A new year is almost upon us, which means it's time to start planning your 2024 marketing strategy! Set your team up for success in 2024 with our tips on crafting a modern marketing strategy using key customer acquisition and growth channels.
Table of Contents
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
What Is a Marketing Plan?
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
What Are the Different Kinds of Marketing Channels?
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
Broadly speaking, a "marketing strategy" can be defined as follows:
Depending on if your business is more transactional or relationship-focused, a marketing strategy can also own all the ways to encourage repeat website visits and purchases. Your strategy and goals are executed through a marketing plan, which breaks down the day-to-day structure for putting your ideas into action.
To get started crafting a yearly marketing strategy, establish a strong foundation by looking closely at how you're benchmarking against the previous years.
This will help you establish the specific marketing goals and KPIs you want to achieve in 2024.
What Is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan takes your marketing strategy and goes into more detail about how the strategy will be executed. Marketing plans are usually channel and campaign-specific. Each campaign you run throughout the year should be designed to contribute to the goals you laid out your marketing strategy.
How do you write a marketing plan?
Your marketing plan is your roadmap for executing the strategy and achieving your marketing goals. It should have a date-based timeline, giving you plenty of buffer space for gathering materials and specific assets.
The strategic marketing channels we discuss below each have their own complexities. This means that your marketing plan needs to include what each one is responsible for.
For example, say your company is planning a major product launch. Perhaps you want to schedule several teasers on social media leading up to the launch, so you need promotional copy and imagery prepped. Where are you linking to? A landing page or blog page on your website? Well, this means you need a content writer and possibly a web developer to help. You'll also likely want to announce the launch to your email lists. Maybe once the product is on the market, you want to work with a group of influencers to promote it to their audience.
So you need a carefully laid out social media marketing plan, a content marketing plan, an email marketing plan, and an influencer marketing plan. These should all strictly agree with each other so that all team members are on the same page and not stepping on toes (or missing opportunities).
Every marketing plan should include:
- The goals for the campaign
- Campaign KPIs
- Promotional materials needed, including press releases, social copy, and content
- Marketing budget
- Team leads and responsibilities
While there is no perfect template for the best marketing plan — and it should be specific to your brand — here are some top tips for success:
- Set up a campaign calendar. Identify the marketing campaigns you want to do throughout the year. Check out our blog about how to create a social media content calendar for ideas!
- Apply dates to deliverables. When you have a timeline associated with each component of a marketing campaign, it helps everyone stay on the same page.
- Apply reasonable budgets. Make sure you’re allocating marketing funds where they are most needed to achieve the goals you set for this year. Think creatively about places you can save.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
There are many factors that contribute to your business's success, and a successful marketing strategy is one of them! Here are a few key tips for creating a marketing strategy that will have an impact and drive conversions.
1. Look at your year in review
First and foremost, you’ll want to assess your performance from the previous year. Look at your 2023 marketing strategies and highlight the bright spots and the areas where you could have used improvement.
Data-driven decisions are important. But it can be very easy to get pulled into the weeds of looking at every single type of marketing metric — especially for data nerds.
It’s a crucial step to make sure you're pulling the most relevant metrics that tell the important stories for planning out your marketing strategy for 2024.
Recommended metrics for marketing teams include:
- MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads)
- Conversion rates at key points in your consumer acquisition funnel
- Customer acquisition cost
It’s also recommended to run a SWOT analysis. Create a table to visualize your brand’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
2. Build audience personas
Any marketing strategy should begin with a solid understanding of your audience. If you haven't already, start building marketing personas and audience segments so you can more accurately and effectively structure your marketing priorities and hone the tactics you use to engage existing and potential customers.
Remember to go beyond basic demographic information. Marketing has grown in sophistication and our understanding of our customer's needs as well. After doing some audience research you may learn about new people you could be reaching based on their hobbies, interests, and priorities.
It's also worthwhile to think beyond the "typical" or "expected" audience. For example, if you're a company creating baby products, consider single dads, brothers, sons, and other adjacent communities that may also have a need for your products; rather than marketing strictly to women and mothers. In many instances, marketers can drive important barrier-breaking conversations forward — so use your marketing powers for good!
