Marketing Strategy: Best Practice Guide w/ Template for 2024

January 30, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
A cartoon brain divided into sections labeled "Target Audience," "Value Proposition," "Channels," etc., highlighting the key elements of a strong strategy

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Marketing without a strategy is a bit like navigating a ship without a map.

Islands of opportunity glimmer on the horizon, but navigating towards them is fraught with perilous reefs—you may reach your destination eventually, but you’ll run into a lot of treacherous waters along the way. And others will reach that destination before you.

Or, worse yet, you may get hopelessly lost at sea.

Businesses understand the importance of implementing good marketing strategies. For example, HubSpot reported that a whopping 29% of marketers actively use content marketing. And 63% of businesses increased their digital marketing budgets in a single year recently.

So what exactly is a marketing strategy and what are some best practices for crafting one for your own business?

This article will walk you through all of that.

First thing’s first…

What Is Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a plan of implementation for how you will market your product or service in order to grow your business.

A marketing strategy involves several elements:

  • Understanding your audience: You need to know who you're talking to: their needs, desires, and pain points.
  • Defining your value proposition: What makes your business unique? What value do you offer that others don't?
  • Choosing the right channels: In an ideal world you would use every marketing channel available to you, but in reality you’ll have to make choices on which channels to prioritize. You’ll need to determine which channels are most likely to resonate with your audience.
  • Crafting compelling content: High-quality, relevant content that really speaks to your audience helps you stand out from the cacophony of other voices competing for attention.
  • Setting trackable goals: Vague aspirations like "get more customers" are not helpful. Specific, measurable goals give you a clear destination and milestones to track your progress.
  • Adapting and optimizing: The market is never static, and neither should your strategy. Be ready to analyze results, adjust your approach, and experiment with new tactics to ensure you stay ahead of the curve.

Marketing Strategy Best Practices Summary

Marketing Strategy Best Practices with each of the subpoints below: and show a related icon for each point

Based on the above explanation, best practices for marketing strategy could be broken down into a few key elements…

Know Who You’re Targeting

To collect more information on your target audience, you’ll need to get good at listening.

It won’t do to craft a marketing strategy with what you think will resonate with your audience—you want to go off of real data.

This data can be collected from surveys, interviews, reviews, or any other method you can think of to hear feedback from people in your target audience.

This data will give you insight into what your target audience thinks, feels, the kind of language they use, and the kind of channels that might best reach them.

You’ll also need to consider stage of awareness at each point in the marketing journey—for example, someone who has never heard of your product will need a different approach than someone who is almost ready to buy.

Know How Your Product or Service Meets the Audience’s Needs

As you collect data from your target audience, you can think about how your product or service addresses their needs in a way that others can’t.

If you define how your product or service solves the problem or helps the audience fulfill their desire, you’re then positioned to be able to communicate that to prospective customers to help them move down the marketing funnel.

Create Marketing Funnels

A marketing funnel is the marketing “journey” you lead your prospect through until they purchase.

An example journey could start with (1) a Facebook ad, which leads people to (2) download a free guide, which leads them to (3) sign up for a free trial, which leads them to (4) receive a series of emails and SMS, which lead them to (5) make a purchase.

If you have a robust understanding of your audience and the value proposition that meets your audience's needs, you’ll be able to plan out a funnel and create content at the various stages that helps convert your prospects into customers.

When creating your funnels, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the ultimate goals and how to track them as well.

Evaluate Efforts

You’ll want to be constantly evaluating and tweaking your messaging and your funnels.

Are your ads, emails, text messages, and everything else performing as expected according to your analytics goals? Are they getting the click rates, conversion rates, etc., that you were hoping for?

A/B testing in particular is a marketer’s best friend, because it allows you to have a more accurate understanding of what type of content works best for your purposes.

There’s almost always something that could be optimized. So optimize.

Example Marketing Strategy

Often we need tangible examples to help us see a concept in action.

Below is a template you can use with a specific example below showing how this could look for a specific business. (Download this template here.)

