8 Effective Email Marketing Strategies Backed by Science

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8 Effective Email Marketing Strategies, Backed by Science

Oct 8, 2013Last updated: Sep 20, 20175 minutes to read

The cutthroat inbox of your standard consumer roils with marketing messages, competitive subject lines, and scores of attention-seeking emails. Withover 144 billion emails sent each and every day, email marketing remains one of the elite channels for business communication. So how does the signal separate itself from the noise?

To be sure, finding the key to a stand-out message is critical to your bottom linewhether that bottom line is cold, hard cash or community engagement or anything in between. What follows are eight inbox-tested email marketing strategies that successful senders have used to get their emails clicked.

The practice of personalized email greetings is not nearly as effective as it may seem. In fact, research by Temples Fox School of Business suggests thatthis particular kind of personalization could be harmful.

Given the high level of cyber security concerns about phishing, identity theft, and credit card fraud, many consumers would be wary of emails, particularly those with personal greetings.

A significant element of email marketing is relationship. Does a recipient trust you? Does a recipient even know who you are? When an email jumps the gun by forcing familiarity too soon, the personalization comes across as skeevy. Intimacy is earned in real life, and it would appear to be the same way with email. Take this example from my inbox; no one has called me lowercase kevan l lee in years.

Faking familiarity with the subscriber turns many wary email readers off. But this isnt to say that all forms of personalization are off-limits. In fact,a particular brand of personalizationcan pay off big time: Sending email that acknowledges a subscribers individuality (e.g., purchase history or demographic).

(The study) also found that product personalization, in which customers are directed to products that their past purchasing patterns suggest they will like, triggered positive responses in 98 percent of customers.

The takeaway here is that if you are to use personalization as an email strategy, do so in a meaningful way. It takes little knowledge or relationship to place someones name in your greeting. It shows far greater care to send personalized email that is specific to a recipients needs and history. Again, an example from my inbox, this email from Rdio dispenses with the formalities and simply provides an update on music I actually listen to.

When it comes to deciding how to craft that perfect subject line, there appears to be really only one area to avoid: the subject line of 60 to 70 characters.Marketers refer to this as the dead zone of subject length.According toresearch by Adestra, which tracked over 900 million emails for its report, there is no increase in either open rate or clickthroughs at this 60-to-70 character length of subject line.

Conversely, subject lines 70 characters and up tested to be most beneficial to engage readers in clicking through to the content, and subject lines 49 characters and below tested well with open rate.

In fact, Adestra found thatsubject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%.

Short subjects came in vogue withthe success of President Barack Obamas email fundraising. He saw incredible engagement with subjects like Hey and Wow.

So the question becomes: Do you want to boost clicks (response) or opens (awareness)? Go long for clickthroughs; keep it short for opens.

Either way, a helpful email strategy is to squeeze out more words or cut back just a bit to avoid that 60 to 70 character dead zone.

While many a quality email may be built during business hours, the ones with the best open rates arent being sent from 9 to 5. The top email strategy is to send at night.

In their quarterly email report for 2012s fourth quarter,Experian Marketing Services foundthatthe time of day that received the best open rate was 8:00 p.m. to midnight. This block not only performed better for open rate (a respectable 22 percent) but also for clickthrough and sales.

The chart above shows that the 8:00 to midnight window is also the least useda key factor in helping those late night emails outperform the rest.From Experian:

Optimal mailing time often depends upon your customers behaviors, inbox crowding, and the deployment times of other marketers.

Inbox crowding and the deployment times of other marketers go hand-in-hand; if your email goes out when few others do, it stands a greater chance of getting noticed (so quick, start sending between 8:00 and midnight before everyone else catches on).

Optimal mailing for your customers needs will be up to you.Test, test, and test some moreto find out how your customer ticks and when he/she opens email.

Consumers love a free lunchor a free template.

In a study on their email list of 6,300 subscribers, Bluewire Media tested various types of content to seewhat led to the highest rates for opens and clicks. The winner was templates and tools, just the kind of freebies that email readers want.

Here is a freebie example from Help Scout:

Many a consumer will ask, Whats in it for me? When it comes to resources,Bluewire Medias test resultssay that templates and tools outweigh ebooks, expert interviews, brain teasers, and even photo albums. You will want to test with your own list, but certainly use Bluewires research as a head start.

Mobile opens accounted for 47 percent of all email opensin June, according tonumbers provided by email marketing firm Litmus. If your email list accounts for $100,000 in sales each month, could you afford to wave bye-bye to $44,000 just because your email looks funky on a mobile phone?

Design responsively to ensure that your email looks great no matter where its read. Here aresome quick mobile design tips:

Convert your email to a one column template for an easy mobile fix.

Bump up the font size for improved readability on smart phones.

Follow the iOS guideline of buttons at least 44 pixels wide by 44 pixels tall.

Make the call-to-action obvious and easy to tap. Above the fold is preferable.

Consider ergonomics. Many users tap and scroll with their thumb, so keep important tappable elements in the middle of the screen.

Social media may be the young whippersnapper nipping at emails heels, but the content king of the inbox still holds sway in social influence, according toa study by SocialTwist. Over an 18-month period, SocialTwist monitored 119 referral campaigns from leading brands and companies. The results showed a significant advantage to emails ability to convert new customers compared to Facebook and Twitter.

Of the 300,000 referrals who became new customers, 50.8 percent were reached by email, compared to 26.8 percent for Twitter and 22 percent for Facebook.

Email ruled supreme, by almostdouble.

While not as overwhelming a winner as the 8:00 p.m. to midnight time of day,Saturday and Sunday did outperform their weekday counterpartsinExperians studyof day-of-week performance.

Again, the volume of email sent on the weekends is low, just like the volume for evening emails, which could help those messages stand out more. The margins for clickthrough, open, and sales rates were not substantial, but in email marketing, every little bit counts.

Your list is huge. Great! The only problem is that two-thirds of it may be inactive.

Research has found thatthe average inactivity for a list is 63 percent, meaning that once someone joins they are less likely to ever follow-up with your follow-up emails. Email marketing firm Listrak goes so far as to identifythe first 90 daysas the window for turning a sign-up into a devotee (and they lay out a plan for doing so).

Whats to become of that inactive 63 percent? Re-engagement campaigns are an excellent place to start.

Recently, a re-engagement campaign from Digg wound up in my inbox. The subject was catchy (This Is Not An Email From 2006), and the content helpfully explained what the email was all about.

As with everything that we call science, its all about doing experiments. Very likely, if you are doing your own experiments, you might actually have found different results. What are your best email strategies and email marketing tips? Tell us in the comments below!

PS: If you enjoyed this post, you might also likeour best tips and tools for managing emails. Oh and Buffer lets youschedule your retweetsTake a lookin case that might be helpful for your Tweeting!

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Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers.Weve got a new podcast!?

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Of the many email statistics that blow my mind, I think this one wows me the most: Email reaches three times more people than Twitter and Facebook combined. Thats a lot of people! (3.6 billion or so.) Clearly email marketing deserves your time and attention. And like any aspect of marketing, there can be a []

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Marketing Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty

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Loyaltyis a lot like love. They both come from creating a positive emotional connection with a person (or brand) through a series of positive interactions or transactions that build affinity and become habitual over time. So why is it so hard to get it right?

Marketers and retailers should focus their attention on integrating three core marketing strategies to increase customer loyalty. Marketers that operate programs integrating these approaches will see measurable increases in their rewards program enrollmentand a better lifetime value from their customers:

1. Limited-Time-Only Promotions:Get customers in the store with an effective promotional strategy (acquisition).

2. Rewards for Purchase:Incentivize customers to repeat store visits and increase average order value (growth).

3. Points-Based Rewards Program:Enroll customers in a simple points-based retention/rewards program that builds tangible value (retention).

Marketers continue to test various pricing promotion strategies, most notably the everyday-low-price policies. Some believe this is more effective than other pricing strategies because studies show that customers want it simple and want it now. Customers are motivated to purchase when they believe the promotional price is temporary (limited time only) and are unsure when they might see that product discounted in the future. Limited-time-only promotions do work, but they wont build a long-time bond.

In one test, one retailer compared a reward-for-purchase promotion with an instant-discount-at-the-register promotion. The reward-for-purchase scheme resulted in 14% lift.

The promotion strategy was initially intended to increase store traffic by having the reward-for-purchase offer redeemed at the same retailer. This strategy resulted in one to two incremental store visits within 30 to 45 days of the initial purchase, as compared to zero under the instant discount promotion offered at the register. And, it gets better.

The additional store visits led to an incremental 14% in revenue over the initial purchase (compared to 0% in the instant promotion), with 4 percentage points representing additional out-of-pocket funds from the consumer. The remaining 10 percentage points were initially funded by the retailer to the customer as a Reward for Purchase and then spent back at the retailer at full value. Interestingly, more than 50% of the rewards were spent back at the retailer within 60 days of the initial purchase. So, why wouldnt retailers bolster their promotional budgets if the funds are spend back at the retailer and drive additional customer out-of-pocket spend over the course of two to three transactions?

This strategy was also intended to generate two to three additional point-of-sale transactions, which allowed the retailer to enroll customers in its retention/rewards program and increase program stickiness. Rewards programs tend to increase stickiness when there is increased transaction frequency and recency.

Data collected in the additional P-O-S interactions can be used to:

Analyze customer data to create specific offers targeted to these newly acquired customers. The additional offers may increase product attachment or cross-category success to drive brand affinity or loyalty.

Build predictive models to determine the customer profile of individuals likely to accept limited-time-only promotions and increase one-to-one marketing efforts to other targeted customers who fit the models profile, but who may shop with a competitor.

So why is it so hard to earn a customers loyalty? Attention spans are shorter, patience is running thinner, and the competition is visible today more than ever.

Building a loyal customer base starts with acquiring the right customers from the start. Your chances of building a good relationship are greater from the outset because there are common interests. The key to long-term success lies in demonstrating value to the customer and building on the foundation established with a properly integrated engagement strategy.

This article was originally published in 2012 and is frequently updated.

Joe Custer is CFO at Trafficware (formerly president and CEO of Young America Corp.)

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Business StrategyMarketing Plans and Strategies

The Art, Science, and Craft of Decision-Making

Amarketing planis a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or Service (economics)service, a brand, or a product line. Marketing plans cover between one and five years.

A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. Solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan. While a marketing plan contains a list of actions, a marketing plan without a sound strategic foundation is of little use.

The marketing process model based on the publications of Philip Kotler. It consists of 5 steps, beginning with the market & environment research. After fixing the targets and setting the strategies, they will be realised by the marketing mix in step 4. The last step in the process is the marketing controlling.

In most organizations, strategic planning is an annual process, typically covering just the year ahead. Occasionally, a few organizations may look at a practical plan which stretches three or more years ahead.

To be most effective, the plan has to be formalized, usually in written form, as a formal marketing plan. The essence of the process is that it moves from the general to the specific; from the overall objectives of the organization down to the individual Objective (goal)action plan for a part of one marketing program. It is also an interactive process, so that the draft output of each stage is checked to see what impact it has on the earlier stages – and is amended.

Behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lay the corporate mission; which in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives. This corporate mission can be thought of as a definition of what the organization is; of what it does: Our business is .

This definition should not be too narrow, or it will constrict the development of the organization; a too rigorous concentration on the view that We are in the business of making meat-scales, as IBM was during the early 1900s, might have limited its subsequent development into other areas. On the other hand, it should not be too wide or it will become meaningless; We want to make a profit is not too helpful in developing specific plans.

