“Make a long-term financial plan? No, it’s too much trouble. And confusing! And things are changing all the time in the market. Can’t you just invest in a few new places, freshen the portfolio up a bit, and we’ll call it even?”
This is not how any financial professional would wish a client to approach their finances. But this is how many in the financial sector approach marketing.
A long-term marketing strategy costs you time and resources. The field of marketing is always evolving, and it can feel confusing. However, like any other investment, you need your marketing investment to help you reach goals: revenue, new clients, longevity, and a unique voice in an increasingly vast consumer marketplace. Freshening up your brochures and your website, having a social media presence, staying active on LinkedIn—all of these are great moves, but in order for them to work, they have to be part of a strategy.
What does a marketing strategy bring to the table?
Marketing Strategy: Clear brand and business vision
When a marketing plan embodies values and vision, that is called branding.
Branding is not simply a conglomeration of logos, color schemes, and letterhead. All of those play into it. But like a cake is more than a jumble of ingredients, a brand is more than the sum of its parts, because it involves the strategic blending of all your efforts to show who you are as a company, and what you alone can offer. Brand is a united front, an unmistakable calling card, a vital tool because it’s how you present your vision and identity to the public. It needs to accurately and powerfully convey what you want to say, and quickly enough to catch attention.
A marketing strategy gives you the ability to take a step back and look at your brand and ask whether it’s really doing for you all it should. You may need to create a brand from scratch, or you may need to locate and reimagine your brand by shedding elements that do not align with your goals. All of this takes the time and precision only made possible by committing to a long-term strategy. A marketing strategy, by going big-picture, will pinpoint your brand’s best direction and clarify it.
Finally, by having clearer marketing goals, you can identify measurables for success. Without a strategy, it’s difficult to know whether you’re reaching your destination or making good on your marketing investment.
Consistency and efficiency
Without a strong marketing strategy, things can get jumbled. Your messaging and imagery shift, get off track, or never quite coalesce. With multiple vendors over the years and a lack of unified vision, you’re juggling varied results, and it’s hard to effectively track your marketing efforts. You may end up covering the same ground or making the same mistakes—often unwittingly. Your brand may look inconsistent, perhaps even unrecognizable, across different media. This is a brand that is not doing the work for you.
A comprehensive marketing strategy means organization and execution that give your brand strength and consistency across media and across time. Only when your brand remains consistent can it advertise for you dependably. To draw people into deeper and more meaningful interaction with your company, a brand has to be recognizable, appealing, and consistent. With a marketing strategy, staff or technology changes don’t change your brand, different channels don’t send different messages, and your image isn’t weakened by well-meaning but scattered efforts.
Strategies also share common elements across channels—like images, messaging, helpful links, files, and other resources—so that you can also operate efficiently and add new elements without reinventing the wheel.
Visibility and integrity
As you approach a solid brand, a unified “voice,” you need to be sure it’s seen and heard in the marketplace. This is your visibility. But in order for your company brand to be visible, you need to work many channels to capture the attention of your target audiences.
Your brand plays out through:
- Print media, like direct mail, brochures, letterhead, stationery, and business cards
- Email, through marketing campaigns and business correspondence
- Social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Web ads
- Print ads
- Television and radio advertising
- Apparel and promotional items
Strategy expands audience reach because it gives you stability and shows you new options. You can now cast your net wide, covering a lot of area without losing focus. Your marketing efforts hold together with integrity, not only representing your brand, but linking (and hyperlinking) to one another, to draw the right people into interaction with your business in a strategic way.
Cross-media campaigns, for example, manage various digital media to give you extremely targeted and strategically timed interactions with clients and prospects. With a unified strategy, customers who visit your website, click on an email, set up a meeting, comment on Facebook, or subscribe to alerts, receive different next steps and calls to action based on information coming from a unified cross-channel system.
Having a strategy allows you to set up systems to work for you and scale them to your needs. Without a strategy, you’re doing a lot of guesswork. But with a game plan, you’re not overwhelmed because you have a goal, a direction for your brand and can decide how best to maximize your brand’s effectiveness across all your chosen media. It’s one step at a time toward a goal, instead of catch-as-catch-can. Range, a Deluxe company, offers expert marketing services to financial institutions and businesses because we know what great messaging can do. From creative to fulfillment and analytics, we customize to what you need to get results. Really. Learn more and get in touch.