One of the most vital factors in running a successful business is the strength of your strategic marketing plan. Conducting market research, distilling the findings and acting on recommendations in the marketing plan helps a business to define what it will sell, to whom it will sell, how it will communicate to them and when to do it.
Setting Goals That Align With the Business
The importance of strategic marketing management is based on setting clear outcomes for the organization. Without concrete goals, the marketing plan and the business are aimless. As a result, the first step in creating a strong strategic marketing plan is to outline the goals of the business and how the marketing strategy will help the business to achieve them.
Goals may include increasing revenue, improving profitability, building brand awareness, creating a loyal customer base or building industry alliances. The strategic marketing plan should clearly outline the top goals for each fiscal year so the marketing team knows for what they are aiming. In addition to goals, it is important to identify success metrics that help the organization understand how it is progressing and when it has reached its goals.
Identifying Target Audience Segments
The strategic marketing plan helps a business to establish its target market. Not all markets are right for every product or every organization. As a result, it is critical to conduct thorough market research to understand which audience segment you can most help with your product.
The marketing plan should also outline any barriers to reaching the selected target market and how the business can overcome them. For example, if your business is new and lacks name recognition, the main barrier you face may be that your prospects are not aware you exist.
Establishing Clear Brand Messaging
The importance of strategic marketing planning is that it helps the business to identify clear brand messaging. This includes outlining the vision and mission of the company in addition to the core values. These can be both internal and external. It is important for employees to know for what the company stands, but customers also want to know what kind of values are important to an organization.
Creating a unique value proposition is also part of the strategic marketing plan. This is a succinct statement that outlines what makes your organization unique. What do you have to offer that no other business in your industry offers? For example, if your business sells homemade jam, there is likely a lot of competition both locally and globally. In order to stand out, you can look into unique flavors and fruit combinations that other businesses do not make.
Working With the Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is an integral part of any strategic marketing plan. It includes product, price, place and promotion. The strategic marketing plan should outline each element of the marketing mix and ensure they are aligned to present a cohesive brand image to the target audience.
The product refers to what the company will sell in addition to how it will be packaged. The pricing strategy can be a critical factor in the buying decision, so it is important to research how to best price your product.
Place is where the sale will happen. This can be a retail store, farmer's market, website and other locations where customers are found. Promotion is how the business will communicate with customers. This can be done through advertising, direct marketing, personal selling, sales promotions and public relations.
Tactical Plans That Incorporate Features of the Marketing Strategy
The strategic marketing plan needs to outline how the business will implement the marketing plans. This helps the organization to assign budgets, timelines and resources to ensure the plans can be successfully executed. Outline specific campaigns, promotions and other details that your business will use to reach the goals of your marketing plan.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.