In a challenging economy, it’s easy for marketers to lose sight of strategic goals and miss the mark. However, developing a strategic marketing plan can help you stay on target and successfully accomplish your marketing goals.
What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?
A strategic marketing plan can be used as a guide to focus marketing efforts and prioritize tasks. It also makes it easier to keep track of results as they occur, which is great for both marketing purposes as well as reporting back accurate information to stakeholders.
To make sure that you put your best foot forward when finalizing your marketing plan, we’ve made things more convenient by providing a template for this process along with some helpful tips and guidelines.
Marketing Planning & Strategy Process
Nowadays, marketing has become so important to every business. Having a good marketing plan is the key to success in any industry because it will help you have an idea of how you are going to promote your company’s products and services. Marketers are responsible for devising marketing strategies that will attract more ideal customers into buying their product or service.
The Marketing Planning Process
Picture this: You are the marketing manager in a new company and have been tasked with increasing gross revenue. You have all of these marketing ideas in mind, but how will you know which ones will be most effective?
Marketing plans can help give direction to strategic thinking. They also give a framework for implementation so that you don’t waste time on strategies that aren’t likely to work.
In order to create a marketing plan that is tailored to your specific objectives and business goals, you’ll need to decide exactly what it is that you’re hoping to accomplish. For example, maybe your goal is to increase brand awareness by 20% over the next six months, or perhaps it’s acquiring more customers through social media activities.
One of the first steps in the marketing planning process is to decide on your objectives and goals. For example, you might want to increase traffic to your website or improve lead quality using online resources that are readily available.
Next, outline the marketing strategy behind your objectives. For example, it makes sense that increasing website traffic could help generate leads for a business because more visitors mean increased exposure (and possible sales conversions). However, this doesn’t mean that simply driving up web traffic will automatically result in an increase in leads. It’s helpful to think about other factors like social media participation or relevant content creation as strategic goals alongside your main objective to achieve better results.
The Marketing Strategy Process
It sounds simple but knowing how to write a marketing plan can be very tricky. Below are some steps how to write a great marketing plan:
Step 1: Identify What Your Consumers Want
The first thing you need to do is get together all the necessary information about your target audience which includes demographics, social media behavior, buying habits, shopping preferences, etc. Finding out where they hang out at least three times a week will help you reach them more easily. Ask yourself how your product or service can fulfill their needs and how much they are willing to pay for it.
Step 2: Define a Goal for Your Campaign
What do you want to achieve with this marketing plan? What is the purpose of the campaign? Do you want to increase awareness, boost sales, generate leads, or grow market share? Write down all your goals and make sure that they are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Your marketing activities should clearly speak to these measurable goals.
Step 3: Develop Strategies to Achieve Those Goals Using Consumer Insights
After gathering data about your target market, identify how your product or service can fill the needs of those consumers. What can you offer to them? What is their perception of your product or service and how it will impact the buying decision?
Based on market research, develop strategies on how you can reach out to your target audience and how they will respond to your marketing messages. This should be tailored specifically for each group: who they are, what type of message or media they are most likely to engage with, how often do they shop, what price range is acceptable for them, how much they are willing to pay, etc. These are important details that marketers need in order to maximize ROI.
Step 4: Determine Your Marketing Budget & Implementing Your Plan
After defining all necessary information on how can you achieve your goals and how much will it cost you, create a budget for your marketing plan.
Also, make sure that your marketing team is capable of implementing the said strategies and how they’re going to do it.
Pay special attention to any newly developed content to ensure it responds to the target audience’s needs to help convince them of engaging with your brand, buying a product, or contacting you for service.
Step 5: Evaluate the Results
Now, you need to determine if your campaign was successful or how you can improve your future campaigns.
You should track how many leads were generated by each source, how many sales were closed from each channel, what type of media and message engaged with consumers most effectively, and so on. Only by doing this analysis during and after launching a marketing campaign can marketers learn what works best for them and how to enhance their next marketing activities.
Most importantly, involve people who work on a daily basis with customers (sales reps, customer service, etc.) and let them share how your marketing activities impacted their business.
Types of Marketing Goals, Strategies & Tactics + Examples
Strategic marketing planning starts with strategic thinking about your business goals and how you hope to achieve them.
Customer segmentation is a strategic marketing goal that can be useful for achieving personalization with your content. By differentiating the needs of your target audiences, you are able to best promote the products and services to meet those needs.
For example, this strategic marketing plan outlines an approach to achieve customer segmentation by using market research data to better understand the demographic makeup of the organization’s current clientele. This marketing plan could look something like this:
- Marketing Goal: Develop Customer Segmentation Approach
- Marketing Strategy: Conduct Market Research & Analysis
- Marketing Tactics:
- Determine Target Personas based on Key Findings from Data
- Develop Personas into Target Audience Groupings
- Create Customer Segments based on Demographics, Psychographics & Overall Needs
- Develop Marketing Approach for each Target Audience based on Key Findings
Increase Traffic to Company Website
Let’s say that one strategic marketing goal is to increase traffic to the company website by 10% over the next six months. The following marketing plan outlines an actual approach for achieving this goal:
- Marketing Goal: Increase Traffic on Company Website by 10% in 6 Months (currently at 35%)
- Marketing Strategy: Develop a Cohesive Content Strategy
- Marketing Tactics:
- Develop a Blog that is Quirky, Fun & Authentic
- Develop New Page on Company Website that Highlights Blog Posts
- Distribute Content to Social Media Channels
- Schedule Promotion of Content Throughout 6 Month Period (including Email Campaigns)
- Track Customer Response to Content Production & Analysis for Future Growth
Increase Sales Through eCommerce Site
You might decide to start with an increase in sales through the eCommerce site by 10% over the next six months. The following marketing plan outlines strategic marketing goals, strategic tactics for success, and the specific results you’re hoping to achieve.
- Marketing Goal: Increase Sales on eCommerce Site by 10% in 6 Months (currently at $50K)
- Marketing Strategy: Increase Average Order Value on eCommerce Site
- Marketing Tactics:
- Optimize Product Titles, Images & Descriptions for Lead Generation
- Monitor Competitor’s Prices & Adjust eCommerce Pricing Strategy as Necessary
- Develop Lookalike Audience Using Custom Audiences Feature on Ads Manager Platform
- Promote Email Campaigns to New Subscribers & Customers
- Campaign Results: Goal Achieved of Increasing Sales on eCommerce Site by 30% in 6 Months
Increase Social Engagement Rate
Consider this strategic goal of increasing the social engagement rate by 5% over the next six months. For example, here is how one organization approached a similar challenge using strategic tactics for success and specific results they hope to achieve:
- Marketing Goal: Increase Social Engagement Rate by 5% in 6 Months (current rate is 3%)
- Marketing Strategies:
- Develop a Content Strategy that Meets New Business Objectives
- Develop Cohesive Approach for Each Social Media Channel
- Marketing Tactics:
- Determine Editorial Calendar based on Business Objectives
- Optimize Title & Descriptions for Social Media Channels
- Create Graphics for Content Promotion
- Campaign Results: Social Engagement Rate Increased by 5.2% in 6 Months
Strategic marketing plans can be a very powerful document that helps to keep everyone on the same page and accountable. By including strategic marketing goals, strategic outcomes, strategic tactics, and a strategic timeframe, you will develop a strategic plan for success.
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