7 Benefits Of A Strategic Marketing Plan
What They Are and Why You Should Have One!
A key ingredient in growing your business is creating a strategic marketing plan. It is one of the most important steps a company will take to attain long-term growth and success – yet it is often overlooked.
An effective strategic marketing plan supports a company’s overall business objectives, with detailed marketing strategies and tactics answering the 7 essential questions of effective marketing: Who? Why? What? Where? When? How? and How Much?
Who? Why? What? Where? When? How? and How Much?
- Who – Who Are You? This answer provide the foundational information of your company and its marketplace including its history, mission, products and/or services as well as a “situation analysis” in the form of a SWOT Analysis which identifies your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Who also categorizes the company’s key customers by market segments: Who are they? Where are they? What is the size of the market? What are their needs, values and buying motives?
Lastly, Who addresses marketplace issues, such as Who are your competitors and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses to your business?
- Why – Why Implement a Marketing Campaign? Why is the rationale for implementing a marketing campaign in the first place. It specifies your company’s business goals and the role marketing will play in achieving them. The best goals are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
- What – What Do You Need to Communicate to Your Customers? What is the development of the message(s) you want to convey to your customers – what we call your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP communicates the key benefit or promise your firm consistently delivers to customers and how it differentiates itself from competitors in the marketplace. When finalized, it forms the basis of a marketing strategy by revealing what to emphasize and where to focus your marketing efforts.
- Where – Where Should My Message Appear? Where concentrates on the mediums that reach your customers that will see your sales message – the magazines where your print ads appear, publications your press releases target, websites or email newsletters where your banner ads will appear and the trade shows at which you exhibit. Of course, Where also explores the location of your customers – are they local, regional, national or international and how will you reach all of them?
- When – When Should My Marketing Appear? When is your marketing timeline: the chronology for developing the marketing tools to be used in your campaign. This is when creative magic happens! Advertising is developed, press releases are written, brochures are printed, trade shows attended and social media is posted. We know that you can’t rush perfection but deadlines dictate when work should be completed, and who is responsible to produce them.
- How – How Addresses the Specific Marketing Tools to be Employed. How is the implementation of the “game plan” through which marketing objectives are achiev It specifies which marketing tools, tactics and media to use, along with timing, emphasis and budget allocated to each.
- How Much – How Much Should We Spend? How Much refers to the budget that is necessary to fully implement your market program, and how to best allocate funds for each marketing tactic being used.
Tips for Developing an Effective Strategic Marketing Plan
Follow these tips to develop an effective strategic marketing plan:
Set clear goals and objectives, which are S.M.A.R.T.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.
Once you have a strategic marketing plan, be sure to follow it
Refer to your plan frequently and pivot as needed when market and business conditions dictate.
Develop a strong marketing message
Develop a short positioning statement that states what your company stands for, the benefits you provide to your customers, and how you want customers to feel when they use your product or service. Translate that statement into a creative slogan that will drive your marketing.
Use an integrated approach to marketing
Determine which marketing tools, tactics and media will best deliver your message, and then use them all, as one will enhance and support the other, making the overall marketing effort more effective.
Build a brand
Create an intrinsic personality and brand image that customers will respond favorably to.
Be a marketing driven company
Ensure your marketing is a top priority. To quote Robert Vlasic, President of Vlasic Foods “Most of our competitors were manufacturing-oriented, generations of fine pickle makers and proud of it. We came in exactly the opposite – as marketers who manufactured in order to have something to sell.”
Think of a “Big Idea!”
What can you do, say, propose or endorse that would take your business beyond the ordinary and yield extraordinary results. Nothing great was ever accomplished by playing it safe.
Developing a strategic marketing plan that answers the 7 essential questions and includes the above tips to generate a flight plan that will vector you to success and take your business next level.
Now that we have unpacked the key elements of a strategic marketing plan, review the 7 reasons below of why you should have one – in case you thought we forgot.
7 Benefits of a Strategic Marketing Plan
- Encourages a thorough review of all factors that impact success for your business and brings to light opportunities and pitfalls often overlooked by “winging it.”
- Clearly delineates goals and provides a long-range view and direction for your business to minimizing impulsive decisions which can prove costly.
- Provides an accurate data-driven foundation on which to build your marketing campaign.
- Builds consensus and support with internal staff and departments fostering coordination and consolidation of efforts and maximizing efficiency and effectiv
- Empowers team members to take actions which are appropriate and consistent with established marketing goal
- Results in optimal use of your marketing budget and resourc
- Facilitates measurement of previous marketing effectiveness and promotes objective evaluation of past actions and result Avoids repetition of mistakes by recognizing marketing tactics providing superior performance and exposing those which under perform.