Building a brand is not for the faint of heart.
The sheer volume of roles required gives you an indication of the depth of the challenge.
Brand-building often requires the skill sets of a brand strategist, designer, copywriter, video editor, developer, media buyer, analytics specialist, SEO specialist and of course a marketing strategist.
The latter is often described as “a specialist who implements the marketing strategy” but that’s not exactly helpful is it?
So let’s unpack what a marketing strategist is and the marketing strategy tasks they fulfill, so we can understand their role in building brands.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy refers to a company’s overall game plan for reaching and targeting prospective consumers and then converting those prospects into customers.
Put more simply, it’s the plan detailing how you will convince people to buy your stuff.
A value proposition should be a vital element of any marketing strategy. A value proposition is a clear statement detailing why a customer should buy your product or service.
A good strategy is based on considerable market research of your target demographic.
The core elements of a marketing strategy go back to any rudimentary marketing class you took during business studies at school; it’s all about establishing the 4 Ps – product, price, place, and promotion.
Therefore, a marketing strategist’s job includes a whole host of duties and responsibilities that establish marketing goals to direct marketing campaigns, ultimately intending to achieve business goals.
Excellent marketing teams implement marketing plans and strategies that help businesses reach their goals by effectively communicating a sustainable competitive advantage.
Marketing Strategist v Brand Strategist
Before we get into the intricacies of being a marketing strategist, let’s also take the time to differentiate between a marketing strategist and a brand strategist.
Brand strategy and marketing strategy share similar goals, but they are developed differently and have different end goals.
A brand strategist defines the methods by which a brand is communicated to the target audience.
It’s about shaping the perception of the brand in the mind of the audience.
Marketing is more transactional. A marketing strategist executes the plan of brand communication through tactical decision-making and then measures results.
In smaller teams, brand strategy and marketing strategy is the responsibility of one person, but larger teams often separate these into two positions.
We’ll explore the role of a marketing strategist here to see what that entails.
So, What Does a Marketing Strategist Actually Do?
So, they’re involved in establishing marketing goals and implementing marketing plans, but what do those involve on a daily basis?
Here are a few job responsibilities you’ll see listed in marketing strategist job descriptions to give you an idea:
Forecast market trends
Provide analysis (using Google Analytics) and give recommendations to other team members of the Marketing team
Help shape brand positioning for the target audience
Analyse marketing and sales teams’ KPIs (key performance indicators)
Ensure marketing strategies align with overall business strategies
Again, these active verb sentences can often be a little dry, and it can be challenging to understand what ‘forecast market trends’ really entails.
What’s key to remember is that it’s a Marketing Strategist’s responsibility to bring all marketing channels together in a coherent manner that best steers a brand in the desired direction.
That means keeping track of various aspects of marketing efforts- email marketing, content marketing, social media, and more – to ensure everybody is moving in the right direction.
To give you a better idea of what that might look like, let’s zoom through a day in the life of a marketing strategist.
A Day in the Life of a Marketing Strategist
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Many Marketing strategists start their day by diving into some charts and graphs as they need to analyze yesterday’s performance metrics.
This may involve looking at traffic to the company website and checking whether the latest efforts to improve organic traffic through SEO optimization are working.
Naturally, this analysis will vary depending on role and industry and is an ongoing task.
Compiling data and conducting marketing research, marketing strategists try to discover potential gaps and market opportunities for the future development of ongoing strategies and initiatives.
A significant part of your analysis will go toward helping out your sales team – they need all the help they can get to meet those targets!
So, you’ll need to answer some questions related to lead generation:
How many leads did the team get?
What sources did they come from?
How many are qualified?
Was that last email marketing campaign successful?
You need to know which channel is the most effective for earning those relevant and actionable leads, as this will direct your strategic marketing strategy going forward.
You’ll share your findings with your Marketing Manager or Marketing Director, who’ll communicate this to the rest of the team.
Since you have so many different plates to juggle as a marketing strategist, the rest of the day may include various meetings and strategy sessions, depending on your priorities.
For sure, no matter what, you’ll need excellent project management skills to keep track of all your efforts.
You may meet with your creative team to discuss generating content for an upcoming brand awareness campaign.
You’ll need to speak to the owners of content management systems within your business to see where the content will sit and to make sure to optimise whatever content you already have.
You may discuss doing some A/B testing on copy for some social media ads.
Another possible meeting would be with key decision-makers within the sales team.
Find out how your latest inbound marketing efforts are affecting the quality of leads.
If sales are low, you meet to discuss methodologies for how you can help provide a solution.
You’ll also discuss timelines for new targets.
Another potential meeting during your busy day could be with a digital marketing strategist from the social media team to check current engagement levels across various social channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
How many people have you reached?
How many likes/followers/interactions etc.?
This can help you assess the success of your brand awareness campaign.
Again, all these meetings are goal-oriented – you are checking to see if your marketing plans and strategies are working – and what ‘working’ means depends on your pre-determined definitions of success.
How many new LinkedIn followers are you looking for?
How many qualified leads are you targeting?
What website traffic are you aiming for?
Whether you’re meeting targets or falling short, the work never stops as a Marketing strategist should continuously analyze campaign performance to dictate further strategy.
It should be clear that being a Marketing Strategist is a challenging role requiring a broad skillset. Let’s examine some job requirements you’ll often see listed for Marketing Strategist job postings.
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Marketing Strategist Job Requirements
Check out the bullet points below for some of the usual job requirements:
a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communication, PR, or a related field
At least 2 years of experience in a marketing team – as a marketing strategist, a digital marketing strategist, a marketing consultant, or other similar roles.
Logical thinker with a data-driven, analytical mindset
Proven track record of multitasking and project management
In-depth knowledge of CRM software, content management systems, and Google Analytics
Excellent communication skills
Creative thinking skills
Again, listing bullet points in this manner can often oversimplify the requirements for a role, diminishing the ideal individual to basic elements and boxes to tick.
So, let’s look beyond the job title – what does a good Marketing Strategist actually look like?
Characteristics of the Ideal Marketing Strategist
If you are considering pursuing this career path, there are a few characteristics you’ll need to have to fulfil your role’s responsibilities.
1. Broad Marketing And Branding Knowledge
The nature of the role means that you can’t afford to be a specialist in only one element of Marketing.
As a puppet master of the overall strategy, you need to demonstrate expertise across many marketing channels and show an understanding of how everything works together.
You’ll need at least a rudimentary understanding of the principles of email marketing, social media, branding strategies, and content marketing.
While you will probably rely on specialists in these areas for insights and expert knowledge, you’ll still need to be familiar with a broad range of concepts.
2. Growth Focused
It’s easy to get lost in all the tasks of a Marketing department.
An effective Marketing strategist keeps their eyes on the prize.
Ultimately, success in this role is demonstrated by your ability to help bolster the company’s market share.
There are certain metrics that underpin everything for a Marketing team – Return on Investment (ROI), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
A successful marketing strategist will always bear these metrics in mind when measuring success and trying to drive and scale business goals.
But remember, vanity metrics will get you nowhere. It’s all about where those metrics take the brand.
3. Communication Skills
Most job requirements will list the soft skill ‘communication’ as a must for a marketing strategist.
This is extremely apt as the nature of the role means you must get along with various departments to bring everybody together. You need to explain clearly and concisely the wider marketing goals so that everybody is on the same page.
You need to build trust within your own marketing team and the sales teams you’re working with. Incidentally, you also need to trust other team members as you will rely on them to carry out your strategy.
Get buy-in from your sales teams with regular meetings, updates, and celebrations of success.
Ensure effective communication to get everybody on song.
4. Realism and Patience
In such a goal-oriented profession, it’s essential to set realistic goals and be patient in the pursuit of those goals.
Since your goals are visible to the rest of the business, you should be clear on what will constitute success for your team – try not to overpromise or underpromise.
Once you’ve set realistic goals, you must implement a well-researched strategy and be patient with results. Success doesn’t usually happen overnight.
By all means, conduct ongoing analysis but give strategies time to do their work.
There’s nothing worse than a Marketing team that continuously flip-flops in different directions.
How To Get A Job As A Marketing Strategist
So, you think you’ve got the broad skillset and the expertise to become a Marketing Strategist. How do you go about landing a role?
Now is a great time to enter Marketing with plenty of opportunities and open positions out there. There are especially roles available in digital marketing spheres as companies everywhere look to upgrade their digital presence.
What’s more, with an average median marketing strategist salary in the US of around $70,000, it’s a relatively lucrative field to enter.
Many companies accept entry-level candidates after some basic online certifications and training. However, top jobs will often require a proven track record of success alongside a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree.
Also, where there are plenty of opportunities, there are plenty of candidates – and in a competitive marketplace, you’ll have to follow a few general principles to land a Marketing Strategist role:
Know the specific role you want– Marketing teams comprise a wide variety of roles. If you are sure you want to be a marketing strategist, then great! However, you may find that a Marketing Consultant role is a better suit for your skillset.
You might prefer to specialise in digital marketing. There is a lot of scope in a job title, so be sure about what you’re looking for and check the job description.
Knowing exactly which role you want will help you demonstrate this if you get to an interview stage – your clear-minded understanding of the role’s responsibilities will stand you in good stead.
Build your skillset to tailor it to the role – To get through any application process, you’ll have to establish that you have the skills necessary. To be a Marketing Strategist, you need to have knowledge of several areas of Marketing, and you need to evidence this somehow.
You might be able to do this through your qualifications and previous experience. You may need to undertake some further online training.
Just because you have worked in a Marketing department before does not make you automatically a great fit as a Marketing Strategist. For instance, a copywriter won’t be able to seamlessly slip into this role without considerable guidance and training.
Don’t lie – Related to the previous point – don’t get economical with the truth. A hiring manager will see straight through your attempts to fluff up your resume. If you haven’t got experience in advanced analytics, then you shouldn’t claim otherwise. You’ll probably expose your ignorance and damage your application.
It is much better to be honest about where you’re at, but show off the skills you do have. Trust the hiring manager to gauge whether you are the right fit.
Use concrete examples – If you have any related work experience (that’s experiences that will help you in the role as a marketing strategist), give evidence of this using clear, concrete examples with correct terminology to show you your stuff.
Your aim at an interview (if you get there) is to establish credibility and convince the recruiter to give you a shot. So, they’ll want to see you demonstrate expertise and that you know what you’re talking about!
Refer to your previous successes with quantifiable data to impress the recruiter, and be prepared to expand further!
Over To You
Marketing Strategists make a direct impact on businesses.
They lead varied days getting stuck into all sorts of Marketing tasks relying upon both creative and analytical skills – they’ll be at home discussing the pros and cons of a particular design while also relishing the prospect of a deep dive into data.
It’s a challenging role with a never-ending cycle of goal setting and adjustment – what could be better!
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