What should be included in a strategic marketing plan?
Everyone is a marketer these days. Just by posting on your favourite social network you are essentially marketing your content to other users, but there are business dangers in this new status duo.
By doing this, everyone assumes they are a good marketer because they got some results, or sold some products. The reality is that marketing is a much more complex subject and strategic planning for marketing, is often neglected by businesses that do not have a dedicated, trained marketer in-house.
In this article, we will break down what strategic planning for marketing is, how to utilise its power and why you need to have a strategy rather than blindly adding to the millions of posts that are generated every day.
- What is strategic planning for marketing and why do we need it?
- How does strategic planning work and what should be included in a plan?
- The benefits of strategic planning for marketing
- How to create a strategic marketing plan for your business
What is strategic planning for marketing and why do we need it?
First and foremost strategic planning for marketing has to come after strategic business planning. Often they can be undertaken together, but in essence, a strategic marketing plan first needs the business goals and objectives to be laid out before planning can commence. If you are unsure of how to create a strategic business plan, please feel free to drop us a line. Once you have your business strategy in place you can move on to create a strategic plan for marketing.
This plan will involve taking the business goals and objectives and filtering them through the lens of the market and consumer. This may involve a research phase, depending on how much insight you already have, and even a revisiting of your brand positioning depending on what business objectives have been set. Our advice would always be to start with the consumer and work to understand how you might be able to achieve your objective.
The next phase of strategic planning for marketing would be to look at channels, segmentation, and messaging. The key to the success of any marketing programme is to reach the right audience, at the right time with messaging that is compelling and promises to solve a pain they have.
The final phase of strategic planning for marketing is then consider phasing, budget allocation, measurement, and KPIs. This phase provides the information and direction for tactical plans to be developed, executed, and monitored.
The key reason for spending time on this important work is to create organisational alignment across the business. Also working through consumer needs, wants, pains and gains are critical to developing cost-effective campaigns that will be profitable to your business.
How does strategic planning work and what should be included in a plan?
Strategic planning for marketing works by first identifying your marketing goals and objectives, and then creating a plan of action that will help you to achieve these goals. Your plan should include all aspects of your marketing mix, from your product or service to your pricing, promotion, and distribution. It should also include a clear timeline of when each element of your marketing mix will be implemented.
The following elements make up the key parts of strategic planning for marketing:
- Business summary – What does your company do and what is the overarching mission of the business.
- Marketing Audit / Internal Resource Discovery – Internal and external audit of the business to understand its merits, as well as uncover challenges and opportunities.
- Goal alignment with business objectives – A restatement of the business objectives and how the marketing objectives dovetail with this. A
- External Review – Competitors, Market Environment, Macro factors etc
- Target Market – Segmentation and valuable customer buying personas
- Positioning Statement – Including customer value proposition(s)
- Messaging Hierarchy – How are you going to communicate with different audiences
- Key Strategies – How are you going to achieve your objectives through product, price, promotion, people, and process.
- Channel Alignment – which channels align themselves with different objectives, audiences, and key strategies.
- Budget & Phasing – To which channels and strategies are budgets allocated and key phasing dates to ensure that the business objectives are achieved.
- Resource Plan – What key technologies, people, services and skills will be required to deliver the plan at a high level.
The benefits of strategic planning for marketing
There are many benefits of strategic planning for marketing, some of which are outlined below:
- Helps businesses to focus their resources on achieving their marketing goals
- Enables businesses to track their progress and measure their success
- Helps businesses to adapt their strategies as market conditions change
- Creates a sense of accountability among team members
How to create a strategic marketing plan for your business
Now that we have covered what strategic planning for marketing is, and the many benefits it can offer businesses, let’s take a look at how you can create a strategic marketing plan for your business.
Creating a strategic marketing plan for your business does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming task. Simply follow the steps above and you will be well on your way to developing a successful marketing strategy. However, there are many other routes you could take:
- Engage a specialist marketing or branding agency
- Engage a media agency that can undertake some of this work
- Work with a fractional marketing director
- Work with a marketing consultancy that specialises in strategic marketing
There are pros and cons to each of these routes, but your budget and the level of integration that you want will determine the best route for your needs.
Strategic planning for marketing is a critical process that helps businesses to focus their resources on achieving their business goals. By auditing your business, understanding your target market, and aligning your strategies with your objectives, you can create a plan that will help you achieve success. There are many benefits of strategic planning for marketing, such as improved tracking of success, the ability to adapt strategies as market conditions change, and making more efficient use of your overall budget. To create a strategic marketing plan for your business, follow the steps above or consider working with a specialist marketing consultancy.
At Polything, we help companies use the power of storytelling to elevate their marketing and grow their business. Our collaborative and strategic approach to marketing can be applied to any direct-to-consumer business, and we work with clients all over the UK and further afield. Our team is experienced and passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals, and we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to market products and services. If you’re interested get in touch to receive strategic marketing plan example pdf, free of charge.