A marketing strategy 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.

Key part of the general corporate strategy

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. It is partially derived from broader corporate strategies, corporate missions, and corporate goals. As the customer constitutes the source of a company's revenue, marketing strategy is closely linked with sales. A key component of marketing strategy is often to keep marketing in line with a company's overarching mission statement.

Types of strategies

Every marketing strategy is unique, but can be reduced into a generic marketing strategy. There are a number of ways of categorizing these 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:
o Leader
o Challenger
o Follower
* 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 firm’s sustainable competitive advantage.
o Cost leadership
o Product differentiation
o Market segmentation
* Innovation strategies - This deals with the firm's 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:
o Pioneers
o Close followers
o Late followers
* 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:
o Horizontal integration
o Vertical integration
o Diversification
o Intensification

A more detailed scheme uses the categories:

* Prospector
* Analyzer
* Defender
* Reactor

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

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Marketing Strategy. The Official Guide to Marketing Strategy is Samantha Hartley. Samantha Hartley of Enlightened Marketing works with successful socially responsible business owners who still struggle with peaks and valleys in their businesses. She helps them to increase sales without selling out.

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