The purpose of a strategic marketing plan is to map out the route to achieving your business goals with appropriate marketing tactics. It’s a fundamental building block in the growth of your business and will help you to:
- improve financial performance
- strengthen competitive position
- build your customer numbers and drive sales
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the process we go through at Narrative Marketing to produce a strategic marketing plan for our clients. I’ll walk you through the steps, so you’ll have the tools to review your own.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the WHY, WHAT and HOW of your strategic marketing plan, listen to my podcast episode on this topic where I share even more tips!
This blog post is a training resource in our FREE Business Goal Setting program, delivered through our private Facebook Group.
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Developing a strategic marketing plan
Step 1: Define your business
The first thing we do to produce a strategic marketing plan for our clients is get to know their business. Most business owners know the internal operations of their business incredibly well, but can sometimes come unstuck when it comes to understanding the external elements that impact the success of building your customer database or market share.
As with goal setting, clearly defining your business growth strategy is fundamentally critical.
Here’s a quick checklist to run through as a starting point:
Step 2: Go into detail
To ensure that your strategic plan is based on actual and relevant data, you need to review the details that drive your business. This step is not about opinions, it needs to be based on facts and data.
Many businesses find this challenging; knowing where and how to access the most informative data is not always straight forward. Out-sourcing the data collection aspect of creating your strategic marketing plan, can help stream-line the process and add objectivity that will help improve the results of your analysis.
Key data to review:
- Products and services – definitions, pricing
- Market analysis – size, location, customer and targets
- Competitor review
- Operations and internal considerations – capability, productivity, culture
- Delivery to market – sales process and training
- Marketing – funnel, channels, messages
Step 3: Address issues
By going through the process of completing Steps 1 and 2, you should have identified some issues you can resolve using suitable marketing tactics.
For example, does your audience not understand your value proposition? You might need to concentrate your efforts on redefining what that is, researching what your market wants, or educating them on the benefits.
Or perhaps you’ve misunderstood who your audience is, where and how they want to interact with your brand? Analyse your audience data – social media and digital analytics, supporter and buyer behaviour – so that you can segment your audience into different groups and paint a really clear picture of who belongs in each.
(This buyer persona tool is really handy and free, and will help you with this process.)
Step 4: Highlight opportunity & success
Your strategic business review should have highlighted opportunities and areas of your business that are already doing well. If something is working, keep doing it.
Another way to approach your strategic marketing plan is to conduct a SWOT analysis. This is the process of identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Step 5: Map it out
Now that you’ve done a thorough review, you can organise your findings into a plan and map your marketing activities onto a timeline. Use the headings listed above in “key data to review” as your marketing plan structure.
Do you have the human and financial resources to achieve your marketing objectives? By planning strategically in advance, you give your business time to align the resources that you need.
If you missed last week’s blog post about the value of outsourcing, HERE IT IS.
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