So What is Marketing Strategy?

strategy-clipart-meeting-clipart1-1“At its simplest, strategy means knowing where you want to go and deciding upon how best to get there.”

Wilson and Gilligan (2008)

Recently I was having a conversation in a social setting with the Marketing Communications Manager for a large firm by Jamaican standards. As our discussion progressed it became clear that this charming young lady needed help; for whereas she has a history of facilitating promotional events such as the one where we met, and creating newspaper advertisements and so on, she has no coherent strategy.

A little probing revealed that she was not working from a strategic marketing plan, and her objective as the firm’s chief marketer is achieving a high level brand awareness. Needless to say her firm was already a household name in Jamaica but, lacking in customer-based brand equity, was a distant second in the market.

Not wanting to monopolise her time I moved on, but couldn’t help remembering the first hour of my Marketing Strategy and Product Policy course where the discussion always focuses on, “What is Marketing Strategy?”

So What is Marketing Strategy?

As my favourite marketing strategists, Richard M. S. Wilson and Colin Gilligan (will someone please second that motion?) put it, “At its simplest, strategy means knowing where you want to go and deciding upon how best to get there. Strategic marketing can therefore be distilled down to the marketing planner deciding – with complete clarity – in which markets does the company want, or is able to compete, and exactly how it will do this.” They go on to speak of four key dimensions of marketing strategy as follows:

Four Key Dimensions of Marketing Strategy

  1. Being close to the market
  2. Developing valid assumptions about environmental trends and market behaviour
  3. Exploiting the competencies of the organisation
  4. Developing a realistic basis for gaining and sustaining a competitive

Good luck my new friend. You’ve got a mountain to climb and will need both a map and a guide, for marketing communications alone cannot solve your problem. Should I call her for an appointment?

Herman D. Alvaranga solves the toughest marketing and sales problems for Caribbean businesses.


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