Abell suggested that the definition should cover three dimensions: customer groups to be served, customer needs to be served, and technologies to be utilized[1]. Thus, the definition of IBMs corporate mission in the 1940s might well have been: We are in the business of handling accounting information [customer need] for the larger US organizations [customer group] by means of Punch cardpunched cards [technology].

Perhaps the most important factor in successful marketing is the corporate vision. Surprisingly, it is largely neglected by marketing textbooks; although not by the popular exponents of corporate strategy – indeed, it was perhaps the main theme of the book by Peters and Waterman, in the form of their Superordinate Goals. In Search of Excellence said: Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed.[2]If the organization in general, and its chief executive in particular, has a strong vision of where its future lies, then there is a good chance that the organization will achieve a strong position in its markets (and attain that future). This will be not least because its strategies will be consistent; and will be supported by its staff at all levels. In this context, all of IBMs marketing activities were underpinned by its philosophy of customer service; a vision originally promoted by the charismatic Watson dynasty.

The emphasis at this stage is on obtaining a complete and accurate picture. In a single organization, however, it is likely that only a few aspects will be sufficiently important to have any significant impact on the marketing plan; but all may need to be reviewed to determine just which are the few.

A traditional – albeit product-based – format for a brand reference book (or, indeed, a marketing facts book) was suggested by Godley more than three decades ago:

Financial data –Facts for this section will come from management accounting, costing and finance sections.

Product data –From production, research and development.

Sales and distribution data – Sales, packaging, distribution sections.

Advertising, sales promotion, merchandising data – Information from these departments.

Market data and miscellany – From market research, who would in most cases act as a source for this information.

His sources of data, however, assume the resources of a very large organization. In most organizations they would be obtained from a much smaller set of people (and not a few of them would be generated by the marketing manager alone). It is apparent that a marketing audit can be a complex process, but the aim is simple: it is only to identify those existing (external and internal) factors which will have a significant impact on the future plans of the company.

It is clear that the basic material to be input to the marketing audit should be comprehensive. Accordingly, the best approach is to accumulate this material continuously, as and when it becomes available; since this avoids the otherwise heavy workload involved in collecting it as part of the regular, typically annual, planning process itself – when time is usually at a premium. Even so, the first task of this annual process should be to check that the material held in the current facts book or facts files actually is comprehensive and accurate, and can form a sound basis for the marketing audit itself.

The structure of the facts book will be designed to match the specific needs of the organization, but one simple format – suggested by Malcolm McDonald – may be applicable in many cases. This splits the material into three groups:

Review of the marketing environment. A study of the organizations markets, customers, competitors and the overall economic, political, cultural and technical environment; covering developing trends, as well as the current situation.

Review of the detailed marketing activity. A study of the companys marketing mix; in terms of the 7 Ps – (see below)

Review of the marketing system. A study of the marketing organization, marketing research systems and the current marketing objectives and strategies.

The last of these is too frequently ignored. The marketing system itself needs to be regularly questioned, because the validity of the whole marketing plan is reliant upon the accuracy of the input from this system, and `garbage in, garbage out applies with a vengeance.

Portfolio planning. In addition, the coordinated planning of the individual products and services can contribute towards the balanced portfolio.

80:20 rule. To achieve the maximum impact, the marketing plan must be clear, concise and simple. It needs to concentrate on the 20 per cent of products or services, and on the 20 per cent of customers, which will account for 80 per cent of the volume and 80 per cent of the profit.

7 Ps: Product, Place, Price and Promotion, Physical Environment, People, Process. The 7 Ps can sometimes divert attention from the customer, but the framework they offer can be very useful in building the action plans.

It is only at this stage (of deciding the marketing objectives) that the active part of the marketing planning process begins.

This next stage in marketing planning is indeed the key to the whole marketing process. The marketing objectives state just where the company intends to be; at some specific time in the future. James Quinn succinctly defined objectives in general as: Goals (or objectives) state what is to be achieved and when results are to be accomplished, but they do not state how the results are to be achieved.[3]

They typically relate to what products (or services) will be where in what markets (and must be realistically based on customer behavior in those markets). They are essentially about the match between those products and markets. Objectives for pricing, distribution, advertising and so on are at a lower level, and should not be confused with marketing objectives. They are part of the marketing strategy needed to achieve marketing objectives.

To be most effective, objectives should be capable of measurement and therefore quantifiable. This measurement may be in terms of sales volume, money value, market share, percentage penetration of distribution outlets and so on. An example of such a measurable marketing objective might be to enter the market with product Y and capture 10 per cent of the market by value within one year. As it is quantified it can, within limits, be unequivocally monitored; and Corrective Actioncorrective action taken as necessary.

The marketing objectives must usually be based, above all, on the organizations financial objectives; converting these financial measurements into the related marketing measurements.

He went on to explain his view of the role of policies, with which strategy is most often confused: Policies are rules or guidelines that express the limits within which action should occur.

Simplifying somewhat, marketing strategies can be seen as the means, or game plan, by which marketing objectives will be achieved and, in the framework that we have chosen to use, are generally concerned with the 7 Ps. Examples are:

Price- The amount of money needed to buy products

Promotion (advertising)- Getting the product known

Placement- Where the product is located

Physical environment- The ambiance, mood, or tone of the environment

Process- How do people obtain your product

In principle, these strategies describe how the objectives will be achieved. The 7 Ps are a useful framework for deciding how the companys resources will be manipulated (strategically) to achieve the objectives. It should be noted, however, that they are not the only framework, and may divert attention from the real issues. The focus of the strategies must be the objectives to be achieved – not the process of planning itself. Only if it fits the needs of these objectives should you choose, as we have done, to use the framework of the 7 Ps.

The strategy statement can take the form of a purely verbal description of the strategic options which have been chosen. Alternatively, and perhaps more positively, it might include a structured list of the major options chosen.

One aspect of strategy which is often overlooked is that of timing. Exactly when it is the best time for each element of the strategy to be implemented is often critical. Taking the right action at the wrong time can sometimes be almost as bad as taking the wrong action at the right time. Timing is, therefore, an essential part of any plan; and should normally appear as a schedule of planned activities.

