7 Steps to Create a Creative Marketing Strategy

I was recently talking to a CEO of a startup who had spent 3 years building his unique tech solution. He said to date they had implemented some marketing including creating a website, designed a couple of downloadable datasheets, posted on social media and activated some SEO. He was complaining that he wanted “Quality leads now – and not in 3 months!”

Of course, there are ways of generating marketing qualified leads quickly, but ideally to achieve sales qualified leads and drive growth, every business should have prepared a detailed marketing strategy prior to launching their solution. As implementing a marketing strategy is important, in fact so important, that businesses who have a documented marketing strategy are 414% more likely to report success than businesses that don’t have one.

Marketing will always face unique challenges and opportunities, such as inflation and an unpredictable economy, along with wars and pandemics which ultimately  impact on industry. To navigate these challenges, it’s important to develop marketing strategies that take these forces into account, while also acknowledging that budgets and results will be under significant pressure. There’s no one right way to create a marketing strategy, but these 7 steps will give you a good starting point.

1. Why do I need a creative marketing strategy?

Developing your unique marketing strategy will give you direction on how you plan to tell the world that they need to do business with you and to differentiate you from your competition. This is also when you need to decide your marketing objectives i.e. are you looking to raise the profile of your brand, increase consideration, generate more leads or perhaps all three?

2. Identify with your customers

Understanding your buyers’ needs, challenges, habits, and processes can help you to align all the great content you are creating to drive new business. So developing buyer personas is key for you to identify with your potential customers and to gain their trust and keep their interest. Segmentation is also essential for creating targeted campaigns as you can refine all aspects of your messaging to relate directly to these personas and their pain points.

3. Continuously Create Content

Content has become core to everything in marketing, so you absolutely have to budget for it. If you haven’t already, then you should create a content marketing plan. Creative and quality content builds consumer loyalty and is key to achieve qualified leads, as on average its takes 8 touches to even generate a conversation with a prospect. Whether it is shorter content to boost brand awareness like a video post on social media, or long form like an article offering a deeper insight; your content needs to be relevant and adding value – ideally informative, educational or entertaining – whatever you think will resonate with your target audience.

4. Be Creative

You need to stand out from the crowd and show everyone why your business is amazing in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Uniquely represent your business through all your advertising and marketing campaigns by bringing your brand to life with personality and compelling narratives. Consumers appreciate originality and emotion and these concepts are often the best place to start. Use authentic imagery wherever possible to reinforce your story as emotional branding is a forward-thinking creative strategy, one that has been proven to increase customer retention and loyalty. As when it comes to parting with their money, how a person feels about your brand is ultimately the deciding factor.

5. Choose tactics to suit your business

A data-driven marketing strategy can help you learn more about your audience to improve your tactics and your future campaigns. More specifically, it can help you improve your customer experience with the use of personalisation or it can even help you create more effective adverts to reach the right audience. Assess everything carefully, make sure you’ve got a plan to actually measure whatever you try. Social media is vital for a business on a budget, but which is your best channel – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube? Online and offline campaigns can both generate meaningful leads but why not integrate them into an omnichannel strategy? Whichever tactics you choose always remember to optimise everything by practising A/B testing, then you can determine which content or subject line performs better.

6. Prioritise Customer Experience (CX)

Providing a positive customer experience will likely lead to new business and potentially get you free promotion to all of their network. Give a bad experience and they may never come back. Customers now have higher expectations when it comes to personalisation, omnichannel experiences, 24/7 access and control of their own narratives. So it’s good to keep up with CX trends to ensure you are consistently delivering a great journey. All the way from your initial email, to clicking on a landing page to the follow-up process after an event. But don’t take your eye off the ball as you need to continually audit this journey and improve it.

7. How do you measure success?

The best metrics to track are those that are SMART and drive business growth. Each metric e.g. form fills, number of downloads, net new customers – all of these enable you to monitor what is working within a campaign and where you need to make adjustments, so that those leads become customers. But when you choose your KPIs, ensure that whatever you’re measuring can be tied back to your marketing and business goals.

In conclusion, a carefully mapped out creative marketing strategy is the key to the growth of your business and for reaching your goals. It should be the first thing you do before you allocate funds or invest time in any marketing activities. It’s your guide to who you target, how you talk about your business, and how you differentiate yourself from all other businesses.

Fortunately, advancements in AI and automation are helping marketing to be more efficient by leveraging data to sharpen your campaigns and drive sales. While content marketing remains crucial, it’s essential to stay attuned to the preferences of your target audience and adjust your content accordingly. Above all, flexibility will be key in the face of ongoing changes, so be prepared to pivot your plans quickly so you are ready to adapt to new trends and challenges.

I have worked with many clients and I always recommend documenting a creative marketing strategy. If you want help with starting yours, why not send me a message and schedule a call with me christina@hippocampus.marketing