How To Develop A Marketing Strategy 2023: 3 Steps To Create A Complete Marketing Strategy

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In this article we will discuss How To Develop A Marketing Strategy 2023

If you think of a marketing strategy only in terms of big budgets, Super Bowl ads, and viral campaigns that help companies break into the market, you’d be wrong. In reality, each and every company that you’d consider successful—from your local pastry shop to Coca-Cola—has a strategy, sometimes without knowing it.

Going strategic about your marketing is all about building a long-term vision for your brand—to differentiate it from hundreds of other businesses and to achieve sustainable intrinsic growth. And this is different from having a marketing plan.

This post will unwrap the ins and outs of marketing strategy—what it is and why you need one—and outline the key steps you have to take to build it.

Without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

Why Having a Marketing Strategy Is Bigger Than Having a Marketing Plan

If you’re fairly new to all the marketing strategy talk, you could easily confuse it with the concept of a marketing plan. So let’s start with getting our terms straight. 

Why Having a Marketing Strategy Is Bigger Than Having a Marketing Plan

Image source: Semrush blog

A marketing plan is all about a set of specific actions and tactics you employ to build campaigns that market your product or service. Usually, it’s about short-term goals and efforts that lead to achieving them.

A marketing strategy is bigger than this. It’s all about a long-term vision that guides all your further marketing plans. The key components of marketing strategy are:

  • Business goals
  • The formation of your unique value proposition (UVP)
  • Target audience (and buyer persona) definition
  • Competitive and market research (grab our special all-in-one tool 30-day free trial!)

Why You Can’t Achieve Long-Term Success Without a Marketing Strategy 

You can see that marketing strategy deals with the what, while a marketing plan is all about the how. Without the what, you won’t be able to come up with the how—and this is what makes your marketing strategy…well, strategic and holistic rather than hectic and fragmented.

To bring some live examples into this equation, let’s look at the following case:

Tata, an Indian car manufacturer, wanted to create a new product—a cheap car aimed at developing markets where the population is more price sensitive. So they developed Tata Nano, or what we now know as the cheapest car in the world that failed to sell. Their marketing plan was impeccable—they invested in large campaigns that highlighted the cheap price and its prevalence over other modes of transportation that came at the same cost. But Tata’s marketers failed to be thorough about developing the car’s marketing strategy which, done right, would have shown that people simply don’t want to own the cheapest car in the world. This means that at least a few bits of marketing strategy were missing—a deep understanding of a target audience and market research.

As you can see, even the biggest brands sometimes fail to develop a surefire marketing strategy. Smaller ones like my favorite example of Pastreez, however, manage to go about it the right way. So if you follow the steps below, you’ll be armed with all the insights you need to create a bulletproof strategy for your own business and avoid unfortunate misses.

3 Steps for Developing a Surefire Marketing Strategy 

Now that you’re familiar with the key elements of a marketing strategy, you can see that all you need are the right insights to guide you further.

The steps we’ll outline below will unwrap how you can dig out all the necessary intel to build a strong marketing strategy for your business. 

  • Choose your business and marketing goals

The very first thing you need to do to set up an efficient marketing strategy is to define your business and marketing goals. Because if you want brand awareness, you’ll need to employ a set of tactics that will largely differ from customer acquisition objectives.

Depending on your current market position and the competitive landscape, your goals might vary—they can have to do with:

  • Customer base growth
  • Sales volume growth
  • Brand awareness, and so on

This part of the strategy is totally up to you. But you can still check out your competitive landscape to see the growth dynamics of other players and the overall market.

Now the question is how?

  1. You can check out industry trends reports—the likes of Nielsen, Forrester, and other analytics firms publish quarterly or annual pieces that cover a lot of verticals.
  2. But a more surefire way to check out your specific market trends would be to turn to market research tools that allow you to define your location and competitors. The Market Explorer tool would be an excellent choice.  

Say you have a food and beverage business in the U.S. and want to see how this industry is doing in your locale; you can simply choose your industry and explore some general trends within it—from market traffic that hints at potential market size and key players’ growth dynamics to their market share estimates and traffic generation patterns:

Market Explorer tool

Image source: Market Explorer tool

These insights will help you understand if your competitors are expanding their market share, if the overall audience interest in your kinds of services are growing, and so on.

In turn, you can take this intel and use it to define your goals—e.g., if the overall market is shrinking, you cannot count on organic growth, so you should instead focus on growing your market share. 

2. Run more in-depth market research

Once you’ve set your overarching business and marketing goals, you can move on to the thorough market and competitive research.

Everything from the global economy to the emergence of new players can impact your business—large or small. So when you are conducting your research, you should consider the following:

  • Competition, especially their value proposition and market stance
  • Market size, so you can understand how many people you can realistically attract and serve
  • Market and marketing gaps, to take a specific niche and come up with an efficient way to position and promote your products or services
  • General economic/political/social patterns that might affect your business in the long run

All these factors take time to explore and unwrap, but they all impact your future success and the fulfillment of your goals—so you should allocate the time to research these aspects.

If competition and market size are something you should have unwrapped in step one, the rest is subject to additional research.

Identifying economic, social, political, and cultural patterns

PEST (political, economic, sociocultural, technological) analysis will help you understand the global landscape that influences your market realities—from legislation changes to tech developments.  