Having completed this crucial stage of the planning process, you will need to re-check the feasibility of your objectives and strategies in terms of the market share, sales, costs, profits and so on which these demand in practice. As in the rest of the marketing discipline, you will need to employ judgment, experience, market research or anything else which helps you to look at your conclusions from all possible angles.

At this stage, you will need to develop your overall marketing strategies into detailed plans and program. Although these detailed plans may cover each of the 7 Ps, the focus will vary, depending upon your organizations specific strategies. A product-oriented company will focus its plans for the 7 Ps around each of its products. A market or geographically oriented company will concentrate on each market or geographical area. Each will base its plans upon the detailed needs of its customers, and on the strategies chosen to satisfy these needs.

Again, the most important element is, indeed, that of the detailed plans; which spell out exactly what programs and individual activities will take place over the period of the plan (usually over the next year). Without these specified – and preferably quantified – activities the plan cannot be monitored, even in terms of success in meeting its objectives.

It is these programs and activities which will then constitute the marketing of the organization over the period. As a result, these detailed marketing programs are the most important, practical outcome of the whole planning process. These plans should therefore be:

– They should be an unambiguous statement of exactly what is to be done.

– The predicted outcome of each activity should be, as far as possible, quantified; so that its performance can be monitored.

– The temptation to proliferate activities beyond the numbers which can be realistically controlled should be avoided. The Pareto principle80:20 Rule applies in this context too.

– Those who are to implement them should be committed to them, and agree that they are achievable.

The resulting plans should become a working document which will guide the campaigns taking place throughout the organization over the period of the plan. If the marketing plan is to work, every exception to it (throughout the year) must be questioned; and the lessons learned, to be incorporated in the next years planning.

A marketing plan for a small business typically includes Small Business Administration Description of competitors, including the level of demand for the product or service and the strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Description of the product or service, including special features

Marketing budget, including the advertising and promotional plan

Description of the business location, including advantages and disadvantages for marketing

Medium-sized and large organizations

The main contents of a marketing plan are:[citation needed]

In detail, a complete marketing plan typically includes:[citation needed]

Current Situation – environmental scanningMacroenvironment

Current Situation – industry or market researchMarket Analysis

industry structure and strategic groupings

competitor analysiscompetitors strengths and weaknesses

Current Situation – Consumer Analysis

mission statement and vision statement

description of the basic business philosophy

Critical success factors in the industry

our sustainable competitive advantage

Marketing Strategy – Product managementProduct

Product Life Cycle Managementproduct life cycle management and new product development

brandBrand name, brand image, and brand equity

the product (business)augmented product

product Product portfolioportfolio analysis

– Market segmentsegmented marketing actions and market share objectives

pricing method (e.g.: cost plus, demand based, or competitor indexing)

pricing strategy (e.g.: skimming, or penetration)

price elasticity of demandprice elasticity and customer sensitivity

break even analysis at various prices

Marketing Strategy – promotion (marketing)promotion

advertising reach, frequency, flights, theme, and media

salessales force requirements, techniques, and management

electronic promotion (e.g.: e-marketingWeb, or direct marketingtelephone)

Marketing Strategy – Distribution (business)Distribution

physical distribution and logistics

management information systems requirements

Program Evaluation and Review TechniquePERT or critical path analysis

Monte Carlo methods in financeMonte Carlo method

ISI: Internet Strategic Intelligence

pictures and specifications of the new product

results from research already completed

The final stage of any marketing planning process is to establish targets (or standards) so that progress can be monitored. Accordingly, it is important to put both quantities and timescales into the marketing objectives (for example, to capture 20 per cent by value of the market within two years) and into the corresponding strategies.

Changes in the environment mean that the forecasts often have to be changed. Along with these, the related plans may well also need to be changed. Continuous monitoring of performance, against predetermined targets, represents a most important aspect of this. However, perhaps even more important is the enforced discipline of a regular formal review. Again, as with forecasts, in many cases the best (most realistic) planning cycle will revolve around a quarterly review. Best of all, at least in terms of the quantifiable aspects of the plans, if not the wealth of backing detail, is probably a quarterly rolling review – planning one full year ahead each new quarter. Of course, this does absorb more planning resource; but it also ensures that the plans embody the latest information, and – with attention focused on them so regularly – forces both the plans and their implementation to be realistic.

Plans only have validity if they are actually used to control the progress of a company: their success lies in their implementation, not in the writing.

The most important elements of marketing performance, which are normally tracked, are:

Most organizations track their sales results; or, in non-profit organizations for example, the number of clients. The more sophisticated track them in terms of sales variance – the deviation from the target figures – which allows a more immediate picture of deviations to become evident.. `Micro- analysis, which is a nicely pseudo-scientific term for the normal management process of investigating detailed problems, then investigates the individual elements (individual products, sales territories, customers and so on) which are failing to meet targets.

Few organizations track market share though it is often an important metric. Though absolute sales might grow in an expanding market, a firms share of the market can decrease which bodes ill for future sales when the market starts to drop. Where such market share is tracked, there may be a number of aspects which will be followed:

segment share – that in the specific, targeted segment

relative share -in relation to the market leaders

annual fluctuation rate of market share

The key ratio to watch in this area is usually the `marketing expense to sales ratio; although this may be broken down into other elements (advertising to sales, sales administration to sales, and so on).

The `bottom line of marketing activities should at least in theory, be the net profit (for all except non-profit organizations, where the comparable emphasis may be on remaining within budgeted costs). There are a number of separate performance figures and key ratios which need to be tracked:

There can be considerable benefit in comparing these figures with those achieved by other organizations (especially those in the same industry); using, for instance, the figures which can be obtained (in the UK) from `The Centre for Interfirm Comparison. The most sophisticated use of this approach, however, is typically by those making use of PIMS (Profit Impact of Management Strategies), initiated by the General Electric Company and then developed by Harvard Business School, but now run by the Strategic Planning Institute.

