For some, the thought of creating a marketing strategy is intimidating. There are many different approaches you can take and channels that you can use. You have to determine the best tactics, navigate complicated processes, and use unfamiliar technologies. Not only that, but you also have to keep an eye on the competition. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. If you’re in charge of planning and creating a marketing strategy for your company or part of a team tasked with this job, here’s an opportunity to learn from successful brands and industry leaders. In this article, I share four brands that have executed a successful marketing strategy and achieved amazing results. 

You may not be sure how to begin creating your marketing strategy. This is understandable as there is a lot of research to conduct, a ton of channels you can leverage, and a marketing budget to focus on. Other companies can be a source of inspiration. These brands may be larger than yours or they are from a different industry, but the steps and processes they followed can be replicated by any company.

Before I dive into the marketing strategy examples, let’s get the basics out of the way.


What’s Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a complete blueprint created by a company or marketer for reaching their ideal customers and fulfilling the business objectives by persuading them to buy a product or service.

An effective strategy is built on the premise of the 3C’s, namely: Company, Customer, and Competition. 

marketing strategy

In Kenichi Ohmae’s 3C model, these factors must be balanced and form a strategic triangle. When they do, the business will create a sustainable competitive advantage and find success. The goal is to communicate the company’s value proposition in a way that will appeal to the target customer and convince them to make a purchasing decision.


Components of a Marketing Strategy

When creating a marketing strategy that will drive your business’ growth, you need to ensure that these essential components are in place:

1. Target Market:

This is the customer segment to which all your marketing plans and activities are directed. You need a target market that’s well-defined; otherwise, your strategy will fall apart. If you’re a medical doctor, for example, the first question to ask yourself is, “What is my specialty?” Rather than targeting everyone with ailments, focus on a group of people that you can actually help and who would purchase your services, maybe it is pregnant women, people suffering from arthritis, celebrities who need a cosmetic dentist, etc.

The better you understand your target market, the more likely your marketing strategy will succeed. You must know their triggers and motivations, challenges, barriers to purchase, and how they measure success. Once you do, you’ll be able to communicate with them effectively and craft campaigns that they’ll respond to.

2. Business Offering:

What is your business offering to the target market? Is it a product or a service? Is it tangible or digital? There’s little need to have a marketing strategy in place if there’s no offering (a solution) that you’re bringing to your ideal customers. Does your product or service solve a problem? Provide a new benefit?

3. Value Proposition (VP):

Every business is faced with competition. Regardless of your industry, you need to differentiate yourself with a unique value proposition or value proposition, VP for short. VP is the sweet spot between market options, your offerings, and what customers need, as illustrated by Grow Business.

determing your value proposition

Make sure you craft a VP that’s unique, relevant to your offering, and realistic. You shouldn’t make promises or claims you can’t fulfill.

4. Goal/Objective:

What are your company’s goals and objectives and how will marketing help you achieve them? You must ensure alignment between the overall business strategy and marketing goals. When you do, you’ll be able to determine and focus on the marketing activities that will help you achieve your business goals. Identify realistic, smart marketing goals that can serve as a benchmark for evaluating the success of your marketing activities.

5. Engagement Strategy:

How do you intend to tell your brand story? Most companies struggle to sell their products because they haven’t found a way to tell the captivating story behind the offer to the target market. That’s why an engagement strategy is required and includes communication channels to get the word out, thereby increasing conversions.

The engagement strategy should detail the channels your brand will use to communicate with your target market. It can include offline traditional channels, as well as digital channels. You’ll also want to balance owned, earned, and paid channels. When you do, you’ll have a strong presence that will engage prospective buyers.

Having a strong, clearly defined marketing strategy will help you determine where to focus your energy and budget. Those that create marketing strategies benefit from the direction they provide so they can efficiently achieve their business goals.


4 Marketing Strategy Examples from Iconic Brands

In this section, I’ll dive into four marketing strategy examples, the thought processes behind them, and the results that brands generated.

