Chad Hetherington

Marketing is an art form — where a strategy is painted atop a primed canvas; where search engine optimization (SEO) is the cerulean blue sky that melts into the chromium oxide green meadow of a PPC campaign. But not before the radiant violet of the Smooth Aster (email marketing) or cadmium orange of the Foxglove Beardtongue (influencer marketing) peak between the tall, wind-kissed grasses along the riverbed …

OK, maybe not to that extent — but marketing still requires a delicate, thoughtful touch — and lots of practice. But if I have the opportunity to list some oddly satisfying names of artist-grade oil paints and brilliant wildflowers (no matter how much of a stretch it may be) … I’m going to take it.

With that said, what does the marketing landscape look like today? Is it cast in a permanent green light (sorry, another oil paint)? What types of strategies are the most effective right now, and how can you implement them to great effect?

As Bob Ross once said: “I really believe that if you practice enough, you could paint The Mona Lisa with a two-inch brush.”

Here are some things you need to know about the marketing landscape today so you can paint some happy little strategies that you know will work.

A Brief Overview of Today’s Marketing Landscape

Marketing is always changing. Strategies that worked for brands two years ago may have a fleeting impact on audiences today — that’s just how it works in this industry.

These days, people want more meaningful, personalized, short and sweet content in their feeds and across their timelines. They want content that’s direct without being harsh, and personalized without compromising their privacy.

That can be a tricky color to match, but it can be done — all you need is the right tints, shades and paint brushes.

So, what’s popular right now?

Popular Marketing Strategies Right Now

Today, marketing seems to be all about things like:

  • Local and national SEO.
  • Influencer marketing.
  • PPC marketing.
  • Email marketing.
  • Inbound marketing.
  • Content marketing.

And other strategies, both old, new and emerging. And if something is popular, it must be effective — right?

While it’s certainly not always the case that what’s going around ought to be, I think we can safely say that, with marketing, everyone has a common interest, and people are implementing these marketing strategies because they work; they produce results.

But before we jump into some of these presently effective marketing strategies in depth, let’s try to understand some trends that play a key role in influencing our approach to marketing today.

Marketing Trends That Will Shape the Landscape Over the Next Few Years

We love a Gartner source here at Brafton. They always have their finger on the pulse of industries, including marketing. And, according to a recent report, it turns out that there’s an increasing need for tenacious brand awareness — which doesn’t necessarily mean having an authoritative, already established entity.

Here’s what Gartner has to say about the current marketing landscape:

  • Awareness: Disruptive market entrants require established brands to reposition themselves to remain competitive, challenging all brands to build and maintain awareness through emerging channels and innovative strategies.
  • Consideration: Over half the 1,999 employees, consumers and B2B buyers that Gartner surveyed in June and July 2022 said it’s less important to choose a well-known brand today than it was 3 years ago.
  • Brand Loyalty: The same survey revealed 75% of audiences have searched online for information about a previously unfamiliar brand while shopping, and only 15% of audiences report being committed to a given familiar brand, eroding the value of having a strong brand at the point of decision.

Knowing these, it’s relatively easy to see why things like SEO and influencer-based strategies hold such weight over marketing departments’ heads right now. These approaches help us get our content in front of eyes, and those eyes tell brains to take action.

With that in mind, let us paint you a picture of a handful of other effective marketing strategies that are helping brands just like yours achieve their goals.

Do keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list —  new strategies are finding their way to the forefront of marketing offices at a cadence that may be surprising! Plus, marketing in and of itself is a creative discipline, so there’s always room to experiment so long as you’re sticking to the canvases that are proven to hold your paint.

5 Most Effective Marketing Strategies Right Now

Without further ado, here are some of the most effective marketing strategies that you could (and should) be taking advantage of right now. Many of these can be used in conjunction and, oftentimes, help to drive results when they’re all used as part of the same campaign or initiative.

Here we go:

1. SEO

We’re all familiar with search engine optimization. It has traveled quite the path — sloppy keyword stuffing to something more refined that requires adroit brushstrokes. Today, a successful SEO strategy is all about being able to:

  • Write good, high quality content (that isn’t AI generated).
  • Build our robust and relevant links and backlinks.
  • Design accessible and user friendly websites.
  • Achieve mobile device friendliness.

2. Influencer Marketing

“Maintain awareness through emerging channels and innovative strategies,” was one of the points that we highlighted above from Gartner. And it’s a point that’s especially relevant for an influencer marketing strategy.

We’re all familiar with TikTok — a platform that has gained immense, worldwide popularity and given rise to a new generation of influencers. As one of the more recent platforms to be as successful as it has been, it’s an incredible example of Gartner’s statement.

On top of the short form video and easily digestible content, which is exactly what consumers want right now, brands have an opportunity to maintain awareness to a high degree by taking advantage of the platform’s algorithm, influencers and target audiences — and they should!

3. Email Marketing

Despite what many may think, email has not gone the way of the carrier pigeon. In fact, email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies for engaging customers, generating leads and encouraging conversions.

4. Content Marketing

As the Mona Lisa of inbound marketing, content marketing is the most popular form of the sort today. Why? Because content is everywhere you look, and it’s everything that search engines and social media algorithms need.

Whether you’re a large organization or small, local business, you can benefit from a masterful content marketing strategy. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, consider producing content such as:

  • Blog posts.
  • eBooks.
  • White papers.
  • Infographics.
  • Newsletters.
  • Social media marketing content, and more.