The above performance analyses concentrate on the quantitative measures which are directly related to short-term performance. But there are a number of indirect measures, essentially tracking customer attitudes, which can also indicate the organizations performance in terms of its longer-term marketing strengths and may accordingly be even more important indicators. Some useful measures are:

market research – including customer panels (which are used to track changes over time)

lost business – the orders which were lost because, for example, the stock was not available or the product did not meet the customers exact requirements

customer complaints – how many customers complain about the products or services, or the organization itself, and about what

A formal, written marketing plan is essential; in that it provides an unambiguous reference point for activities throughout the planning period. However, perhaps the most important benefit of these plans is the planning process itself. This typically offers a unique opportunity, a forum, for information-rich and productively focused discussions between the various managers involved. The plan, together with the associated discussions, then provides an agreed context for their subsequent management activities, even for those not described in the plan itself.

The classic quantification of a marketing plan appears in the form of budgets. Because these are so rigorously quantified, they are particularly important. They should, thus, represent an unequivocal projection of actions and expected results. What is more, they should be capable of being monitored accurately; and, indeed, performance against budget is the main (regular) management review process.

The purpose of a marketing budget is, thus, to pull together all the revenues and costs involved in marketing into one comprehensive document. It is a managerial tool that balances what is needed to be spent against what can be afforded, and helps make choices about priorities. It is then used in monitoring performance in practice.

The marketing budget is usually the most powerful tool by which you think through the relationship between desired results and available means. Its starting point should be the marketing strategies and plans, which have already been formulated in the marketing plan itself; although, in practice, the two will run in parallel and will interact. At the very least, the rigorous, highly quantified, budgets may cause a rethink of some of the more optimistic elements of the plans.

Amarketing strategy[6][7]is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage[8]. A marketing strategy should be centered around the key concept that customer satisfaction is the main goal.

A marketing strategy is most effective when it is an integral component of corporate strategy, defining how the organization will successfully engage customers, prospects, and competitors in the market arena. Strategic managementcorporate strategies, corporate missions, and corporate goals. As the customer constitutes the source of a companys revenue, marketing strategy is closely linked with sales. A key component of marketing strategy is often to keep marketing in line with a companys overarching mission statement[9].

Basic theory: 1) Target Audience 2) Proposition/Key Element 3) Implementation

A marketing strategy can serve as the foundation of a marketing plan. A marketing plan contains a set of specific actions required to successfully implement a marketing strategy. For example: Use a low cost product to attract consumers. Once our organization, via our low cost product, has established a relationship with consumers, our organization will sell additional, higher-margin products and services that enhance the consumers interaction with the low-cost product or service.

A strategy consists of a well thought out series of tactics to make a marketing plan more effective. Marketing strategies serve as the fundamental underpinning of marketing plans designed to fill market needs and reach marketing objectives[10]. Plans and objectives are generally tested for measurable results.

A marketing strategy often integrates an organizations marketing goals, policies, and action sequences (tactics) into a cohesive whole. Similarly, the various strands of the strategy , which might include advertising, channel (marketing)channel marketing, internet marketing, promotion (marketing)promotion and public relations can be orchestrated. Many companies cascade a strategy throughout an organization, by creating strategy tactics that then become strategy goals for the next level or group. Each one group is expected to take that strategy goal and develop a set of tactics to achieve that goal. This is why it is important to make each strategy goal measurable.

Marketing strategies are dynamic and interactive. They are partially planned and partially unplanned. See strategy dynamics.

Marketing strategies may differ depending on the unique situation of the individual business. However there are a number of ways of categorizing some generic strategies. A brief description of the most common categorizing schemes is presented below:

Strategies based on market dominance – In this scheme, firms are classified based on their market share or dominance of an industry. Typically there are three types of market dominance strategies:

Porter generic strategies – strategy on the dimensions of strategic scope and strategic strength. Strategic scope refers to the market penetration while strategic strength refers to the firms sustainable competitive advantage.

Innovation strategies – This deals with the firms rate of the new product development and business model innovation. It asks whether the company is on the cutting edge of technology and business innovation. There are three types:

Growth strategies – In this scheme we ask the question, How should the firm grow?. There are a number of different ways of answering that question, but the most common gives four answers:

A more detailed scheme uses the categories:

Marketing warfare strategies – This scheme draws parallels between marketing strategies and military strategies.

Marketing participants often employ strategic models and tools to analyze marketing decisions. When beginning a strategic analysis, the 3Cs3Cs can be employed to get a broad understanding of the strategic environment. An Ansoff Matrix is also often used to convey an organizations strategic positioning of their marketing mix. The 4Ps4Ps can then be utilized to form a marketing plan to pursue a defined strategy.

There are a many companies especially those in the Consumer Package Goods (CPG) market that adopt the theory of running their business centered around Consumer, Shopper & Retailer needs. Their Marketing departments spend quality time looking for Growth Opportunities in their categories by identifying relevant insights (both mindsets and behaviors) on their target Consumers, Shoppers and retail partners. These Growth Opportunities emerge from changes in market trends, segment dynamics changing and also internal brand or operational business challenges.The Marketing team can then prioritize these Growth Opportunities and begin to develop strategies to exploit the opportunities that could include new or adapted products, services as well as changes to the 7Ps.

Real-life marketing primarily revolves around the application of a great deal of common-sense; dealing with a limited number of factors, in an environment of imperfect information and limited resources complicated by uncertainty and tight timescales. Use of classical marketing techniques, in these circumstances, is inevitably partial and uneven.

Thus, for example, many new products will emerge from irrational processes and the rational development process may be used (if at all) to screen out the worst non-runners. The design of the advertising, and the packaging, will be the output of the creative minds employed; which management will then screen, often by gut-reaction, to ensure that it is reasonable.

