What Is Marketing Strategy Planning?

Marketing is a little like cooking; you know what it looks like, you know the difference between the good and the bad and you’ve even done a little of it yourself. However, your best creations usually come from following a recipe. 

Marketing strategy planning is a little like giving your team a recipe to follow for marketing success.

Why Is It Important To Plan Your Marketing Strategy

Your marketing plan ensures that everyone on your team is on the same page and traveling in the same direction. It’s about having a clearly established goal that your marketing efforts work towards achieving. You may already have a clear goal in mind, but you’d be surprised how many people in your organization may not be pursuing the same objective.

Aside from a goal, your strategic marketing plan also needs to establish the target audience, the market, how you’ll achieve completion of your marketing goal(s) and more. Everything from the price of your products to what are your organization’s strengths and weaknesses should be discussed, analyzed and then clearly stated in your plan.

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5 Stages Of A Success Marketing Strategy Plan

To stay organized in your planning, it is important to divide the work into five key stages.

Stage 1: Mission

Why does your company exist? Does it have a specific mission statement? If not, you should develop one. Not only will a mission statement keep your organization focused, but it will also be valuable to consumers that want to know what your company is all about.

It’s important to know the difference between a mission statement and a marketing objective. Mission statements are more aspirational and intangible. There are no specifics. Instead, a mission statement is designed to motivate your team and inspire customers.

Marketing objectives, however, are concrete and tangible. They are measurable and achievable because they are supported by data and a time frame.

Example mission statement: To make life more convenient by providing easy-to-use products that enrich the lives of customers.

Example marketing objective: To generate 60% more sales this year than last year.

Together, your mission statement and marketing objectives will give your company its focus.

Stage 2: Environment 

With your focus in mind, it is time to establish your surroundings. What opportunities are present? What does the competition look like? What are the obstacles that will get in your way? 

Answering these questions will help you see what’s around you. Then, you can strategically plot your marketing efforts to follow the path of least resistance. You’ll minimize the impact of obstacles and maximize the value of your opportunities.

There are a number of marketing analyses you can conduct at this stage to help you get a full picture of your environment:

5C’s Analysis: The five C’s are company, customers, competitors, climate and collaborators. This analysis looks at all of the other parties working with or against your company and how they will impact your goal progress.

SWOT Analysis: Perhaps the most common marketing analysis, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. It’s a simple way to look at what will benefit your company (strengths and opportunities) and what will hurt it (weaknesses and threats).

PEST Analysis: Political, economical, social and technical analysis focuses on the factors that will negatively impact your business. It is an easy way to identify all of the potential obstacles that your marketing team will face.

Stage 3: Strategy

You’ve selected your destination and you’ve studied the landscape. Now, it is time to plot your course. Again, a successful strategy follows the path of least resistance. It’s about finding gaps in the marketing landscape. Where do you see the most opportunity and the least number of threats?

Mainly, your focus at this step is about developing your target audience and prioritizing marketing opportunities.

For the audience, it is important to analyze and segment your target market through many different angles. Demographic, geographic, behavioral and psychographic data are all necessary components for understanding who will respond best to your products and services.

With the audience established, you can begin analyzing your potential opportunities and finding the ones that best align with your target market. Essentially, your target audience prefers certain marketing channels over others. And, they are more likely to respond to certain tactics over others.

Your data will help you decide which strategies promise the best returns and should be explored first.

Stage 4: Marketing Mix

Next, you need to develop your marketing mix. This is an organizational tool that categorizes marketing into 4 key principles: product, price, promotion and place. It’s also known as the 4 P’s of marketing.

Product looks at everything from the features and quality level of your goods to their branding and packaging.

Price is how much the product will cost, as well as what sort of discounts may be offered, payment options available, service terms, etc.

Promotion goes back to your marketing opportunities, which means you’ve already started this step. What other opportunities are there, including advertising channels, public relations tactics, sales promotions and other strategies, that you can utilize?

Place is where your product will be available, how it will get there and what sort of inventory will be necessary to keep stock.

Your marketing mix is where you put in all the specific details about your product and strategy. If your business is already in operation, then you may have conducted a marketing mix before. Or, you have the data available.

It’s helpful to compile this data into one place, as it will help you identify areas of your business that may need to be revisited. Is your distribution method the best possible option? Do prices need to be adjusted? When you have all of your marketing specifics in one place, it is much easier to identify the changes that need to be made.

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Stage 5: Implementing And Measuring

You’ve successfully completed your marketing strategy plan. However, the job isn’t over. The fifth stage in the process is putting this plan to action and measuring the results. It’s not as simple as pressing an “on” button! 

Not only do you need to share this plan with your team and get everyone on board, but you also need to assign who will be responsible for each individual strategy in the plan. Then, you need to set a time-frame for when you will benchmark the results.

Measuring and monitoring your marketing efforts is key. Your plan may not be perfect right away. You may have to make several adjustments before you begin seeing the success that you know your products and company are capable of producing!

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