What is a marketing strategy?

In business, when you don't know what to say, you use the word "strategy".

Do we have a strategy?
What is the strategy?
Let's have a strategy workshop.

It's an overused word that means: I'm not sure what to do, and desperately need to look confident. Strategy time!

But do you really need a marketing strategy, or is it just a fancy word for hot air? Let's answer this by starting at the beginning:

In business, you want to make investments, not incur expenses.

An "investment" is similar to an "expense" but with a long term benefit to the business. To move from pure expense to investment, you need to think deeply about how you spend your money: where are you spending it, why and what should the results be? I regard this process of thinking as "strategy".

Too many businesses don't think through their marketing, meaning it remains a pure expense, with little upside.

This is why you need a marketing strategy - to see long term results from the money (and effort) you spend on marketing activities.

But realistically, what are some of the results you can expect from a sensible investment in marketing? If done (reasonably) well, over a sustained period, an investment in marketing should deliver a little miracle for you - two, in fact:
  1. It will enable you to raise prices, and still be competitive,
  2. It will allow you to attract customers instead of having to find them.
Gravity-defying stuff.

However, it requires something before you start: a strategy.

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