In marketing, it is important to proceed in a planned manner, to set specific goals and consciously select suitable marketing strategies. Get to know proven methods from offline and online marketing and find out what is particularly important for success. An example shows you what the development of an overall strategy could look like in practice.
Develop definition & marketing strategies step by step
A marketing strategy bundles all measures to align a company on the market in terms of its overall strategy. This includes sub-strategies from the four areas of the marketing mix, also known as 4 P: Product ( product policy ), Price ( pricing policy ), Place ( sales policy ) and Promotion ( communication policy ). Marketing is often equated with advertising. However, advertising measures are only one of several strategies in the field of communication.
Do not use individual marketing measures haphazardly, but proceed strategically and develop a well-founded overall concept. The following steps are necessary for this:
- Analysis of the current situation: The SWOT analysis, which clarifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks, is suitable for this task. Examine the current market share, your company image and sales.
- Objective :
On the basis of the results of the analysis, you formulate strategic goals and also determine the period of time for target achievement. Example: In the next two years the market share of product A is supposed to increase by 30%.
- Determination of the measures :
Select from the possible instruments and marketing strategies those with which you can achieve the set goals.
- Measure success: Use suitable key figures to regularly monitor the degree of target achievement. If the results are insufficient, change your strategy.
In order to develop an effective marketing strategy, you need to know possible sub-strategies. Find out more about this below.
Different types of marketing strategies
Marketing strategies can relate to any of the four areas of the marketing mix. Which ones are suitable in each case depends on the individual situation of the company and the desired goals. The following list is not a complete list, but only provides a few examples:
- B2B marketing strategy :
When dealing with business customers, providers have to pay attention to different aspects than when marketing is intended to address end consumers. For example, purchase decisions are often made by several people and information opportunities are more important than in the B2C area.
- International marketing strategy :
If you want to open up international markets, you have to proceed differently than if you limit yourself to the national market. In addition to the other competitive situation, above all cultural differences have to be considered.
- Online marketing strategy :
Online marketing offers interesting opportunities that are based on most people’s everyday lives. However, a combination of online and classic offline strategies often makes sense.
- Market development :
This marketing strategy is used when existing products are to be introduced into new markets. An alternative to this would be the product development strategy, in which new products are developed for a market in which a company is already established.
- Special pricing strategy :
the market should be stimulated through occasional, temporary price reductions. This must be distinguished from the exploitation price strategy, in which products are sold below their value in order to capture market shares.
- Skimming strategy :
The company brings new products to the market at a high price and thus siphons off good profit margins. Some time later the price goes down. This works in the technical equipment market as customers are willing to pay more for innovative products.
- Specialization strategy :
A company can specialize in a relatively small range of products (e.g. print items) and offer it in several markets (e.g. advertising, office equipment, gifts). Or it specializes in a market (e.g. sports equipment) and sells many different products there (e.g. clothing, equipment, sports equipment).
The following two sections deal with specific marketing sub-strategies that can mainly be assigned to the area of communication. A distinction is made between classic offline strategies and online marketing.
Below is a guide about content marketing tools:
7 classic marketing strategies that work
Even if marketing strategies in the online area offer many interesting possibilities, every classic method also has its advantages. When selecting and combining the measures, consider how you can best reach your target group.
Typical of direct marketing is the more pronounced individualization compared to other classic marketing strategies. You can achieve this, for example, by means of personally addressed letters, catalogs adapted to the interests of the recipient or addressing customers directly at the point of sale or in public.
Often the goal is also to initiate a reaction or dialogue via reply cards, questionnaires or the invitation to telephone on advertising material. This ties up the attention of the addressees and provides management with valuable data.
From a company’s point of view, the goal of sponsorship is to improve awareness and the image of its own brand. The sponsor supports an athlete, a cultural event or a social organization financially or materially. It is contractually agreed in which form the sponsored in return presents the brand of his sponsor.
As many successful examples from sports sponsoring show, the effect is often that strong emotions are associated with the brand. Be sure to sponsor a cause that is important to your target audience. For example, an ecologically oriented company could support an environmental organization.