Marketing Strategy Template

1. Know Your Audience:

  • Target: [Identify your ideal target audience]
  • Pain points / Dreamstate: [Identify your target audience’s primary pain points that your product or service resolves, or ideal “dreamstate” that your product or service helps your audience attain]
  • Values: [Identify your business’s primary values that will resonate with your target audience]

2. Define Your Value Proposition:

  • Unique selling points: [Identify what sets your product or service apart from other solutions to your audience’s pain point or ideal dreamstate]
  • Brand personality: [Identify what type of personality your business should convey that will best resonate with your target audience]

3. Choose the Right Channels:

  • [Identify 1–6 primary channels you’d like to use that will best connect with your target audience]

4. Craft Compelling Content:

  • [Identify 1–3 primary types of content you’ll start producing that will best connect with your target audience]

5. Set Measurable Goals:

  • [Identify 1–3 primary KPIs you’d like to track that will help you measure success for your business]
  • [Identify a time period over which you’d like measure results]
  • [Identify a target goal for your analytics over your specified time period]

6. Adapt and Optimize:

  • [Identify processes by which you’ll review results and make optimizations to your strategy over time]

Starting a Local Bakery

Imagine you're opening a charming bakery called "Sourdough Symphony" in a bustling city neighborhood. Your goal is to win over local hearts and taste buds. Here's a basic marketing strategy outline to get you started:

1. Know Your Audience:

  • Target: Local residents, particularly young professionals who appreciate quality fresh food and a cozy atmosphere.
  • Pain points: Lack of convenient access to fresh, artisan bread, limited options for healthy grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.
  • Values: Community, quality, healthy eating, supporting local businesses.

2. Define Your Value Proposition:

  • Unique selling points: Freshly baked sourdough bread with unique flavors (e.g., rosemary olive, cranberry walnut), cozy café space for dine-in, focus on locally sourced ingredients.
  • Brand personality: Warm, welcoming, authentic, community-oriented.

3. Choose the Right Channels:

  • Social media: Instagram for mouthwatering food photos and bakery stories, Facebook for community engagement and event announcements.
  • Local partnerships: Collaborate with independent coffee shops or farmers' markets to offer your bread.
  • Email marketing: Build an email list and send newsletters with special offers, new menu items, and bakery news.
  • SMS marketing: Alongside an email list, build an SMS list and send special offers and announcements.
  • Website: Showcase your menu, location, and story, allow online ordering for pickup or delivery.

4. Craft Compelling Content:

  • High-quality food photography: Highlight the beauty and deliciousness of your breads.
  • Behind-the-scenes glimpses: Share the baking process, introduce your team, and showcase your commitment to quality ingredients.
  • Engaging stories: Tell the story of your bakery, your passion for sourdough, and connect with your audience on an emotional level.

5. Set Measurable Goals:

  • Increase website traffic by 20% within 3 months.
  • Grow Instagram followers to 1,000 within 6 months.
  • Achieve 100 daily walk-in customers within 1 year.

6. Adapt and Optimize:

  • Track your results using analytics tools and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Run promotions and test different content formats to see what resonates with your audience.
  • Be open to feedback and constantly strive to improve your offerings and customer experience.

Common Types of Marketing Strategies

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Common Types of Marketing Strategies with all of the subpoint headers below and attractive graphical elements or icons

The number of different marketing strategies are almost endless, but below are a few common strategies and channels. Note that most marketing strategies will include elements of each of the below points, but some strategies will focus more on certain elements or approaches than others.

Digital Marketing Strategy Focus

While all businesses should have some kind of digital marketing strategy, for many businesses it makes sense to have digital marketing be the primary (if not the only) focus.

A marketing strategy that emphasizes digital marketing will involve a reliance on digital channels, such as:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Digital content (blog posts, online videos, podcasts, etc.)

Social Marketing Strategy Focus

As a subcategory of digital marketing, social marketing may be the primary point of focus for some businesses.

This could especially be true for businesses built around an influencer personality or for many direct sales businesses.

