Certain marketing and communications strategies seem generally effective, capable of generating a higher ROI than other strategies. But can the same cluster of effective strategies be used equally effectively across the board? In other words, can two companies from different industries with radically different customer bases use the same marketing strategies to get similarly good results?
High-level strategies and ground-level tactics
First, we need to acknowledge that marketing strategies usually develop in multiple different layers, from high-level approaches to ground-level tactics. For example, you can adopt a high-level approach like attracting more customers within your specified target demographics by utilizing inbound online marketing channels. From there, you can choose strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), and within SEO, adopt different tactics to customize the strategy to your liking.
At the highest level, every company has the same group of marketing goals: increase awareness of the company and get more people interested in buying. It’s only when you drill down further that you start to find differences in opinions and goals.
Advantages and disadvantages
It’s also important to acknowledge that while some strategies have the ardent support of companies who have benefitted from them, all marketing strategies have strengths and weaknesses. SEO, for example, has a fantastic long-term return on investment (ROI), but it also takes months to years to fully develop. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be immediately effective, but it also gets expensive fast—especially for competitive terms.
Accordingly, most marketing strategies aren’t generally “good” for every business. Instead, it all depends on the fit.
Variables to consider
So what makes a strategy “fit” for a given company or organization? There are many variables to consider here:
First, you need to consider the industry. Some industries will benefit from certain marketing strategies much more than others. For example, pop up ads for eLearning companies are extremely effective; they cater to an audience who’s already online, and may be perusing a topic they’re interested in knowing more about. However, they may not be good for a manufacturer, who may not be able to appeal to a specific target audience based on website history and who may rely on more traditional means of meeting new customers.
Your budget also plays a role in what types of strategies are available to you. A large-scale national advertising campaign, complete with TV commercials on major networks, will likely be a boon for any company—but not all companies would be able to afford it. If you’re a small startup with a smaller budget, you’ll need to think about more cost-effective strategies, and strategies with better long-term payoffs.
Obviously, you’ll need to think about the nature of your audience, backed up with objective market research. Two otherwise identical companies in the same industry may be targeting completely different demographics; if this is the case, they may need to lean on different marketing strategies to appeal to those subsets. For example, if you’re marketing to young kids, you’ll need to use different tactics than a competitor who would rather appeal to their parents.
Different strategies develop over different periods of time. For example, targeted advertising campaigns can take place almost immediately, forwarding traffic to your site the same day you initiate the strategy. But strategies that rely on audience development and reputation improvement (like SEO and social media marketing) require you to invest months of your time. Most companies benefit most from using a combination of these two extremes, but some may exclusively rely on one or the other.
Method of execution
Your best marketing choices also depend on how you plan to execute them. For example, are you going to try and do all the work yourself? Are you going to hire a full-time team to take care of this? Are you going to work with a professional marketing agency? Or will you work with a network of contractors? Some strategies are best executed by more polished, experienced professionals.
The amount of brand power your company already wields may also play a factor. For example, a major corporation with millions of fans can leverage their existing brand reputation to accomplish things that an unknown startup couldn’t; it would be a simple matter for an established brand to bring a significant chunk of their audience to a new social media platform.
The bottom line
So can all businesses rely on the same group of marketing strategies? The short answer is “no.” Some marketing and advertising strategies are highly approachable, and have good qualities like high ROI, but they still must be considered in the context of how appropriately they fit with the company’s target audience, brand image, and other factors. Every comprehensive marketing strategy should be custom-tailored to the business executing it.