Marketing Strategy Example #1: Sephora

Our next top brand that’s making waves with its marketing strategy is Sephora. This brand is known for its high-quality beauty and skincare products. The main target audience is women—but not just every woman—those women who are willing to spend medium-to-high prices to look their best. Sephora is also good at personalizing the beauty experience for its customers, which differentiates them from the competition.

marketing strategy example

So how does Sephora connect with its customers in ways other brands can only imagine? The marketing strategy is based on first-rate in-store and online shopping experiences that focus on addressing and meeting each woman’s core needs. By collecting a lot of customer data, the company uses it to make well-informed decisions about its marketing. Having deeper insights about the customer helps to improve the shopping experience both online and in the stores.

Through exclusive research and competitive analysis, the marketing team at Sephora discovered that most women who spend money on skincare and cosmetics were frustrated after purchasing products that didn’t deliver on the promised results. Using content marketing, Sephora created useful and interesting content for its website that addressed some of these concerns and offered customers the opportunity to visualize what the products could do for them—even before making a purchase.

marketing strategy example

The company produced a variety of content such as tutorials on how to effectively apply products as well as a Virtual Artist feature that enables customers to “demo” the products before they buy. The channels used to distribute both written and video-based content were social media, email, and a mobile app. Some of the keyword-rich content that answered a particular question also ranked high on Google, thereby generating organic clicks, traffic, and sales for Sephora.

This marketing strategy example was successful because of diversification. Sephora used several channels that its customers used the most. The brand understood early on that those women who shop for beauty products were watching video tutorials and reviews on YouTube before deciding on the next product to try. If you visit Sephora’s YouTube channel, you’ll discover that it now has hundreds of beauty videos. Interestingly, the company is now partnering with YouTube influencers and celebrities to showcase its products. Aside from YouTube videos, Sephora also collaborates with Instagram influencers as well as brand ambassadors to reach a new but qualified audience.

marketing strategy example

By using a mobile app to deliver personalized shopping experiences, Sephora’s customers and prospects could never ask for anything better. This mobile app enables shoppers to check out customer reviews and product recommendations. It is also used to virtually try the products before they buy them. Another aspect of Sephora’s marketing strategy is the “Beauty Insider Community.” It provides a platform where shoppers can engage with the brand. There’s no need for customers to consult with a sales rep to get their questions answered, the mobile app helps skincare customers access all the FAQs and answers with the click of a button.


Marketing Strategy Example #2: Philips’ Better Me, Better World Campaign

Philips has always been an iconic brand but they inspired other brands when they launched a campaign that seeks to shake up the way in which we view the world. A few years ago, Philips launched its Better Me, Better World Campaign. This initiative offered customers special benefits while enabling them to support global healthcare causes via the Philips Foundation. The objective of the campaign was to support three billion people per year. Philips has always been known to support a wide range of good causes—from caring for children around the world with cleft palates to supporting at-risk mothers.

marketing strategy example

Philips’ “Better Me, Better World Initiative” was ingenious and helped to drive a cause that has now inspired other brands to establish giving initiatives for children and at-risk mothers. Working with a marketing agency, Philips leveraged a variety of digital channels such as digital PR and press, email marketing, events, social media, live streaming, paid media advertising, and blogs.

If you’re going to make a huge difference with your marketing strategy, don’t neglect any content distribution channels. Even if your audience prefers videos and other visual content such as infographics, images, etc., you still need to create blog posts and articles to cater to people who want to read texts—even if it’s a small audience.


Marketing Strategy Example #3 TOMS

TOMS is a formidable brand that’s geared towards a trendy and socially-conscious audience. This audience has a preference for stylish, affordable, yet comfortable shoes. The brand seeks to make a social impact via its “One for One” Program—an initiative that allows it to give one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes a customer purchases. The marketing strategy is based around making a positive difference in the lives of children in need. And to participate, you just need to purchase a pair of shoes. What a positive impression it leaves on customers who felt like they’re participating in a noble cause because they truly were.

marketing strategy example

This is a commonly-used marketing strategy that many eCommerce and retail companies use, including Warby Parker and Madi’s Lingerie. TOMS popularized it and it’s helped the brand in building and engaging with customers. It is especially appealing to those customers who care about the cause and want to participate in global shoe donation to those who desperately need it.

