Without a clear Strategic Marketing Plan, your marketing is more hit and miss than it has to be, and therefore less effective than it should be.
When people refer to a “Marketing Plan”, often they are thinking about a Tactical Marketing Plan – one that covers the nuts and bolts of marketing and describes what you’re going to do, when and how. It includes designing marketing campaigns using tools such as social media, adverts and PR.
But these activities need to work together to achieve your objectives through a carefully defined marketing strategy. If you don’t know where you’re going and who you are trying to reach with what, then you will waste time, money and effort.
The key ingredients of a Strategic Marketing Plan
A clear Strategic Marketing Plan sets out what your business is selling, who it is selling it to, and why.
A marketing audit: analyse your market place and evaluate your internal marketing capabilities to meet the needs of that market place. For more information on how to do a marketing audit, see our recent blog.
Mission: Set out why your company exists and clarify in one sentence what you do and, therefore by definition, what you don’t do e.g. “To deliver accountancy advice and services to SMBs.” So, big corporates are not a target market nor is offering marketing advice.
Objectives: set out where you want to get to. It needs to be SMART and include high level marketing objectives, such as, “To increase our market share in xyz market from 10% to 15% over the next three years”.
Market segments and targets: define the different segments of your market and decide which ones you will target. You’ll need to really understand your customers and prepare persuasive marketing messages to use for each target segment at every stage of the Buying Process.
Brand identity and positioning strategy: this is more than your logo, colour scheme and price-point. It describes your brand’s personality, look, feel, voice or writing style, and the value and ethos that you are selling to your customers. Consistency in marketing is essential for customers to feel like they know and trust your company, so having an explicitly described brand and positioning strategy is crucial.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. So if you want to make sure you reach your goals, a solid strategic marketing plan is essential.
By Kara Stanford and Ros Conkie, Strategic Marketing Consultants and Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultants.