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7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: December 08, 2022

Creating a marketing strategy is essential to effectively nurture your customers, improve the bottom line at your business, and increase the ROI of your efforts.

Marketers planning their 2023 marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy is especially critical if you want to leverage the highest-ROI trends for 2023 : short video, influencer marketing, and branded social media. To get powerful results, you must carefully weave both emerging trends and proven strategies into your plan.

Let's dive into the critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2023, followed by some examples for inspiration.

Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy is a detailed, structured plan of a company’s promotional efforts across a wide range of platforms and channels. A marketing strategy typically includes objectives, target audience profiles, content creation steps, key performance indicators, and other components.

A marketing strategy will:

The last one is especially important for this upcoming year. Keeping up with marketing trends is important for your strategy, but could be a full-time job.

Why? Because in one year alone, we've seen a major shift to short-form video content ; the rise and fall of new platforms (looking at you, Meta); and the continuing impact of the global pandemic. In short, what worked for your marketing strategy in the past might not fly today.

To succeed in the fast-paced marketing world — and maintain a sense of relevance with your audience — it's vital to stay ahead of the curve.

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we've going to show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned. But first, let’s go over the individual components that make up a strong marketing strategy.

Free Marketing Strategy Template

Fill out the form to access your free strategy doc., marketing strategy components.

1. Marketing Mix

marketing strategy components: marketing mix

Image Source

The marketing mix, also known as the 4 Ps of marketing, is the preliminary document you must create to understand what you will be marketing, where you’ll be marketing it, and how you’ll be marketing it. The following P’s make up this framework:

You can then extrapolate this information into a full-fledged marketing plan for each promotional channel. It’s important to lay out the information in broad strokes so that you understand the overall direction of your marketing strategy.

2. Marketing Objectives

marketing strategy components: marketing objectives

You can set your marketing objectives in conjunction with your 4 Ps, or right after. Either way, you should outline your marketing goals before building upon your strategy. Why? Because your goals will inform other components of the plan, including the budget and content creation process.

With every objective, you should aim to be as specific as possible. Try to create SMART marketing goals divided by channel or promotional tactic, and don’t forget that you can always come back and revise your goals as your priorities change.

3. Marketing Budget

marketing strategy components: marketing budget

A marketing budget is an essential element of your strategy. Without allotting funds to hiring the right talent, using the right software, advertising on the right channels, and creating the right content, your marketing strategy won’t have a powerful impact. To get a high return on investment, you must first invest.

Remember that you can always start small — hyper-focusing your budget on one or two efforts — and build upon them once you generate an ROI.

4. Competitive Analysis

Knowing your competition is key when creating a marketing strategy. Otherwise, you risk “yelling into the void” without measurable results. Worse, you won’t know whether you’re differentiating yourself enough from the competition and effectively drawing the attention of your intended audience.

You might already have an idea of whom your competitors are, but it’s still essential to sit down and identify them. You might end up uncovering a surprise competitor who’s vying for your target buyer’s attention and engagement.

5. Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

marketing strategy components: audience segmentation, targeting, and positioning

Segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) refers to the process of delivering “more relevant, personalized messages to target audiences.” In other words, rather than publishing posts and advertisements on a whim, you’ll go through a methodical process for creating content that resonates with your target buyer.

During the segmentation, targeting, and positioning process, you’ll take three steps:

6. Content Creation

marketing strategy components: content creation

Once you have your budget, competitive outlook, and STP information, it’s now time to take the most critical step: Creating your marketing content . But it’s essential to undertake this effort strategically. For one, you don’t want to publish random content that doesn’t solve for the customer, and for two, you must aim to capitalize on emerging trends so that your brand enjoys high visibility in the marketplace.

The competition is fierce across all formats. According to HubSpot Research , "half of marketers are using videos, with 47% leveraging images, followed by 33% posting blogs articles, infographics (30%) and podcasts or other audio content (28%)." Of these, video has the highest ROI.

marketing strategy components: content strategy data

It’s even more essential to invest in trends that have a high ROI, such as short-form video, influencer marketing, and social media DMs.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in blogging , one of the most proven content marketing techniques. It’s simply important to know where to allot the most resources, especially if you have a limited budget.

7. Metrics & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

marketing strategy components: metrics and kpis

Last, but certainly not least, your marketing strategy must include metrics and key performance indicators to understand how well your strategies are working. The KPIs you choose will vary depending on your business type and preferred customer acquisition channels . Examples of KPIs include:

Now, let’s dive into why it’s important to follow the steps of a marketing strategy.

The Importance of Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy Steps

A robust marketing strategy will reach your target audience — this includes those who have never heard of your brand all the way to repeat customers.

Without a defined strategy, you’ll essentially be throwing things to the wall to see what sticks. And it’s costing you cost, time, and resources.

There are seven key steps to crafting a successful marketing strategy: Build your marketing plan, create your buyer personas, identify your goals, select the tools, review your existing resources, audit and plan media campaigns, and lastly, execute your strategy.

Let’s get into the details of each step in the next section. Or you can jump to the section you're most interested in.

Examples of Successful Marketing Strategies

7 Steps of a Marketing Strategy Process

1. Build a marketing plan.

Wait, I have to make a plan for my strategy? What's the difference?

Your marketing strategy provides an overview of the reasons why your marketing team will need certain resources, take certain actions, and set certain goals over the year. Your marketing plan is the specific actions you'll take to achieve that strategy.

Not sure where to start? This free marketing plan template can help.


Download for Free

The right template can help you build a marketing plan that identifies your budget for the year, the initiatives your marketing organization needs to tackle, and the marketing channels you'll use to implement those initiatives.

Plus, it’ll tie everything back to a business summary, to keep you aligned with overarching company goals.

2. Create buyer personas.

If you can't define who your audience is in one sentence, now's your chance to do it. A buyer persona is a snapshot of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy's could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30s living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macy's Marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information, including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don't have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it's really fun).

You can also use a platform like Versium , which helps you identify, understand and reach your target audience through data and artificial intelligence.

Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

3. Identify your goals.

Your marketing strategy goals should reflect your business goals.

For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online registration by 10% at the end of the month to stay on track.

Other marketing goals might be to increase brand awareness or generate high-quality leads. You might also want to grow or maintain thought leadership in your industry or increase customer value.

Whatever your goals, identify what they are and how your marketing organization can work to achieve them over the next year.

4. Select the appropriate tools.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals.

Online software like social media schedulers gives you analytics to help you keep track of what your audience likes and doesn't. Alternatively, you might consider Google Analytics to measure blog and web page performance.

Additionally, make your goals SMART – to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template ].

Here are a few tools that can help you track and measure the success of your marketing goals:

HubSpot Marketing Hub

The Marketing Hub allows you to consolidate all of your marketing tools into one centralized platform.

hubspot marketing hub dashboard

You can also transform data pulled from timeline and Gantt views to track your projects on Monday.com and ensure deadlines have been met. Plus, with more than 40 integrations — from SurveyMonkey to Mailchimp and, of course, HubSpot — you can visualize your data and ensure your whole company is collaborating.

Pricing : Basic, $8/month/seat; Standard, $10/month/seat; Pro, $16/month/seat; Enterprise, contact for pricing.

semrush dashboard

Crazy Egg also offers recordings, A/B testing, and more to help ensure your website is offering the best user experience.

Pricing : Basic, $24/month; Standard, $49/month; Plus, $99/month; Pro, $249/month; Enterprise, contact for pricing.

5. Review your media.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories – paid, owned, and earned media.

  • Paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. This includes offline channels like television, direct mail, and billboard to online channels like social media, search engines, and websites.
  • Owned Media refers to any of the media your marketing team has to create: pictures, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, etc.
  • Earned media is another way to say user-generated content . Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your brand are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in each media type and consolidate them in one location to have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate them to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that's rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers might then reTweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded marketing strategy.

If you have resources that don't fit into your goals, nix them. This is a great time to clean house and identify gaps in your materials.

6. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you.

Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let's say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona's challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don't have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your product is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include topic clusters, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it's solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation .

7. Bring it to fruition.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed – and by which teams.

The final step is to bring that all together and assign actions to your plans.

Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let's go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be as well. As long as the strategy includes the pertinent details outlined in previous sections, you'll be set.

Now that we've explored the critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let's look at some "Why didn't I think of that?" strategies to inspire your own.

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: owned media.

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even renaming its Twitter account to reflect the spirit of the season. This "Monster Madness" poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal's content:

regal movies' owned media

In this case, the consumer is praising the brand’s product. Doesn’t get better than a fantastic review like that.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: event marketing.

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?


Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company's talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example, as it boosts awareness for your brand and offers social proof by featuring a public figure.

4. Superside

Digital strategy: paid media.

Design agency Superside launched an Instagram ad to promote a lead magnet: Their digital ad design guide. While the brand may have created the guide specifically for paid promotions, it’s also possible that they repurposed a high-performing blog post into a downloadable ebook.

marketing strategy paid media example

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Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

What is Business Level Strategy? Definition, Types, Examples

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Tactical and strategic planning is crucial to the success of your business model. Every company needs it to experience real growth across all key areas and to be prepared for different business cycles . Discover and integrate modern business tactics into its corporate strategy.

Incorporating a business-level strategy, the middle layer in the overall strategy hierarchy, enhances the productivity of your company’s department. It leads to market expansion and better use of business resources.

This guide will cover the A-Z of business-level strategy, including how to implement a business-level strategy.

What is a Business Level Strategy?

The primary business level strategy definition is the strategic planning and implementation processes incorporated by successful businesses in their niche market. 

Your choice of business-level strategy is configured to gain a competitive advantage, improve customer satisfaction, and maintain above-average returns. 

Most organizations that operate one business often combine their business-level strategy with the corporate-level system to devise a single level of the process. 

An effective business-level strategy adequately defines a business's goals and policy standpoint to deliver customer value and gain a tremendous competitive advantage over competitors by using the business's core competencies. 

Adopting the right business strategy for your business cannot be overemphasized. It determines the company's direction, defines how it serves its customers, and helps the company establish its brand. 

A business can have a corporate-level strategy, a business-level strategy, or a functional-level strategy, depending on the business's organizational structure. In an organization having multiple business units, each unit is a strategic business unit ( SBU ). 

Creating a business-level strategy is the best way to bridge the gap between your hyper-specific functional strategy and the more general corporate strategy. 

The main difference between business and corporate level strategies is that the former is more focused. 

Compared to the corporate strategy level, business-level strategists can develop a more detailed and accurate description of their customers than at the corporate strategy level.

Difference between business and corporate level strategies

Types of Business Level Strategies

There is no best generic strategy for your business. The best business strategy for you depends on two factors: your customers and competitors.

Although you can incorporate different business-level strategies into your business to give it the needed competitive advantage, some of them stand out.

Here are the main business-level strategies available for you to choose from.

1. Cost-Leadership Business Level Strategy

A cost-leadership business strategy allows businesses to increase their overall efficiency by reducing operational costs. It will enable companies to charge lower prices for their products than their competitors.

With consumers being more aware of their choices than ever before and constantly looking to increase their purchasing power, the onus is on you to use an effective price strategy that distinguishes you in the market and can not be turned down. 

There are two main cost-leadership business-level strategy types: broad cost leadership and focused cost leadership. What differentiates them is that the broad cost leadership’s competitive scope is broad in target, while that of focused cost leadership is narrow and focused.

Cost leadership strategy is best suited for businesses capable of lowering their operational costs low enough to post profit margins while outpricing their competition. Businesses offering a lower price than their competitors can use this strategy.

Cost Leadership Strategy

2. Differentiation Business Level Strategy

A differentiation strategy provides a product or service with differentiated features compared to competitors.

Differentiation strategy is characterized by innovation. You must conduct extensive market research , identify exploitable gaps in the market, and tailor your business to offer a product or service that bridges that gap or improves an existing product or service. 

This business-level strategy is best suited for any business or industry. A wide range of companies uses it to compete for market share as long as they can identify gaps in the market that need to be filled. 

3. Focused Differentiation Business Level Strategy

A focused differentiation business strategy targets a specific and narrow segment of customers . It offers them differentiated products with unique features tailored to the target customers.

The former’s focus on a very narrow segment of the market is what separates the focused differentiation business level strategy from the general differentiation strategy.

Focused differentiation is best suited for markets where understanding product comparison is critical. New businesses find competing with companies using a robust differentiation business strategy challenging. 

This strategy is effective for businesses that have identified a niche in the market to tailor their products or services. Focusing on a target audience ensures new businesses can get significant demand for their products or services. 

Choosing a Generic Business- Level Strategy

4. Focused Low-Cost Business Level Strategy

The focused low-cost business strategy only focuses on a small niche of customers and comes at a lower cost than a strong strategy. It is best to tailor your focus to a particular niche for businesses that do not seem to appeal to the broader market.

By offering the lowest cost provider in your market niche, your business tends to stand out against a wide range of competitors.

A focused low-cost strategy is best suited for businesses with many competitors. Despite the low cost, they are not market strong, or only a small market segment of specific customers can generate the required revenue for your business.

5. Integrated Low Cost/Differentiation Strategy

Businesses employ an integrated low-cost or differentiation strategy with differentiated products offered to customers at a lower cost than competitors. 

As a hybrid business strategy, the integrated strategy is quickly gaining ground brought about by increasing global competition. 

The benefit that companies that choose this hybrid business level strategy have over those that rely on a single system is that by integrating these two business level strategies, you position yourself better to adapt to quicker environmental changes. 

You can use flexible manufacturing systems to maintain superior quality in the product development process while reducing operating expenses.

This hybrid business level strategy is best suited for businesses that operate in a market niche where the buyer's needs and preferences are entirely different from the rest of the current market. 

New Perspectives on Competitive Strategy

How to Implement a Business-Level Strategy

You need to identify and implement your business objectives in a way that will offer numerous benefits to your business to implement a business-level strategy successfully.

Apart from identifying your goals, you need to have a detailed plan to help your business achieve all of its highlighted goals. 

Here is a list of steps to successfully implement a business-level strategy for your business.

1. Identify Target Market and Consumers

The first step in implementing a successful business-level strategy is identifying all relevant target markets and consumers. 

Before successfully implementing the needed changes to your business organization, you need to spell out the market you are seeking to penetrate and the ideal business’s customers to which the market will likely open your business. 

Consider your competitors that have already experienced significant success in that same market you are about to venture in, their average pricing, the target market, and customers that patronize their products and services. 

2. Find Out the Needs of Your Identified Market 

Your competitor's sales should closely guide the needs of your customer base. You need to identify your customer's particular needs and then relate them to the products and services you hope to offer.

Consider the price standpoint of your customer and build your product price around the average price a large majority of your customer base can afford. 

3. Find Effective Ways of Catering to Your Customer's Needs 

Figure out ways to address your highlighted needs. You need to go back to the table with your company executives and build strategies, including where to seek vendors, getting your products to the desired target, and making them within reach of your customers.