For most of their time, marketing managers use intuition and experience to analyze and handle the complex, and unique, situations being faced; without easy reference to theory. This will often be flying by the seat of the pants, or gut-reaction; where the overall strategy, coupled with the knowledge of the customer which has been absorbed almost by a process of osmosis, will determine the quality of the marketing employed. This, almost instinctive management, is what is sometimes called coarse marketing; to distinguish it from the refined, aesthetically pleasing, form favored by the theorists.

Abell, Defining the Business: The Starting Point of Strategic Planning

J. B. Quinn, Strategies for Change: Logical Incrementalism (Richard D. Irwin, 1980)

Quick MBAMarketing plan based on consumer and competitor analyses

Marketing plan basicsTable of marketing targets, actions, means and results

UK govt businesslinkmarketing strategy guide.

Marketing strategyAustralian administration small business guide.

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Marketing basicsMarketing strategy based on market needs, targets and goals.

The Art, Science, and Craft of Decision-Making

This page was last edited on 23 March 2018, at 15:32.

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Starbucks Coffees Generic and Intensive Growth Strategies

Starbucks Coffees Generic and Intensive Growth Strategies

A Starbucks caf in Lima, Peru. Starbucks Coffees generic strategy (Porters model) aligns with the market penetration intensive growth strategy. However, the company also uses product development and market development as secondary intensive growth strategies. (Photo: Public Domain)

Starbucks Coffee Companys generic strategy (based on Michael Porters model) is responsible for its emphasis on specialty coffee products. On the other hand, a combination of intensive growth strategies influences the approach that Starbucks uses for growth and expansion. These intensive strategies for growth are also directly related to the companys generic strategy. Intensive growth strategies must be aligned with the generic strategy to maximize firm performance and potential success. In Starbucks Coffees case, such alignment is observable in the firms continuing emphasis on penetrating markets with its specialty products, while offering these products to customers from various segments. Thus, Starbucks successfully aligns and follows its generic strategy and intensive growth strategies.

StarbucksCoffees generic strategy, based on Porters model, allows the firm to compete based on specialty products. Starbucks also uses its intensive growth strategies to support expansion, although its focus is on market penetration.

Starbucks Coffee uses the broad differentiation generic strategy. In this generic strategy, the goal is to make the company different from other competitors. It is such difference that makes Starbucks stand out. The companys emphasis on specialty coffee easily differentiates Starbucks cafs from many other establishments that offer coffee. However, the application of the broad differentiation generic strategy also extends to other areas of the business. For instance, Starbucks uses its sustainable and responsible sourcing policy to differentiate its products from competitors. This generic strategy is also manifested in the companys culture. While competitors like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts emphasize low cost, Starbucks Coffee emphasizes a warm friendly ambiance that people enjoy.

An implication of the broad differentiation generic strategy is that Starbucks Coffee must continue innovating to ensure differentiation in the long term. This generic strategy could lose its strength when competitors also find ways to stand out. To address this issue, Starbucks keeps innovating its product mix and supply chain. In applying the broad differentiation generic strategy, Starbucks focuses on specialty ingredients and products, such as baked goods that do not have high-fructose corn syrup. Starbucks also innovates its supply chain to satisfy its generic strategy through a continuing search for the most sustainable and finest ingredients. Thus, based on this generic strategy, Starbucks Coffees strategic objective is to innovate products and its supply chain.

Market Penetration. Starbucks Coffees main intensive growth strategy is market penetration. This intensive strategy supports the firms growth by maximizing revenues from existing markets. Starbucks already has presence in 65 countries around the world. To maximize revenues and growth in these current markets, the company applies the market penetration intensive strategy by opening more company-owned stores. Starbucks also applies this intensive strategy for growth through licensing for merchandise and franchising in some countries, such as the Dominican Republic.

Market Development. Starbucks Coffee uses market development as its secondary intensive growth strategy. This intensive strategy supports the companys growth by generating revenues in new markets or market segments. For example, Starbucks Coffee plans to enter more countries. These countries are mostly in Africa and the Middle East. In this intensive strategy, Starbucks grows by expanding its global reach.

Product Development. Starbucks Coffee also uses product development as a secondary intensive growth strategy. This intensive strategy involves creating new products to gain more revenues. Starbucks continues innovating its product mix. For example, after the firm acquired The Coffee Connection, it started offering Frappuccino at Starbucks cafs. The company also introduced sodas in 2014. Through such new products, Starbucks grows through this intensive strategy.

Starbucks Coffees broad differentiation generic strategy ensures that the firm maintains competitive advantage through specialty products and ingredients. This generic strategy translates to various policies and programs to keep the firm differentiated. A challenge in applying this generic strategy is that Starbucks must always innovate. Starbucks needs to keep improving and innovating ahead of competitors to maintain its growth based on this generic strategy.

Starbucks Coffees intensive growth strategies are aligned to the firms generic strategy. Because it stands out based on differentiation, Starbucks can penetrate markets and compete with other firms in these markets. However, the business lacks significant presence in Africa and the Middle East. Thus, Starbucks can use its intensive growth strategy of market development to grow in these regions. Also, the intensive growth strategy of product development can be used to offer products that suit the distinct cultural preferences of consumers in Africa and the Middle East.

Glazer, R. (1999). Competitive Advantage Through Information-Intensive Strategies.

Handbook of Services Marketing and Management

Howard Schultz and Starbucks Coffee Company

Merchant, H. (2014). Configurations of governance structure, generic strategy, and firm size.

Miller, D. (1992). The generic strategy trap.

Parnell, J. A. (1997). New evidence in the generic strategy and business performance debate: A research note.

Parnell, J. A., & Wright, P. (1993). Generic strategy and performance: an empirical test of the Miles and Snow typology.

Starbucks Coffee Company pany Information Starbucks Coffee Company.

