24th January 2018 / Marketing Posted by Paul Ovenden

Mapping out a marketing strategy in 2018

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The necessity of a marketing strategy is now almost universally accepted – but do you actually know what doing this effectively entails? For example, did you know that if you document your marketing strategy then you’re 538% more likely to see successful results? And if you’re setting goals within that strategy then you’re 429% more likely to achieve success than without defined objectives? These wild figures (which come from real research) show that there is a huge advantage to getting to grips with your marketing and becoming more effective at strategy. But how do you know which approach to take? We’ve looked at marketing tips from some of the most successful entrepreneurs and CEOs on the planet and collated them to provide some inspiration for sound strategy creation and mapping this year.

Customer-centric strategies 

John J. Legere of T-Mobile has proven to be one of the most high profile champions of a true customer-centric marketing strategy. Today, “customer-centric” is an overused buzz term in marketing literature but how many businesses really put this into practice? Legere took his inspiration from the T-Mobile call centres, "nobody calls to say: 'I love you.' They call when they're so frustrated. And I heard the way that they were taking care of them. And it was a big part of me thinking that if I could get the whole company to behave that way and care about that customer so much, that we really could be different." With that approach he reorganised to put the customer at the centre of marketing (and operations) at the business. The results? In 2011, T-Mobile made a loss of $4.3 billion. In 2016, it had become a profit of $3.8 billion.

Build in “personality” 

Generic marketing strategies are easy to come by but marketing that uses the unique features of your business is always going to be the most successful. So, when you’re mapping out the strategy for 2018 look at what gives your business “personality” and tailor the strategy around this. Michael Dubin was the founder of the Dollar Shave Club, which he launched on a shoestring with just a couple of thousand. The huge success his business achieved has been attributed in part to the way that Dubin infused the brand with personality – in this case, his own – because that’s what made it unique. In the end it was such a distinctive brand, with such distinctive marketing, that it attracted Unilever who bought it for $1 billion in 2016.

Never stop thinking about the product (or service)

It’s easy to get swept up in marketing ideas and inspirations and forget that at the heart of all this is the product that you’re trying to sell. Does your marketing strategy gel with what you’re offering? Does your marketing ring true and authentic to your brand values? It’s important to avoid moving too far away from what you’re actually trying to do or your marketing will lose all its authenticity – which is where its power lies. Steve Jobs’ obsessions at Apple tend to be a pretty controversial topic but no one can say he ever deviated far from the product. The absolute insistence on product quality, a consistent aesthetic and unique brand themes – reflected consistently across the marketing and every single range –played a big role in Apple’s success. 

Take time to take care of the details

Marketing strategy is particularly important if the business could be doing better – if that’s the case for you then it might be an idea to go back to basics and look at the marketing assets that you have to make your strategy work. The aesthetics of the branding are an integral part of your brand image and should support and inspire the development of strategy. If they don’t, it might be time to rethink colours, logos – or even the name. Richard Branson often tells the tale of how he chose the name Virgin while hanging out with friends, "one of the girls said: 'We're all virgins. Why don't you call it Virgin?’” The name worked for every industry the company went into, because it was new to each. Plus, as co-founder Nik Powell says, it was "very risqué and an immediate attention-grabber … It was just a great name."

These are just some of the marketing tips that some of the most successful people in business use to inform strategy and decision-making. From marketing assets such as logos, to developing content online and crafting a new website to drive your marketing goals, at Aquatint we can help you create a great foundation for your marketing strategy in 2018.