If a customer is very satisfied with your company, they will ideally recommend it to others. This is a free and very effective form of advertising for you that you can promote with targeted referral marketing. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Ask customers to do so
- reward successful referrals
- Issue vouchers not only for customers, but also for their friends
- ask for references that you can publish (for a reward)
- Encourage communication about the company, through give-aways with advertising print or events.
Include not only customers in your referral marketing, but also employees and partners in business networks. Smaller companies in particular often benefit from networking and mutual recommendations.
Events are not an everyday occurrence, which is why they attract attention. They bring the company into conversation and offer space for maintaining contacts and for presenting the offer. Participating in events as well as organizing such highlights can be part of the marketing strategy. Examples are:
- Participation in trade fairs
- Corporate management
- Lectures, seminars, conferences
- Cultural or sporting events
- Charity events
- Family celebrations
- Hands-on activities and competitions
Many events have the potential to trigger positive emotions in the target group, which in turn promotes customer loyalty. In this context, it makes sense to capture special moments by photo or video and share them on social networks.
What distinguishes guerrilla marketing is that it gets noticed. It’s one of those marketing strategies that require a lot of creativity and unconventional thinking, but don’t necessarily have to cost a lot. The actions often address emotions and sometimes polarize.
Whether as unusual installations in public spaces, original reactions to current events or staged sensations, guerrilla marketing can take on very diverse forms.
Issuing specific vouchers is one of the classic marketing measures that are simple but effective. You achieve two main effects: On the one hand, you make your customers happy and you strengthen customer loyalty. On the other hand, you stimulate further purchases with vouchers. Most often this is used to grant discounts, but free services or small gifts with the next purchase are also conceivable.
There are numerous opportunities and occasions to distribute vouchers:
- Special offers, via flyers
- directly before or after a (larger) purchase
- Birthday or Christmas vouchers for existing customers
- on the occasion of special events such as new openings or company anniversaries
- Reward for referrals or customer loyalty
In addition to the classic vouchers on paper, voucher codes that can be redeemed online are gaining in importance, as are barcodes or QR codes that are provided via apps for redeeming in stationary retail.
The corporate identity contributes to branding and should therefore not be neglected in connection with marketing strategies. Whether in design, communication or the behavior of employees, uniform standards improve the public perception of the company and strengthen customer loyalty.
As the founder, decide on suitable company colors and a logo (corporate design). A catchy slogan also appeals to customers and increases the brand’s recognition value.
7 Successful Online Marketing Strategies
As people become increasingly active online, marketing should reach them this way too. Compared to the classic marketing strategies, the online methods offer more options, especially with regard to customizability and measurability.
E-mail marketing via newsletter is a comparatively inexpensive and effective method for companies to remind customers and interested parties from time to time and to present current offers. For this, however, not only the e-mail addresses must be known, but also the declarations of consent of the addressees for receiving e-mails.
Nevertheless, many advertising emails are deleted unread. To prevent this from happening, newsletters must be attractively designed and contain information that is valuable for the recipient. They should also not be sent too often. In this context, individualizations that can also be automated with the help of CRM tools are advantageous .
Social media marketing
Publicize your own brand, win new customers and strengthen the bond with existing customers, social media marketing is very suitable for this. Use networks that are important to your target group, regularly post interesting content and respond appropriately to comments from your users.
Addressing customers via social media is one of the marketing strategies that are also suitable for smaller companies. Occasional postings can, for example, encourage customers to visit a local retail store or restaurant more often. In addition, it is also possible to place individualized advertising.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you are looking for a specific product or the solution to a problem on the Internet, you will in most cases use a search engine. For companies whose websites are then displayed among the first search results, this creates a good chance of being noticed by potential customers.
The ranking on the search results pages can be improved in the medium to long term through SEO measures, whereby both technical and content-related aspects play a role. Search engine optimization is a prerequisite for other marketing strategies such as content marketing or inbound marketing to work.
Read more about inbound marketing here:
Content marketing is based on potential buyers doing research on the Internet when they are interested in something or looking for solutions to problems. Companies therefore publish targeted content that is of interest to the target group. These are intended to draw the searcher’s attention to their own offers. As forms of content are among other potential candidates:
- Advisory article
- Online tools (e.g. comparison calculator)
With high-quality and useful content, companies not only win new customers, but they also strengthen customer loyalty and acquire expert status. This is why content marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies, especially in the B2B area.