Case Study & Case AnalysisGeneric Strategy (Porters Model) & Intensive Growth StrategiesStarbucks CoffeeStrategy

This article may not be reproduced, distributed, or mirrored without written permission from Panmore Institute and its author/s. Copyright by Panmore Institute – All rights reserved. Small parts of this article may be quoted or paraphrased for research purposes, as long as the article is properly cited and referenced together with its URL/link.

Starbucks Coffee Companys Organizational Culture

Starbucks Coffees Marketing Mix (4Ps) Analysis

Starbucks Coffees Vision Statement Mission Statement

Starbucks Coffees Five Forces Analysis (Porters Model)

Starbucks Coffee PESTEL/PESTLE Analysis Recommendations

Starbucks Coffee Companys Organizational Structure

Starbucks Coffees Operations Management: 10 Decisions, Productivity

Starbucks Coffees Stakeholders: A CSR Analysis

Whole Foods Markets Generic Intensive Growth Strategies

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Microsoft Corporations Generic Intensive Growth Strategies

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10 Social Media Branding Strategies

Photo of the author, Dominique Jackson

Social media can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether its social selling, content marketing orcustomer support, social media gives you the perfect opportunityto reach your target audienceand buildyour brand.

However, with so many different platforms available and heavy competition on all of them, it can be difficult to set your brand apart and carve out your place on Twitter, Instagram andFacebook.

Is your brand being represented the way you want it to on social media? If the answer is no, follow these10 social media branding strategies toamplify your results:

If youre not gaining any traction on some of the social media platforms youre active on, it may not entirely be your fault. With hundreds of social media apps out there, and new ones popping up every day, its tempting to jump into all of them. However, every social network might not be the right fit for your company. Your job is to find the networksthat align with your brands image and goals. Otherwise, youll struggle to make progress.

For instance, if your company is a steel manufacturer, then Tumblrprobably isnt the best option for you. Tumblrs primary demographic is teens and people in their early twenties. A better option would be LinkedIn since its a B2B network that attracts business owners.

If youre struggling to find out which social networks your target audience is most active on, take a look at thesesocial media demographicsto get the perfect starting point.

Visuals play an important part in social media branding. If each of your profiles looks like theyre owned by a different company, it creates a disconnect for your users. You want your branding to be consistent across all channels. This will help people immediately recognize your company no matter which site or app theyre using.

One brand that does this very well is Coca-Cola. When you look at the companys Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, youll notice the consistency in color and design:

Here are some tips to take away from Coca-Colas use of visual branding on social media:

Choose a color palette:Coca-Cola uses its classic red and white color schemeacross all social media channels. It doesnt just stop at the logo. When you look at the posts the company shares, youll rarely find visuals that dont include the color red. The easiest way to develop your color palette is to take a look at your logo. You want to get to a point where people associate those colors with your brand.Keep in mind that different colorscan impact the waypeople perceive your brand.

Use the same logo/avatar:You should try to use the same avatar for every social network. To keep things simple and consistent, use your logo or a symbol that represents your company. People should see your avatar and immediately associate it with your brand. Think about the Nike swoosh or the golden arches of McDonalds. As soon as you see them, you immediately think of their brands.

Filter carefully:Whenever you share images on Instagram or other visual channels, keep your filters consistent. Whether that means using no filters at all orMayfair, choose one or two and stick to it. Using a different filter for every image you share makes your postslook unorganized and inconsistent. Heres a coolInstagram hackto help you out. You can reorder and prioritize your Instagram filters based on the ones you use the most.

Create templates:If you have a team handling yoursocial media marketingefforts, it can be helpful to createtemplates for any graphics you share on social media. That way, your fonts, colors and designs will always be consistent. You can do this through Photoshop or use a free tool likeCanva. Check out our article onhow to create a social media style guidefor more tips to keep your brand consistent across all your social channels.

Your brands personality should be reflected in your social media posts. That means developing asocial media voice. This is the way your brand communicates in Tweets, Facebook posts and Snaps. Finding your voice can take some time, but youll settle into it eventually. To find your social media voice, consider these three main elements:

1. Your company culture:What is the culture like at your company? Your culture is what you stand for, what your company is about and what makes you special. For example, Under Armours culture is all about performing to the highest level and being innovative.The use of hashtags like IWILL in social media posts shows that the companys social media voice is a direct reflection of its culture.

Hoist it. Brian McCann ging home the hardware.

Under Armour (@UnderArmour)November 2, 2017

2. You audience:Speaking in a way that your audience connects withis very important.That could include using certain lingo and references that are popular in your target market. Taco Bell is constantly in tune with whats popular with its audience (a younger demographic) and crafts its social media posts to fit that voice.

A post shared byTaco Bell(@tacobell) onSep 22, 2017 at 10:01pm PDT

3. Authenticity:Whatever your social media voice develops into, make sure its authentic to your brand. Trying to sound a certain way just to fit in can backfire. According toone of our recent surveys, honesty is the number one trait consumers want from brands on social.

Taco Bells posts resonate with its audience because the company has been consistent and it feels authentic. Another example is WeWork. If you look at theWeWork Twitter account, youll find plenty of Tweets that speak directly to the companys main demographic, which is entrepreneurs pursuing their passions.Theirsocial media voiceis genuine and authentic to the brand.

Dream big, work hard and make it happen.TGIM

WeWork (@WeWork)October 30, 2017

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are very good forcontent curation. Curating is a great way to help youbuildauthority in your industry as well as provide a steady flow of social media posts that arent self-promotional. Finding blog posts, videos and other content to share with your audience sounds simple enough. However, many businesses go into it blindly without creating a strategy or guidelines for what topics to share.

As a result, your Twitter Timeline can become filled with a random mix of Tweets about five or six completely different topics. Avoid that mistake by streamlining your efforts.

Pick a few topics that are closely related to your industry.For instance,the popular career site Tweets articles about employee satisfaction, career advice and workplace culture. All of these are directly related to itsbrand. If Monster started adding Tweets about investing and personal finance, it would seem out of place. But by focusing on its main areas of expertise, Monsters brand has becomea go-to account for peoples interest in career related content on Twitter.

