This post was originally written by Mark Schmukler on the Marketing Insider Group blog.
“Strategy without tactics is a daydream; tactics without strategy is a nightmare.” Influenced by Sun Tzu and coined by Sagefrog CEO and Co-founder Mark Schmukler, this quote implies that there’s a clear difference between marketing strategy and marketing tactics. It suggests that one can’t be done without the other, and to do both correctly, strategy must come first. It’s the foundation, after all.
Marketing strategy, however, can mean different things: the position or “strategy” by which your brand will go to market, and the actual way or “strategy” by which your company will create a brand to go to market with. The second definition is what we’re going to talk about here—what your marketing department’s strategy should be for making the most of the time, energy and dollars you allocate to marketing. In a new report1 that collected data from hundreds of B2B marketing professionals, the ways in which B2B marketing teams across the nation operate as a majority were brought to light. In this blog, find out how B2B marketers are planning, executing and budgeting their marketing programs so you can be sure your marketing program’s strategy falls in line, or ahead, of your competition in 2019.
Strategy 1: Have a Formal Marketing Plan
In a significant and encouraging shift from the data released in last year’s B2B Marketing Mix Report,1 more B2B teams are using formal plans to guide their branding and marketing. 66% of B2B marketers reported using a formal marketing plan this year, taking a more strategic and proactive approach to tactics, rather than a sporadic and reactive approach to the marketplace.
Once again, there are differences between a strategic marketing plan and a tactical marketing plan. A strategic marketing plan, which we’re talking about here, combines market research with a situation analysis of your brand. One of the most common ways to get started is by using your marketing agency or internal committee to identify your top five to ten competitors and conduct a SWOT analysis for each. Cross-reference your competitors’ SWOTs against your company’s own analysis to uncover the whitespace—areas where the market is severely lacking or strengths that only your company brings to the table. With this information, you can develop a brand strategy and messaging platform that intelligently markets the characteristics that make your brand different and better from the rest.
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Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.
Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.
Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.