Marketing Strategy: The Ultimate Guide

Marketing Strategy: The Ultimate Guide

Editor’s note:

  • Marketing strategy - it means so much and so little at the same time
  • What is it?
  • Why do we need it?
  • When do we need it?
  • Who should create it?
  • These are all questions going through my head. I love marketing strategy, but it’s not always the most actionable. So this is part of my discovery period to figure that out.


In an ever-evolving business landscape, the importance of marketing strategy cannot be overstated. As Harvard Business Review (HBR) aptly puts it, the competitive advantage of businesses is increasingly shifting "downstream" to the marketplace. The strategic question that drives businesses today is not “What else can we make?” but “What else can we do for our customers?” (HBR, 2013). This paradigm shift demands a rethinking of long-standing strategy principles. The sources of competitive advantage now lie outside the firm and grow with experience and knowledge. It’s no longer just about having a better product but about how you position yourself in the market and which companies you choose to compete against. The pace of change in markets is now driven by shifts in customers’ purchase criteria rather than by improvements in products or technology. This guide aims to equip managers and marketers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate this downstream terrain.

Marketing Strategy Plan

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of marketing strategy, it is essential to understand the importance of having a plan. A marketing strategy plan sets the stage for how your business will attract and retain customers. It is the blueprint that guides your marketing efforts, ensuring that they align with your business goals and target audience.

How to build a marketing strategy plan:

Marketing Strategy Plan

View more:

Marketing Strategy Plan: Deep Dive

What is Marketing Strategy

What does it mean to businesses that want to grow a brand and thrive?

A marketing strategy is a long-term vision outlining a business’s value proposition to its customers. It is not just about advertising campaigns; it is a compass used to guide marketing efforts. A well-thought-out marketing strategy can improve your product's success and give you a competitive advantage. It involves understanding your business goals, target market, buyer personas, competitors, and the value you are offering to your customers. It is essential for businesses that want to grow a brand and thrive because it has a measurable impact on success.

According to a survey by CoSchedule in 2022, marketers who documented their marketing strategy were 331 percent more likely to report success than those who didn’t. Furthermore, the most organized marketers were found to be 674 percent more likely to report success. This shows that taking the time to create a marketing strategy can significantly benefit your company's brand and bottom line.

Marketing Strategy Definition

Defined in Simple Terms

A marketing strategy is an overview of how a business or organization will articulate its value proposition to its customers. It outlines business goals, target market, buyer personas, competitors, and value for customers, providing a long-term vision for overall marketing efforts.

Defined by Others

As defined by Coursera, "A marketing strategy is a long-term vision outlining a business’s value proposition to its customers. Rather than describing the concrete actions required in specific advertising campaigns, marketing strategies are a compass used to guide marketing efforts."

What is it

A marketing strategy is a plan that outlines how a business will achieve its marketing goals and objectives. This involves identifying target markets, setting marketing mix and budget, and continuously analyzing and adjusting the performance.

Who Needs It

Every business or organization that aims to reach out to customers, whether big or small, needs a marketing strategy. It is essential for startups, established businesses, non-profits, and even individuals who are looking to build a personal brand.

Give an Example

McDonald's “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign from 2003 is an example of a market penetration strategy. In the early 2000s, McDonald's faced declining sales. Instead of creating a new product, McDonald's focused on attracting existing customers in an existing market with a catchy ad campaign. The result was their wildly successful “I’m Lovin’ it” campaign, which featured a catchy new jingle sung by Justin Timberlake. This campaign became McDonald’s longest-running marketing campaign.