Youre graduating soon, but have no idea what jobs are right for you. Where do you go from here?

Monster (@Monster)October 29, 2017

Nothing will kill social media branding efforts more than irregular posting. If you only Tweet once every few days or upload one new Instagram picture a month, youre going to be forgotten. Shortened attention spans combined with rapidly growing social networks have made publishingmore important than ever.

How frequently you post is going to depend on your audience. It will take some trial and error to find out what works best for your brand. One of the best ways to determine how often you should post is to use Sprout Socialssocial media publishingandanalyticstools.

The publishing tools will allow you to schedule your posts to be sent out when your followers are most active.

The analytics tools let you gauge which posts are gaining the most engagement. You might find that your Tweets get more engagement on the days that you post 10 times as opposed to five. Always trackandreviewyour social media efforts.

When companies like Nike and Starbucks post a new image on Instagram, they geta lot of engagement. Thats because theyre both established brands with millions of followers. If youre just starting out or dont have a huge audience, your contentwont get the same amount of attention since youre relatively unknown.

A good way to achievefaster results and amplify your social media branding efforts is to build relationships with fluencer marketingallows you to piggyback off the audience that established people in your industry have already built. Since the influencer has already earnedthe trust and respect of their followers, getting a co-sign or mention from them carries a lot of weight.

Keep in mind that just having a lot of followers doesnt qualify someone as an influencer. They should also possess these traits:

Dont go into your marketing and social branding efforts alone. Start building relationships right away.

Far too many brands make the mistake of letting their bio or profile section go to waste on social media. When youre in the process of building your brand, letting people know who you are and what your company does is vital. Brands like Nike can have justdoit in their profile because theyre well-established and people already know what they do. Most companies dont have that luxury.

Dont fill your profile up with random hashtags or motivational quotes. Treat your bio like an elevator pitch. If you had to describe what your business does in one or two sentences at the most, what would you say? Here are a few examples of companies that use their bio sections effectively.

Pinterestclearly describes what the network is used for and mentions some of its most popular categories to give users an idea of the type of content people share on the site.

Office Shoes uses selling words like leading and biggest to convey that its the best in the industry.

Sprout Socials profile spells out what Sprout is, who its for and even works as a lead generation tool byoffering a free trial.

Take some time to go back and look over your profiles and bios across all of your social media channels. Are you making the best use out of them for your brand?

One challenge that a lot of businesses have with social media branding is building initial traction. Getting your first few followers can seem impossible when you dont even know where to start. However, if youve been in business for a while or have other Web properties (website, blog or other social media accounts) then you should start there.

Unless you tell your current customers, colleagues and network that you have a Snapchat or Instagram account, how will they know? Never make the mistake of just assuming everyone knows about all your social media channels, even within your own company.

This might seem like an obvious tip, but many businesses take a passive approach to social media branding and wait for the results to happen. It simply doesnt work that way. Promote your social media profiles whenever and wherever possible. Print it on your flyers and brochures, link to them from your website and cross-promote on your other social media channels. Get the word out.

A good way to promote you social efforts internally is with an employee engagement tool likeBambu(a product from the Sprout team). For instance, if you just created an Instagram account and want to get some initial followers, send out a message on Bambu to your entire company and encourage them to follow you. Or you can create a pre-written Facebook post or Tweet for them to share with their own network to promote your new account.

If the only time you post on social media is to share content, its like having a conversation with yourself. As we alluded to earlier, in the beginning stages, your brand will be unknown. You can start building awareness for your brand on social media by engaging and interacting with other users. Its as simple as replying to Tweets and commenting on Facebook and Instagram posts.

Some companies feel weird about replying from a company account. Dont worry, its perfectly acceptable for companies to reply to each other on social media. For instance, Wendys isnt shy at all about going back and forth with the competition on Twitter. Earlier this year, Wendys and Wingstop had an epic Twitter rap battle.

Trying to cop that mixtape, better get in line

Grabbed a couple wings now youre trying to fly

But nothing gets em dipping like a Frosty and fry

Wendys (@Wendys)October 2, 2017

Wingstop flavor bringin all the cravers!

They eat us now and save you for later.

Wingstop (@wingstop)October 2, 2017

The lesson here is that you shouldnt be afraid to interact with other companies on social media, even if theyre your competitors. Itll put you on their audiences radar as well as theirs. Just make sure you keep it playful and respectful like Wendys and Wing Stop.Our data showed that67% of consumers find it annoying when brands make fun of competitors.

Trying to be active on eight or nine social media sites isnt a good idea unless you have asocial media teammanaging it all for you. Its better to be excellent on two or three platforms than mediocre on seven. However, just because youre only going to be active on a few doesnt mean you cant setup profiles on others.

By claiming your company name on major social media platforms, youre securing them in the event that you ever decide to use them. This is also beneficial for SEO. When people Google your company name, some of the results on the first page may be from sites like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

For instance, when you search for SpotHero, the second search result is a feed of the brands latest Tweets.

If someone else has claimed the Twitter handle for your company name and is actively using it, it could confuse your audience if they Google you and another brands Twitter account pops up.

You can use a tool likeKnowEmorNamechkto do a search for your company name across popular social networks and see if the username is available.

On a similar note, keep your usernames consistent. You may run into a situation where your company name is taken on a social network. When that happens, create a variation that you can use across any other social network that doesnt have your company name available. Having a different username on each platform creates inconsistency, which hurts your branding efforts.

As social media marketers, its easy to focus on the content you share and growing your number of followers. But take a second to think about the connection between social media and your brand first. Prioritizing social media branding will help you connect with your target audience, be more strategic with your efforts and get better results.

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Dominique Jackson: Dominique Jackson is a pro blogger, inbound marketing specialist and Twitter addict. You can follow all his .

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