Pick a fair price for your product or service that is favorable to the business and your customer base, as you already have established competitors. 

4. Compare Your Business Level Strategies with Competitor's Strategies

Considered the business level strategy your competitors employ that still enables them to post massive profit margins. 

Most businesses use cost savings as an effective business-level strategy to return large sums of profits and build brand loyalty. 

This strategy is of great help if you are looking for how your competitors' business model is geared at improving and adapting to evolving changes in the narrow market segment. 

5. Set Common Goals with the Company's Goals

Your goals must be met by all stakeholders of the company and the company as a whole. 

Devise a plan for company-wide goals that positions you to consolidate and strengthen your potential within the market. Your business should leverage core competencies to create value that satisfies customers.

Business goals should be specific and should be attainable. You are in constant competition; your goals must be geared towards that solid fact. Successful businesses use the SMART goal framework to set their business and financial goals . 

Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

6. Set Unique Goals for your Departments

Individual department goals help the business better segment responsibilities that play a massive role in ensuring the success of the overall company's goals. 

Constant communication must be maintained among all quarters of your organization, especially between the corporate level and the employees, to generate the result required and translate into the success of department-assigned tasks. 

7. Complete Routine Checks at Each Company Level

Schedule monthly checks that help track your level of progress and ensure you are not diverting from the organization's set goals and objectives.    

Your monthly review is done on the corporate level to give room for relevant information to be disseminated down the corporate ladder from department heads to individual department members.

Examples of Business Level Strategies

A breakdown of business-level strategy examples and their application is a good way of understanding how business-level strategy differs from other strategy levels. 

The ideal business-level strategy is the one that helps reduce costs and increase return on investment ( ROI ).

Popular business-level strategy examples to aid your understanding include

1. Cost Leadership

An example of business-level strategy businesses employs under cost leadership is offering a product or service at the lowest cost attainable to competitors to gain a considerable market share. 

Businesses strive for cost reduction by improving or constructing new and adequate facilities, investing in tools and equipment, and reducing the overhead and administrative expenses of the company. 

Cost leaders are companies that are the cheapest manufacturers of a product and providers of a service. 

One common misconception about this strategy is that profit margins are lower. You can use rigid cost controls and better facilities for mass-producing products at scale to drive costs and increase your profit margins. 

With a focused cost leadership strategy, businesses compete on price with their competitors but focus on a niche market. This strategy helps you better understand your customers’ needs and serve them better. 

2. Differentiation

In the case of differentiation, instead of reducing the business operational cost and diverting the money saved to customers, differentiation strategies focus on developing and marketing products to offer customers the most significant value. 

There are two forms of differentiation strategy: broad and focused differentiation strategies. What differentiates them is that a broad differentiation strategy focuses on a vast range of customers while a focused differentiation strategy focuses on a smaller number of customers.

The Apple brand, which has created a niche in the smartphone market, is a perfect example. Apple invested heavily in customer service, research and development, and marketing, allowing it to charge a premium price without affecting its market share.

3. Focused Low Cost

Apart from reducing costs from their operations, businesses decide to tailor and divert all their focus and attention to a particular market subset for maximal value as their business-level strategy. 

Consider a business that produces and sells manufacturing tools. This business can focus its tool manufacturing strictly on the professional tradesperson market. 

4. Focused Differentiation Strategy

This business-level strategy involves a business choosing to differentiate itself from its competitors while focusing a large chunk of its efforts on a smaller subset of its customer market. 

The idea behind a focused strategy is that with a smaller target market comes the ability to better understand the business customer base and their needs and successfully deliver the value the customers need. 

An example of the focused differentiation strategy is the automobile company Rolls Royce which focuses on offering premium-priced cars for a sub-niche of the global car market.

5. Integrated Low Cost/Differentiation

A hybrid strategy that combines low-cost and differentiation techniques is the most effective approach for several businesses.

The premium fast food restaurant industry is a business venture that utilizes the integrated low-cost/ differentiation strategy to near perfection. 

They offer low prices that characterize established food chains and a differentiated range of offerings that take them a step higher than most fast food chains.

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Anastasia belyh.

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Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.

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Strategy Planning

The 3 Levels of Strategy: The Difference & How to Apply Them

by Cascade Team, on Sep 3, 2022

marketing business level strategy

Table of Contents

Execute strategy like Porsche, AstraZeneca & UNICEF.  Try Cascade, the #1 Strategy Execution platform. Get started for free

Every business leader should be familiar with the three levels of strategy. Like any business, strategy comes in various shapes and sizes. The strategy for a multi-national company will contrast with one from a startup.

Yet, the principles remain. To understand how strategies shift, we'll look at the existing strategy levels and how an organization can apply them.

Download our battle-tested strategic planning template that hundreds of organizations have used to jump-start your strategy development.

#1 Strategy Execution Platform Say goodbye to strategy spreadsheets. It’s time for Cascade. Get started, free  forever

Ultimately, the biggest takeaway we hope you get from this post is that strategy is for everyone.

You don't have to wait until your business grows to a certain size to “get strategic.” Instead, be conscious of where you are as a business so you can develop your strategy in a way that fits and grows with your organization.

We'll discuss how the 3 strategy levels in an organization differ and provide some context on how to use these different levels of strategy in strategic management.

The 3 Levels of Strategy are:

Corporate level strategy.

  • Business Level Strategy

Functional Level Strategy

No matter the level of strategy, "organizations that promote a transparency and collective culture when it comes to strategy, generate a stronger commitment and sense of accountability from their employees." This statement by Guillermo Hermosillo Cue, Global Innovation Director at Burger King in our state of strategy report echoes the importance of strategic communication regardless of the strategy level. 

three levels of strategy infographic

Corporate strategies are the top-level of strategy in an organization.

The corporate strategy defines the organization’s overall direction and the high-level ideas of how to move towards it. These plans are usually created by a select strategy group such as the CEO and the top management.

Generally, this is the group involved because they have a deep understanding of the company and the strategic business knowledge needed to steer the organization in the right direction.

A corporate strategy is generally broader than the other strategy levels. Strategies at this level are more conceptual and futuristic than business and functional level strategies. They usually span a 3-5 year period.

A corporate strategic plan generally encompasses:

  • The vision for the organization
  • The company’s values
  • The Strategic Focus areas
  • The strategic objectives
  • The most important KPIs

Why Create a Corporate Strategy?

In the corporate strategic plan, you’ll decide the markets you’ll compete in as an organization.

Then, it will direct the creation of business-unit-level and functional-level strategies.

These strategies, in turn, will guide the downstream decisions made by employees of all levels. Therefore, every decision made in the organization should directly or indirectly contribute to the strategy's corporate objectives. If it’s not clear yet:

Every organization needs a corporate strategy .

There is no such thing as a too-small organization nor a too-large one to define what they want to achieve and how they will do it.

We've used our own strategic planning and execution software to create our corporate strategic plan here at Cascade.

👉🏻 Grab your free corporate strategy template to follow a structured approach and create your corporate strategic plan. 

Business Strategy Level

The business-level strategy is the second tier in the strategy hierarchy.

Sitting under the corporate strategy, the business strategy is a means to achieve the goals of a specific business unit in the organization.

One thing to note, implementing this strategy level is only useful for organizations with multiple business units. An organization with multiple business units may sell products and services or may sell multiple products/services in different industries.

A business level strategy example

A large Bank is a prime example of an organization selling multiple services in different industries.

To name a few, it has business units in corporate banking, wealth management, risk management, and capital raising. Each of these business units would have distinct goals and a distinct business strategy to achieve these goals.

📚 Read more: The 7 Best Business Strategy Examples I've Ever Seen

Why middle managers should create the business level strategy

Strategies at the business level should be constructed by the heads of business units and other middle managers within each unit.

It’s important to include a range of managers from each unit to participate in the strategy process because:

  • It increases buy-in: Managers who've had a chance to contribute to the strategies creation feel included in the decision making. Therefore, they’re more likely to accept the strategy and jump on board with its execution.
  • It improves ownership: Employees who are given the opportunity to contribute to the formation of the strategy are more likely to take ownership over its completion.

If your organization only has one business unit, you don't need to worry about this strategy level - and can skip to the functional strategy level.

Here at Cascade, we only have one business unit, our strategic planning and execution software , so currently, we don't have a strategy at the business level.

Now let's say Cascade also developed a second type of software, for example, software for processing payments. We would then need to develop a business-level strategy to allow the two business types to grow alongside each other.

different levels of strategy chart

👉🏻 Grab your free business strategy template to follow a structured approach and create your business strategic plan. 

This is the level at the operating end of an organization.

At the functional level of strategy , decisions made by employees are often described as tactical decisions. They are concerned with how the various functions of an organization contribute to the other strategy levels.

These functions can include marketing, finance, manufacturing, human resources, and more.

Functional strategy deals with a fairly restrictive plan. It gives the objectives for each specific function.

In simple terms, this is the strategy that will inform the day-to-day work of employees and will ultimately keep your organization moving in the right direction. The functional strategy level is probably the most important level of strategy.

This is because, without functional strategies, your organization can quickly lose traction and “get stuck” while competition moves forward.

functional level strategy infographic

Suppose you are a larger organization at this bottom strategy level. In that case, you start to think about how the various departments will contribute to your growth and how they will work together, keeping in mind your corporate strategy.

Your marketing strategy, finance, IT, operations , and other departments all have goals and responsibilities to deliver. Having a visible functional level of strategy that aligns back to the overall corporate strategy will increase the chances of success.

Functional level business strategy for a smaller organization

For a smaller organization, having a functional level is crucial.

If you're one or two people, you may end up wearing more than one “functional hat.” Or, you may not have the various functions clearly defined - but they are still present.

So, you might not have a 'marketing team', but there are still marketing activities that need to be done. You may not have a 'finance team', but your organization still has bills that need to be paid and checks to be collected.

In Cascade , we can create multiple plans within our software. We've created a strategic plan for each function in the organization, which links back to our main corporate plan to ensure everything is moving in the right direction.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” as the saying goes.

Developing a functional-level strategy will ensure that your organization's steps are the right ones. As we mentioned earlier, the key takeaway here is that strategy is for everyone, no matter the stage of your business idea or organization.

Looking for a structured approach to your strategy and planning? These strategy planning templates will help you streamline strategic planning and execution at each level of your organization. 

The three levels of strategy are the first step

Of course, having a good (or great) strategy isn’t guaranteed success.

But it's definitely the place to start in order to succeed. Understanding the levels of strategy is a big part of getting the creation right. However, with increased levels, there can be increased confusion.

Our dedicated strategy software, Cascade, will allow you to build your corporate plan, then create plans at the business and functional levels with ease. Cascade makes it super easy to align projects and collaborate across plans and departments.

Try it for FREE and see how you can go from simply writing your plan somewhere static to a more dynamic space that you can share with everyone in your organization - it makes all the difference!

Get more insights into all things strategy

Related posts to get you reading, what is corporate strategy.

Business level strategies are concerned specifically with  the strategic planning and execution of initiatives for a specific business. Business...

The further down from the top you go, the less familiar your teams are with strategy and how it is executed on a regular basis. 

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marketing business level strategy

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What is Business Level Strategy? A complete guide for beginners

  • Author Author: tu Twitter

The business-level strategy is often considered as the middle man in the level of an overall strategy hierarchy. It is often included in the strategic planning and execution of initiatives for a particular business. In terms of strategy levels, people have meaningful ways to divide up that enables you to tell apart between the multiple parties and responsibilities included in both the strategy's formulation and execution.

So, which kind of strategy have you adopted for your business? Did you have the right one?

Yes, there are many different kinds of business-level strategies. Also, if you want to get an edge over your competition, you will need a business-level strategy for long-term success. So, in my today What is business-level strategy? A complete guide for beginners , I will walk through all the key factors of strategy at a business level and 5 typical kinds of a strategic plan for your business and a lot of useful information. Let's dive in!

What is business level strategy?

In the simplest meaning, business level strategy can be understood as an elaborate outline that incorporates the strategic planning and policies, goals, and actions that focus on is the matter of how to create and deliver value to customers while keeping up a competitive advantage. The executed activities in the business level strategy lie in the aim to get advantage and generate customer value in the specific market that your business unit now operates in. That's why recognizable organizations will often compound business strategy with corporate strategy in a form of a single strategy level.

marketing business level strategy

With the business level strategy, you will be able to define your position in your industry and the direction of your profits as well. Also, business level strategy can influence the efficiency of how you can give out your customer base. To gain the best approach, this will need to integrate some kinds of business level strategy.

However, you must figure out several things to determine how you will implement these strategies:

  • Are you targeting a broad-range or niche market?
  • What are your resources?
  • What is it that your target customers value the most? (For example, cost savings, brand prestige, product quality, and so on.)
  • What can make you distinct from the competition?
  • Does your business have the ability to lead and preserve itself in the marketplace regarding product quality and battling pricing?

There is a way to help you get perspective, that is putting yourself in your customer's position. For example, while you are shopping for clothing, consider which brands do you buy from? Also, ask how do you rank the importance of the pricing, material, and manufacturing quality, environmental impacts, brand identity, and many more? Subsequently, you will need to compare this perspective to that of your target customers' and check how it aligns with your marketing inventiveness as well as business resources. Finally, when you are done, you'll be capable of figuring out the most effective business-level strategy.

Explore other topics:

  • What Are Business Growth Strategies?
  • Market development strategy
  • Product Strategy Guide
  • What is an Internal Analysis?

The key factors for business level strategy

So, I assume that you now have a quick understanding of what is a business strategy, but what about the actual content of your strategy? Depending on your organizations, there are 2 key factors that you will need your business level strategy to address:

Core Competencies

When the singular nature of business level strategy becomes more restricted, the concept of a business's core competencies now plays a very important role. The core competencies now are the components of a business which is different from those in the market and can offer value to customers.

When you can understand the core competencies of a business, and also examine the manner in which these competencies can be evolved or leveraged into a real-world competitive benefit in a market is a huge part of the business-level strategy. In case you are still struggling to generate a competitive advantage or identify your business's core competencies, you can use the VRIO analysis as a good place to start.

marketing business level strategy

Not only understanding a business's core competencies, but you also have to concern the nature of the customers (both current and potential) in business level strategy that interacts with the business. Using the words who, what, and how can help you a lot in developing this understanding.

Who are your customers? When you ask yourself this question, then you will have to determine the demographic descriptors and the consumption patterns to draw a picture of who your customers are. This is unlike working at the corporate strategy level where business level strategists are often capable of developing a very precise and detailed idea of who their customers are. This enables us to make suitable strategic planning decisions in a way that might seem infeasible at a corporate level.

What products do your customers need? As you can understand what a business's customers need and want now, it is vital to finish developing and maintaining a competitive advantage step. For those companies that complete the needs and create value for customers are normally successful businesses. Additionally, they will have the ability to precisely predict the changes in customer needs over time and predict the fluctuations in demand, enabling businesses to react in strategic terms.

