Using marketing strategy as your blueprint for success

Strategic Planning

Using marketing strategy as your blueprint for success

Joe Boswell

Joe Boswell
Sep 06, 2023

Graphic of computer, charts, and other marketing strategies

Modern marketers face many challenges in today’s industry landscape. Our world has become highly complex due to evolving buyer behavior, data overload, channel fragmentation, and numerous advertising and marketing technologies. This complexity can make it difficult to determine how to allocate your limited resources during annual planning. In these moments, a marketer’s best friend is a well-articulated strategy.

Just as a blueprint provides architects and builders with a clear path for constructing a building, a marketing strategy is a similar guide in our industry. It helps ensure that the activities defined in your annual plan are purposeful, aligned, and building toward the right business outcomes.


A marketing plan outlines how your business will compete to achieve its goals. A focused marketing strategy is rooted in brand positioning and involves making the right trade-offs. Strategy is about making careful choices regarding what your company does or doesn’t do. The goal is to make choices that create a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors.

You must evaluate your company, customers, competitors, and environment to create a sustainable advantage. With an understanding of the current landscape, marketers can begin to identify unique activities to pursue or ways to perform similar activities better than competitors.

Renowned strategy theorist Michael Porter emphasizes the importance of strategic fit among activities to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Strategic fit means identifying and combining related activities in a way that is harder for competitors to replicate.

"Strategy is all about making careful choices regarding what your company does or doesn’t do."

Let’s say one of your key strategies is to offer a best-in-class dealer network to win high-value customers that seek a differentiated ownership experience. In this scenario, your business should channel resources toward activities reinforcing the dealer strategy. This may involve activities related to dealer recruitment, training, in-store experience, co-op programs and incentives, sales enablement tools, listing management, performance measurement, and much more. Any of these initiatives might be relatively easy to copy. However, the strategy is to invest in a combination of dealer marketing activities greater than the sum of its parts and, thus, harder for competitors to replicate.

In determining specific activities to pursue, marketers can assess which activities will make the biggest impact on the customer experience and where they can amplify current strengths or address weaknesses.


Before annual planning, define or revisit audience segmentation and targeting decisions. Evaluate each segment's potential and commercial attractiveness and clarify who you want to win with.This might be based on segment growth, volume, profitability, product usage, sales cycle length, or competitive position. The target audiences should align with your brand strategy and positioning.

After you’ve prioritized audiences, develop personas and buyer journeys. These are critical references that enable the creation of audience-centric go-to-market plans. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. Audience insights can be collected quickly to develop these references by evaluating existing research reports, interviewing sales reps and customers, and analyzing first-party data.


Once you have defined the audience, you’re ready to outline core strategies for how to attract, develop, and retain these target customers. Acquisition activities are related to identifying, engaging, and converting the right prospects. Development activities involve strategies to increase customer share of wallet, cross-selling, or upselling. Retention is driven by customer satisfaction and identifying opportunities to add value to reduce churn.

These growth strategies may pull on any of the four P’s of marketing: product, price, placement, and promotion. These are likely multi-year strategies and aspirations that your team will begin to address as part of the annual marketing plan.


With the above blueprint in place, building an annual marketing plan that allocates resources to the right places will be much easier. Guided by the marketing strategy, the annual plan will define objectives for the coming year along with specific activities, campaigns, and initiatives that will overcome hurdles to help bring the strategy to life.

Each activity — aligned with the bigger picture — will serve a purpose and contribute to your company's goals.

By following this well-structured approach, you can navigate the complexities of the modern marketing landscape, make informed decisions, and set your business up for success in a highly competitive market.

Ready to discover what’s possible with proper planning? Reach out to us and let’s drive change for your business in 2024 and beyond. Or get more tips on strategic planning by checking out other 2RM blogs on this topic.

Joe Boswell
Get to know Joe

As a senior marketing strategy director, Joe Boswell has a passion for helping clients translate business objectives into impactful marketing initiatives. Reach out to Joe to pick his brain about strategic planning or where to find the best bike trails.