3. Re-examine your customer journey
Use this year to take another look at your customer journey. Given that much of the world is still working from home, our schedules, priorities, and routines are probably different than when you first mapped your customer journey. Users might be online at different times, meaning the right moment to reach out for the highest conversions will look different than before.
You want to ensure they keep coming back if they’re not ready to purchase. And when they are ready to buy, the purchase flow and CTAs should be straightforward. You don't want to make it confusing for someone to complete their checkout. This is especially important for social commerce and in-app purchase flows.
4. Establish 2024 goals & KPIs
We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Goals and KPIs are the bread-and-butter of marketing, or really any business initiative. They are what help your marketing strategy take shape. Without goals, you end up just charging ahead aimlessly. Without KPIs, you won't know the success metrics you have tied to each goal, who is responsible for them or be able to track how you're pacing.
So, taking what you learned from last year, it’s now time to identify any new objectives, and the KPIs you want to connect to them for measuring success.
Tip: keep it reasonable, and be honest! We want ambitious but achievable benchmarks for successful marketing campaigns. Don’t apply an impossible KPI to an impossible goal, but don’t go too easy either. Strike a balance so you don't burn out your resources or cheat yourself out of potential growth.
5. Identify marketing channels
Lastly, assess the channels you're currently using to see where you should focus your efforts to achieving your marketing goals. Start where you already have a presence, but also create a list of channels where you'd like to get more established. Perhaps you're ready to launch a TikTok account, or start a YouTube channel, or perhaps you now have a bigger budget for more digital advertising.
While you may be spending more time and energy on one channel over the other, it's definitely good practice to make sure you're covered in all the major areas of the PESO marketing model: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.
We'll go into all the different channels for marketing below, but here's a quick overview of which PESO buckets they fall into:
- Paid: advertising, paid search, paid social, purchased blog articles, or purchased spots in an email blast.
- Earned: word-of-mouth, UGC, guest blog posts, reviews and comments.
- Shared: closely related to Earned, shared media is any content that is shared in the media by other brands, companies, or individuals.
- Owned: blogs published on your website, social posts on your channels, your own email marketing efforts, or gated content created by your team.
6. Do some competitor benchmarking
There’s almost no point in setting up a rockin' marketing strategy if you are operating in a void. You need to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing, how successful they are in their marketing and PR strategy, and what their followers are saying so you can measure yourself against them accordingly.
Tip: Take a look at our competitor benchmarking blog and use a competitive analysis tool like the Meltwater Media Intelligence Suite to automate this process. This will allow you to stay ahead and stay smart about your 2023 marketing strategy.
What Are the Different Kinds of Marketing Channels?
There are several different ways you can use marketing to promote your business. Which ones you focus on depends largely on your specific goals, but it is recommended to use more than one channel in order to maximize ROI for your marketing team.
To be successful, a comprehensive marketing strategy typically involves a combination of marketing methods, including email, social media, and digital advertising. For true success, no matter how large or small your team, the marketing efforts from each of these areas should work closely together.
Here are some top marketing channels:
1. Social media
As a savvy digital marketer, your job is to stay on top of the tried and true channels while identifying interesting opportunities to reach new audiences and micro-communities in an ever-changing social media landscape.
How social media fits into your marketing mix depends on your buyer personas and your marketing objectives. But it’s an important channel that you can't ignore no matter how big or small of a role it plays in your overall strategy.
Top social platforms for digital marketing include
- LinkedIn: post company news, connect with others in your industry, find influencers, and create thought-leadership posts that establish authority in your space.
- Facebook: the demographic of Facebook users has shifted significantly in recent years. 65+ is the fastest-growing age range, reaching 40% in 2019. Whereas teens dropped from 71% in 2015 to 51% in 2018. Be sure to consider this when advertising on Facebook!
- Twitter: 280 characters to get your message across, and a dialect of hashtags, memes, and GIFs to understand. Twitter is the ideal platform for building your brand personality.