How can customer needs be satisfied by your business? Last but not least, this is for asking what your organizations need to do to figure out how to leverage core competencies and resources in a manner that pleases customers - creating value.

Why you should implement the business level strategy

If you are searching for a way to bridge the gap between your more general corporate strategy and your hyper-specific functional strategy, creating a business level strategy between the two is absolutely a brilliant solution.

Believe me, understanding and implementing business-level strategy, then you will be capable of:

  • Having your goals structures and fulfilling maximum impact.
  • Aligning your objectives from below upward.
  • Bridging the gap between the popular corporate targets that lead your business and the specific and functional strategies that achieve these goals.

marketing business level strategy

Additionally, when you incorporate business level strategies, you will be able to give the managers in your business a better comprehension of how their work (and the work of their teams) affects your organization's final goals. Finally, when everyone is captivating to follow the same direction, it will help you to solve the task much easier for your business to succeed.

5 Types of business level strategy

1. cost leadership strategy.

Cost leadership strategy is about competing with a wide variety of businesses based on price. To be more specific, a cost leadership business-level strategy is a strategy that businesses use to push their efficiency, cut down the production costs to make it under the industry average, or the competition in the area. In a quick understanding, in this strategy, this business will charge lower prices for its items than others in the same industry to compete with them and to increase their purchasing power.

In order to apply cost leadership to businesses, a single business can cut down the final cost of their product or service by lowering costs elsewhere in the business. For instance, you can buy on a large scale to have small production costs, have few middlemen, fewer employees, and so on.

There are some common mechanisms to drive down costs, which are:

  • Forming the rigid cost controls.
  • Constructing state-of-the-art facilities to manufacture at large scale and a low cost at the same time.
  • This strateg requires your product or service to be standardized, or at the same level of quality products or services compared to their competition.

marketing business level strategy

There is a slight misconception about this strategy when they assume that returns would be lower. However, to maintain above-average returns and offer the lowest price, the company must continually concentrate the internal efficiencies. Also, this cost leadership would only work when you are able to lower your production costs enough to still make a profit at the final stage and outprice your competition. Hence, it can be best for larger corporations when they have the capabilities to purchase in larger quantities as well as lowering production costs. Meanwhile, it is not a smart choice for small stores and small chains and even elite brands such as Gucci or Apple.

In reality, there are two good examples of cost leadership business strategy, which are Wal-Mart and Costco. They are efficient and large scale business models that can get the lowest pricing on products, allowing them to sell them more affordable prices than other vendors.

2. Differentiation strategy

Differentiation strategy is about utilizing a product or service with completely unique features when comparing against the competition. Your brand will try to turn your product or service really outstanding from the crowd, which can solve the problem that no one else has.

In order to do this, you must invest innovation and out of the box thinking. A company with this strategy often charge their customers more with a view to offsetting the cost of being unique. To implement this differentiation strategy, you will have to conduct the large-scale market research first to define a gap in the market that must be filled, or by enhancing an existing good or service.

In order to apply this differentiation strategy to businesses, you can simply take a product or business and choose to improve it or make it different from the competition. There are some common mechanisms to differentiate including:

  • Superior quality.
  • Customer service.
  • Uniqueness.

Overall, differentiation is one of the main strategies that is used to compete for customers in their industry, which can be used by any industry or business. The trick here is to determine your customers' pain-points from your competitors and solve them. By executing this technique, your brand will be able to turn clients into fans by creating brand loyalty because people will share what you are doing if they love it. Additionally, marketing efforts can become easier for you as you can have a unique selling point to market your goods or service. In case you are the one who can create a product in high demand, you can charge an even higher price!

marketing business level strategy

In the real world, there are many great examples of differentiation. Apple is a firm that is successfully operating a differentiation strategy to sell its laptops to a broad market when they have special design and engineering that enables them to stand out in the marketplace, and also charge a premium price but still can combat their competitors.

However, sometimes this technique could be bad as offering a distinct quality could make for high research and development costs. Also, if a product is too different or complicated to the consumer, they may refuse to use it. So consider that!

3. Focused differentiation strategy

There are some organizations not only competing through differentiation but also by choosing a small-scale portion of the market to concentrate on. A focused differentiation business strategy is about targeting a particular or small-scale group of clients with differentiated products. Basically, there must be some unique features in your product or service that meet a niche market's demands .

In order to implement focused differentiation for businesses, there are many ways to do it. You can focus on a particular sales channel, like selling online only. Also, you can focus on a demographic group, when you think about a hotel that provides many activities for children only. There are two common mechanisms to adopt a focused cost leadership strategy include:

  • Highly focus on serving a small group of customers.
  • You can uniquely cut down some costs to serve that market's needs if you do understand the needs of your smaller target market.

In some markets, where product comparison knowledge is crucial, like camping equipment, new stores could find it challenging to be competitors of firms implementing a focused differentiation business strategy.Overall, this type of strategy would be great for businesses that have already got a niche that they would like to produce more specialized products or services. Also, you must ensure you have done a lot of market research before diving in.

marketing business level strategy

The benefits of a focused differentiation strategy are plenty. Firstly, you will be able to charge very higher prices than those simply just following the differentiation strategy because you also provide a unique experience/item/service. What is more, your competition will be limited when you are specialized in a very niche area. Plus, you will be able to create customer loyalty. For example, selling environmental products can build strong customer loyalty. In contrast, you must take some risks that limited demand could limit growth capabilities when your niche could withdraw or be outcompeted by larger competitors.

4. Focused low-cost strategy

Overall, in this type of strategy, your company will not only compete via price but also choosing a small portion of the market to concentrate on. You can see that this strategy is very similar to the differentiation strategy except that it is focused on a very narrow segment of the market as unique features were focused on aiming at the small market segment.

Businesses utilizing a focused differentiation strategy can defend themselves in the same way as businesses with a broad differentiation strategy. Rather than having low prices all around, you should pick and select products that have "common" prices and one specific one or two that's much lower. There are some common mechanisms that you should focus on, which are:

  • Choosing a profitable tapering subset of the market.
  • Paying attention to areas where competition is the weakest.
  • Focusing on a segment where goods substitution is difficult.

If your business seems not to have the ability to appeal to a larger market, then you should focus on a niche. You may not be able to have low prices for all of your goods and/or services when you can try to be the lowest-cost provider in the market for that particular niche, which could help your business to be outstanding against the other competitors. This strategy can be so productive when there's a competition, but competitors are not strong or if a small or detailed segment of customers can create an outstanding difference in the revenues.

marketing business level strategy

A good example of this strategy is the case of Rolls Royce cars utilizing a focused differentiation strategy. Their cars are identical to prestige, standard, and engineering excellence as they are premium priced and concentrate on a tiny subset of the global car market. The main advantages here in this strategy are the low cost in production, the ability to draw in a narrow market segment, and the increasing brand affinity when you only have a specialized product.

However, you should be aware of your niche's risk may be targeted by broad market firms with bigger economies of scale, and the future growth for your firm can be limited if you specialize too much.

5. Integrated low-cost differentiation strategy

This integrated low-cost differentiation strategy is where a business has unique products provided at a lower cost producing low-cost products with unique features. Their competitive advantage is about cost and differentiation. This one is also called a hybrid strategy and can be on the way to becoming more and more popular when global competition is growing. If you compare this type of strategy to companies that depend on a single strategy, those that integrate two may have the ability to position themselves to adapt much quicker to environmental changes.

This hybrid business-level strategy is profitable for businesses when it has a market niche where the buyer's needs and preferences are not like the rest of the current market. In case you want your business to be really outstanding, and have the workforce to focus on both differentiation, and low-cost production to keep the price low, then this strategy could be best for your business.

About the advantages, this strategy can be great for gaining customer loyalty when there's a huge value for clients both in the product and price. Your company will also have an adaptable business model for some kinds of environmental changes. At the same time, you will both have unique features and keep them relatively low-cost.

On the other hand, you might have neither be the lowest cost nor the most differentiated company, as well as the risk of being "stuck in the middle" as the company could lack the expertise that comes with straight to following either cost leadership or unique business strategy.

Air Arabia is a great hybrid business strategy example when the clever flight company provides quality services when it comes to consolation but provide an economic fare by simply cutting down on premium in-flight services.

marketing business level strategy

Related posts:

  • What is Niche Marketing?
  • What is a Go To Market strategy?
  • What is Penetration Pricing?
  • 15+ Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies

There are a lot of different business strategies, for you to choose from and be able to implement the correct one depending on market conditions and your unique set of core competencies. Business-Level Strategy theory also states that you can focus mostly on three strategies you as an organization can use to win in the marketplace including cost leadership, focus, or differentiation.

Also, you will need to put yourself in your customer's shoes, deeply look at the market, and consider the core foundations of your business. I believe that you can effectively develop your strategy with this in mind. Great strategic planning can hugely influence on the outcome and your business' profits no matter how big or small.

That's all! I guess with the information above, there nothing challenges you with your practicing in Business Level Strategy. If there is any trouble occurring and something you want to know more, please let us know. You are always welcomed to share!

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marketing business level strategy

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More From Forbes

Five customer engagement trends influencing 2023 marketing strategies.

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Raviteja Dodda (Ravi) is the cofounder and CEO of MoEngage , an insights-led customer engagement platform.

For marketers, 2023 is shaping up to be laser-focused on digital channels. Across the board, marketers are planning to increase their budgets on technology tools to remove barriers and get closer to their customers across multiple digital channels. Unsurprisingly, most marketers are divesting budgets allocated toward traditional advertising methods, such as television, radio and print, in favor of social media, mobile apps and producing owned content like videos and podcasts.

In this article, I will examine the key brand marketing takeaways of 2022, leaving marketers with five customer engagement trends that should have a significant impact on marketing strategies in 2023.

1. Clairvoyant Chatbots: Using AI To Predict Customer Behavior

We’ve already seen the excitement around the open-source chatbot ChatGPT kicking off the new year. AI-powered, generative chatbots will shape marketing strategies this year and beyond. Why? Due to open API architectures, AI-powered chatbots can be programmed to access brands’ customer data across the martech stack, enabling them to understand the pulse of customers based on their interactions with brands. Chatbots have had no choice but to advance to improve the customer experience.

As these tools become more sophisticated, expect to see more chatbot-driven voice interactions and omnichannel campaigns. Brands can leverage chatbots to analyze customer behavior and predict their next steps by looking at multiple touchpoints to improve customer experience. Chatbots use machine learning (ML) to adapt to changing customer expectations and provide individualized experiences cost-effectively.

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Best covid-19 travel insurance plans.

Brands have started using Facebook Messenger or live chat to automate easy payments using chatbots with built-in data security and information protection. Chatbots can use the information from this quick payment procedure to facilitate conversation-driven, cross-selling, and upselling. Chatbots can provide transaction details and payment confirmation, resulting in higher customer retention.

2. Metaverse Gets Real: AR And VR On The Rise

Influencer Marketing Hub predicts that virtual reality will have a compound annual growth rate of 15% by 2030 . 2023 could be the year we see it gain significant traction.

As the metaverse tries to blend augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and AI, a new 3-D immersive experience could blur the line between real and reel. Marketers must find ways to harness opportunities to create personalized experiences for customers that draw them in and encourage them to take action.

Multiple examples of blended experiences have set the stage for what’s to come. For instance, “gamevertising” is rising. NASCAR debuted its “ Next Gen Racecar ” on the popular gaming platform Roblox. AR is helping customers “try on” their favorite products from 3-D catalogs. Some brands, such as Poshmark , enable online shopping through channels like Snapchat. French brand Carrefour enabled consumers to holiday shop via WhatsApp .

Soon, banks may even be able to offer a full 24-hour metaverse banking experience to customers who want to visit a bank branch but want to avoid going through the hassle of driving to a branch. For example, metaverse avatars of bank executives may soon replace voice-based contact centers, allowing banks to provide customers with detailed information (such as bank statements and forms) in real time.

3. Hyper-personalization: Next-Level Engagement Opportunity

Hyper-personalization can leverage advanced AI/ML to take personalization to the next level, delivering more relevant offers and experiences to each customer. In 2023, hyper-personalization will become a go-to strategy for marketers to build loyal customers.

Hyper-personalization as part of engagement campaigns can make each message feel like a unique, one-on-one engagement with customers. By focusing on hyper-personalization, marketers can help ensure that customers receive the communications they are interested in at the right day/time across the preferred channel, leading to positive engagement, increased retention and higher conversion.

4. Personalized Video Engagement Strategies Take The lead

Video-first content is becoming a key area for marketing as it keeps viewers engaged longer than static posts. Statista reported that over three billion internet users watched a video at least once monthly in 2022. Short-form, highly personalized video ads will become a major marketing trend in 2023.

Keep in mind that consumers are more willing to engage with content that is less than 15 seconds, but if marketers can personalize an ad, they have the power to increase viewer completion rates to an average of 85% . Marketers must use short, impactful personalized videos to improve engagement and brand exposure.

Facebook, TikTok and Instagram video reels are good options to grab consumer attention. Instagram, for example, has aggressively optimized its algorithm to prioritize reels and give video creators greater visibility than static content alone. Live streaming also promises to be a great marketing strategy for consumer brands. When combined with influencers and personalized content, live streaming encourages potential buyers to interact with other brand advocates, discuss a product’s strengths and make purchases while watching a video.

5. First- And Zero-Party Data Reign Supreme

Marketers’ anxiety over data collection and privacy issues has increased over the past few years .

Firefox and Safari began blocking third-party cookies in their browsers, prompting many brands to proactively collect and use their customer data. Google is now also envisioning a cookieless future , enforcing the critical role that first and zero-party data will play going forward. Google will be phasing out third-party cookies in 2024.

Zero-party data collected from loyalty/referral programs, buying intent or other sources can be used for product recommendations, creating custom profiles and improving customer service. Similarly, brands can use first-party data gathered from owned digital channels, such as website/app, surveys, feedback, newsletter, SMS opt-ins, etc. This can facilitate offering hyper-personalized experiences, reaching the right customers and fostering customer relationships by understanding their preferences.

In 2023, we will likely witness more emphasis on data regulations and customer privacy, leading brands to re-evaluate their marketing strategies and make significant shifts in marketing spending and resource allocation.

Expect to see these martech trends explode over the year, striking a balance between continued optimization of brand equity, a consistent focus on customer experience, and a conscious evolution of customer engagement. New martech platforms, technologies and trends will further impact customer behavior, and marketers must be able to keep up.

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Raviteja Dodda

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A bullseye view. behind the scenes at target, our corporate strategy.

Our durable business model is designed to stand the test of time and differentiate us in the marketplace. Over the years, we’ve built a foundation that serves our guests, team members, vendors, communities and shareholders well — and delivers strong results — no matter how the environment around us evolves. It’s the framework that guides us as we live out Target’s purpose — to help all families discover the joy of everyday life. And at the heart of it all? Our team’s culture of caring, growing and winning together.

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We have big plans for 2022

Our strong 2021 performance  shows that our strategy is resonating with guests. We’ll build on that momentum in fiscal 2022 with plans to invest up to $5 billion to keep growing our business and bring guests more of what they love, including ...

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new stores coming to more neighborhoods.

stores remodeled with our latest features and experiences.

new sortation centers to increase our shipping speed, efficiency and capacity.

new Ulta Beauty at Target locations set to open in 2022.

More owned brands

launching across our multi-category portfolio.

New enhancements

to make our same-day services more convenient than ever.

Check out the latest news

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A Closer Look at Target's Q3 2022

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Target's Latest Store Strategy and Design Has Arrived, And It's Got *Even More* of What You Love — Take a Look

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A Closer Look at Target’s Full-Year 2021

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There’s a Latté to Love at Target’s Drive Up in 2022 — Order Starbucks, Make Returns and More

Our strategy in action.

Target’s strategy is made up of six pillars that define what we aim to deliver in the coming years — each focused on specific initiatives to make sure we reach our long-term goals. 

  • Delivering affordability to our guests.
  • Differentiating from our competition with our owned brands and a curated assortment of leading national brands .
  • Investing to create an engaging and differentiated shopping experience .
  • Leveraging our stores-as-hubs to efficiently provide a convenient and safe experience for our guests whether they purchase online or physically in-store.
  • Maintaining and enhancing our relevancy to deepen engagement with guests.
  • Leveraging our size and scale to benefit people, the planet and our business, primarily through  Target Forward .

How we get the job done

Bringing our strategy to life is important work, and we couldn’t do it without great people and capabilities. So we take great pride in developing our team ,  operations and  technology .

Shopping powered by stores

No matter how guests choose to shop, our stores answer the call — acting as hubs for in-store shopping, our popular same-day fulfillment services , and shipping orders directly to guests. We'll continue investing to scale our stores-as-hubs strategy, building even better experiences and creating room for future growth.

growth in our same-day services in 2021 on top of 235% in 2020.

marketing business level strategy

Our popular  Drive Up service grew more than 70% in 2021 on top of 600% in 2020.

Our owned brands difference

Our guests are loyal fans of the more than 45 owned brands across our assortment. From longtime favorites like and Good & Gather  food items and Cat & Jack  kids' apparel and accessories, to our newest additions like Brightroom  storage and home organization and Kindfull  pet food, our brands help us offer guests the newness, differentiation and value they love.

in total annual revenue in 2021 — our owned brand sales alone now rival the size of some Fortune 100 companies.

marketing business level strategy

Sales across our owned brand portfolio grew 18% in 2021.

Building the supply chain of the future

We continue to invest in world-class operations, from our store hubs and distribution facilities to our industry-leading fulfillment services  and the global team that brings it all to life. Plus, we're testing innovations to support the model, like our new  sortation centers  that accelerate our last-mile capabilities. These resources allow us to grow our business and meet our guests’ needs, even in the most challenging environments.

sortation centers planned to be open by the end of 2022.

Target Sortation Centers

Our sustainability strategy

Our vision is to co-create an equitable and regenerative future together with our guests, partners and communities. We call our sustainability strategy  Target Forward — and it’s centered on leveraging our size and scale to benefit people, the planet and our business.

of our owned brand products aim to be designed for a circular future by 2040.

Target Forward

Meet our strategic partners

We team up with our guests’ favorite leading national brands to create innovative new in-store and digital shopping experiences they won’t find anywhere else. Check out what we've created together.

  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Ulta Beauty

total Ulta Beauty at Target locations planned to be open by the end of 2022.

Forward-Looking Statements: Statements on this page regarding Target’s future financial performance, planned investments in its business, enhancement of fulfillment and replenishment capabilities, new store openings and remodels, growth of strategic brand partnerships, expansion of our owned brands and enhancements to and results of digital experiences, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause Target’s actions to differ materially.  The most important risks and uncertainties are described in Item 1A of Target’s recent Form 10-K and, if applicable, any subsequent Form 10-Q filings. Forward-looking statements speak only as of March 15, 2022, and Target does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

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When I think about Target’s success, it’s all about the fact that we’ve been winning together as one team. Commitment to fostering our caring team culture is more important than ever before.

Brian Cornell, CEO and Chairman

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Levels of Strategy

December 15, 2017 By Hitesh Bhasin Filed Under: Strategy

Strategy may operate at different levels of an organization – corporate level, business level, and functional level. The strategy changes based on the levels of strategy.

Table of Contents

Corporate Level Strategy

Corporate level strategy occupies the highest level of strategic decision making and covers actions dealing with the objective of the firm, acquisition and allocation of resources and coordination of strategies of various SBUs for optimal performance.

Top management of the organization makes such decisions. The nature of strategic decisions tends to be value-oriented, conceptual and less concrete than decisions at the business or functional level.

Business-Level Strategy.

Business level strategy is – applicable in those organizations, which have different businesses-and each business is treated as strategic business unit (SBU). The fundamental concept in SBU is to identify the discrete independent product / market segments served by an organization.

Since each product/market segment has a distinct environment, a SBU is created for each such segment. For example, Reliance Industries Limited operates in textile fabrics, yarns, fibers, and a variety of petrochemical products. For each product group, the nature of market in terms of customers, competition, and marketing channel differs.

Therefore, it requires different strategies for its different product groups . Thus, where SBU concept is applied, each SBU sets its own strategies to make the best use of its resources (its strategic advantages) given the environment it faces. At such a level, strategy is a comprehensive plan providing objectives for SBUs, allocation of resources among functional areas and coordination between them for making optimal contribution to the achievement of corporate-level objectives.

Such strategies operate within the overall strategies of the organization. The corporate strategy sets the long-term objectives of the firm and the broad constraints and policies within which a SBU operates. The corporate level will help the SBU define its scope of operations and also limit or enhance the SBUs operations by the resources the corporate level assigns to it. There is a difference between corporate-level and business-level strategies.

For example, Andrews says that in an organization of any size or diversity, corporate strategy usually applies to the whole enterprise, while business strategy, less comprehensive, defines the choice of product or service and market of individual business within the firm. In other words, business strategy relates to the ‘how’ and corporate strategy to the ‘what’. Corporate strategy defines the business in which a company will compete preferably in a way that focuses resources to convert distinctive competence into competitive advantage.’

Corporate strategy is not the sum total of business strategies of the corporation but it deals with different subject matter. While the corporation is concerned with and has impact on business strategy, the former is concerned with the shape and balancing of growth and renewal rather than in market execution.

Here is a video by Marketing91 on Levels of Strategy.

Functional-Level Strategy.

Functional strategy, as is suggested by the title, relates to a single functional operation and the activities involved therein. Decisions at this level within the organization are often described as tactical . Such decisions are guided and constrained by some overall strategic considerations.

Functional strategy deals with relatively restricted plan providing objectives for specific function, allocation of resources among different operations within that functional area and coordi-nation between them for optimal contribution to the achievement of the SBU and corporate-level objectives.

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About Hitesh Bhasin

Hi, I am an MBA and the CEO of Marketing91. I am a Digital Marketer and an Entrepreneur with 12 Years of experience in Business and Marketing. Business is my passion and i have established myself in multiple industries with a focus on sustainable growth.

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hello sir, I m priya i m doing my bachelors in business management so please send me information about business level strategy of reliance communication and also bcg matrix for it :)

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—–I am doing Strategic Planning course I would like you to send me more helpful resources that can assist me understand better the strategic planning

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I think you can check the archives section of Marketing91 and you will automatically get a lot of marketing tutorials.

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Really UR article is very informative for the researcher and business students.

Best Regards Bhatti.

Very very rich information on the web so nice.

Best regards Saleem Raza Bhatti.ACMI

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Wow this is awesome it has really help me a lot on my research work. More on Levels of strategy please. Bravo.

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hello sir I am madhuri kanaskar please give me information of our industry in reliance level of strategy. total all three level of strategy please give a information

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what type of leveal of stretegy

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Im pursuing my MBA. Please help me answer this: Examine the key characteristics and the relationship among the Four (4) levels of strategy. the course is Marketing management. Please help me answer the question.

I need the characteristics and relationship between Corporate, Strategic Business Unit, Functional and Product/Unit Level Strategy. I need you to assist me.

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Dear Sir Or all,

I m pursuing MBA in marketing (last semester) , but i saw there are lots of job profile in marketing so i don’t no for which job profile should i apply as i am not form this background ?

Job profile like : corporate strategy, business strategy, Business analysis, Business intelligence, marketing , Projects & business development, Market analysis, market research

My background : Working as a design Engineer in reliance corporate park (oil & Gas sector) & Done B.tech( Control system Engineering)

So plz help me to choose best job profile.

There is a new series coming up on careers in Marketing. Kindly give me 2 weeks time :)

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Hello Sir, I am pursuing my MBA. Please help me answer the below question: Explain various strategy levels of any multinational corporation and also explain any 2 decisions taken at each level.

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What is the difference between Corporate Strategy, Business-Level Strategy Marketing strategy?

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just puzzled

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hi friends pls help me, one question thats how levels of strategy differ between organization

strategic management

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A description of each of the four main points and three levels of strategic planning

Help I need help with A description of each of the four main points and three levels of strategic planning. I already know the levels, however, I am having a hard time even finding four main points even in my book.

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In my MBA days Marketing91 was one of my best companion. Thanks for all the help.

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Functional Level Strategy – Definition, Types & Examples

How do you achieve your yearly organizational goals? Do you just set an annual figure and start chasing it blindly? Or, do you set semi-annually, monthly, weekly, or even daily milestones? Which one is the right way to achieve your long-term goals? Obviously, setting short-term goals is a better approach to achieve bigger targets.

Moreover, you also need a strategy to manage these routine or day-to-day functional level tasks. In business terms, you need a functional-level strategy. Want to know more about it, its types, importance, and real-world examples? Well, if you do, keep reading!

Table of Contents

What Is A Functional Level Strategy?

A functional level strategy is a plan of action to achieve short-term, routine, or day-to-day business goals to support the corporate and business level strategies . Basically, a functional level strategy helps a business to manage operational activities on a daily or routine basis.

It is important to note that a functional level strategy involves multiple operational or functional areas such as marketing, HR, production, R&D, sales, etc., Moreover, every functional unit generally develops its own functional strategies.

A functional level strategy must have the following ingredients

  • It should reflect the corporate and business level objectives/goals.
  • It must ensure an optimum allocation of resources in all functional areas/units.
  • Last but not least, a functional level strategy needs to maximize the coordination between all functional areas to optimize their outcomes.

Why is Functional Level Strategy Important?

Functional level strategy is important for any organization because of the following reasons;

  • It works as steppingstones to achieve corporate and business-level objectives.
  • A functional level strategy helps in developing a layout to perform day-to-day/routine business operations.
  • It acts as a binding force in any business; integrates different functional/operational departments such as HR, marketing, sales, R&D, production, customer relationship, etc.
  • Functional level strategies are more pragmatic/practical in nature and help in dealing with every practical scenario at micro levels (in an organization).

Features of Functional Strategies

Here are some important features of a functional level strategy

  • In comparison to business or corporate strategies , functional level strategies are short-termed.
  • It sets a layout as to what a business should do to make the grand strategy work.
  • The basic objective of every functional level strategy is to ultimately pursue the corporate strategy.
  • It pertains to the department, function, and division of an organization.
  • Functional level strategies also deal with sub-functional areas (if any).
  • Every functional unit or department develops its functional strategy on the basis of guidelines from the higher level.
  • Functional level strategies fall last in the hierarchy. They support business-level strategy, which finally supports the corporate-level strategy.
  • Functional level strategies mainly focus on the external environment .
  • A functional level strategy may vary for the same organization in different locations. i.e different business units/franchises in different areas/cities/states.
  • Functional strategies of every functional unit must have strong integration between each other to fulfill overall corporate objectives.

Factors of Functional Level Strategy

As we have already mentioned, a functional-level strategy must be in alignment with the business and corporate-level strategy. If the corporate objective is to increase profits, then business and functional level strategies much resonate with it.


It is mandatory to implement the functional level strategies horizontally. This helps in integrating different functional units to yield better efficiency.

Existing Resources

Every department, division, or functional unit must have enough resources such as capital, workforce, etc., for the execution of functional level strategy.

Measuring the effectiveness of a functional strategy can be very challenging due to excessive information. Therefore, it is vital that how and what type of data should be tracked to evaluate whether there is any progress or not.

Types Of Functional Level Strategies With Examples

There are major types of functional level strategies, including;

Marketing Strategies

Marketing has evolved as one of the most important functional units in any organization. Although marketing is a vast field itself, it basically focuses on identifying the needs of a target audience and then offering products or services to cater to those needs. A marketing strategy consists of different parts, but a marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion) is arguably the most important one.

Currently, there are a number of marketing techniques, including relationship marketing , social marketing, place marketing, person marketing, direct marketing, etc.

Now, if an organization’s corporate levels strategy focuses on Quality, Delivery, and Efficiency, here is how different organizational departments respond.

Financial Strategies

Financial strategy deals with every section/area that comes under financial management. The strategy mainly focuses on planning, acquiring, using, and controlling a corporation’s financial resources. If we dig a little deeper, a financial strategy deals with issuing/raising capital, assets acquisition, investments, budgeting, working capital management, application of funds, dividend payment, etc.

Production Strategies

A production strategy manages everything related to the production process. This process includes manufacturing system, supply chain management, logistics, and operational planning & control. The core objective of a production strategy is

  • Maximizing the quality.
  • Minimizing the total cost of production.
  • Increasing quantity.

Human Resource Strategies

Human resource strategy in an organization deals with every single aspect related to the organization’s workforce. The core function of any HR department is to work for employees’ development and help them with suitable working conditions and growth opportunities so they can contribute to organizational goals. Apart from that, HR covers recruitment, training, motivation, development, and retention of employees.

Research & Development Strategies

An R&D strategy mainly focuses on two things;

  • Innovation; developing new products
  • Making improvements in current products

A business needs to keep introducing new products and improve the current ones to implement different business strategies such as market penetration , concentric diversification , and product development. Generally, there are three R&D approaches to implement these strategies;

  • Be the innovator; introduce an unprecedented product
  • Produce low-cost products
  • Be a smart, innovative follower; add more features and launch a similar but better product than competitors.

Examples of Functional Strategies

Yahoo- marissa mayer’s failure to understand company’s functional levels.

Yahoo (an industry giant in the past) hired a prominent and successful Google executive, Marissa Mayer, hoping that she would change the fortunes for “struggling” Yahoo. Initially, the investors strongly believed that she would be able to get the company out of “dark pits.” However, what happened was completely against everyone’s expectations.

Out of many mistakes, Marissa’s biggest blunder was totally misunderstanding the corporation at functional/operational levels. She did make proposals for different changes but underestimated the resistance to these changes from Yahoo’s lower-level employees.