5. Short Form Video Content

Yes, short form video technically falls under content marketing, but with its current acclaim, it demands its own spot in this list of effective marketing strategies. In fact, if you ran a whole campaign, or multiple campaigns, solely focused on producing remarkable, relatable and relevant video content, you’d be winning in a lot of people’s books!

There’s a reason why historically text-based social media platforms, like Twitter, and image-based platforms such as Instagram have all implemented video functionality. It started with fairly standard video lengths, but has since morphed into shorter, more digestible content — very TikTok’esque, if you will.

While short form is definitely hot right now, that doesn’t mean that longer form video content is dead. YouTube is one of the most visited websites on the internet, and the perfect home for those more lengthy projects.

The Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

The beauty of a masterfully painted marketing tactic is that, no matter if you’re a large or small business, most of these approaches will produce results when used correctly — helping you to engage an existing customer, or attract a new customer.

If you’ve just starting blocking in the idea of a marketing campaign and are about to add some layers and color, here’s a quick summary of important things to keep in mind:

  • Produce and publish high-quality content.
  • Leverage email.
  • Partner with influencers.
  • Run a PPC campaign.
  • Track and pay attention to your marketing analytics.

Hopefully now, with all of this in mind, you’ve found some inspiration to sculpt a strong marketing strategy. What’s next? We’re going to tell ya how to build it!

How to Create a Strong Marketing Strategy

All right, all right, all right; enough art theory — it’s time to start painting. But first, you need a canvas and a palette of precious colors that will help you convey your message and sell your product to your ideal customer.

Let’s start at the top, with the four p’s of marketing:

The Four P’s of Marketing

You know what they say … you can’t calligraph “marketing” without four p’s.

OK, that’s not what they say. But they do say that knowing the four p’s of the marketing mix can help you build a solid foundation for your marketing strategy. But if the term marketing mix means nothing to you, let us provide some context:

  • Product: What do you sell? This could be a physical product, service or something else.
  • Price: How much do you sell it for, and does its price influence people’s opinions about your brand?
  • Place: Where do you promote your product or service? Where does your target market go to find information about you or your industry?
  • Promotion: How do you promote your product or service? Or, what’s the most effective marketing strategy for you?

In a lot of ways, we can liken the four p’s of marketing to a canvas. These are the things you need in order to start advertising your business, painting your brand picture — otherwise, you risk broad brushstrokes throughout your strategy.

But after you’ve established these items, you can start to build your palette. And when it’s time to get to work, here are some of the major things you’ll want to consider:

Find Inspiration: Outline Your Objectives and Goals

Outlining your marketing objective and goals will help you shape the entirety of your marketing strategy. This is a crucial first step in the process — it will inform your things like your budget and content.

No matter what your objectives are, make sure they follow the SMART objectives model (or something similar) to help you keep track of your progress, hold you accountable and achieve as many of your goals as possible. Here’s what the SMART method looks like:

  • Specific: When you know exactly what you want to achieve, creating a strategy that aligns with that goal is much easier. 
  • Measurable: Your goals should be relatively easy to measure. This makes your successes and areas for improvement much more apparent, and it becomes easier to implement changes when necessary when you find out what’s working and what’s not.
  • Achievable: A marketing goal that is neither achievable nor within reason won’t do you any favors. Hold yourself accountable and outline achievable goals that will help you grow. 
  • Relevant: Your objectives should align with your mission, your brand and your community.
  • Time-based: Give yourself a deadline. Whether you meet that deadline or not is totally irrelevant, but it helps keep you on track and working towards your overarching goals.

Determine Which Supplies You Need: Define Your Budget

How much are you willing to spend on your marketing strategy as a whole? Depending on whichever is the optimal approach for you, budgets can vary greatly. When fishing for a number, consider these things:

  • Software.
  • Content production.
  • Ad spend.
  • Paid partnerships.

These are certainly not all of the important considerations, but what your finished outline looks like compared to someone else — even in the same industry — may look totally different! It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve, and how.

Choose Your Subject: Do Some Market Analysis

You may already know what you want to create, but it’s important to know how exactly it will be created. To get a better picture of what works and what doesn’t, take stock of your competitors and the market at large to better determine what others are doing, and why.

Once the market is understood, it’ll be easier to “choose your subject,” i.e., determine the types of content you want to produce (and to a higher degree than your competitors) before you start executing.

After you make these decisions, you can start priming.

Prime Your Canvas (Or a Few Canvases): Segment Your Audience

The importance of audience segmentation should not be understated. When you produce content, you want it to resonate with your target audience(s). And because consumers want more personalized experiences and interactions (without painting too much of an exact portrait — because that’s creepy when you didn’t ask for one), speaking to more narrow segments of your target audience often produces better results.

Think about painting a different version of the same picture based on these segmentations: demographic, psychographic, behavioral and geographic.

Paint: Create Content

Art could not exist without inspiration and prep work. All that time spent ideating, researching and outlining and it’s finally time to produce something awe-inspiring. Once everything is in place, have fun during the content creation process. Get creative, aim for your goals and send the content on its merry way out onto the internet, where your audience will discover it and (hopefully) come flocking for more.

While some things are better learned through experience and trial and error (marketing included) we hope the information distilled in this article gives you and your marketing team some solid ground to erect your easel on.

As you gear up for your next masterpiece of a marketing initiative, remember that it’s OK to not get it right on the first try. You may need to try different things and leverage new angles but, in due time, you’ll boil down a formula that works best for you to achieve your marketing goals. And don’t be afraid of what’s popular, or to try something new! Certain avenues are abuzz for a reason; and to wrap up with another Bob Ross quote, because I can: “Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is.”