One of the reasons that strategic marketing is overlooked is because it’s not obvious; it’s not ‘in our faces’. Strategy is practically invisible to outsiders, because it is the thinking behind the scenes within businesses that we never get to see. Marketing strategy is invisible.
What we do see, as consumers and observers of businesses, is the advertising, social media, promotional activities, public relations and other visible techniques that are the result of marketing communications work. We see the end result that is delivered to us as TV adverts, websites, apps, and messages in many other media.
What we don’t see is the clear-headed strategic thinking that has gone on behind the scenes, months earlier. This strategic thinking involves deciding on particular market segments to target, exact messages, and the most appropriate media to deliver those messages.
Consequently we are unaware of the decisions made in boardrooms and offices about which particular operational marketing techniques to use – and which not to use.
We don’t hear about the decision not to advertise to a particular market segment. We never see the advertisements that businesses choose not to run. Nobody tells us about the decisions not to use a particular medium to get a message to a chosen target market.
The casual observer may conclude that advertisers use every opportunity to promote all products to as many people as possible, but it isn’t so.
Sometimes we see advertising which is unusual, avant-garde, amusing or even apparently silly, and there’s a danger that we see marketing people as purely zany creatives, having fun, simply seeking attention, and then calling it ‘creative marketing’.
Because we can be enchanted, amused and fascinated by advertising glitz and glamour, this is the aspect of marketing that we tend to focus on. Indeed we are often inspired and want to copy those techniques. But mass marketing techniques, even when scaled down, are not appropriate to smaller businesses.
Don’t focus only on the visible aspects of marketing; think also about the strategy behind them.
– Marketing starts in the boardroom, not on the billboard.
– Some of the most important marketing decisions are strategic ones about what not to do. Strategic marketers decide which people not to target and which media not to use.
What to do next
– Make sure that decisions about what media to use are based on strategy, not the result of an enchantment with a particular medium.
– Make it a rule for yourself and your colleagues that you will only decide which media to use after considering their relevance to specific messages to be delivered to particular market segments.
This is an extract from David’s marketing book ‘Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success. 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs’.
Read this and 62 more inspiring and practical marketing techniques on your smartphone by downloading this strategic marketing book as an eBook. It is also available as a paperback and as an Audiobook. This highly-acclaimed marketing book is also available in Spanish and French.