The Outcome

After all her efforts going in vain, she finally proposed the best solution; selling Yahoo. Verizon acquired Yahoo (which was once a $135-billion company) for only $5 billion.

Yahoo ultimately saw its downfall because the company failed to integrate the functional level strategies with corporate strategies proposed by Mayer. 

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shaharYar Ahmad Ranjhaa

marketing business level strategy

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Marketing Strategy

Marketing objectives are targets that the marketing department wants to achieve. These objectives help businesses achieve their overall objectives. Marketing objectives allow businesses to achieve their marketing strategies.

Examples of objectives:

Mass Marketing

The Product Life Cycle shows the life of a product from its conception to its death

There are five stages in the product life cycle:

product life cycle

Firms often try and extend the life of their products to stop them going into decline

Extension strategies include:

Classifies products according to two dimensions:

Organisations aim to have a “ balanced portfolio ” ideally with cash cows where they can reap the profits and stars that will grow into cash cows

product portfolio analysis

Four different strategies a business can implement

ansoff matrix

Methods are based on the situation, time available and the managers expertise

Managers make marketing decisions based on:

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Understanding the Different Types of Business-Level Strategies

marketing business level strategy


The battle for consumer dollars is more intense than ever. Finding the right business-level strategy for your brand can facilitate your productivity, growth and competitive advantage. Let’s go through the various types of business-level strategies, what they are and how to apply them so you can select the best one for your company.

Business Level Strategies words on shelves

What Is a Business-Level Strategy?

A business-level strategy, by definition, is how you offer value to your customers, stand out from the competition and boost your business.

To win a share of the market, entrepreneurs usually pursue one (or a blend of all) of the following types of business-level strategies, identified by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter , widely regarded as the father of corporate strategy:

Cost Leadership, Differentiation, Focus words on a set of stairs

Types of Business Strategies: What They Are, Examples and Risks

Now that you understand what a business-level strategy is, let’s review each type of strategy in detail. Also, consider that in addition to each of these strategies, your business could take an integrated approach, combining elements of cost leadership and differentiation.

1. Cost Leadership Strategy

As the name implies, the cost leadership business-level strategy type involves becoming the leader in terms of cost in your industry or market.

You can achieve this by:

It’s important to note that companies that are successful in achieving cost leadership typically have substantial capital to invest in technology, have efficient logistics and maintain low material and labor costs.

How It’s Applied

To be a successful cost leader, you must continuously work to lower costs relative to your competitors.

You can do this by any or all of the following:

What’s the Risk?

The most significant risk in pursuing a cost leadership strategy is that these sources of cost reduction are not unique to you. Other competitors can copy your cost reduction strategies and compete with you on price.

Cost Leadership Example

A no-frills discount store cuts operating costs and sometimes limits its product options to pass savings on to its customers. 

Companies such as Walmart and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet attract customers by offering deeply discounted products. That business-level strategy is incorporated in their respective slogans — “Save Money: Live Better” and “Get Good Stuff Cheap.”

Grocery store chains Aldi and Lidl have also grown in popularity thanks, in part, to their discounted items. Aldi also uses a differentiation business-level strategy by offering its own private grocery brand.

2. Differentiation Strategy

The fundamental tenet to this business-level strategy is simple: different is good. You aim to add value to your products and services so they’re more attractive than those offered by your competitors. 

Because of the additional product or experiential value you’re delivering, customers are willing to pay a premium price. This helps you absorb higher operating costs and can prove quite lucrative.

How you create differentiation depends on your product or service as well as your industry, but in general, businesses can offer advanced features, functionality, durability, value-added service and support.

Sales and marketing tactics that articulate the unique product or service’s value is key to differentiation strategy success.

If you release a product or service that makes waves in the marketplace, you can be sure that your competitors will quickly follow suit.

As a result, organizations pursuing a differentiation business-level strategy must keep a constant eye on what’s next and stay agile with their product development process. Otherwise, your standout offering can quickly become just another commodity in the market.

Differentiation Example

In contrast, with a differentiation industry-level strategy, a luxury supermarket may take great efforts to build differentiation with quality food selections and top-notch customer service . 

For example, Whole Foods Market’s organic food stock, which includes vegetarian and vegan options, has helped the chain earn a large and loyal customer following. The chain isn’t known for low prices, but with this business-level strategy, shoppers are willing to make that trade for access to products that might not be carried at other grocery stores.

3. Focused Strategy

There are two types of focused strategies:

Focused business-level strategies target a particular niche market. Then by understanding the dynamics of that market and the unique needs of the customers within it, you can either cut costs or differentiate your offerings to capture more market share.

You apply focus cost or differentiation types of business-level strategy in the same ways they’re used in the respective broader strategies, but for a portion of the market. 

For a cost focus strategy to work, the production and delivery system must differ from that of other industry segments, uncovering a unique cost advantage. For example, with access to smaller planes and local airfields for regional flights, small airlines may be able to provide cheaper rates on domestic travel compared to larger international rivals.

Likewise, in the case of focus differentiation, the target segment must have buyers with unique needs. A good example here is a software company that offers an enterprise resources planning product designed to satisfy the strict security regulations of government agencies.

When you pursue this business-level strategy, it’s not uncommon to be out-focused by competitors targeting an even smaller division of your market. When this happens, you could lose a chunk of your customer base. Your segment may also become of interest to broad-market firms.

To illustrate this point, let’s reuse the government example. A large provider of enterprise software may decide to expand its product line to address the unique security considerations of government agencies. This puts you in direct competition with a better-resourced name brand.

Focus Example

The focus business-level strategy describes a highly-curated shopping experience tailored to the preferences and tastes of niche clientele. 

Examples of businesses that may use the differentiation focus strategy include a farmers market or a designer goods store. For a farmers market, this means offering locally grown, organic produce or handmade crafts to local shoppers who want to “buy local” and know how their purchases are sourced.

With the designer goods store example, these businesses tend to cater to a wealthy client base of individuals who are willing to spend more money for the quality or prestige these products provide.

In contrast, with the cost focus strategy, businesses cater to more price-conscious shoppers — think budget airlines. Southwest Airlines integrates cost focus and differentiation focus business-level strategy examples with its affordable, no-frills travel costs and reputation for superior customer experience.

Business-level strategies infographic showing cost leadership, differentiation, focused differentiation, focused cost leadership and an integrated strategy

How to Apply a Business-Level Strategy

Now that you’ve seen examples of each business-level strategy, which strategy is right for your business?

The answer to that question is found in the needs of your customers and the capabilities of your business. Indeed, no single business-level strategy is inherently more successful than any of the others.

Before pursuing a business-level strategy, ask yourself:

Formulating a Business-Level Strategy

The importance of your business-level strategy can’t be understated because it underpins every future strategic decision you’ll make for your company.

To make your selection, do an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to take a hard look at your core competencies, the market you serve and the strengths of the competitors vying for your customers’ business. 

Once you’ve decided which strategy type you’ll pursue, work on formulating a plan for executing your business-level strategy. 

Your business-level strategy plan should include the following elements:

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Marketing Strategy: What It Is and How to Create One

A marketing strategy can set your business up for success. Learn why and how to make one for your business.

[Featured image] A women stands in front of a digital whiteboard and leads a marketing strategy meeting with several coworkers.

A marketing strategy is a long-term vision outlining a business’s value proposition to its customers. Rather than describing the concrete actions required in specific advertising campaigns, marketing strategies are a compass used to guide marketing efforts. 

While it may be tempting to hash out a marketing plan right away, thinking about the marketing strategy first can improve your product's success and give you a competitive advantage. Learn what marketing strategy is, why it matters, different types, and steps to create your own.

What is a marketing strategy? 

A marketing strategy is an overview of how a business or organization will articulate its value proposition to its customers. Generally, a marketing strategy outlines business goals, target market, buyer personas, competitors, and value for customers. It provides a long-term vision for overall marketing efforts, often looking many years ahead. 

Advantages of a marketing strategy

Marketing strategies can have a measurable impact on success. 

In 2022, CoSchedule surveyed 3,599 marketers and bloggers to identify their most successful marketing practices. They found that marketers who documented their marketing strategy were 331 percent more likely to report success than those who didn’t. Furthermore, marketers who were the most organized were found to be a whopping 674 percent more likely to report success [ 1 ].

Taking the time to create a marketing strategy can benefit your company's brand and bottom line. Watch this video to learn more about how to develop a winning marketing strategy:


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Marketing strategy vs. marketing plan

People often use the terms “marketing strategy” and “marketing plan” interchangeably, but in reality, they are two different processes.  

A marketing plan describes the concrete actions and marketing tactics undertaken to complete a marketing campaign. Meanwhile, a marketing strategy outlines the big picture of a marketing effort, such as the business's target customers. The strategy describes what the marketing objectives are, while the plan describes how those objectives are going to be achieved.

For example, imagine an e-commerce business that is trying to grow its customer base. They start a referral program to encourage word of mouth but it has little success. If they had created a strategy, they might have realized they needed to tap into new potential customers instead. A digital marketing strategy focused on targeted blog posts and search engine optimization (SEO) would have yielded better results.

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Types of marketing strategy 

There are many different approaches to marketing – such as social media marketing or content marketing – but strategies for market growth can be found in Ansoff’s matrix . These four strategies are: 

Market penetration 

Product development 

Market development


H. Igor Ansoff is a mathematician and business manager who created the matrix to help businesses define their strategies by varying what product is being sold and who the product is being sold to [ 2 ].

An image of Ansoff's matrix. The matrix includes tiles for "market penetration," "product development," "market development," and "diversification."

Ansoff’s matrix encourages markets to consider the four Ps , or the “marketing mix":

Product: What is being sold 

Place: Where it is being sold 

Price: What the product costs

Promotion: How the product is marketed to the target audience

The exact way that a marketer defines the four Ps for their marketing efforts will depend on the growth strategy they are using and the political and economic outlook of their market. 

Let’s take a closer look at each strategy from Ansoff’s matrix. 

Market penetration strategy 

Market penetration strategy is a growth strategy that involves selling existing products to existing markets. It is considered the least risky of all the strategies in Ansoff’s matrix. The strategy is typically considered most beneficial if the market is either growing or the marketer alters its promotional efforts through existing marketing channels [ 2 ]. 

McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" campaign

An example of a market penetration strategy can be found in McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign from 2003. 

In the early 2000s, McDonald's faced flagging sales and plummeting stock prices. Rather than creating a new product (product development strategy), McDonald's instead focused on attracting existing customers in an existing market with a catchy ad campaign. The result was their wildly successful “I’m Lovin’ it” campaign, which featured a catchy new jingle sung by Justin Timberlake [ 3 ]. 

“I’m Lovin It” has since become McDonald’s longest-running marketing campaign since its founding in 1940 [ 4 ]. 

Product development strategy

A product development strategy involves the development of a new product for an already existing market. Typically, it is considered riskier than a market penetration strategy because it requires the creation of a totally new product. In order to be successful, product development strategies typically require innovation and further research into the existing market, including the profiles and needs of the target audience [ 2 ].  

Uni Kuru Toga's mechanical pencil for every day writing

An example of a successful (and surprisingly interesting) product development strategy can be seen in the Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil. 

As odd as it may seem, in the mechanical pencil world the Uni  Kuru Toga is something of a star. “[T]he Uni Kuru Toga is the best mechanical pencil for every day writing,” opined the New York Time’s Wirecutter in a 2018 article [ 5 ]. Wired, meanwhile, called it “the ultimate geek tool” [ 6 ]. 

What makes the pencil so unique? A specially designed internal gear mechanism that rotates the lead so it stays sharp as you write and diamond infused lead that doesn’t easily break under pressure. In effect, as a 2009 commercial for the pencil demonstrated, it was meant for people concerned with even handwriting and durable lead [ 7 ]. 

While the market for mechanical pencils was already well-established, the Uni Kuru Toga was able to find success through a product development strategy that offered consumers something new and useful.

Market development strategy

A market development strategy takes an existing product into new markets. Much like a product development strategy, a market development strategy is considered riskier than a market penetration strategy because it involves introducing a familiar product into an unfamiliar marketplace. While the product remains the same, the new place it is sold requires possibly new pricing and promotional efforts [ 2 ].  

Microsoft's Hololens technology

An example of a market development strategy is when Microsoft introduced its Hololens technology to an additional 29 markets in Europe in November of 2017 [ 8 ]. The augmented reality headset provides a unique user experience that allows professionals to work in a “mixed reality” environment. To promote their efforts, Microsoft released a YouTube video showcasing the unique use cases of the product in the workplace, such as through interactive employee training programs in industrial environments [ 9 ]. 

Diversification strategy

A diversification strategy involves the development of a new product for a new market. The novelty required of a diversification strategy means that it is also the riskiest of the Ansoff matrix’s four strategies. Diversification strategies require full attention on all of the four Ps – product, price, place, and promotion—but the biggest risks can also lead to the biggest rewards [ 2 ]. 

Apple's first iPhone

An example of a diversification strategy is when Apple introduced the first iPhone on June 9, 2007 at the MacWorld Expo. At the time, Apple was new to the mobile phone market, but they innovated in the space by adding a music player and web browser to their new touchscreen phone [ 10 ]. 

“Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” CEO Steve Jobs declared before an audience of reporters [ 10 ]. Through much of the presentation, Jobs outlined the phone’s unique value proposition to customers.

It worked. As of June 2022, there were an estimated 1.8 billion active iPhone users [ 11 ].

How to create a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy can set you up for marketing success. As you are creating your own marketing strategy, consider the following steps to help guide your process.

1. Define your business and marketing goals.

The first step in creating an effective marketing strategy is to clarify your business objectives and marketing goals. What are you trying to achieve with your market growth strategy?

The answer to this question will inevitably depend on your particular place in the market and your own comfortability with different risk levels. 

Some examples of business and marketing goals include: 

Grow customer base 

Increase sales 

Increase brand awareness 

Whatever your objectives, the purpose is simply to consider what you want to actually accomplish by expanding your marketing efforts. These goals will guide the development of your marketing strategy.

2. Conduct market research. 

Strategic marketing requires a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, its economic and political context, and your product or service's place within it.

As you are conducting market research, you'll want to consider these factors: 

Competitors, particularly their value proposition and market share

Market size, including the realistic number of customers that would be interested in your products  

Market gaps where you can provide value

Possible economic and political realities that could impact the market in the long-term

 As you gain a better understanding of the market, you will also better understand how you fit into it and where you can grow in it. 

Read more: What Is Competitor Analysis? Definition + Step-by-Step Guide

3. Create a customer profile. 

The purpose of every marketing campaign is to connect with potential customers. Your marketing strategy needs to include a comprehensive profile of your target audience.

Consider your target audience in relation to the four P's. Think through the following: 

Based on what you know about the market, who is your target audience? What are their key demographics? 

