What is a Marketing Strategy?

Feb 17, 2022

Chances are that you've been told over and over again that you need a "Marketing Strategy"...but what is a marketing strategy in the first place??

In this episode, I talk about what a marketing strategy is, and, more importantly, what it's not. I help you avoid the biggest pitfalls when it comes to planning your client attraction process. Plus, I'll help you make sure you're backing your strategy up with concrete tactics that will help you generate leads and get more coaching clients.

In today's episode, we are going to be answering the question “What is a marketing strategy, anyway?” And before we dive into that, I want to share a little bit about my own experience of stumbling upon this whole idea of a marketing strategy, the confusion I had around it, and how it maybe even held me back a little bit. 

When I was first getting started in my business, one of the biggest benefits of leaving my full time job and going all-in on my business was this newfound time I had to take on more clients, to improve my business skills, and to become even more of a master marketer and business expert. I've always been an avid learner, so I was really thrilled to jump back into learning mode. I decided that I was going to take every online course I could find and afford, so that I could hone those already sharp business skills. 

Except that's not actually what ended up happening. I quickly realized that there was this gap that I was seeing. I was learning the strategy behind all of these business topics—digital advertising, content, marketing, copywriting, email marketing, social media, all the things—but I wasn't learning any of the actual tactics to make any of that work. It ended up being kind of like taking a CPR class, where the teacher told you how to perform CPR but never actually showed you how it's done, much less actually let you try it on a CPR dummy. 

I wanted to know why all of these courses were explaining the theory of these concepts but entirely ignoring what they actually looked like in practice, and it didn't take me long to find the answer: These courses themselves were just steps in some expert’s sales funnel. The goal of the course wasn't to actually teach me or to help me, but rather to prime me to buy whatever high-ticket offer came next. At that point, I wasn't in a place where I could invest thousands of dollars into working one-on-one with a coach, so I didn't. I just stayed where I was—all theory and no practical knowledge that I could implement. 

I have heard hundreds of stories similar to this, and the truth is that there are a seemingly infinite number of resources and guides out there that talk about how to build your coaching business, that talk about that marketing strategy. The volume of resources out there is overwhelming, and it's even more complicated by the fact that most of them aren't inherently wrong. They talk about the same set of things like creating and packaging your offer, generating your leads, and making sales. The problem is that it sounds a little bit like this: They're saying, “You have to get in front of your ideal clients and provide value to them.” Okay, but how are you supposed to do that? They're saying, “You need to position yourself as an authority.” Okay, that makes sense, but how? “You need to provide value for your audience, or no one wants to work with you.” Like, are you kidding? Are you going to tell me how to do any of these things? 

All of these statements are true, but most of the resources out there entirely ignore what is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, which is how to actually do any of it. That's why it is so important to understand the difference between strategy and tactics, between marketing strategy and marketing tactics, because while these two words are often used interchangeably, they're actually quite different. The difference really means that you can't just have a marketing strategy, because just having that strategy is not going to do the trick for you. 

Marketing strategy is the high-level overview of how you create awareness, connect with your ideal client, and attract new clients. It's really the bird's-eye perspective of your marketing process. Now, that's very different from tactics, which are the things that you actually do to attract new clients. In other words, your strategy is what you need to do, and the tactics are how you're going to do it. Without tactics, your strategy is just theory, because those tactics are what give that strategy legs to stand on. For example, a strategic piece of advice could be “You need to build authority,” and that's a great piece of advice and is often true for many entrepreneurs, but you need tactics in order to actually build that authority. So, one tactic that fits under that strategy would be to post on social media each day. 

Even then, that's a solid tactic, but it doesn't quite go far enough to be very effective. That's because there are various levels to marketing tactics, and if your high-level tactic is simply posting on social media, then you need to get more specific. In this case, there are some important tactical questions to answer so that you can best leverage posting on social media. Examples of what those technical questions include are what social media platforms should you be posting to? How long should your posts be? How often should you post? What type of content should you create? What will you share? How often will you share it? And if you're using something like Instagram, or Twitter, what hashtags should you use with each post? Each of these questions is a tactical decision in and of itself, and there are tons more that we could go into, but the point is that if you don't spend the time getting clear on the tactics, then the larger strategy is going to fall flat. 

To wrap up, when you're considering your client attraction process, it's really important to understand the distinction between that marketing strategy, which is the high-level “First this happens, then this happens, and then this happens,” which is different from your marketing tactics, which are the actual things you do to make each step in that strategy actually happen. This is a really, really important distinction that is going to serve you so well just to know this, because it's going to keep you from falling into the trap of focusing on strategy, strategy, strategy, without really incorporating the tactical pieces that really do need to be there. 

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