Search for “marketing” jobs these days and you’re likely to get results for selling mobile phones or radio air time. (Wait, you call that marketing?) In the true sense, marketing is the process by which organizations create value for customers in order to capture value in return. It’s different than selling, which is a transaction. That mobile phone job is a sales job––perhaps someone thinks it sounds more alluring when it’s called “marketing”?
Marketing has a broader more systematic meaning than selling. It includes analysis of competitors, understanding of the target consumer, and determination of future needs, among other things. Its goal is to forge long-term customer relationships (not just a sale today).
But, what is “strategic” marketing?
Strategic marketing is the Lamborghini version of marketing—the highly-tuned, most well-thought-out, elegant design approach that delivers high RPM performance and control around the curves. In other words, we all aspire to strategic marketing, but we all can’t afford it, not because it costs more money, but it costs more in focus, attention to detail, and intellectual firepower.
You have to really think in strategic marketing.
Strategic marketing means you don’t just start posting facts on social media or printing brochures with pretty pictures, hoping they will come.
You work out a plan. You write it down. Your plan entails a clear mission (here’s who we want to be at the end of the day).
You get to know your target market (as if every prospect was your best friend). As in design thinking, you empathize with them, put yourself in their shoes.
You analyze the data you have (and that you need to collect), write an actionable value proposition, and plan how you’ll execute, short and long term, knowing you’ll stay flexible, to adjust, based on a never-ending feedback loop you’ll call metrics.
You figure out how your marketing funnel works––map out what will motivate customer engagement, what will generate revenue (or whatever goal you have), how you’ll propel them to become loyal customers.
Most important, strategic marketing collaborates with other functions—it’s not a stand-alone silo of advertising and promotion. You ask for the participation of stakeholders.
Perhaps the best way to think about strategic marketing is––it’s the work-smart approach to marketing.