What is your product’s value proposition to your customer? (Product)

How much is your target audience willing to pay for your product or service? (Price)

Where does your target audience shop? (Place)

What marketing tactics are most persuasive to your target audience? (Promotion)

As you research and consider these questions, your customer should come more clearly into view, so you can create a strategy with maximum impact. 

4. Synthesize and strategize. 

Finally, take the goals you have outlined, research you have conducted, and profiles you have created to construct a marketing strategy. The critical question you will want to answer is: how will you align with your target market to meet your overall objectives?

Your answer to this question will be your strategy.  

Ultimately, your marketing strategy should cover the following: 

Business and marketing objectives

Market overview, including key facts and figures

Competitor research 

Customer profile

General statement of strategy highlighting the product’s value proposition to customers

You might consider whether a social media strategy makes sense for your product or service. If so, your strategy could include user-generated content. Go a step further to consider which social media channels fits best with your target audience.

While you may have collected much information as you were conducting research, your marketing strategy doesn’t need to be too long. In fact, a strong marketing strategy can be as short as one page. Remember, this is meant to act as long-term guide for directing specific marketing tactics, not an action plan of how a marketing campaign will be done. 

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Article sources

CoSchedule. “ The Marketing Management + Strategy Statistics You Need to Know in 2019 , https://coschedule.com/marketing-statistics.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Oxford College of Marketing. “ Using the Ansoff Matrix to Develop Marketing Strategy , https://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2016/08/01/using-ansoff-matrix-develop-marketing-strategy/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

The Take Out. “ TIL McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ jingle was born out of desperation , https://thetakeout.com/history-of-mcdonald-s-i-m-lovin-it-jingle-1846400888.” AccessedFebruary 6, 2023.

Chicago Magazine. “ Five Things You Never Knew About ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ , https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2014/McDonalds-Im-Lovin-It-Campaign/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

NYT Wirecutter. “ The Best Mechanical Pencils , https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-mechanical-pencils/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Wired. “ Kura Toga: The Ultimate Geek Tool , https://www.wired.com/2011/11/kuru-toga-the-ultimate-geek-tool/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

YouTube (Uni Ball UK). “ Uni Kuru Togat from Mutsibishi Pencil Company , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80k7Jl1o8Lc&t=22s.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Tech Crunch. “ Microsoft expands HoloLens headsets to 29 new markets, now up to 39 , https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/01/microsoft-expands-hololens-headsets-to-29-new-european-markets/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

YouTube (Microsoft HoloLens). “ Microsoft HoloLens: Mixed Reality in the Modern Workspace , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIJM9xNg9xs.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Computer World. “ Update: Jobs touts iPhone, Apple TV , https://www.computerworld.com/article/2549128/update--jobs-touts-iphone---appletv-.html.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Earthweb. “ How many people use iPhones in 2022? , https://earthweb.com/how-many-people-use-iphones/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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Three Levels of Strategy: Corporate Strategy, Business Strategy and Functional Strategy

Strategy is at the foundation of every decision that has to be made within an organization. If the strategy is poorly chosen and formulated by top management, it has a major impact on the effectiveness of employees in pretty much every department within the organization. In our previous article on ‘ What is Strategy?! ‘ we have already tried to define and explain what business strategy refers to and what is NOT considered to be part of strategy. In this article, we will dissect strategy in three different components or ‘ Levels of Strategy ‘. These three levels are: Corporate-level strategy, Business-level strategy and Functional-level strategy. Together, these three levels of strategy can be illustrated in a so called ‘ Strategy Pyramid ’ (Figure 1). Corporate strategy is different from Business strategy and Functional strategy. Even though Corporate-level strategy is at the top of the pyramid, we start this article by explaining Business-level strategy first.

Figure 1: Three Levels of Strategy Pyramid

Business-level strategy

The Business-level strategy is what most people are familiar with and is about the question “How do we compete?”, “How do we gain (a sustainable) competitive advantage over rivals?”. In order to answer these questions it is important to first have a good understanding of a business and its external environment. At this level, we can use internal analysis frameworks like the Value Chain Analysis and the VRIO Model and external analysis frameworks like Porter’s Five Forces and PESTEL Analysis . When good strategic analysis has been done, top management can move on to strategy formulation by using frameworks as the Value Disciplines , Blue Ocean Strategy and Porter’s Generic Strategies . In the end, the business-level strategy is aimed at gaining a competitive advantage by offering true value for customers while being a unique and hard-to-imitate player within the competitive landscape.

Functional-level strategy

Functional-level strategy is concerned with the question “How do we support the business-level strategy within functional departments, such as Marketing, HR, Production and R&D?”. These strategies are often aimed at improving the effectiveness of a company’s operations within departments. Within these department, workers often refer to their ‘Marketing Strategy’, ‘Human Resource Strategy’ or ‘R&D Strategy’. The goal is to align these strategies as much as possible with the greater business strategy. If the business strategy is for example aimed at offering products to students and young adults, the marketing department should target these people as accurately as possible through their marketing campaigns by choosing the right (social) media channels. Technically, these decisions are very operational in nature and are therefore NOT part of strategy. As a consequence, it is better to call them tactics instead of strategies.

Corporate-level strategy

At the corporate level strategy however, management must not only consider how to gain a competitive advantage in each of the line of businesses the firm is operating in, but also which businesses they should be in in the first place. It is about selecting an optimal set of businesses and determining how they should be integrated into a corporate whole: a portfolio. Typically, major investment and divestment decisions are made at this level by top management. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) is also an important part of corporate strategy. This level of strategy is only necessary when the company operates in two or more business areas through different business units with different business-level strategies that need to be aligned to form an internally consistent corporate-level strategy. That is why corporate strategy is often not seen in small-medium enterprises (SME’s), but in multinational enterprises (MNE’s) or conglomerates.

BCG Matrix and Levels of Strategy Video Tutorial

Example Samsung

Let’s use Samsung as an example. Samsung is a conglomerate consisting of multiple strategic business units (SBU’s) with a diverse set of products. Samsung sells smartphones, cameras, TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, laundry machines, and even chemicals and insurances. Each product or strategic business unit needs a business strategy in order to compete successfully within its own industry. However, at the corporate level Samsung has to decide on more fundamental questions like: “Are we going to pursue the camera business in the first place?” or “Is it perhaps better to invest more into the smartphone business or should we focus on the television screen business instead?”. The BCG Matrix  or the GE McKinsey Matrix  are both portfolio analysis frameworks and can be used as a tool to figure this out.

Figure 2: Hierarchy of Strategy

Levels of Strategy In Sum

The most common level of strategy is Business strategy and exist within strategic business units with as goal to gain competitive advantage in a certain market. If a company has multiple SBU’s, there needs to be an overarching Corporate strategy that ties all SBU’s together through corporate configuration. Here, top management must decide on resource allocation and where to invest and where to divest. Lastly, Functional strategy exist within departments such as Marketing, HR and Production. Ideally, we should refer to tactics instead of strategies because of the operational nature of the decisions made within these departments.  

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12 thoughts on “ Three Levels of Strategy: Corporate Strategy, Business Strategy and Functional Strategy ”

I can see how a business wants to build up its cooperation and they want to make sure that they can grow and build and get more revenue. Getting some better strategies to do so and to prevent them from losing money in a crisis with some help from a professional. It was interesting to learn about how there are some better investments and divestments so that they can be integrated into a portfolio.

Great Articles

Well explained with examples.. Thank you Keep posting such an articles

Such a wonderful blog about levels of strategy corporate business functional and I appreciate your effort for bringing this in to notice. Great blog indeed, will visit again future to read more!!

I appreciate your help in bringing this information or strategy and marketing framework to my notice.

A good insight indeed. So it literally means they is no how you can think of your business strategy before you study your environment ?Internal by VRIO,SWOT etc. and external by PESTEL or Porters 5 forces

Well explained the BCG model with suitable example . Thank you for uploading the video. It will be great help for all the students of strategic management. looking towards more such videos on strategic management area.

well simplified

thank you for the well explained BCG matrix, can you also look at Parenting advanrage concept and the Ashridge theory

As a student,I now knows that the ability to learn is an ultimate competitive advantage.Thanks for the simplicity and it’s very nice to invest my energy and time to read such instilling articles.

A commercial effectiveness strategy is critical for every business’s success, but it is especially critical for small businesses. A commercial effectiveness strategy, by definition, is a method for finding and delivering value to consumers through the production and distribution of goods or services.

thank you very much, very helpful information

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6.2 Understanding Business-Level Strategy through “Generic Strategies”

Why examine generic strategies.

Business-level strategy addresses the question of how a firm will compete in a particular industry (Table 6.1). This seems to be a simple question on the surface, but it is actually quite complex. The reason is that there are a great many possible answers to the question. Consider, for example, the restaurants in your town or city. Chances are that you live fairly close to some combination of McDonald’s, Subway, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Panera Bread Company, dozens of other national brands, and a variety of locally based eateries that have just one location. Each of these restaurants competes using a business model that is at least somewhat unique. When an executive in the restaurant industry analyzes her company and her rivals, she needs to avoid getting distracted by all the nuances of different firm’s business-level strategies and losing sight of the big picture.

The solution is to think about business-level strategy in terms of generic strategies. A generic business-level strategy is a general way of positioning a firm within an industry. Focusing on generic strategies allows executives to concentrate on the core elements of firms’ business-level strategies. The most popular set of generic strategies is based on the work of Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School and subsequent researchers that have built on Porter’s initial ideas (Porter, 1980; Williamson & Zeng, 2009).

Firms compete on two general dimensions—the source of competitive advantage (cost or differentiation) and the scope of operations (broad or narrow). Four possible generic business-level strategies emerge from these decisions. An example of each generic business-level strategy from the retail industry is illustrated below.

According to Porter, two competitive dimensions are the keys to business-level strategy. The first dimension is a firm’s source of competitive advantage. This dimension involves whether a firm tries to gain an edge on rivals by keeping costs down or by offering something unique in the market. The second dimension is a firms’ scope of operations. This dimension involves whether a firm tries to target customers in general or whether it seeks to attract just a narrow segment of customers. Four generic business-level strategies emerge from these decisions: (1) broad cost leadership , (2) broad differentiation , (3) focused cost leadership , and (4) focused differentiation . In rare cases, firms are able to offer both low prices and unique features that customers find desirable. These firms are following a best-cost strategy. Firms that are not able to offer low prices or appealing unique features are referred to as “ stuck in the middle .”

Understanding the differences that underlie generic strategies is important because different generic strategies offer different value propositions to customers. A firm focusing on cost leadership will have a different value chain configuration than a firm whose strategy focuses on differentiation. For example, marketing and sales for a differentiation strategy often requires extensive effort while some firms that follow cost leadership such as Waffle House are successful with limited marketing efforts. This chapter presents each generic strategy and the “recipe” generally associated with success when using that strategy. When firms follow these recipes, the result can be a strategy that leads to superior performance. But when firms fail to follow logical actions associated with each strategy, the result may be a value proposition configuration that is expensive to implement and that does not satisfy enough customers to be viable.

Cartoon of a red car passing an exit sign and heading towards different restaurants and businesses at night. City in the background.

Limitations of Generic Strategies

Examining business-level strategy in terms of generic strategies has limitations. Firms that follow a particular generic strategy tend to share certain features. For example, one way that cost leaders generally keep costs low is by not spending much on advertising. Not every cost leader, however, follows this path. While cost leaders such as Waffle House spend very little on advertising, Walmart spends considerable money on print and television advertising despite following a cost leadership strategy. Thus a firm may not match every characteristic that its generic strategy entails. Indeed, depending on the nature of a firm’s industry, tweaking the recipe of a generic strategy may be essential to cooking up success.

Section Video

Five Competitive Strategies  [02:50]

The video for this lesson explains the five generic strategies and why some work better in some industries or conditions than others.

You can view this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUW6_Nbe8d0&feature=emb_logo

Key Takeaway

Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors . Free Press.

Williamson, P. J. & Zeng, M. (2009). Value-for-money strategies for recessionary times. Harvard Business Review, 87 (3), 66–74. https://hbr.org/2009/03/value-for-money-strategies-for-recessionary-times .

Video Credits

Gregg Learning. (2018, June 11). Five competitive strategies [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUW6_Nbe8d0&feature=emb_logo .

A strategy that offers the lowest price in the market for that product or service

A strategy that offers something unique that differentiates their product or service from others

A strategy that attempts to provide the lowest cost to a narrow, niche target market

A strategy that provides unique or differentiated products or services to a narrow, niche target market

A strategy where the firm attempts to offer a hybrid of both lower cost and differentiated products or services, combining the two basic strategies

Firms that attempt a hybrid, best cost strategy of low cost and differentiation, but are not able to achieve either effectively

Strategic Management by Reed Kennedy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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What Is Multilevel Marketing (MLM)?

Special Considerations

What Is an MLM? How Multilevel Marketing Works

marketing business level strategy

Investopedia / Alex Dos Diaz

The term marketing (MLM) refers to a strategy used by some direct sales companies to sell products and services. MLM encourages existing members to promote and sell their offerings to other individuals and bring on new recruits into the business. Distributors are paid a percentage of their recruits' sales. New recruits become the distributor's network or downline and are, in turn, encouraged to make sales to earn money.

Many MLM schemes are legal, but there are also illegal operations that are run as pyramid schemes . This has cast some negative light on legitimate MLM businesses.

Key Takeaways

Multi-Level Marketing

Understanding multilevel marketing (mlm).

Multilevel marketing is a legitimate business strategy that is commonly used by businesses that rely (heavily) on sales to generate revenue . Unlike traditional sales channels, multilevel marketing programs involve the use of networks for sales and to recruit new participants. As such, they're often referred to as network marketing.

Here's how it works. Individuals are brought into the business as contractors, independent business owners, distributors, or direct salespeople. These people are then tasked with selling the company's products and/or services to others, including family and friends. Sales can be done in person or online. They are given a commission for every sale they make.

Participants are also encouraged to bring in or recruit others into the program as participants. While they may not be pressured to do so, signing up new contractors provides a financial incentive for participants, who receive a percentage of the sales of their recruits. and their recruits, and of their recruits, and so on.

There can be hundreds—even thousands—of participants, depending on the size of a company. Members at all levels receive some form of commission, as long as the chain keeps going. The more layers there are, the more money people can make. Think of it as a pyramid. The person or people at the top earn the most while those who sit toward the bottom earn fewer commission dollars. Relatively few, though, generally earn any meaningful income from their efforts.

Is MLM Right For You?

Because multilevel marketing plans are commission-based, the participants do not receive salaries. That means that MLM businesses are often best-suited for people with an entrepreneurial spirit, who can set their own goals and schedules, who are good at sales, and who can effectively network with others not only to sell products but to recruit new marketers.

