Almost 40% of marketers don’t have a documented marketing strategy*.

A great marketing strategy will set out a clear direction with guard rails to keep you on track. This makes it easier to filter out distractions and make good decisions. So why do you need one and what does a great one look like?

Skipping the strategy step (don’t do it) 

Do you ever slog through campaign after campaign then feel underwhelmed by the results? Do you find it hard to decide which marketing ideas to focus on? Are your marketing team disconnected from each other and the rest of the business?

Yes? Well, you’re not alone. And the problem could be your marketing strategy.

Whether it’s a lack of time, skill or internal support, or pressure to produce quick results –many businesses don’t have a clear, documented marketing strategy.

This can be problematic on many levels:

Team are unclear on direction. Without a strategy, your team will struggle to know what they’re aiming for and how they can best work together to get there.

Giving up on things too quickly. Without the confidence a long-term strategy gives you and your stakeholders, it’s easy to be swept up in reactive activity and abandoning projects without giving them a chance.

Inconsistency. Your marketing approach, your target audience and your messaging are likely to be inconsistent (and ultimately confusing and ineffective) unless there’s a strategy offering clear guidance.

Making bad decisions. A good strategy helps you make fast, sound decisions because you’ve already done the hard work in figuring out the general parameters for your marketing activity.

Poor performance. Strong performance is unlikely in the context of bad decisions, a short-term view, an unclear team, and inconsistency in approach.

Writing a brilliant marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a game plan or an overall direction that describes HOW your marketing goals will be achieved. It’s not about tactics, specific ideas, or execution (leave that for the marketing plan). It’s about long-term, focussed direction for your marketing.

Writing a brilliant marketing strategy – 6 things to remember

1. Marketing goals aligned with business goals. The first part of any strategy is to set out goals. Your marketing strategy should align with your business goals, and it should also specify clear marketing goals. All future decisions will come back to whether they support these goals or not, so getting them right up front is key.

2. Clearly defined target audience. The strategy should clarify – in as much detail as possible – who you’re targeting and what you know about those groups. Personas are ideal as they add depth and emotion to data. Getting clarity on your audience, what they need and what they care will impact pretty much all future decisions.

3. Brand strategy. This incorporates your values, purpose, brand position, value proposition, brand messaging – everything that sets out who you are as a brand and how that should be communicated to the outside world. Being consistent about this and making sure your team are on the same page is key.

4. Top level approach. Whilst the marketing strategy shouldn’t get into executional detail, it should set out broadly how you’ll get to where you’re going. For example, you might choose to build awareness through networking and PR or focus on existing customers to increase repeat purchases. It’s also important to decide what you won’t do. For example, you might choose not to invest any budget in ATL advertising. Making these decisions is a difficult but necessary step to allow you and your team to focus on what matters most.

5. Keep it simple. A great marketing strategy should be simple enough to explain in no more than 10 slides. Don’t overcomplicate it.

6. Get it out there. Even the best strategy is useless if it lives on a shared drive, unopened for 6 months. Once you’ve got it down to 10 slides, shout about it from the rooftops and don’t let people forget about it.

Make your marketing more effective

If you want to make better decisions, do better work, and improve your marketing performance – spend some time working on your marketing strategy. Investing time here isn’t always easy, but the process doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow the 6 steps above and go get ‘em. And if you need us to help, you know where to find us. Good luck.

Lindsay Carr, Strategy Director at The Magnus Club



*Almost 40% of marketers don’t have a documented marketing strategy: