Understand what Strategic Marketing is and how to put it into practice in your business – WAU
Strategic Marketing is the marketing approach focused on medium and long term results. It consists of the study, development and implementation of actions that are not limited to current demands and that also seek to meet future market wants and needs. Understand this concept better!
If you are an academic or a Marketing professional, you should probably feel a flea behind your ear when you encounter the term “Strategic Marketing”. After all, do we really need to talk about it? Is marketing, by definition, no longer strategic?
It is true, but the apparent pleonasm does not happen by chance. How do you know, Marketing is a very broad concept and the ramifications of the word are created to clarify its principles, its functions, its tools and, in this specific case, its dimensions.
In fact, Strategic Marketing describes the true essence of the area, but it is only when we define all the phases of the process that we can understand its importance, either as a concept or as an application.
In this post we take all your doubts on the subject and also separate some tips to put this concept into practice. Come on?
How to define Strategic Marketing?
In the past, Marketing has been predominantly interpreted as an accessory to communication. However, this conception has been totally reformulated in the last decades by scholars in the field, especially Philip Kotler, and by the modernization of the actions adopted by companies in recent years.
Strictly speaking, Modern Marketing can be understood as a great process that encompasses the entire journey of a brand, a product or a service. That is, we think of Marketing from research, discussion and business conception to the relationship with the public, sales and loyalty.
This means that Marketing and Business Administration are two disciplines that have never been so close and, therefore, their terms are often confused.
Strategic Marketing, for example, like tactical marketing and operational marketing, are excellent examples of this “marriage”. Look at that!
When we talk about Strategic Marketing, we are thinking about the medium and long term. The decisions made here will be the cornerstones of all your actions over a long period of time, which is not to say that your strategy cannot be corrected or updated when necessary.
The established definitions need to revolve around the main objective of the business and it is essential that the selected actions, as well as the goals and deadlines, be based on research and consultations with specialists.
It will be necessary to define stages and their respective expected results, determine the resources that will be allocated to these activities, the teams and companies responsible and the alternatives to deal with possible failures or cuts in funds.
Tactical marketing is an offshoot of Strategic Marketing in which the general guidelines defined above will be duly detailed and organized into sectors. In this phase, marketing will branch out into different teams such as research, monitoring, advertising, press relations, internet marketing, etc.
Of course, we can create strategic planning within each of these areas. A Content Marketing strategy, for example, depends on development, automation, writing, design teams, among others.
The extent of the roots of Marketing and its ramifications will depend on the needs of each business, the methodologies adopted and the contracted companies. Once the tactical phase of the process has been clarified, it is necessary to think about the operation.
In a very simplified way, we can think of operational marketing as the daily strategy.
We finally arrived at the ends of the processes, that is, the “smallest” tasks that need to be performed in order for the plan to stay alive and moving towards the final goals.
Notice that Operational Marketing is focused on short-term results and this is its main characteristic.
However, when it is inserted in a large Strategic Marketing process, these short-term operations will contribute, in the background, to the larger objective previously defined.
On the other hand, when we work with Operational Marketing in a “dismembered” way, which is very common in companies that simply replicate the actions of the competition, communication is generally not very efficient, the relationship built with the public is not solid and expenses unnecessary are frequent.
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How to think marketing strategically?
When companies and professionals are overly operational, there may be a feeling that tasks are performed with agility. Meantime, the absence of long-term planning can lead the business results to stagnation and the subsequent decrease.
It is also important to clarify that having a marketing strategy does not necessarily mean being strategic. Adopting a marketing plan is essential, but strategic thinking is something earlier.
After all, it involves differentiating yourself and finding something that your business has and no other is able to offer.
However, to get there, we need to overcome some market pitfalls that constantly keep companies from innovating.
Escape the pack
In psychology, the herd effect describes situations in which a group of individuals behave similarly due to the pressure exerted by others, even when their actions are clearly irrational.
A very similar phenomenon occurs in the market when several companies, perhaps most of them, adopt the same marketing and sales strategies.
Studying the competition and new trends is essential to base your actions, however you will never stand out if you act only as a replicator of the activities developed by others.
This does not mean that recycling ideas is a mistake. On the contrary, we need to look outside and discover what works and what is not working, but to be strategic is to think these ideas in a different way, to remodel them in an unprecedented format, at the same time that we seek to bring something never seen before. and that maybe it can be copied.
Think marketing in an integrated way
“Marketing is very important to be part of the Marketing Department only”. This is a jargon widely used by famous authors to describe the integration of the area with other sectors of administration.
If we work with Strategic Marketing, it is essential that the management, sales, service and product teams are in tune with the marketing department.
Vending, for example, one of the initiatives designed to meet this type of need, proposes the alignment between Marketing and Sales.
Breaking down the walls that divide and separate different departments and starting to think of the company as a living organism with interdependent bodies is essential to develop a strategic action.
Don’t be too rigid or too flexible
Finding balance in terms of flexibility can be challenging, but it is essential. We cannot be too flexible, because then strategic thinking would lose its purpose.
A company or professional that changes its goals and objectives too often transmits instability, indecision and lack of commitment.
On the other hand, being too rigid is also not advisable, after all, we live in a moment of Digital Transformation in which changes are accelerated and most communication trends work in increasingly short cycles.
The most efficient tools and the public’s favorite media change radically every year, as do some sales and management models.
Strategic Marketing plays an important role in maintaining this balance by establishing a set of essential rules and objectives that remain, even though tactical and operational methods change.
How does Strategic Marketing work in practice?
We can start planning Strategic Marketing from three basic questions:
- Segmentation – in which market will you compete?
- Positioning – how will you compete?
- Timeline – when will you compete?
Having answered these questions, even if briefly, we can begin to develop the most appropriate strategy for your business.
The initial planning of a marketing strategy consists of gathering and discussing a series of studies about the business and its market.
In this phase, we carry out benchmarking (study and comparison of the best market practices) and assess the public’s expectations for a new product, service or communication action. The dimensions of the study vary according to the needs of the business.
SWOT Analysis is a methodology used to verify the advantages and shortcomings of a company and its competition, clarifying the most advantageous ways to act.
It is worth remembering that the richer the data obtained in your research, the clearer the results of this analysis will be.
The marketing mix is the set of tools, actions and strategies adopted by a company to promote a product, service or brand. The 4 Ps of Marketing are the pillars for defining these elements:
- price – audience, costs, margin and value;
- square – segmentation, modality (physical or online), logistics, storage and distribution;
- product – solution, attributes (tangible and intangible), demand, content and packaging;
- promotion – offer, channels and strategies for dissemination, positioning, sales, etc.
Metrics and monitoring
Marketing actions need to be monitored constantly to identify failures and inefficient tools, in addition to ensuring important adjustments and optimizations. Digital Marketing stands out in this regard, as it allows the analysis of detailed data in real time.
We now enter the tactical planning of the strategy. Here we define medium-term actions and the sectors, professionals and responsible companies. See what’s included:
- medium-term projects: the tactical objectives related to each action, disclosure channel, sales platform and others;
- responsible: sectors, employees, professionals and companies in charge.
At this stage, we define standard procedures, short-term projects and those responsible for these functions, being that:
- short-term operations and projects – essential, continuous and standardized communication and sales actions;
- responsible – sectors, employees, professionals and companies in charge.
Finally, we need to study the characteristics of each period and the market circumstances to define the best moments for the implementation of each stage, as you will see below.
A strategic plan must be prepared in advance for unexpected results, sudden changes and possible budget cuts. For this reason, it is important to establish the degree of importance of each task and define which ones could be canceled, if necessary.
The timetable drawn up must also be thought strategically. Holiday dates and seasonality, for example, can be explored. It is also recommended that the stipulated goals consider possible unforeseen events or delays.
When carrying out the planning, we can calculate the investment required for all strategic, tactical and operational actions to be carried out.
If there are no resources available to execute the entire strategy, the marketing hierarchy should be used as a parameter for eventual cuts and cancellations.
Finally, the marketing strategy needs to be studied and evaluated by the managers and by the companies and professionals who will be hired. The objectives, in particular, need to be plausible in the eyes of all if the planning is to be approved and put into practice.
As you can see, we worked on concepts such as segmentation, positioning and persona long before we thought about the classic 4 Ps. We can conclude that Marketing, in the past, was worked in a very tactical way and now it is moving towards an increasingly strategic approach in all its definitions.
Do you want to further improve your knowledge in Strategic Marketing? Then check out our High Performance Marketing and Sales ebook and learn how to choose the right metrics and align your Marketing and Sales teams!