Although it is legal, multilevel marketing is often controversial. One problem is pyramid schemes that use money from new recruits to pay people at the top rather than those who perform the work. These schemes (and the people behind them) take advantage of others by pretending to be engaged in legitimate multilevel or network marketing . You can spot pyramid schemes by their greater focus on recruitment than on product sales.

An issue in determining the legitimacy of a multilevel marketing company is whether it sells its products primarily to consumers or to its members who must recruit new members to buy their products. If it is the former, the company is likely a legitimate multilevel marketer. If it is the latter, it could be an illegal pyramid scheme.

Relatively few earn meaningful incomes from their efforts. To some observers, this reflects the characteristics of a pyramid scheme. That's why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating multilevel marketing companies for several decades.

You can often spot pyramid schemes by their far greater focus on recruitment than on product sales.

Real-World Examples of Multilevel Marketing

There are a lot of examples of multilevel marketing in the corporate world. The following are just two of the most popular and well-known companies that operate in this sphere.

Amway is a well-known direct sales company that uses MLM to generate revenue. The company, which sells health, beauty, and home care products in more than 100 countries, reported $8.9 billion in sales conducted by its independent business owners in 2021. This makes it the largest MLM business in the world, by revenue.

Herbalife Nutrition

Herbalife Nutrition is a high-profile MLM company that manufactures and distributes weight-loss and nutritional products. The company argues that most of its revenue is from product sales—not recruitment. It also says it offers members many protections, such as a money-back guarantee, so they will not be stuck with products they could not sell.

There have been multiple lawsuits against Herbalife accusing it of misrepresenting its sales practices, including a settlement reached with the FTC in 2016, under which it had to restructure its business.

Activist investor William Ackman also shed a national spotlight on the company by shorting $1 billion of the company’s stock in 2012. Ackman accused the company of operating a pyramid scheme, backing up his allegations with a bet that the stock price would fall under the weight of the scam. He gave up on that bet in 2018. The stock rose dramatically from that point through 2021, however it has since fallen to recent lows in 2022.

What Is MLM, and Is it Legal?

Broadly speaking, multilevel marketing is a sales structure where members of a company are encouraged to recruit new members. Once recruited, this salesperson receives a cut of their recruiter's sales. At the same time, each salesperson profits from the sale of a given product. MLMs are often legal, legitimate businesses whose distributors earn money from the sale of actual products and from commissions on products sold by distributors that they recruit.

Is Multilevel Marketing a Pyramid Scheme?

Multilevel marketing is controversial and often compared to pyramid schemes. While some multilevel marketing operations are legal, others have come under investigation. This typically occurs when the majority of the operation’s profits funnel up to the top, leaving little for the rest of its members.

When an organization focuses primarily on recruitment, rather than selling products, this may also signal that it is operating under a pyramid scheme. Sometimes, members of these schemes will number in the hundreds or even thousands. 

Image by Julie Bang © Investopedia 2019

What Are Some Red Flags to Look Out for an Illegal MLM Pyramid Scheme?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns people to take note of, and avoid, MLM promoters who:

Another warning sign is seeing existing distributors who continue to buy products that they can never sell so that they can qualify for some kind of reward.

What Is an Example of Multilevel Marketing?

Avon is an example of multilevel marketing. The company operates under a model where sales are driven through a network of salespeople, through presentations, or one-on-one settings in homes or businesses. Like a number of other multilevel marketing businesses, Avon typically does not operate a fixed retail location. The parent company, instead, provides the tools and resources to entrepreneurs to conduct their business at various locations. This type of business model is also referred to as a direct sales model.

Other examples of MLM businesses include Tupperware, Rodan + Fields, Natura & Co., Vorwerk, Nu Skin, and PM International, among many others.

Federal Trade Commission. " Multi-Level Marketing Businesses and Pyramid Schemes ."

South Dakota Consumer Protection Office of Attorney General. " Multi-Level Marketing vs Pyramid Schemes ."

Amway. " ABOUT AMWAY ."


Federal Trade Commission. " Herbalife Will Restructure Its Multi-level Marketing Operations and Pay $200 Million For Consumer Redress to Settle FTC Charges ."

CNBC. " Five years after brawl with Icahn, Ackman exits losing bet against Herbalife ."

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Business Level Strategy: What It Is Plus 3 Examples

If you’re looking for a way to bridge the gap between your more general corporate strategy and your hyper-specific functional strategy, create a business level strategy between the two.

What exactly is business level strategy? And how can you use it to achieve the success you’re looking for? The answer to those questions can be found by examining the three types of business strategy side-by-side.

In This Article, We Talk About:

The complete business strategy

Benefits of business level strategy, 3 examples of business level strategy, tips for building an effective business level strategy, success and the business level strategy.

Think of your business as a car or truck. The engine provides the power. The wheels and tires move the vehicle. But if you tried to connect the two systems directly, the car wouldn’t go. To make it all work, you need a third system.

Business strategy is very similar. Here’s how it all fits together.

1) Organizational level strategy

Organizational strategy flow chart

Business level strategy (or just business strategy for short) is a component of a much larger organizational strategy that provides direction for all your company’s activities.

Going back to the vehicle analogy, organizational strategy is the car or truck as a whole with a driver behind the wheel directing it where to go.

More specifically, these types of strategies specify how your company will allocate resources (e.g., money, labor, inventory, etc.) in order to support the various parts of your business (e.g., infrastructure, production, marketing , etc.).

You can see this illustrated in the image above by the green triangle that surrounds the other three strategies.

The triangle is positioned upside down because the further up the strategies you move, the broader and more all-encompassing the goals become. The further down the strategies you move, the more specific the goals become.

2) Corporate level strategy

Inside the hood of a car

Corporate level strategy is like the engine in your car. It provides the power — the drive — to get your business where you want it to go.

Leaving the car analogy for a moment, most corporate level strategy is focused on one of three outcomes:

Because there are many ways to reach these general goals, corporate level strategy is, by nature, complex and uncertain, and it’s geared toward the long-term. Unfortunately, that type of strategy doesn’t translate well into specific, actionable items. For that, we need the next stage.

2) Business level strategy

To help you understand business level strategy, let’s pick up the car analogy again.

The engine creates power. But it does so in only one direction. If you were standing by the rear bumper of your car (and you could see through to all the moving parts underneath), you would see a spinning shaft coming out of the engine (we’ll skip the transmission for simplicity’s sake). That shaft would be turning in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

But we don’t want to travel left or right, which is where we would go if we hooked the wheels directly to the driveshaft. We want to go forward. For that, we need a differential.

business level strategy research

The differential takes the clockwise rotation of the driveshaft and transforms it into forward and backward rotation. That rotation, then, makes the wheels turn in the direction you want.

Business level strategy is like that differential. It translates the drive produced by the corporate level strategy into action (functional level strategy) that moves your business in the right direction.

Business level strategies are more focused than corporate level strategies, but not nearly as focused as functional level strategies. If, for example, your corporate level strategy was to increase market share, your business level strategy might be:

Once you’ve established your business level strategy, you’re ready to start moving toward your goals.

3) Functional Level Strategy

hotrod tire

Functional level strategy is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak (like the tires in our car analogy). Functional level strategies are the specific actions and benchmarks assigned to departments (and individuals) that move your business toward the goals created by the corporate level strategy.

So if you set one of your business level strategies to improve the quality of your product (in response to the corporate level strategy of increasing market share), then a specific functional level strategy might be for your R&D department to redesign the product to make it cheaper to produce.

That strategy would then be broken down into smaller jobs and assigned to individuals who would do the actual work.

business level strategy seminar

1) Ensure all departments conform to corporate strategies

Business level strategies are put in place to ensure that all departments within your business are working toward the same corporate level strategy. Without this, it’s easy for one department to get off track and begin moving in a different direction than the rest of your organization.

2) Coordinate departments to work together toward a common goal

Success is all about teamwork at every level of your business — between individuals, teams , departments, managers, and owners. Business level strategies are there to coordinate all these disparate elements and get them working toward the same goal.

3) Develop specific capabilities and skills in each department

When you establish your corporate level strategy, you don’t want your marketing department doing the job of your production department. They likely don’t have the skills necessary to do the job right.

Business level strategies provide direction to each department (and by extension, to each individual ). Business level strategies, in large part, determine the specific capabilities and skills that each department will use to achieve its goals.

4) Establish priorities

While direction is a big part of what business level strategies do, it’s not the only part.

Business strategies tell your team which way to move and what to work on, but they also tell them when to perform these activities by establishing priorities for the work.

Your business strategy may tell each department, each team, and each individual what they should do first, second, third (and so on) in order to keep your company as a whole moving in the right direction.

5) Simplify decision making

A strong business strategy can also help simplify the decision-making process. When your team has a direction and a set of priorities for when to tackle the work, the answers to the decisions you have to make may become more obvious.

For example, if your corporate strategy is to grow profits two percent by the end of the year but you’ve already reached market saturation, your choices are limited, and you may need to diversify.

With that decision in mind, you can then set your business strategy accordingly. The result of all that is that your team may have more of a clear and focused direction — find new markets for your product or service — and might not have to make a decision on that variable beforehand.

They can get right to work.

6) Streamline adaptation

Adaptation in business is essential — be it for your company as a whole or for you and your employees individually.

Business level strategies may help streamline adaptation so that everyone involved (and your entire organization) can keep growing and improving.

Think of it this way: If you’re taking a bus to work and the bus breaks down five blocks from your destination, do you give up, turn around, and go home? Of course not. You wait for another bus, hail a cab, or walk the rest of the way.

Your business strategy is the destination. So if problems come up along the way, you’ll know how to adapt — find an alternative solution or even go back to the drawing board — in order to continue moving toward the ultimate goal.

In many ways, a strong business strategy can streamline adaptation by eliminating the many different ways you could go and revealing the options that will move you toward success.

marketing business level strategy

Let’s say you’ve set your corporate level goal to increase market share. These examples of business level strategy tell you how your business is going to achieve that goal.

1) Low cost

In this strategy, your company is trying to beat its competitor’s prices. That translates into:

Once you know your business level strategy (cut costs), you can start looking at your organization with an eye toward decreasing spending.

2) Differentiation

Example of differentiation

When you set differentiation as your business level strategy, you’re not concerned with price. Instead, you’re focused on setting your product or service apart from your competitors.

To that end, you may position your company as one with higher standards of quality. That translates to specific goals like improving production and reducing faulty products.

3) Integrated

An integrated business level strategy combines the ideas of low cost and differentiation into one common goal. This strategy allows flexibility in both price and added value.

So, for example, you aim for the middle-of-the-road in terms of price but include an added component (higher quality, novel feature) that justifies the higher price.

building an effective business level strategy

1) Make your strategy measurable

When crafting your strategy, be sure that the goal you establish is measurable. For example, your strategy might be to improve a specific service you offer. That’s fine — it’s a good goal to have — but it’s not measurable.

You need to assign some type of quantitative value (a number) to the process that will indicate whether you’ve been successful or not.

Instead of just saying, “We want to improve the renewal rate of our service,” say, “We want to improve the renewal rate of our service by five percent .”

That five percent gives your team something to shoot for and also informs the choices they have to make in order to get there.

2) Be realistic

Being realistic is essential if you want your strategies to be successful. For example, you may set a goal to increase profits from $100,000 to $200,000 over the next fiscal year. But is that really realistic?

If you’re coming out with a whole new line of products and services, it may be. But if you’re just improving slightly on an existing product or service, it’s not likely that your profits will jump that much in a single year.

Instead, it may be better to set a more realistic strategy of increasing profits by 10 or 20 percent (to $110,000 or $120,000).

3) Be specific

Along with making your goals measurable and realistic, craft your strategy to be as specific as possible. So, instead of stating that your company wants to be the best in the business , incorporate measurable and realistic tips into your thinking.

With those details in mind, you can craft a business level strategy that is both specific and achievable. In this case, that might be to hold a 75% market share among all direct competitors .

4) Establish limits

Business level strategy

When rolling out new business strategies, momentum is key. If you leave your strategies open-ended, your team may lose the desire and drive to accomplish their goals.

You can attempt to counteract this loss of momentum by attaching a deadline to all the strategies and goals involved.

Doing so may also help provide structure and direction to help your team know what it needs to do first (and second and third). It can also tell them how quickly they’ll need to accomplish certain things in order to stay on track and complete the project before the deadline.

5) Coordinate those involved

The success of all your strategies may depend on how well you coordinate those involved. Depending on the type and size of your business, this may mean individuals, teams, departments, locations, and even other businesses.

Ultimately, you want the various levels of your business working together to fulfill their part of the strategy.

And this doesn’t just apply to the frontline workers. It also applies to new hires , managers, owners, and everyone in-between.

6) Get everyone working toward the same goal

While different individuals, teams, and departments may be working on separate tasks, they should all be working toward the same goal: achieving the business level strategy as a whole.

If some part of your business is pulling in a different direction, it might be much harder to accomplish what you set out to do. A business is very much like a team of horses. If they’re not all pulling in the same direction, very little gets done.

Be sure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and how it contributes to the overall goal and betterment of your business.

7) Create a clear separation of responsibilities

One of the keys to a successful business strategy is creating a clear separation of responsibilities.

You need to be sure that everyone knows who is responsible for the unique components of each goal, project, or task. That delineation could come at the individual level, the team level, or the department level.

Without a clear separation, you may find that work gets done twice or by those without the knowledge and skills to do it right.

When you understand business level strategy (and, indeed, all three levels of strategy) you may be able to:

In addition, incorporating business level strategies can give the managers in your business a better understanding of how their work (and the work of their teams) impacts your organization’s goals.

And when everyone is pulling together in the same direction, it will be much easier for your business to succeed.

Software helps everyone work together

marketing business level strategy

One possible way to get everyone working together to accomplish the business level strategy is by implementing team management software, such as Sling.

The Sling suite of tools provides:

When you harness the power of the Sling app, you and your team have the potential to save countless hours each week that you can then dedicate to accomplishing all your business level strategy goals.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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Business Strategy

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What is Business Strategy?

Business strategy generally includes the vision, mission, team-oriented goals, performance targets, plans, and schedules for operation. It is not always clear-cut as no standards describe what constitutes a strategy. A business strategy is usually concerned with designing, planning, and implementing plans.

marketing business level strategy

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They are plans to achieve an organization’s goals and objectives, formed after examining and assessing the internal capabilities and limitations of the organization. The process involves risk and relationship management and evaluation of the external environment. Strategies are complex and divided into various aspects, including diversification, production, searching for product alternatives, etc.

Table of contents

Business strategy explained, #1 – corporate level strategy, #2 – business-level strategies, #3 – functional level strategy, #4 – operational level strategy, example 2 – walt disney company, business strategy vs. corporate strategy, frequently asked questions (faqs), recommended articles, key takeaways.

A business strategy ,  as mentioned above, constitutes a variety of aspects. It is a management activity that sets and establishes clear boundaries and priorities. A business strategy decides on the efficient utilization of energy resources and operations. It also ensures that the organization (employers and stakeholders ) works towards a common goal. They also set the direction the company has to work in the future. Giving firms a competitive edge over other companies is another main goal of strategy. Therefore, these strategies are centred on the purposes and missions of the company after carefully examining the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses and identifying possibilities and risks in the external environment.

Developing a business strategy is a complex but interesting process. The plans are always problem-solution oriented. For example, production strategy involves ideas to increase production. Similarly, sales, marketing, and distribution strategies concentrate on expanding product reach and availability. Supply chain management strategy deals with supply issues, and human resource strategy finds ideas for human capital efficiency. Likewise, financial and monetary strategy plans to save cost and maximize profit . Finally, research and development strategy concentrates on efficient methods and new product development or service avenues. Therefore , a business growth strategy inculcates ideas to develop all facets of the business. In short, a holistic, rounded approach tends to reap more benefits.

Levels of Business Strategy

Similar to the many types of business strategies, there are several levels to it too. Accordingly, they provide value to customers and possess a competitive advantage by utilizing the organizations’ core competencies . In addition, it is based on the company’s position in the industry concerning its competitors. 

Given below are the levels of the strategy employed in a business.

marketing business level strategy

A corporate-level strategy is a long-term, proactive, coordinated, and all-encompassing plan created by top management. In other words, it determines business (product) lines, stability, growth, and expansion, acquisitions and mergers , product diversification , integration, new investment areas, etc.

These are those that are relevant to a certain industry or industry sector. As a result, ideas to improve a business unit or product level market position among competitors are considered. Then the general managers create it by turning the mission and vision into actionable plans. Eventually, it resembles a blueprint for the entire company as they are specific to the industry the organization belongs to.

First-line managers or supervisors design a functional level strategy. The functional-level strategy entails operational-level decision-making with regard to certain functional domains like marketing, production, human resources, research and development , finance, and so forth. They aim to achieve organizational aims by maximizing resource efficiency and utilization.

The operational level strategy involves regions, plants, departments, etc., within the functional areas. Laying out plans under this strategy is the responsibility of the plant managers, geography unit managers, low-level supervisors, etc.

ABC Ltd. is a computer manufacturing company in New York. It is a well-known company in the market and has been operating successfully for the past decade. Suppose the company wants to expand to more states in the U.S. They need to decide the strategy that the company should employ first. It may involve a combination of strategies also. Here, the company may want to introduce a new design or mechanism. Research and development strategy sorts out this plan. If it wants to increase sales through marketing, it should draw up a strategic plan to involve multiple marketing channels. And if the company intends to expand through production factories in various states, then companies should lay the strategy accordingly for building production units.

Walt Disney is a famous American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate . It harnesses the benefits of strategies through multiple chains of business. Here, the central imagination division creates products, special effects, new attractions, retail stores, etc. The company’s marketing strategy helps its products, services, or merchandise reach the vast majority of its audience. In addition, the human resources division continuously trains employees across companies, etc. When these and many more strategic actions come together, the company pushes forward on the path of growth.

The corporate and business unit levels are the two basic levels of strategy. Business unit strategy discusses how to compete in each unique business or industry, whereas corporate strategy specifies what group of firms to compete with. Although both are crucial, business units often account for more economical performance. Therefore, the main level of strategy is the unit itself, not the entire corporation.

There are a few differences and similarities between the two and they are as follows

The corporate level strategy uses synergies between divisions within the corporate portfolio. Corporate leaders in diversified firms can increase their competitive advantage through these strategies. The business unit level strategies are crucial as it is during the gain or loss of competitive advantage. Companies must take a strategic stance within their industry if they want to gain a competitive advantage.

Decision-making authority:

The Decision-making authority at the corporate strategic level is the top management. General managers on the other hand, take decisions on business-level strategy.

Deals with:

Corporate-level strategy deals with product line introduction, growth, expansion, ideas for setting up new entrepreneurships, viability options, etc. In contrast, business-level strategies deal with improving the company in relation to its competitors.

The corporate level strategy focuses on the long term. Business-level strategies also focus on the long-term growth of the business.

Business strategy for growth is important as they place the business in the market. It increases efficiency, controls cost, and reduces risk. In addition, they ensure that the company meets its goals and objectives and attains its vision and mission.

Developing a business strategy is done by considering various factors, such as the monetary and non-monetary goals of the organization. In addition, a SWOT ( strength, opportunity, weakness, and threat) analysis of the organization forms a major part of developing the business strategy. 

A company’s main objective (ROIC) is to achieve a superior long-term return on invested capital. True economic value can only be attained if a high ROIC is achieved. Therefore, strategies shall be written to reflect goals, strengths, and monetary and achieve ROIC within the earliest possible time.

Core components of the Business strategy for growth include having a purpose, possessing a vision, mission, allocation of resources, goals, etc.

This is a Guide to a Business Strategy and its definition We explain levels, examples of business strategy & its differences with corporate strategy. You can learn more about economics from the following articles –

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18 Powerful Marketing Strategies To Grow Business Faster

Powerful marketing strategies

The best marketing strategies of all time are always about the basics of human behavior.

After all, if you’re not able to understand the psyche of your potential customers, no amount of ad spend can save your business.

Marketing is the most important part of growing a business—and if you’re looking for marketing strategies that are truly powerful, there are two things you should know:

In this blog post, we have listed and explained 18 highly effective marketing strategies that the greatest of brands have used to improve their bottom line.

We have also shared easy tips for you to execute these marketing strategies for your business.

These marketing tactics really just speak to the fundamentals of good human relationships, and factor in the latest technological aids for marketing your brand .

Table of Contents

Powerful Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business Faster

All small businesses want a low-budget marketing plan . The problem, however, is determining which of the successful small business marketing strategies offer the highest ROI.

That’s why we are sharing a list of high-ROI marketing strategies that you can and should steal from the industry today.

#1. Set a Goal and a Budget

Every business needs a direction. Every marketing campaign needs to start with a marketing goal and a budget.

This is perhaps the only free marketing strategy in the world.

Without a marketing goal and a budget, it becomes exceptionally difficult to determine whether or not your campaign was successful.

Plus, according to CoSchedule’s roundup of 2018 digital marketing statistics , marketers that set goals for their campaigns are 429% more likely to report success .

A s Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers says, this makes sense because:

“Goal-setting eliminates subjective perceptions of reality, making success objectively measurable. In that context, success isn’t a vague idea; it becomes demonstrable.”

Let’s take a look at a few tips for setting your marketing campaign goal and budget:

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#2. Build Your Influence

The most successful marketing campaigns help you achieve the highest ROI. Once you build your influence, you can use many more powerful marketing strategies.

With influencer marketing  delivering ROI as high as $6.50 for every $1 spent , it’s quickly become one of the most effective marketing strategies for a small business.

This explains why influencers are finding their way into many social media promotional strategies used by small businesses.

marketing business level strategy

To create a successful influencer marketing campaign, Entrepreneur contributor Murray Newlands recommends the following steps:

#3. Leveraging Employees as Thought Leaders

Alternatively, you could always create influencers from your own employees. Often referred to as thought leadership, social selling and employee advocacy are becoming more popular with companies who want to amplify their brand message. 

Going beyond simply resharing corporate posts, employee advocacy allows each one of your employees to become brand ambassadors and social sellers, sharing the content that makes the most sense for their individual industries while promoting your company — a good content marketing strategy.

In fact, according to LinkedIn , Salespeople who are using social media to sell are 51% more likely to hit their sales quotas over their less social savvy peers—and they would know. LinkedIn was responsible for nearly 95% of conversions coming from employee advocacy posts in 2021. 


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#4. Champion One Social Channel

With the undeniable potential of social media marketing as a small business marketing strategy, it can be tempting to try and find success on as many social platforms as possible.

But, as B2C and B2B marketing strategy guru Neil Patel tells us, it’s best to focus on one social channel at a time :

“Jumping in head first and attempting to manage, say, four or five different channels can be overwhelming, and you’re unlikely to kill it at any strategy. Even if you’re a savvy marketer, you simply can’t devote the necessary time to extract the full potential of any single channel.”

To become a champion of one social channel, the team at Social Media Marketo recommends a 12-step process:

best marketing strategies

#5. Build Rapport through Email

With 59% of marketers claiming that email is their most effective marketing channel for revenue generation, this is one effective marketing strategy that you don’t want to ignore.

If you haven’t started building your email list, Social Triggers founder Derek Halpern recommends a few tips for getting started:

You can use an email signature generator to create a professional email sign-off with links, banners, and call-to-actions.

For more details, check out this article on how to get more results from every email you send.

#6. Blog Strategically

When done correctly, starting a blog is one of the absolute best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website.

In fact, marketers that effectively utilize blogs tend to get 67%  more leads than those that do not. But that’s only if you’re doing it right.

To succeed with blogging, you should:

#7. Conduct Research That Impacts Your SEO

With 70-80% of modern-day consumers ignoring ads altogether, ranking for targeted keywords has never been more important.

To rank in SERPs for keywords that can drive high-quality leads, there are a few simple tips that you should follow:

#8. Teach Others

As Forbes contributor Brian Sutter says, “ Teach, don’t sell …”

“The idea of teaching instead of selling seems to turn marketing on its head, and yet it’s at the core of content marketing. ‘Teach, don’t sell’ is exactly what makes content marketing different from advertising.”

This is a concept that far too many modern-day marketers misunderstand.

And it’s why many businesses struggle to differentiate their message through content marketing.

To ensure you’re teaching your audience the right way, Sutter recommends that you:

#9. Survey, Listen, and Learn

Marketing research plays a crucial role in the success of your small business marketing strategies.

After all, if you don’t know the audience you’re marketing to, it’s going to be difficult to communicate with them effectively.

One of the best ways to perform market research is through the use of surveys. To get the most out of this successful marketing strategy, Survey Monkey  recommends that you:

#10. Reexamine Your Landing Pages

One small business marketing strategy that can have an immediate impact on conversions is the focus of your landing pages .

While most conversion experts are quick to recommend that you should always start your B2B marketing campaign with a dedicated landing page, many fail to mention the importance of focusing on a single goal.

For your landing page to succeed, your focus should be on getting your readers to take a single action.

After all, if you have 20 links on your landing page, your attention ratio is 5%. With one link, that ratio is 100%.

This simple act of focusing on getting your readers to take one action on each page can do wonders for your conversion rates.

If you aren’t using landing pages to help sell your products or services, you could be missing out on countless potential customers.

marketing business level strategy

#11. Stand for Something

A recent McCann study found that 42%  of American consumers believe that brands and companies are less truthful today than they were two decades ago.

Translation: Almost half of all consumers don’t trust modern-day businesses.

With this in mind, standing for something that’s important to both you and your target audience can become a huge differentiation factor.

Take, for example ,  the ALS ice bucket challenge that went viral and raised $220 million for the ALS Association.

Here are a few ways you can do it:

#12. Leverage Social Media Advertising

Social media and mobile marketing have certainly changed the game as far as how modern-day marketing works.

But while many small businesses focus their efforts on the free and low-cost marketing opportunities that social media platforms offer, ads have also proven effective in driving ROI.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook dominates in the world of social media advertising, as over 93% of marketers use some form of Facebook ads in their social media marketing strategy. 

marketing business level strategy

To get the most out of your Facebook ad campaign, there are a few things you’ll want to focus on:

Or, consider using an ad tool, such as HubSpot’s CRM , to get accurate analytics on your social media ads and determine which ones have the best ROI.

#13. Leverage Google’s Local Offerings

As a small business, local Search Engine Optimization can make or break your business.

And while determining the driving forces behind which local businesses rank highest in Google is still somewhat of a mystery, the below graphic from Moz breaks it down in an easy-to-understand way:

marketing business level strategy

By focusing on optimizing local SEO for the above factors, you can quickly position yourself for success in the SERPs.

#14. Prioritize Retention

It’s hard to debate the importance of customer retention to the long-term success of your small business.

The probability of selling to an existing customer is approximately 65% and that for selling to a new customer is about 10-15%.

To ensure that more of your customers are continuing to purchase from you, growth marketer Sujan Patel recommends that you focus on improving your onboarding process .

To do it, Patel says that you should:

Read also: 14 Small Business Marketing Truths No One Bluntly Tells You

#15. Woo Your Audience

Storytelling is a powerful tool for any marketer. It can drive up the conversion rates by as much as 400%.

While it can be difficult to measure, there’s little doubt that storytelling can be an effective way to market your business and attract a loyal following.

To do that, Forbes contributor Mike Kappel recommends 5 Essential Tips for Business Storytelling :

#16. Explore Partnerships

Exploring and utilizing partnerships with other small businesses can boost the revenue potential of your business exponentially.

As Entrepreneur contributor Web Smith  points out:

“You can survive alone, but you’ll only really thrive when you plug into the community around you.”

To develop effective partnerships, Smith recommends that you:

#17. Enable Your Audience to Get to Know, Like, and Trust You

Webinars have become a go-to marketing strategy for tech businesses with a good digital presence.

However, small businesses that are not so tech-savvy are missing out.

With webinars being noted as among the top 5 most successful marketing strategies, you need to take advantage of this trend.

Amy Porterfield uses webinars as a critical component to building her customer base. She says webinars help her audience get to know, like, and trust her.

To borrow from Forbes Contributor Ashley Stahl, a webinar host should :

#18. Promote a Free Consultation

While it will undoubtedly vary by industry, the conversion rate of offering free consultations makes it one of the most effective small business marketing strategies trending today.

In fact, in some cases, even medical businesses have seen conversion rates as high as 75% when they offer free consultations.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to raise the likelihood of turning a lead into a customer through your free consultation:

A free demo goes a long way in clarifying the customer’s doubts and building trust.

#19. Bonus Strategy: Write a Column

Writing a column for well-known publications that share your target audience is a great way to drive traffic to your website and generate brand recognition/brand awareness.

Josh Steimle for example  writes for publications like Forbes which has served to provide great leads for his business.

This tactic, which is also known as guest posting , can also help you develop partnerships with businesses and website owners that share your target market.

To succeed with this strategy, Copyblogger  recommends that you:

How did you like our blog post? Would you like to read more such content? 

In this blog post, we have shared with you 18 (actually, 19) of the best marketing strategies of all time.

We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading and learning from them.

Do you know any other digital marketing strategy not listed here that has proven to work for businesses? If YES, do let us know about it in the comments section below.

Also, please share this post with your colleagues and friends who might find these online marketing strategies helpful too.

If you need a free marketing software, remember that EngageBay is designed for novice marketers and small businesses.

This all-in-one email marketing, landing page builder, and customer support software is free to use for a small number of contacts, and super affordable when you scale.

p.s. We have a lot of great blogs. Take a look:

About The Author

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Vinay Koshy

2 thoughts on “18 powerful marketing strategies to grow business faster”.

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Those are some really great strategies. Better start working hard on those strategies. Thanks

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Wow, you have mentioned some of the best marketing strategies..Gonna try some

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