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The Four Horsemen of Marketing Strategy

The Four Horsemen are often referenced in works about the Apocalypse, but not today. These Four Horsemen are the driving force behind any successful campaign or initiative within a business or agency. They are too often left to run free across open fields, without proper training or reliable equipment. By the end of this article, you’ll understand the importance of harnessing the full power of these Four Horsemen and how that power can be used for good.

This is not the stuff of revelation, but it’s often overlooked. So let’s take a moment to talk to each of the Four Horsemen:

Strategy Basics

Sun Tzu, a great Chinese General, said, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Dramatic. But it’s incredible to think of all the time, effort and expense that goes into creating just one marketing campaign. The problem is that a campaign – even a great one – can fail if there is no strategy behind its delivery. We’re overwhelmed by marketing messages every day; Seth Godin said that marketing is a contest for people’s attention.

What’s going to make your campaign succeed where others fail? Strategy.

Marketing Strategy covers setting objectives, defining targets and KPIs, audiences and segmentation, pricing and branding. Each campaign requires thorough research to compile each of these elements in a way that will support the end goal – campaign success!

Strategic Thinking

To plan strategically, you have to think strategically. The best way to do this is to look at the greater context within which the campaign will be executed. No business exists or operates in isolation and the internal and external environments are constantly changing. You can’t successfully launch a campaign if you aren’t aware of the business environment around you. How do you define and analyse the context? There are four elements to look at:

  • Environmental analysis – macro, micro and internal environments.
  • Competitor analysis – who are they, what type of business are they and how do you compare?
  • SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.
  • Customer analysis – who are they, how do they choose products and what’s stopping them?

Developing Strategy

This is where it starts to all come together. Developing a strategy sounds like a big undertaking and while this isn’t untrue, it is manageable when broken up into these five parts:

  • Start by setting the overall strategic intent for your business – where will it be in one,
    five or ten years?
  • Pick a strategic marketing approach that can help you achieve this.
  • From here, start considering the different facets that this strategy will account for,
    including the brand, the communications objectives and more.
  • Conceptualise campaigns and innovative ideas that will bring your strategy to life, communicating the intended message to the target audience in the best way possible.
  • Finally, choose the specific tactics that you will execute your marketing strategy and campaigns through.

Creative Strategy

When people hear the words “marketing” and “strategy” they often don’t think of how creative thinking informs both those things.

Creative strategy within your marketing plan looks at the value your campaign gives your audience, how it’s leveraged through content, native advertising and storytelling.

How do you come up with these creative elements? The general rule is to keep it simple, fresh, out of the ordinary and memorable. When your campaign ticks all those creative boxes, you are ready to roll.

The Four Horsemen of marketing strategy ride best when they ride together. So gather your teams, set the goal and saddle up.

If you need a leg up, our marketing strategy online course covers all these elements in detail and will prepare you for those great open fields in just six weeks. Find out more and sign up here.

~ Shae Leigh

Red & Yellow’s Digital Content Creator, cat lover, photographer and craft beer enthusiast.

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