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What Are Marketing Strategies? — 

Marketing strategies represent “how” things will get done. Or, to put it another way, they define action that needs to be taken in order to accomplish the defined marketing and sales objectives.

It is not at all uncommon for organizations to develop sound goals and marketing objectives only to then proceed to create marginal strategies that simply do not effectively support the goals and objectives. It is this failure to carefully craft viable and differentiating strategies that ultimately dooms many businesses.

On every planning team, there should be individuals who are good strategic thinkers. The ability to digest available data and information and draw accurate inferences, assess the markets the business operates within, identify potential competitive advantages, and “think outside the box” are all important to the development of strategies that will give the business the best possible chance of being successful.

Too often strategies are developed hastily and/or they are based on flawed or incomplete information/data. Or they are not based on what could offer the organization some sort of competitive advantage.

Also, strategies should be fluid in terms of adjusting to competitors’ changes and strategies. Certainly, any strategies you develop should be profit-oriented and take into account budgetary limitations.

Your strategies will cover each of the functional marketing and sales areas of your organization in order to provide direction to all involved. Some marketing “experts” like to point to the 4 P’s of marketing as the basis for developing strategies. Those four P’s; price, product, promotion, and place (distribution) certainly represent the broad areas around which strategies will be created. But within each “P” are numerous possible sub-categories.

For example, if you are addressing your product(s), there here are a few of the possible sub-categories around which specific strategies might be written:

- Packaging
- Design
- Functionality
- Color
- Technical features
- Life Span/Obsolescence
- Size/dimensions
- Merchandising features/capabilities
- Quality

This list represents only some of the possible areas around which strategies may need to be addressed. Competition and market demands will drive where you might focus your efforts.

Taking this a step further as a means of presenting several examples of strategies, the following might represent possible strategies for a few of the sub-categories shown above:

  • Create unique merchandising features that will differentiate our treadmill line from the competition by allowing retailers to display the product while minimizing space required.
  • Incorporate functionality into our treadmill line that allows users to custom program their own exercise routine into each machine and by including MP3 capabilities in our higher end treadmills.
  • Upgrade the quality of our treadmill line by changing the belt and rotator configuration.

These examples illustrate how strategies are created incrementally for each product line and for one variable…..product. The last one borders on being more tactical than strategic, but the distinction is not all that important.

Some planners recommend adding tactics to support each strategy and that isn’t a bad idea since tactics describe the specifics of how to implement strategies. A couple of examples follow for the strategy “Create unique merchandising features that will differentiate our treadmill line from the competition by allowing retailers to display the product while minimizing space required.”:

Shorten and narrow the “footprint” of each treadmill by roughly 10% (engineering will need to evaluate to ensure favorable user functionality).
Change the size and color of the user panel and use complimentary colors for labeling the panel.

As you can see, these tactics are very specific. However, if you choose to blend your strategies and tactics into one section labeled “Marketing Strategies”, that is an option that is acceptable in most marketing circles. However, if you would like to separate your tactics from strategies, it is recommended that you specifically delineate them in your marketing plan.

To learn more about creating effective strategies and developing a sound marketing plan, click here for more information on The Marketing Plan Manual.


Disclaimer: The information above is for informational and educational purposes only, It does not construe advice. Your use of the information is at your discretion and you assume the sole responsibility of relying on this information at your own risk. 


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