The One Day Without Shoes (ODWS) campaign helped TOMS get closer to the customers by educating them on what the company represents and its social mission. This is a powerful concept that’s helping TOMS garner many loyal brand advocates and customers. The ODWS initiative is a global event that’s being hosted every May. It’s all about going barefoot for one day. Social media followers of the brand are encouraged to take shots of their bare feet and upload them on Instagram using the hashtag #WithoutShoes. For each Instagram post, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child who requires it. (See the Dodds gals gladly driving the cause.) In 2016, ODWS TOMS donated 27,435 pairs of shoes to children in need globally and as a result, engaged 3.5 million people across all their social media channels.

marketing strategy example

marketing strategy example

Each year, TOMS also hosts smaller social media campaigns to drive the cause, which involves using Twitter hashtags to get traction and create brand awareness. TOMS uses Facebook ads that link to a specific product. The goal is to send the right people to a page where they can learn more about ways to help others.

TOMS has built an engaged community of customers. They invest a lot into knowing what their customers’ behaviors, values, and habits are and then taking the right steps to create marketing strategies that will not only generate sales but also make a social impact. Of course, any social impact initiative requires strong social media marketing to spread the word and gain traction. That’s why TOMS utilizes Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram to drive its social causes

TOMS social causes campaigns are good examples of conscious marketing in action. There’s no aspect of this marketing strategy that happened by chance, it was all planned. When it comes to social causes like TOMS, you need to make use of social media—both organic and paid social media marketing. A lesson for brands is to get deliberate with their marketing activities. Don’t assume or hope that it works — you don’t build a sustainable business through assumptions.


Marketing Strategy Example #4: GoPro: Trust User-Generated Content

You’ll agree with me that a lot of photographers, athletes, adrenaline junkies, and YouTube creators have been disappointed by cameras that fail to consistently deliver the dynamic high-quality imagery needed to engage viewers on social media platforms. These traditional cameras had limitations that GoPro eliminated. Now, it’s easier than ever before to record amazing content that was daunting in the past.

GoPro creates high-quality content on YouTube and Instagram and hosts lots of other social media contests. At its foundation, GoPro’s marketing strategy is centered around user-generated content (UGC). Due to the usefulness of its product, GoPro has built a huge cult following (approx. 6.3 million on Instagram alone) and brand advocates that are as engaged as Apple’s customers. This marketing strategy was aimed at getting users to be a part of the cause. Instead of sitting on the fence, they get to share their content, shot with GoPro’s cameras. One of GoPro’s campaigns that were driven by the hashtag #GoProHero7 had already generated 25,000 unique submissions from users.

marketing strategy example

*In a survey by Stackla, 56% of consumers confirm that UGC photos and videos are the most inspiring content they want to see from brands

marketing strategy example

When your product has unique features, you shouldn’t let it sit and grow organically. The best approach is to drive and amplify it so that people can get involved. For example, GoPro’s editing program stands out from those of Canon; it enables users to create high-definition videos with easily recognizable start and end frames that highlight GoPro’s logo and other branding elements.

The marketing team at GoPro then shares the videos on Instagram, and other social media channels, which, in turn, ignites the cause and inspires more users and GoPro customers to create and post their videos. So, what’s in it for you? Well, you don’t have to be GoPro or deal with cameras to take advantage of UGC. If you’re a startup selling workout shoes, for example, you could share your workout sessions while wearing a pair of shoes, then ask your social media followers and fans to share their best moments during workouts while wearing the shoes. Not only will you generate a lot of posts, photos, and videos, but you’ll also drive buyers to your product pages because a lot of users will get to know about the shoes for the first time and decide to buy a pair.

marketing strategy example



Now that you understand what a marketing strategy is and why you need it in your business, and saw some great examples, it’s time to get started creating yours. Always remember that you’ll need a clearly-defined digital marketing strategy to thrive and compete favorably with other companies in your industry. It’ll also give your entire marketing team a deeper level of commitment towards achieving your goals. Now, you’re no longer left in the dark (if you were), since you can implement one or more of these marketing strategies.

If you ever run into muddy waters while developing your marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to ask us questions. At Cardinal Digital Marketing, our team loves helping brands develop and execute winning digital marketing strategies that generate traffic, customers, and revenue.


Alex Membrillo Cardinal CEO

Alex Membrillo

Founder and CEO

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).