Take a look at the image below and make sure you can address each point:

PEST analysis

You can fill in a worksheet from MindTools or, first, read up on PEST analysis in this post.

Now, to pinpoint market and marketing gaps, you’ll have to move away from general info and knowledge and turn to specific insights that will help identify them.

Pinpointing market and marketing gaps

Perceptual mapping will help to assess consumers’ attitudes to various brands and their positioning—all to spot existing market gaps.

It’s fairly straightforward; you have to create two axes that juxtapose two functions or perceptual features of a product or service (e.g., cheap-expensive vs. high-quality/low-quality) and ask customers to place you and your competitors within the map.

group map

Image source: Group Map

This visual depiction will instantly show where you can fill in a certain niche where there are fewer competitors or no rivals at all.

Now, when it comes to identifying marketing gaps or unwrapping how other market players position their products, you’ll have to do some digging:

  • Find your rivals’ most promoted products/services and offerings 

Traffic Analytics tool

Image source: Traffic Analytics tool

Semrush’s Traffic Analytics tool reveals the most visited pages of any site. In this case, we can see the stats hint at the fact that Taco Bell (if it was your competitor) attracts a significant share of its traffic to the rewards or special deals pages. Not very many other players do, so you might want to introduce a more attractive rewards plan to your customers.

  • Check out competitors’ traffic acquisition strategies and platforms they mainly target and discover if you are seeing similar acquisition patterns

You can use Market Explorer’s benchmarking report to reveal these stats.

Market Explorer’s benchmarking report

Image source: Market Explorer tool

  • If you see that your competitors have a significant share of visitors coming from organic search, you can use Keyword Gap and Backlink Gap tools to reveal missed opportunities within your keyword and backlink strategies 

These insights not only help reveal keywords and sites that link back to your rivals, they also can inform your marketing strategy—from keywords you are missing out on (often reflecting product or content gaps) to potential partnerships you haven’t thought of (if few of your rivals have backlinks from an industry news site, you might want to be there as well).Backlink Gap tool

Image source: Backlink Gap tool

3. Build up your ideal customer profile or buyer persona

We’ve already covered some ground regarding buyer personas and content, but having a clear definition of your customer profile doesn’t just help with your marketing tactics, it actually defines your marketing strategy. 

After all, you are marketing to a specific audience, so you have to know what these people look like—their needs, wants, preferred platforms, expectations, and so on.

Using the 4P framework (product, price, place, promotion), you can address the key features of your target audience:

  • What is your target demographic? A marketing strategy for Gen Z will be drastically different from how you market to Baby Boomers, so you need to have the basic demographic data covered.
  • Is your unique value proposition matching your audience’s needs and wants? Also, is your audience increasingly “something”-conscious, and are you tailoring to their expectations from your brand? (Product)
  • Is your buyer persona’s financial situation a good fit for your product’s or service’s price? (Price)
  • Where does your target audience like to hang out, shop, discover products, and so on? (Place)
  • How does your audience like to communicate with brands? Emails, in-person interactions, apps, influencers, etc. (Promotion)

You have to gather intel to address all these questions—and the answers will help to come up with a marketing strategy that meets your audience exactly how and where it wants to meet you.

You could spend months conducting in-depth customer interviews or turn to analytics firms that will do the job for you. But that’s resource-intensive, and few brands can afford to spend time and money running this kind of audience research.

Instead, you can use various tools that will shed some light on the questions you have to address.

Audience Intelligence tool is one of the most comprehensive solutions to collect in-depth qualitative audience insights—from basic demographic info and platforms they love to influencers they trust and their interests and affinities:

Audience Intelligence tool

Image source: Audience Intelligence tool

If you don’t want to get another tool for audience research specifically, you can stay with your Market Explorer and Traffic Analytics tools—they will return both basic audience intel and some advanced insights like their most visited sites and social media networks, traffic journey, and so on.

 

Market Explorer tools

Image source: Market Explorer tool

Gather all your findings and strategize for building efficient marketing plans

Now that you have your goals defined, market and competitive research run, and buyer personas established, you have everything you need to build an actionable and efficient marketing strategy for your business. 

Let’s recap and make sure you have everything ready:

  • Your business and marketing objectives are clear
  • You have your market overview with market size, market share, and other growth dynamics figures
  • You know your competitive landscape—with your rivals’ strategic products and promotional assets and general traffic generation strategies
  • You’ve depicted your buyer persona and have a great understanding of your audience
  • You know about all the external forces—from upcoming policies to economic downturns—that might affect your business

All that’s left is to lay everything out in one or two pages and share it with everyone involved in your business and marketing efforts. Use it as your long-term guideline and make sure your marketing plans (campaigns and tactics) align with everything that’s outlined in your marketing strategy doc.

And as you’ll need access to a specific markets and competitive intel to gather your insights (all can be found in Semrush), make sure to grab this unique 30-day Semrush trial that will open up access to some of the tools we’ve mentioned in this post. Visit this subscriptions page for an in-depth view of what you can gain with your free access.

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Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson has been a freelance writer for a long while. She is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Digiexe, a digital marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing & affiliate marketing too. She likes sharing her knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from ecommerce, startups, social media marketing, making money online, affiliate marketing to human capital management, and much more. She has been writing for several authoritative SEO, Make Money Online & digital marketing blogs like: ImageStation, & Newsmartwave

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