When putting together a marketing plan for your business you can define your strategies into two categories – short term and long term. It is important to have a healthy balance of both to ensure your business growth is effective and sustainable.

Short term marketing strategies

Short-term marketing strategies include activities and campaigns that are ROI focused and designed to get a quick result or boost in sales for a limited time.

When it comes to digital marketing these are usually paid advertising or pay-per-click campaigns such as Facebook ads and Google Ads, as well as sales driven Email Marketing campaigns.

They are limited time promotions or incentives that might last up to 12 months, and are designed to drive leads to your website with the ultimate goal of converting to sale. The call-to-action tactics might be limited time discounts, free downloads or free shipping.

Influencer marketing is another form of short term promotional activity that consists of promoting your products, services, or brand by collaborating or partnering with an influencer. This usually includes the influencer exposing your content, brand and offering to their audience via a sponsored post, story, video or blog post.

Long term marketing strategies

Long-term marketing strategies are ongoing or ‘always on’ activities that build brand awareness and brand longevity. You might not see the results from these activities straight away and some of them might be a bit harder to measure, but they are imperative in building trust with your audience and establishing brand loyalty.

Long term digital marketing strategies include social media marketing, content marketing, and Search Engine Optimisation just to name a few. Brand ambassadors or partnerships is another form of long term marketing that is widely used by big brands to build brand awareness and credibility.

The key to social media marketing and content creation through blogs, and regular email newsletters is to offer something of value, rather than expecting something in return, and to build a genuine connection with your audience.

Building your audience’s trust takes time, it is an ongoing process of managing, engaging, responding to ensure your brand holds a consistent and memorable presence online. Part of building brand loyalty is constantly showing up and giving your audience what they want as their needs change over time.

Now that you are aware of what short term and long term strategies are, which activities do you think your business focuses on the most?

It does seem to change depending on the size of your business, market conditions and demand as you will see in the following example.

In a recent survey commissioned by The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and global leader in market research IPSOS a total of 442 small, medium, and large businesses in Australia were asked about the combined impact of the bushfires and COVID-19 have had on marketing spend and what their plans are for the next six months.

Small and medium size businesses said they will allocate a higher proportion of the marketing budget (53%) to short term strategies and sales activities. And large businesses said they will allocate a bigger proportion of their marketing budget (55%) to long term brand building activities.

It is interesting to note the importance of long term brand building during an economic crisis.

An expert in marketing effectiveness Peter Field messaging to marketers is that the balance between long term and short term strategies should be a 60/40 split. He believes continuing to invest in brand marketing during a crisis is recommended if resources are available as data from the 2008 recession shows the value and long term benefits of investing in your brand.

So the long story short (see what I did there)…..it doesn’t really matter whether you focus more on short term or long term marketing activities. It is going to really depend on your main business objectives.

The key message to take away is that having a good balance of both will give your business the best chance to prosper for years to come.