefer to prepare the communication of the retargeting campaigns based on the response of the target audience on the previous campaigns or the feedback received from the sales team. But, you can define your process based on your experience in the niche or your knowledge about audience behaviour.

I prepare a flowchart of the strategy which generally looks like the following image. I haven’t added KPIs, budget and schedule here. I just want my clients to have an overall picture of the activities that we need to do for achieving their marketing goals.

As the question suggests, this article talks about digital marketing strategy only and not about offline marketing strategy. The basic marketing methodologies i.e. Push and Pull marketing are applicable for offline marketing as well. In fact, it was first applied in offline marketing and then it was adapted in online marketing.

So the question is, should we only prepare online marketing and forget about offline marketing? Is offline marketing dying as more and more people moving towards online marketing? The answer is No.

Click here to read my article to know why.

Do you want to run profitable digital marketing campaigns for your business?

I have a vast experience in running complex digital marketing campaigns across multiple domains. If you are looking for someone who can handle everything related to your digital marketing needs, get in touch with me.