Many moons ago, you may have been able to start a business without much strategic planning for marketing.
Maybe decades upon decades ago, you could have come up with a business model. You got some investors and you shared some basic information about your new business plan with your friends and family. You found some prime real estate on which to build your brick and mortar shop. What next?
You opened your doors.
But life as a business owner isn’t like that anymore. We are not so certain it ever was, but we don’t have a time machine to go back and experience those olden days with our own two eyes.
What we do have is the knowledge of how important strategic planning for marketing is.
But what is strategic planning in marketing? How do you do it to ensure your own business grows to never-before-seen levels? Is there some sort of strategic planning in marketing pdf you can open and find all the answers you need to the questions you have?
Well, it’s not a magic solution. It takes time and work to grow your business for ultimate success. But we put in some of that work for you, and we’re here to help.
What is the Purpose of Strategic Planning in Marketing?
You have a product, or a service that you want to sell. Maybe you have already planned out the logistics of your day-to-day operations. You might have a team that you know will excel at selling what you have to offer.
Sure, by telling your friends and family about your business, you are partaking in word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). That’s a start. But it isn’t the middle, and it certainly isn’t the end.
Ask yourself this: Who cares?
We are seriously asking.
You have something to sell. And maybe an idea of who you want to sell it to. Why should they care?
If you do not have any sort of strategic planning for marketing, your target market will not have any reason to believe you can help them with your products or services. They will not know who you are at all. That leads to lost money and unclear timeframes.
You should use strategic planning for sales and marketing. When you make your business plan, you set up your plans. Let your strategic planning for marketing serve as your roadmap to checking off all your goals on your holistic business plan.
What Should be Included in a Strategic Marketing Plan?
So what do you put in your marketing plan as you start your strategic planning in marketing?
- Mission and vision. (Here, include things like to whom you will be selling and what you will be selling to them.)
- Business objectives. (You can consult your holistic business plan for this one.)
- Marketing objectives. (What are your goals and objectives for your marketing strategy?)
- Buyer personas. (Who are your ideal buyers? Your ideal buyer persona documents should include a lot of detail and information.)
- Positioning statement. (A description of your product, target market and how your product will fill a need in your market.)
- Value proposition. (Or, the promise of value you make to your customers, and how you will consistently deliver that value.)
8 Steps to Developing Strategic Planning for Marketing
It can be tough to know where to start with strategic planning for marketing, but you are not alone. And we have your beginner’s guide right here.
If you have some baseline knowledge about it, you might be under the impression that there are only five steps.
What are the five steps in the strategic planning process?
We took it a step further and broke it down for you into eight specific steps.
So without further ado…
Set Goals and Objectives and Make it Happen
Look, goals without objectives turn into purposeless plans. And you cannot go very far without purpose.
So what’s yours? Do you have multiple ones? How specific are they?
Build your strategic planning for marketing atop a foundation of goals and objectives. And make them specific in the meantime.
First, take a look at your long-term business goals. Get in the spirit of college recruiters and the like who ask you things like “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
And really see yourself there. Manifest that.
Then, come up with the objectives that will allow you to achieve those goals.
Develop Your SWOT Analysis
A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis is your next step.
SWOT will help you to identify any challenges and opportunities you are up against when you are ready to take part in strategic planning for marketing your business.
Anything that gives your company a unique advantage qualifies as a strength. Your weaknesses are any areas that you can improve on. These two categories serve as internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external factors.
Best practice here would be to reference your ideal buyer personas before starting your SWOT analysis.
Outline Your Strategy and Tactics
Your marketing strategy is more holistic. Your tactics give you online and offline ways to address your strategy. In other words, your tactics are the focal points of your strategy and how you can optimize it.
Which platforms will you use to market your business, its products and its services?
Again, reference your buyer personas. How old are they? Are they young? If so, check out different social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for your marketing campaigns.
What are their interests and hobbies? If you are selling craft products, consider going to in-person events, like trade shows, to market your brand.
List your marketing tactics, consult with your team and find room for your tactics in your marketing plan.
Create a Timeline
Time is money. Money matters. Time matters. Do you have a timeline with your strategic planning for marketing to reinforce those ideas?
At this point, you have a list of your goals and objectives.
The most important next step is to come up with a timeline, or calendar of some sort, that shows you when you have to complete everything for each goal and objective.
Time-blocking is key here, so prioritize that to see how reasonable your timeline is. And be sure to set aside time for anything unexpected that might pop up.
Create a Budget Plan
We just mentioned that “money matters.” How will you make yours matter?
You need a budgeting plan.
There is no use in starting on a new marketing strategy if you do not have the money for it in your budget. But you might not even have a budget yet to know if there is or is not the appropriate amount of money. So start there.
Certain tactics and strategies cost far more than others. But things like PPC advertising have room in almost any budget. Lay everything out so you can get a real-time look at what will work for your business.
Assign Specific Roles
You cannot tackle everything on your own. You need support. But you also need support from the right people; those who have the ability and expertise to help at all.
What are your team members’ roles and responsibilities? Who fits the ticket for the tasks you need to assign to lighten your workload?
You might not have enough manpower to complete all those tasks. If that feels like it might happen to you, consider hiring a marketing consultant or putting out a hiring campaign.
Use Data Analytics Tools
You have to measure the success of your marketing campaigns to know if they are paying off.
This means you need data analytics tools. Use these to see where you should adjust your marketing efforts, or if you are able to expand your outreach anywhere.
You should be diving deep into your website, your pages, your blog posts, your social media accounts. If you track data from relevant areas of your business, you will find yourself with a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
Update Your Marketing Plan
Everything changes, right? As in, all the time. Change does not stop.
So you should never find yourself with the same approach to strategic planning for marketing that you had five years ago. That will get you nowhere.
Analyze marketplace trends, check in with your audience and update your plan accordingly.
Any changes to your business or industry, no matter how small, can have a big impact on your marketing plan. So review your strategic planning for marketing as often as you need to, and update it when you deem it necessary.
Here at Business Marketing Engine, we know all about strategic planning for marketing. It’s what we do.
But we also go beyond that knowledge to actually deliver the results you need to plan, build and grow your business.
So what do you do? What are your goals? And most importantly of all, how can we help you to achieve those goals?
And to achieve your company’s goals, click here to contact Business Marketing Engine today.