A social marketing strategy may involve…

  • Engaging heavily with your social audience
  • Creating content optimized for your chosen social platforms
  • Doing regular live videos
  • Investing heavily in social ads
  • Knowing which social platforms your target audience prefers

Pull and Push Marketing Strategy

“Pull and push” terminology refers to marketing strategies and channels that either pull customers and prospects toward your brand (for example, SEO-centric blog posts) or push your product and service in front of customers’ and prospects’ eyes (for example, ads).

Most businesses will have both of these types of strategies incorporated into their marketing. But you may lean toward one or the other, depending on several factors such as the nature of your product or service and how your audience responds.

Diversification Marketing Strategy

A “diversification” marketing strategy doesn’t lean too heavily on a single method of marketing but instead tries to diversify into multiple different channels.

With a marketing strategy that emphasizes diversification, you’ll want to always be thinking about what new approaches, channels, tools, and strategies you can try.

This type of approach holds the advantage of not having all your eggs in one basket, but if you’re not careful, you could spread yourself too thin.

Email Marketing Strategy

In recent decades, email has become one of the most tried-and-true ways of marketing.

That’s because email is broadly inexpensive, and overall, effective (at least in terms of ROI). Most people email (although the younger generation less so), and we are all conditioned to expect marketing emails.

Further, email is relatively easy to test, track, and optimize. There are dangers with having too much of an emphasis on email, however, which we have experienced firsthand—if your email domain gets flagged for one reason or another, your emails may start going to spam, and it’s difficult to regain your email reputation so that your emails can be successfully delivered to people’s inboxes.

Price Marketing Strategy

Marketing that focuses on price can go one of 2 ways…

  • You can emphasize your product or service as “Premium-level,” thus justifying a high cost
  • You can emphasize your product as the “affordable” solution

General business consensus is that you don’t want to promote your product as the “most inexpensive,” because that ends up creating a brand image that may come across as “cheap.” Not only that, but there are always new competitors coming around who can undercut you in terms of pricing, so it can be a bit of a losing battle.

However, a “low-price” marketing strategy can work well in some cases. Think McDonald’s and even Amazon in its early days. So don’t dismiss the “affordable” strategy immediately out of hand. If you’re a startup, you could consider being the “inexpensive” option as you’re first gaining momentum and then rebrand as time goes on after you get a solid customer base (i.e., Amazon’s strategy).

Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Trying to catch all the “small fish” customers to sustain your business can be exhausting, as these types of customers can sometimes be high-maintenance with minimal LTV.

That’s part of the reason some businesses opt for a strategic account-based marketing emphasis. This is a strategy in which businesses focus marketing efforts on winning strategic large accounts, which is more difficult but can have higher payoff if successful.

This type of strategy can be a bit of a gamble, since winning enterprise-level customers can be time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable. But if the conditions are right, this can be a highly profitable marketing approach.

SMS Marketing

One marketing strategy that’s less emphasized is SMS.

While email marketing tends to be more of the go-to since it’s inexpensive and relatively easy to build a large list, text messages tend to be a better way to get your audience to actually see your messages (since so many emails are left unread).

So SMS can be an effective marketing strategy to help cut through the noise and really reach people.

Marketing Strategy Videos

If you’re more of a visual learner, here are some videos on marketing strategy to help walk you through some of the main concepts…

General Marketing

A Complete Marketing Strategy in 3 Minutes by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Best Marketing Strategy for a New Business or Product by Rick Kettner

How to Create a Marketing Plan | Step-by-Step Guide by Visme

Specific Strategies

How to Approach Social Media Marketing in 2024 by Gary Vaynerchuk

Diversification Strategy (With Real World Examples) by Business School 101

How to Master Email Marketing by HubSpot

Account-Based Marketing (Explained) by Zaryn @ Market & Hustle

What’s Your Marketing Strategy?

Every company is engaged in marketing. But not every company has a solid marketing strategy.

Flying by the seat of your pants is not the best approach, and even if you have a solid marketing strategy, there are always ways to improve.

So what’s your marketing strategy? How could it be optimized and improved? Do you have a marketing strategy?

Interested in incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy? Get a free SMS marketing trial here.

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