A marketing strategy contains your objectives, target audiences, key brand messaging and overall plan for reaching prospects in order to turn them into customers for your products and services. In this article, we cover how to create and implement your next marketing strategy.
Finding your audience
Marketing personas are tailored to support activities by understanding more about user needs and behaviours. They are created by conducting interviews with existing or prospective customers.
Marketing personas help to inform benefit-led messaging and identify content that resonates by uncovering their goals, challenges and traits. The process would involve:
- Identifying 6 customers that fit each persona (12 in total)
- Create an interview script
- Conduct one-hour interviews with the selected customers
- Report on interview themes and visualise as personas
Review and refine current marketing activities and assets
Brand refinement & toolkit
To begin creating a new and improved suite of assets to have at your disposal, it’s vital to conduct a short brand refinement exercise to provide the toolkit elements that will underpin the strategy. The output of this exercise will be a set of brand guidelines and templates. The guidelines will also include the output of the messaging refinement below. This activity would include guidance on logo application and an extended colour palette. The recommended process would be:
- Brand personality workshop
- Creation of conceptual directions
- Refinement of concepts
- Creation of brand guidelines (including logo use, colour, typography and supporting elements such as photography)
- Supply of logo assets for print, digital and social
- Video sting
- Social media templates
- Presentation template
- Proposal template
Messaging refinement will help to create clear and consistent communication. Once the basis of messaging has been created, this can then funnel down into campaign-level messaging and tailored communications. Creating a messaging framework ensures everyone within the organisation speaks the same way and that the guiding principles outlined above are consistently referenced. The recommended process would be:
- Research interviews with customers (insights can be used from research conducted for personas if this activity has been completed)
- Personas (if personas have already been created, these will be used as guidance)
- Messaging creation and refinement with client
Creating a writing style guide alongside the brand guidelines would also be beneficial to create consistency, agnostic of who is writing content, documents or communications. A writing style guide typically includes information such as how an organisation uses grammar, punctuation, terminology etc. You can read more on creating a writing style guide here.
Optimise Google search results
The Google search result may be one of the first interactions a prospect has with your company, service or product, so it is important that this is an accurate reflection of the organisation. This should be done by first defining the top-level messaging used within the description to clearly communicate what your company offers, as well as the target audience. Secondly, it is important to update the descriptions of each page, to provide context on what information can be found.
Core content covers assets, articles and posts that are deployed via various channels. All content should have an identified audience in mind and focus on the specific needs and pain points of that audience.
We have identified a number of content types listed below.
These are key to both the marketing and sales strategies and can work to highlight benefits and points of difference. For projects that have delivered a real difference, a short video should be created. The format should follow:
- Introduction and context
- Business challenge
- How you addressed this challenge
- Website: to house the content
- LinkedIn: post to announce case study
- LinkedIn: quotation from the client relating to case study
- Twitter: post to announce case study
- Twitter: quotation from the client relating to case study
- LinkedIn: case study video
- Twitter: case study video
- YouTube: video to be posted
Frequency: 1x per month standard, 1x per quarter video case study
To increase the authority of your company it’s standard, and best practice, to project thought leadership through the creation of blogs. Content should be defined by targeting the pain points of the target audiences, informed by the personas.
- Website: to house the content
- LinkedIn: post to announce content
- Twitter: post to announce content
Frequency: 2x per month
A key point of any service or product is trusted advice and this can be achieved through creating snack-able content to reinforce this. Content of this nature would take the form of LinkedIn and Twitter graphics, animations and short pieces to the camera.
- LinkedIn: image, slide or video post
- Twitter: image, slide or video post
- Instagram: image, slide or video post
- YouTube: video post
Frequency: 2x per month
Engage and share
An activity that is often overlooked, but which can be hugely beneficial, is content engagement. Get out there and start talking and interacting with your target audience, and like, share and comment on posts that share similar topics and values. Tag authors of the content to increase reach and engagement.
Frequency: as it happens
Campaign-level activities are large activities focusing on a specific market or challenge. Initially, one campaign should be created every six months.
For ongoing tactical campaigns, targets and goals should be identified by decision-makers, with the target audience and objectives contributing to the decision and providing clear guidance from the outset. Depending on the stated requirements, the process is as follows:
- Kick off meeting: An initial kick-off call will be held to establish success metrics, reporting lines, milestones and project schedules.
- Identify target audience: The target persona should be identified at this stage. It should be identified if any further research may be required.
- Map customer journey: A journey map is a visualisation of the route users take as they engage with a company, product, service or brand. It will be created to identify the touchpoints, channels, activities and emotions, as well as the risks and opportunities along a time-based journey from the consumer and business perspective. This would be completed in a workshop format with all project stakeholders and a representative of the customer present.
- Create top-level messaging: Campaign messaging will be created and it will represent the copy used across all campaign materials.
- Creative concepts developed: Creative visualisations will be pulled together. Three creative directions will be explored and each concept should show how this would be applied to a few of the chosen assets.
- Creative iteration and sign-off: The concepts will be iterated upon with the project team before being presented to the stakeholders for sign-off.
- Roll-out of creative: Based on the sign-off of the creative concept, the third stage will see the direction deployed throughout its various assets.
To analyse campaign performance, it’s best practice to create a tracking dashboard to monitor marketing activity. The dashboard monitors the output and performance of core content and should include:
Monitoring of outputs
- Content created
- Social posts
- Case studies published
- Partner thought leadership
- Leads generated
- Website traffic
This article should provide you with the knowledge and capabilities to take control of your next marketing strategy, creating a path and solution for reaching and accessing your target audiences.
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