Why You Need a Strategic Marketing Plan and How to Make One

Stop wasting time and money on marketing that doesn’t work and create a plan that does.

Strategic Marketing Plan

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a strategic marketing plan that guides you to new customers.

To be successful, you must first be clear on your goals. Knowing them allows you to determine which actions will make the greatest impact.

Thanks to today’s technology, the process appears difficult. But if you’re overwhelmed at the thought of creating a strategic marketing plan, there’s good news. The strategies and tactics that have worked for decades still work today. Whether you plan to promote your business on- or offline, the concepts are the same.

What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a strategy used by an organization to reach its target market and generate leads. In other words, it’s a roadmap that leads you to new customers.

Marketing plans fall short due to lack of preparation. Instead of thinking things through first, many small businesses experiment with marketing. Essentially, they throw things against the wall until something sticks. When something doesn’t meet expectations, they change directions. This approach ends up costing the business a lot of money and wastes time.

Before you start, you must first know if a specific strategy or tactic aligns with your goals. To make the process of creating a strategic marketing plan easier, we can prepare in four stages.

Stage 1: Assess Your Strengths

The first step is to focus on what you do well. For example, if you’re a good writer, include blogging in your marketing strategy. If you’re better on video, do that instead.

What platforms or venues work well for you? Do you shine at events? Are you a great networker? Maybe ads are your thing because you can write attention-grabbing copy.

Be as honest with yourself as you can. While you may like doing something, that doesn’t mean you’re good at it. Decide what you can do well and build your marketing strategy around those things.

Think about the customers you want to attract. The way you communicate – your brand voice – will resonate with certain people. Your marketing messages should appeal to the type of customer you want. It’s best to target those that are the best fit for your business.

Also consider what your competitors are doing to promote their businesses. Don’t mimic them too much or you will end up looking and sounding like them.

READ MORE: How to Create a Brand Message That Connects

Stage 2: Determine Your Business Goals

Why does your business exist?

The answer to this question is the key to an effective marketing plan.

Often, businesses are so concerned about generating activity that any results are positive. But you must make sure your marketing strategy aligns with who you are and your business goals. Otherwise, you could end up with a bunch of unqualified leads.

At some point, you may discover the quality of your target market isn’t good enough. Maybe they can’t afford the prices you would like to charge or there aren’t enough of them in your area. If this is case, you may have to completely change your target audience.

Stage 3: What Is Your Offer?

Your offer is built around the benefits your customers receive from you. Everything you do should give your product or service the best chance to succeed.

Here are some questions to help you with this part of the process:

  • Do your marketing messages give compelling reasons to buy?

People expect “great service” and “good work”, so statements like these aren’t good enough. Avoid talking about the features of your product or service and focus on their value instead.

  • Do your marketing messages give compelling reasons to buy?

People expect “great service” and “good work”, so statements like these aren’t good enough. Avoid talking about the features of your product or service and focus on their value instead.

Once you are confident with an offer, you’re ready to set targets.

Need help creating a great offer? Click this link and find out how we can help!

Stage 4: Tracking Results and Making Adjustments

The degree of marketing activity must support the goals you set. For example, if your goal is to get 100 new customers, you must do enough within reason to hit that target.

Likewise, your marketing budget must support the activities. How much do you need to invest to give yourself a legitimate chance to hit your goals?

For example, if your cost to acquire each new customer is $50, you’ll need to invest $5,000 to hit your target of 100.

If you haven’t tracked results and aren’t sure what your cost per customer is, start now. Having a baseline is the only real way to measure success.

You must also decide which performance indicators to track. These indicators should align with the goals you want to hit.

For instance, to hit your goal of 100 new customers, 30 of them may come from your email list. If you get one new customer for every 25 email subscribers, you will need 2,500 new email subscribers. That means “new email subscribers” is a performance indicator.

If you work in a partnership or team, get everyone involved. At first, there are no bad ideas. Some of the best marketing plans happen as a result of collaboration.