Inbound marketing is based on the basic principle that potential customers find the company’s offers themselves during their research. In contrast, outbound marketing measures come across people involuntarily in their everyday life in the form of advertising.
In order for inbound marketing to work, you need to combine several marketing strategies. This includes above all content marketing in connection with search engine optimization. You can also use social networks to increase the reach of your content. In many industries it is worthwhile to determine contact details of interested parties (leads) in connection with the retrieval of content and to identify these potential customers to motivate them to buy through individualized email marketing.
In affiliate marketing, as an entrepreneur, you cooperate with publishers who, for example, operate a blog, an advice site or a comparison portal. These integrate links to your online shop or website. Depending on the agreement, you pay the publishers a commission for every click on the link or for every sale or lead that is generated through it.
The technical processing takes place either via your own affiliate program, or you use a specialized network. With success-based pay, affiliate marketing is a relatively inexpensive marketing strategy. Select affiliate partners who are interesting for your target group.
Read more about affiliate marketing here:
With influencer marketing, you use the influence of known people to promote your own company, your brand or your offers. This marketing strategy is not limited to the online world, but is of the greatest importance there thanks to the wide range of certain formats. Do you work with bloggers or YouTubers who address a target group that largely corresponds to yours.
For influencer marketing to be credible and effective, it is important that influencers that you work with can identify with your company. You agree on the form of cooperation individually. For example, for a fee, you can have posts made in which influencers test and rate your products.
Example of a successful marketing strategy in practice
A newly founded company would like to sell self-designed outdoor and leisure clothing, both in a stationary store in a small town and via its own online shop. The development of the marketing strategy could proceed as follows:
1. SWOT analysis of the current situation:
- no shops with a similar range in the vicinity (chance)
- great competition in online trading (risk)
- Unique selling point: own design (strength)
- no customer base yet (weakness)
- Establishing a customer base in stationary and online retail (definition of customer numbers as target values)
- Planning of sales for the first year
3. Definition of the measures:
- Choice of corporate colors and design of a logo
- Voucher campaign for the new opening (online and via locally distributed advertising flyers)
- Sponsoring a sporting event in the city
- Running a blog (including SEO measures) on the subject of outdoor activities with a link to newsletter registration for e-mail marketing
- Building a community on Facebook
- Affiliate cooperations with publishers from the outdoor area
4. Measure success:
- Observation of the development of the customer base, also in connection with individual marketing strategies
- Monitoring of online and offline sales
- Cost control: which marketing strategies are profitable and which are not?
In addition to a skillful selection and combination of individual sub-strategies, other aspects also play a role in the success of your marketing. Pay particular attention to the following points:
- Keep an eye on your target group :
Think about the marketing strategies you can use to best address your target group. You can probably best reach a heterogeneous clientele in a highly competitive market with guerrilla or event marketing, while all online marketing measures are only suitable for target customers who are internet savvy.
- Do not forget to measure success :
You can only tell whether a marketing strategy is successful or whether you should rather invest in other measures through regular success monitoring. In online marketing, suitable tools can support this task.
- Combine online and offline strategies :
Marketing strategies from both areas can complement each other well. If you, for example, organize an open house and share it on social networks, combine event and social media marketing.
- Working with storytelling :
With storytelling, you can effectively support many marketing strategies. Whether as content, via social media or in a personal conversation with customers – interesting stories speak to people emotionally.
- Use a CRM system :
With software for customer relationship management, you can keep track of your customer relationships. This not only enables better service, but also individualized marketing strategies.
- Pay attention to available resources :
The individual marketing strategies are cost-intensive differently. When planning, consider which resources are available to you and how you can use them as sustainably and profitably as possible.
- Adjust strategy regularly :
Companies and markets continue to develop. So check your marketing strategy regularly and make any necessary adjustments.
Each of the marketing strategies will only appeal to your customers if it offers them added value. This can be information, but also entertainment or a sense of belonging to a community.
Conclusion: no marketing without a strategy
Whether for founders or established companies, marketing strategies are always an issue and must always be tailored to the specific situation. The starting points are the overall goals that the company would like to achieve.
The overall strategy is made up of several sub-strategies that are coordinated with one another. In addition to the many possibilities of online marketing, this also includes classic offline strategies that continue to have an impact.