A strategic marketing plan is a blueprint for how a company will grow. However, many businesses don’t have the time or subject matter expertise to develop one.
This blog post explains the basics of creating a successful strategic marketing plan. I throw in actionable tips, what to include in your marketing plan and how to track your progress.
Benefits of Having a Marketing Plan
What are the benefits of a strategic marketing plan? It will:
- Improve allocation of your scarce marketing resources
- Identify the target markets that offer the best potential
- Define what makes your organization unique and the best way to promote that uniqueness throughout all of your marketing tactics like your website and social media
- Support your sales team in building a healthy sales funnel
Actionable Tips for Creating Your Plan
A team led by a facilitator develops most marketing plans. Even if that team is just 2 or 3 people, each team member brings a valuable perspective and diverse experience to the plan. This combination provides a balanced, well-rounded approach.
Don’t just look inside your company when developing your Strategic Marketing Plan. Instead, spend time analyzing the external environment too. The process includes identifying gaps in how you go to market and deciding how to fill those gaps. Be brutally honest when reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your primary competitors.
When analyzing the external environment, reexamine what you know about your customers’ pain points. This will help sharpen the messaging on your website and other marketing tactics. This is also where new product or service ideas often come from. You’ll identify unmet market needs that your product or service can uniquely satisfy.
The Essential Components
Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be perfect. But it does need to include several essential components.
Most marketing decisions are based on your Target Market (also called Ideal Customer Profile).
For example, you don’t want to be on every social media channel. It’s impossible and unrealistic. Instead, selecting your business’s optimal social media channels depends on where your ideal customers spend their time.
In developing your marketing plan, create your Ideal Customer Profile(s).
Include their primary challenges, how they deal with those challenges without your product and why your product is the perfect solution.
Determine your ideal customer profile early in the process of creating your marketing plan.
You’ll make many decisions based on it. Focus is crucial. The reality is that not everyone wants to buy your product or service. Devote your scarce marketing resources to earning business from customers that most likely need what you have to offer.
New opportunities for revenue growth are the lifeblood of any business.
And marketing is a company’s best resource for identifying, prioritizing and pursuing new opportunities. We’re talking about new product introductions or targeting sets of customers different from your existing customer base.
Don’t worry if you identify multiple opportunities.
You may find it helpful to distinguish between short-term and long-term opportunities. This approach worked well for a former client who, like many companies, sought to grow but had limited resources to put behind their initiatives.
How do you make your marketing plan come alive?
Track progress regularly. Set SMART Goals for your marketing. I recommend having 2 or 3 overall marketing goals that align with your business plan and several tactical level goals that you monitor regularly. This keeps you connected to the performance of your marketing initiatives so you can make adjustments without being bogged down by “analysis paralysis.”
Document which marketing tactics are ideal for reaching your customers and prospects.
Digital marketing presents a vast and often overwhelming set of options. However, a website is the central point of the marketing mix for my clients. And other digital marketing tools like e-mail marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) help put a brand in front of customers and prospects.
Having a plan for how to grow your business is essential. Your strategic marketing plan is the catalyst driving future business development behaviors and critical marketing decisions. It’s a living document you’ll monitor and re-visit. Be prepared to update it due to changes in your market. It is rare that an industry doesn’t evolve or change. And it’s imperative for your marketing to stay current and relevant.
To learn more about this, reach out to a Milwaukee marketing professional today!