Purchasing ad space can be considered marketing—so can an infinite number of social media posts. However, without a clear direction, most of this will only result in excess spending instead of meaningful market reach.
A strategic marketing planning process is key to help ensure that your goals and actions are driven by realistic factors like your market position and updated market behavior. Along with a proper monitoring strategy, this process helps you stay on track to achieve your highest-value business goals.
What is Strategic Marketing Planning?
Strategic marketing planning is the practice of developing marketing strategies to meet all manner of business objectives or goals—in its ideal state, an effective marketing strategy takes into account a company’s current status and goals, external factors such as the market and competition, in coming up with action plans to help improve business performance.
The resulting strategy can look vastly different depending on goals, which can range from increasing revenue, improving visibility, or pursuing a rebrand, among others. Ultimately, the strategy serves to inform future work, while also leaving room for change.
The Importance of a Strategic Marketing Plan
The strategic marketing planning process is important because it sets your team up for success in many ways. Some of the advantages of building an effective strategic marketing plan include, but are not limited to:
1. Understanding company status
The SWOT analysis is a critical tool in strategic marketing planning, as it helps illustrate the company’s current situation and how both internal and external factors contribute to such. This forms the basis for goal-setting activities later in the process and gives the team a clear point of reference for planning individual marketing activities.
2. Aligning stakeholders on goals
Following the SWOT analysis, companies can make more informed decisions as early as when they set goals—it would make the most sense to craft goals that either capitalize on known strengths and opportunities or to overcome, minimize or prevent weaknesses or threats from negatively impacting overall performance.
3. Defining scope & constraints of marketing efforts
Strategic marketing planning extends down to building specific tasks to achieve individual business objectives. Naturally, using the SWOT analysis and the emergent goals to inform more detailed initiatives means the team is able to take constraints into account early in the process, which reduces the risk of major impediments or changes. This then results in a clear scope of work that teams can follow for the time period in which a strategy is formed.
5 Steps for Effective Strategic Marketing Planning
Now that we understand the concept and the importance of a strategic marketing plan, here are 5 steps to get your started with the process:
1. Establish a starting point
In any strategic marketing plan, it’s important to have a good grasp of where your company is, so you can properly chart a course to get to where you need to be. This is where the SWOT analysis comes into play—the tried and true method of identifying your team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will help anchor and narrow down the relevant options you can take as you move through the strategic marketing planning process. It’s also worth bringing your company vision and mission statements to the table, to better organize the inputs of the SWOT analysis.
2. Understand your market
After identifying your starting position, it’s time to picture how this relates to the rest of the market—this includes both your competitors, as well as your customers.
With competitors, it helps to find out where your experience is similar and different from theirs. Are they capitalizing on opportunities you have yet to explore? Are their experiences apparent, or are external threats clearly impacting their business? Invest time into finding out how companies have approached similar problems to yours, or what strategies benefited them when conducting similar marketing activities.
For customers, surveys and studies to measure your current performance, as well as trends in the market, can give you a huge advantage in the later steps. Consumer demand is a good constraint to take into account when building project plans, as you want to offer services, solutions, and messaging that address these needs as directly and as efficiently as possible.
3. Outline high-level objectives
After establishing your position against market trends and needs, you can start identifying key objectives to help bridge that gap. Marketing is no stranger to the benefits of defining SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives not only better inform your plans, they also encourage stakeholder buy-in, which will lead to efficiency in the decision-making process.
4. Develop relevant marketing plans
Arming yourself with a clear position, an understanding of your market and SMART goals provide the biggest payoff once you start building specific projects to reach your target market. With a growing list of ways to market your business, use this information to filter out relevant options. You can use this great set of guidelines to follow here with the 4 P’s of marketing.
5. Prepare to evaluate your work
With the speed at which industries grow and change, it’s important to arm your strategy with a way to adapt to emerging needs and problems as fast as possible. To do this, build a way to measure your progress and performance, particularly ones that relate to your established objectives. From there, set a regular cadence at which performance is measured, which your team can use to make necessary changes to the strategy.
Get Started with Strategic Marketing Planning with Workamajig
Success and planning are rarely separate, and this is especially true in a fast-paced arena like marketing. An effective strategic marketing plan serves as an anchor for your team in establishing goals, defining actions, and monitoring progress to keep up with both competitors and consumers. It pays to ensure that your strategy is communicated in the best way possible, and this is where Workamajig comes into play.
With Workamajig, the premier marketing management software, you have an all-in-one solution for planning, organizing, and delegating tasks, and easily transitioning between any of the three. Easily adjust your schedule or modify task requirements and assignees to ensure efficiency, and use native reporting tools to measure your progress, as well as identify and address roadblocks along the way.