- Instagram: with over 1 billion users accessing the network every month, Instagram is incredibly useful for social media marketing. Follow hashtags to find influencers and create Stories and Reels to share engaging behind the scenes glimpses, tips & tricks, and more.
- TikTok: a massive audience, quickly growing beyond GenZ, TikTok has taken the social marketing world by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. Hop on trends, run a HTC (Hashtag Challenge), and tap into a growing influencer cohort to reach new followers.
- YouTube: Dip into longer, more polished videos with a YouTube channel. You can also create Shorts directly from your longer videos — a quick and easy way to diversify your content and get in front of new eyes.
Authenticity on social media is one of the toughest balances to strike but also a key component to the success of your social marketing strategy. Social Influencer Management Platforms and Influencer Marketing Tools can help you.
One brand that does authenticity and values-based social media marketing extremely well is Dove. They understand clearly what their audience values and the issues they care about. In particular, these include body positivity and diversity. Dove's numerous campaigns around these topics focus on individuality and highlight female empowerment.
Dove also had one of the best examples of social media marketing and is a great brand to look to for how to use hashtags for marketing campaigns.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of those strategies that more and more people know about, yet still either do poorly or don’t put enough effort into. This is a fatal mistake costing you potentially thousands of website visits a day.
And if you do organic SEO well, these visits cost you very little, leaving you more freedom to spend marketing dollars on optimizing your website experience and lead capture flows — turning that organic traffic into paying customers.
Content is king when it comes to attracting new users through SEO, and a blog is a great way to start. Try writing articles around specific keywords, particularly long-tail keywords, to attract customers more likely to convert after landing on your website. Invest in your content marketing efforts by promoting the content you create on social media and other websites.
Tip: Check out 2023 content marketing trends.
Influencer marketing has steadily gained traction as a major marketing channel, with more and more brands incorporating it into their marketing strategy. In particular, micro influencers (500-10K followers) have maintained a foothold as the sweet spot, for their niche subject matter and better audience engagement. Top channels for brands using influencer marketing include: TikTok, Instagram, & YouTube. Learn more about setting up an influencer marketing strategy.
Use Meltwater's Social Influencer tool to pinpoint those influencers who will relate the most to your audience.
Even with new-fangled digital marketing channels continuing to pop up, email marketing remains one of the most powerful touch-points with customers. If you don’t already have one, you should set up an email newsletter.
Hint: set up both an internal newsletter and an external one.
Check your success metrics on a regular basis — weekly is recommended. You’ll soon have enough data to learn some key insights about your audience — and you can course-correct if needed.
You should be tracking:
- CTR (Click-through Rate)
- Open Rate
- Goal completions from email
Other email marketing tips:
- A/B test your subject line as often as possible
- Don’t underestimate the power of segmenting your email list so you can market specifically rather than broadly.
A catchy subject line is the hook-line-and-sinker gateway to improving your email open rate. Your subject lines should reflect who you are as a brand. Don't be afraid of experimenting to see what your audience responds to.
For some great examples of clever and fun subject lines, as well as extremely personable email copy, check out The Hustle (and even if you don't get to the emails, do it for their superb thank you page after you subscribe).
5. Digital advertising
Incorporating retargeting ads into your digital marketing strategy could be a clincher for your growth strategy if you have the budget.
Use an omnichannel approach to increase your conversions — interacting with the customer in adaptive ways based on their stage in the customer journey.
A study from ClickZ found that engagement metrics increased dramatically when companies took an omnichannel approach to digital marketing: “Using three or more channels in an automation workflow earned an 18.96% engagement rate, while their single-channel counterparts earned a just 5.4% engagement rate.”
When considering your online display advertising don't shy away from creating ads that speak to a small segment rather than trying to speak to everybody. For example, check out these Microsoft ads that specifically target coders:
As the article states, these ads "won’t capture the attention of non-coders. And that’s okay, because they aren’t the target of the ad. But if you’re an engineer or programmer, your interest will be piqued because the ad is talking in your language."
Is Your Marketing Team Ready for 2024? Learn more about how Meltwater's marketing solutions can help you level up through social listening tools, media monitoring, competitive intelligence, and more. Fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation.