How do you create an effective strategic marketing plan?
Strategic management significantly contributes to the success of an organisation by setting the tone for all marketing strategies that are employed in the firm. One of the most important factors in an organisation achieving its set goals is creating an effective strategic marketing plan. So, what is the right way to go about it? Let’s find out!
What is strategic marketing planning?
Strategic marketing refers to the process of devising marketing strategies and implementing them in the target market to get desired results. Marketing strategies have many layers and they cannot be devised over a short period of time. Before you start creating a strategic marketing plan, you must factor in a series of parameters.
How to create an effective strategic marketing plan:
- Analyse the current company situation: A number of factors contribute to designing a strategic marketing process and it is therefore essential that you execute a “situation analysis”. During this analysis, you must consider parameters such as the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and potential opportunities available in the market for your genre of product. You will need an in-depth knowledge about your product and what your competitors in the same domain are offering. This will help you get a vivid idea of where your company stands in the market and where you need to make amendments to suit market demands. You can also identify and exploit external opportunities that have a high potential for product promotion and increased profits.
- Identify and define the target market: Use demographics, such as age, sex, geographic location and earnings to define your target audience. Consider conducting surveys about your target audience’s lifestyles, preferences and personalities to understand their mindset. It is also helpful to try and understand their inclination towards the type of product or service you are offering. This process, however, is different for B2B (business-to-business) marketers who will need to concentrate on a different set of characteristics, such as the type of business, size and age group of people working at the firm, as well as their geographical location. This is an important step in the process of creating effective marketing strategies as it will act as a point of reference when you devise plans for public relations and media campaigns.
- Define your marketing goals: Without clearly defined marketing goals, marketing strategies become less effective. Marketing goals are essential as they can be used as the parameter to judge a business plan’s success. Set goals along with a timeline to achieve them will help you track the business’ progress efficiently. These goals can be short-term or long-term, but you should always ensure that they are realistic and specific. This helps in measuring the effectiveness of your strategic plan better.
- Deciding the marketing approach: The marketing approach you employ must be in accordance with the market standards, audience and resources available. This step is critical in order to create an effective strategic marketing plan. The marketing approach is based on two types of people within the target audience – those who are unaware of the product but are likely to be interested (potential customers) and those who are aware of the product or are existing customers. In order to reach potential customers, marketing techniques such as advertising campaigns, email marketing, newspaper ads and media campaigns are employed. When trying to retain existing customers, on the other hand, you can employ techniques such as loyalty programs, special offers or discounts and customer appreciation events. You should ensure you have an overview of the marketing strategies you plan to implement and then subsequently define each technique in detail and list the marketing tactics to be used, in order to execute them effectively.
- Set the budget: A marketing plan will not be effective without the backing of a set budget. When devising a budget plan, keep in mind that marketing is essential for your business’ growth. Budget management is therefore an important aspect to the implementation of marketing strategies. You may encounter issues when setting the budget such as a lack of capital but you can overcome these challenges by returning to the budgeting plan and adjusting costs on the basis of priority and efficiency of the marketing tactic.
Benefits of strategic marketing planning:
Strategic marketing plays a crucial role in an organisation, as it contributes to the overall success of a firm. Let’s find out why strategic marketing holds such high significance in the business world.
- Strategic planning ensures you are prepared for challenges and risks before arise, which gives you an advantage over competitors. A solid marketing plan allows you to predict future trends and also prepare for unfavourable situations. Importantly, you can also modify your strategic marketing plans based on the constantly changing market trends.
- Having a marketing business plan gives an overall direction to your organisation. Defining marketing goals is an integral part of a marketing plan and it can help firms carve out the path to achieving goals with effective decision making.
- Effective planning helps to bridge the gap between a company’s functions and predetermined goals, thus contributing to the overall efficiency of an organisation. It also helps companies present their operational activities in a comprehensible manner.
How to become a strategic marketer:
Before starting your career as a strategic marketing, it is highly recommended that you obtain a bachelor’s degree in the subject first. A master’s degree in strategic marketing will further ensure you stand out to employers. In order to become a successful strategic marketer, it is recommended you have a fundamental understanding of the following areas:
- Strategic development
- Market research
- Revenue growth
- Product development
- Competitive analysis
More and more universities have recognised the increasing demand for strategic management professionals and are offering courses for this field. Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI) offers a course of MA in Strategic Marketing which focuses on key marketing topics and the practical implementation of theoretical knowledge.
This article was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole.