Why marketing strategies matter

A marketing strategy outlines your company vision and objectives, ensuring that you are targeting the right people with the right content.

It’s not always easy for businesses, organisations, and institutions to be totally proactive when it comes to content marketing, especially those with smaller teams and departments tasked with the marketing and promotion of the entire business.

Having had experience of working in such a team for a university, the year passes by in a flurry of reactive posting, throwing content at the digital wall and hoping something will stick.

Whether it’s a case of requiring content for a recruitment drive because you are short-staffed or not enough prospective students signed up to your Geography degree, struggles can arise if you do not have some sort of marketing strategy in place. When those problems arise, it is often the case that the content is produced in-house or by an agency, but there is neither the time, manpower or strategy to properly utilise or optimise it. This is a problem. It’s like slapping a plaster over a stab wound, and hoping it’s had some sort of impact. Without even a basic strategy in place, you might just be shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.

I’ve also seen it happen with others. A client is tasked suddenly with running a recruitment-focused campaign as their organisation struggles to recruit. Interview montages of current staff talking about what they love about their roles, for example, are posted straight to organic social media platforms. This is where your audience and community should be met with valuable and authentic content – more pull than push. However, the likelihood of the right person seeing and engaging with a post like this in the way you want is quite low, and it might have been better to map out a paid-ad campaign, optimising those recruitment clips, adding a CTA and targeting the desired demographic, as paid-ads are better for instant, reactive solutions to this problem. 

Better yet, with a marketing strategy (and sometimes perhaps a more generous marketing budget) in place, there might have been a calendar of content for social media that helped to build genuine interest in your brand over time. You may also have planned paid recruitment campaigns to go live at certain points in the year, organic and paid working together consistently in tandem to alleviate expected or unexpected lulls in recruitment before they occur.

There’s always going to be some level of reactivity as problems can suddenly arise that require a quick solution, and there might not always be the budget in the pot or the big team to fully realise a full content marketing strategy. I’ve experienced this first-hand in a previous role, and these were some key takeaways:

  • With no top-down marketing strategy, the teams within the marketing department felt isolated from one another, when they should be complimenting one-another’s efforts.
  • Overall brand and tone of voice is therefore all over the place and hard to ascertain – everybody is focussed on their own projects, and nobody is singing from the same hymn sheet.
  • There is no time for proactivity and a consistent flow of content, even when the same challenges arise at the same time every year.
  • There is less time or consideration for funnel techniques (awareness, consideration, etc.).
  • Without the clear direction of a solid strategy, there is less accountability or reference point for when things aren’t working as well as they could be.
  • Feeling in a constantly reactive state is not good for overall morale. You feel somewhat like a cog in a broken machine, working without direction as you move from one disparate project to another. You begin to wonder at the impact of your work.
  • Money might be spent in the wrong places, a little bit here and there for one-off campaigns that arise suddenly.

No longer being in that situation, I empathise with those in a similar position, those tiny teams, or that marketing army-of-one. There’s only so much you can do, and so it ends up being the ‘let’s just try this and see what happens’ marketing method, which distances each of your campaigns away from one another instead of pulling them together into an integrated bundle.

A marketing strategy, even a rudimentary one, keeps you focused on your target audience and what they want, and aligns your company’s visions and branding, keeping your teams on the same page whether they are writing for the web or making video content for your social media platforms.

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