Marketing Strategy Frameworks

Most Popular

One of the most popular marketing strategy frameworks is Ansoff’s Matrix. This matrix helps businesses define their strategies by varying what product is being sold and who the product is being sold to. Ansoff’s Matrix consists of four strategies:

  1. Market Penetration
  2. Product Development
  3. Market Development
  4. Diversification

Most Useful

Ansoff’s Matrix is considered one of the most useful frameworks as it encourages marketers to consider the four Ps, or the “marketing mix”:

  1. Product: What is being sold
  2. Place: Where it is being sold
  3. Price: What the product costs
  4. Promotion: How the product is marketed to the target audience

When to Use Them

  • Use Market Penetration when you want to grow within anexisting market with current products.
  • Use Product Development when you want to introduce a new product to an existing market.
  • Use Market Development when you want to introduce existing products to a new market.
  • Use Diversification when you are entering a new market with a new product.


While using these frameworks, it is essential to conduct thorough market research and understand the risks involved. Diversification, for example, is the riskiest strategy as it involves entering a new market with a new product.

Marketing Strategy Implementation Playbooks

Most Popular

  1. The Lean Startup Methodology - Focuses on building a minimum viable product to test market reactions.
  2. Agile Marketing - Adapting agile software development methods for marketing purposes.
  3. The SOSTAC Planning Model - A widely used tool for marketing and business planning which is an acronym for Situational analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, and Control.

Most Useful

The Lean Startup Methodology is particularly useful for startups and small businesses because it allows them to allocate their resources more efficiently.

When to Use Them

  • Use The Lean Startup Methodology when starting a new business or launching a new product.
  • Use Agile Marketing for ongoing marketing efforts, especially in a fast-paced market.
  • Use The SOSTAC Planning Model when you need a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all aspects of marketing.


Ensure that the chosen playbook aligns with your business goals and resources. Avoid jumping into trends without understanding how they can be adapted to your specific needs.

Marketing Strategy Templates

Marketing Strategy Overview Templates

These templates provide a high-level view of the marketing strategy, including goals, target audience, and key marketing initiatives.

Marketing Strategy Plan Templates

These templates are more detailed and include specific actions, timelines, and budgets for your marketing campaigns.

Marketing Strategy Execution Templates

These templates are used for the execution phase and include detailed plans for content creation, social media, email marketing, and other tactics.

Marketing Strategy Software

What Software Helps Manage Strategy?

  1. Trello - For project management and strategy planning.
  2. Google Analytics - For data analysis and insights.
  3. HubSpot - For inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.

What Software Supports Strategy Playbooks

  1. Asana - For managing agile marketing projects.
  2. Marketo - For automation and marketing campaigns.

What Software Helps Implement? (HubSpot)

HubSpot is particularly useful for implementing marketing strategies as it offers tools for SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, and analytics.

Marketing Strategy Authors

Most Popular

  1. Philip Kotler - Often referred to as the “Father of Modern Marketing.”
  2. Seth Godin - Author of "Purple Cow" and other marketing books.
  3. Simon Sinek - Known for his concept of "Start With Why".

Most Quoted

Philip Kotler is one of the most quoted authors in the field of marketing.

What They Said

Philip Kotler: “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.”

Famous Quotes on Marketing Strategy

  1. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” - Peter Drucker
  2. “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” - Joe Chernov

Motivating Quotes on Marketing Strategy

  1. “Make your marketing so useful people would pay you for it.” - Jay Baer
  2. “Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.” - Tony Zambito

This guide provides an overview of marketing strategy and itsimportance in growing a brand and thriving in the market. It is essential for managers and marketers to understand the different frameworks, playbooks, templates, and software that can be used in formulating and implementing a successful marketing strategy. Moreover, taking inspiration from famous authors and their quotes on marketing strategy can be motivating and insightful. Remember, a well-thought-out marketing strategy is the compass that guides your marketing efforts towards success.

Editors notes: this was researched with helpful tools on June 27, 2023. I plan to keep refining the above and use this ultimate guide as the pillar in this area of work: Marketing Strategy. I plan to create many more pages that go deeper than this and get linked to.

Go Deeper in the Marketing Strategy Topical Hub:

Marketing Strategy Plan: Deep Dive

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