Another trait that makes a marketing plan “strategic” is the ability to adjust it. Tracking statistics, campaigns, promotions, etc., will reveal what works and what doesn’t. It will also provide ideas for future marketing tactics.

5 Phases Of A Strategic Marketing Plan

Components of a Strategic Marketing Plan

Objectives

These are definitive targets you want to hit within a specified timeframe. For example, acquiring 100 new customers within 12 months is an objective. This goal directly generates revenue. But you could include other objectives that support your revenue goals.

Growing your email list by 25% over the course of a year would be such an objective. Though you may not make any sales to that group right away, you’re cultivating them for future sales.

It’s important to consider why you’re doing something. If it doesn’t make sense or align with your brand strategy, it’s best to avoid it.


Priorities

Once you know what your objectives are, it’s easier to organize your marketing plan. Use your primary objectives to identify the activities that will make the most impact.

It’s important to establish an order for marketing activities. Taking on too many things at once will lead to overwhelm. Trying to do too much also makes each one less effective.

Reliability

A goal to increase customer accounts by 25% is great, but can you service them? Many businesses set ambitious goals without considering the impact of hitting them. Rather than plan ahead, many business owners decide to will deal with the problem when it occurs.

It’s better to prepare ahead of time. That doesn’t mean you have to make commitments or invest a lot of money. It simply means having a plan for what you will do should you hit the goals you set.

Setting ambitious goals is admirable, but they should also be attainable. For this reason, it’s best to set two goals. The first is one you should expect to hit but stretches you to reach it. The second is much higher. Maybe you hit it, maybe you don’t, but you never know what you’re capable of until you try.

Target Market & Brand Positioning

Consider your target audience when developing a strategic marketing plan. Will you be selling to one group of people or many?

If you’re selling to different audiences, you may need more resources to reach each one.

Focus on your “bread and butter” customers first. These buyers will make the quickest impact on your bottom line. Develop a separate plan for each audience you want to reach.

Your brand position is a composite of how people see your business in the marketplace. It’s how they view you compared to competitors.

Let’s use price as an example. If you sell at the lowest price, consumers may think your product or service is cheap too. Customers who are concerned about quality may not buy it. Likewise, if your prices are above average, it will be hard to sell to price-shoppers.

To develop a successful marketing plan, you must be always be aware of how people see your business. It’s easy to think your offer isn’t good when it doesn’t sell. But finding the right target audience makes all the difference.

Positioning also helps you compete. It shows you what to your weaknesses are and leverages your business’s strengths.

Opportunities

Through the strategic marketing plan process, you may uncover new opportunities. Some of these may have gone undetected.

For most of us, resources are almost always limited. This makes it easy to decide whether we should pursue new opportunities. If you unable to now, keep them in mind for the future.

Budget

Again, most of us don’t have enough time or money to do everything we want to do. This is especially true for marketing.

Your marketing plan will help you focus on the activities that will have the most impact. As a result, you won’t have to worry about whether you’re investing money in the right things.

Actions Steps

This is the part most of us think of when it comes to a marketing plan. This includes routine activities that will help you hit your goals. Posting on social media, blogging each week, and emailing 50 prospects are examples.

Your strategic marketing plan dictates each action. Doing the planning in advance will ensure the best results from each one.

Adjustments

As you progress, take note of what’s working and what isn’t. If something falls short, find out why. Sometimes a small change can make all the difference.

Risks & Delays

Even the best-laid plans fail. No matter how diligent or disciplined we are, something is bound to get in our way. While you can’t think of everything that could go wrong, take some time to plan for the unexpected.

We will also incur risk. After all, you will be investing time and money in your marketing plan. Not all activities will yield a return. Inevitably, must accept the risk of losing money and plan for it.

Conclusion

As always, we’re here to help. If you need help developing a marketing plan, email me at chris@goldenvineyardbranding.com or click this link.

Until next time,

Chris

Chris Fulmer

Director, The Golden Vineyard Branding Company
The Golden Vineyard Branding Co

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