All marketing efforts should be guided by strategy. Without a strategy in place, campaigns (and teams) are at risk of collapsing into aimlessness. Coupled with an ever-fluctuating marketing landscape, strategists have become an indispensable force in guiding marketing teams and producing tangible results. This guide is a gateway to understanding the fundamentals of a career in marketing strategy. We’ll break down the diverse career opportunities, the skills you’ll need to master, the day-to-day responsibilities that await you, and the qualifications that will distinguish you from the rest.
What is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is a roadmap to guide a company’s marketing initiatives, forming the strategic framework needed to achieve its overarching goals. At its core, strategy relies on a thorough understanding of a target audience’s needs and desires. Tailoring marketing approaches to complement these needs allows companies to gain a competitive advantage in the market.
A marketing strategist specializes in developing and implementing marketing strategies that align with the company’s overall objectives. Strategists typically conduct market and consumer research and competitor analysis before identifying appropriate tactics and creating a high-level marketing plan.
While marketing strategists can be a generalized role, they are often specialized to focus on one particular discipline. Let’s take a look at several dedicated roles relating to marketing strategy:
Digital Marketing Strategist
As the name suggests, digital marketing strategists are marketers responsible for developing and executing digital marketing strategies and campaigns. Digital strategists curate high-level strategies to leverage all digital channels – from email and websites to social media and SEO – to achieve a variety of marketing goals, such as boosting brand awareness, generating leads, or driving revenue growth. Additionally, they may also manage a larger digital marketing team, including search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, content marketers, and social media marketers.
Digital strategists typically have 3-5 years of hands-on experience working in digital marketing or a similar specialty. To be successful in this role, it’s important to be data-oriented and have a thorough understanding of all online marketing channels, such as SEO, email marketing, and paid ads.
Brand strategists are in a managerial position and are largely responsible for providing strategic guidance to the brand management team. Marketers in this role develop and implement strategies that shape the public’s perception of the brand. This includes conducting market research and ensuring the brand’s positioning, messaging, and go-to-market pillars are aligned to support the overarching marketing objectives.
It’s common for brand strategists to have 4-6 years of experience in digital marketing, brand management, or a similar role. Additionally, marketers in this role typically have a background in market research and possess both creative and analytical mindsets.
Content Marketing Strategist
Mid to senior-level roles like content strategists require a more comprehensive view of a company’s ambitions and marketing efforts. Although a content strategist’s duties may include some degree of content writing or editing, the act of creating content is not a primary responsibility. Instead, they provide strategic guidance and align all marketing content to fit the overarching business goals.
Content marketing strategists often have 4-5 years of experience in content or digital marketing. This role also requires adept writing skills, an eye for detail, and an extensive knowledge of various marketing disciplines, like SEO, copywriting, social media, and email marketing.
Growth Marketing Strategist
Growth strategists are focused on driving customer acquisition, retention, and revenue growth. They are often tasked with developing innovative marketing campaigns that leverage a variety of tactics, such as growth hacking, product marketing, and conversion optimization. Depending on the company and the size of the marketing department, some growth strategists may be involved with the everyday execution of these strategies.
Similar to other marketing roles, growth strategists often collaborate with other teams, including sales, product, and the greater marketing departments, to ensure all parties are aligned on their growth initiatives.
On average, growth strategists have 4- 6 years of experience in digital marketing or growth marketing, in addition to strong analytical skills and a background in data analysis and user strategy.
What does a usual day in the life of a marketing strategist look like?
While your everyday outlook will vary depending on your specialty and company, there are several core functions you can expect to regularly take on.
As a strategist, a large component of your role is developing and optimizing long-term marketing strategies. This high-level task entails a number of individual responsibilities, including analyzing data and market trends, researching competitors, and creating marketing plans to outline the strategy’s execution. Crafting marketing plans involves setting goals, creating budgets, and determining the specific tactics to achieve your goals.
Optimizing strategy also requires you to monitor and evaluate the performance of ongoing marketing campaigns. While overseeing the implementation of your strategy, it’s important to track and analyze data in real-time to assess the effectiveness of your current marketing efforts. Regular data analysis is crucial for identifying areas for improvement and making adjustments to existing campaigns.
Because most strategist roles are mid to senior-level managerial positions, team management may also be a significant responsibility. Apart from offering guidance and ensuring all projects are progressing, managers may meet regularly with team members and provide individualized feedback.
Skills & qualifications
A career in marketing strategy requires a well-rounded arsenal of analytical skills and creative abilities.
Strategic thinking and analytical skills are a must for strategists. You’ll frequently utilize your strategic mindset to analyze data and derive insights that can be translated into data-backed action. Analytical skills are also essential for interpreting market research data, analyzing consumer behavior, and identifying new opportunities. To be successful in a strategy-based role, it’s important to be proficient with data analysis tools like Google Analytics and Excel.
Creativity is equally important in this field. A strategist must be able to generate new ideas to solve complex problems and translate them into effective campaigns. Creative marketing campaigns that engage audiences with compelling stories can help a brand dramatically differentiate itself in a crowded marketplace.
Education-wise, a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field is typically required for a career in marketing strategy. While not required, advanced degrees, such as an MBA, demonstrate a candidate’s expertise and help them stand out in a competitive job market.
Is marketing strategy right for you?
Although pursuing a career as a marketing strategist can be daunting, marketers with a passion for creativity and strategic problem-solving – coupled with the necessary technical skills – can thrive in strategy-based roles. If you find excitement in shaping the future of brands, creating influential marketing campaigns, and have a knack for translating data into strategy, a career in marketing strategy may be the perfect fit for your talents!