Strategic marketing: what it is, why it’s important, how to make a plan and other useful tips for your company.
If you’ve arrived here, you want to know more about strategic marketing and how you can grow your business.
Take a sip of coffee, take a deep breath 🙂 … and we’re ready to get started.
We’ll be with you through the whole process and explain everything step by step.
In this article you’ll find all the information you need, even if you’ve never heard of strategic marketing or made a plan before.
It’s important to stay tuned because we’re talking about an essential topic when it comes to growing and developing a company.
Without a strategic marketing plan you risk wasting time, resources and money.
Strategic planning helps you understand where your business is, how you can differentiate yourself and how you can grow.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? 🙂
Let’s see how you can do all these things.
We take them one by one and talk about:
- What is strategic marketing?
- The importance of strategic marketing in a company
- How you can make a strategic marketing plan step by step
- 3 useful tips for your business
- What you should do next
What is strategic marketing?
Strategic marketing is about analysing where a company is and identifying ways in which it can differentiate itself and grow.
To do these things, you need a strategic marketing plan that includes:
- Establishing the company’s goals and mission;
- Analysing the situation the company is in;
- Competitive analysis;
- Making a marketing plan (this is different from and included in the strategic marketing plan);
- Establishing the methods for implementing the marketing plan;
- Analysis of results;
- Adapting actions according to demand or needs.
- In other words, strategic marketing is a way of shaping the future of a business, starting from its mission and objectives.
Here it is important to understand that there is a difference between strategic marketing and marketing strategies or tactics.
Strategic marketing is about the company’s mission and goals, competition, opportunities and problems… whereas marketing strategies are a series of ideas designed to achieve these goals.
The importance of strategic marketing in a company
Strategic marketing is the basis of any marketing action or strategy.
However, a lot of companies implement marketing tactics or strategies without having a clear vision of where the company stands and without a pre-established strategic marketing plan.
We’re not sure why this is done, but we know it’s a mistake. That’s why we wrote an article about 10 marketing strategies that work without taking too much money out of your pocket.
This wastes a lot of resources and campaigns don’t work.
To avoid this, you should make a strategic plan.
Think of playing Monopoly where you have to split your money, buy things and differentiate yourself from the competition.
You do everything using a strategy that should put you first.
But back to our sheep.
It’s important to have a strategic marketing plan because:
Gives you an overview of where your company stands
- Where it stands;
- What it’s trying to convey;
- Who it’s addressing;
- How it relates to the competition;
- What it has achieved so far;
- Details of available resources.
- The data you get in this way helps you plan your marketing strategy effectively and grow your business.
Helps you innovate and earn more
Strategic marketing starts with a thorough analysis of your organisation, audience, competition and market trends.
As a result, you can figure out what people need and how you can meet them.
You can use this information to create new products or services that will increase your profits.
Helps you set realistic marketing goals
Marketing objectives are set based on an analysis of the company’s situation and business goals.
When you analyse the big picture, it makes it easier to understand what your marketing goals are and how you can achieve them.
Gives investors valuable information
When there are investors or people interested in investing in your company, it’s important to be able to present them with these thorough analyses.
A comprehensive strategic marketing plan will increase people’s confidence in your company and give them the data they need.
Now that you understand why it’s important to have a strategic marketing plan, let’s see how you can make one.
How to make a step-by-step strategic marketing plan
Sets the company mission
The mission of your business is the first thing you need to establish when making a strategic marketing plan.
The reasons your company exists influence your entire marketing strategy, and more.
If you haven’t done so before, we advise you to start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why is my company in the market?
- What is its purpose?
- How can it help people?
Your business mission can be inspiring and motivate your customers.
Our advice is to answer the above questions, write down some ideas and formulate your company’s mission in a few sentences.
Analyse the situation your business is in
Analysing the situation your business is in gives you a clear view of the internal and external factors that influence it.
At the same time, you will be able to learn more about:
- Industry trends;
- Your company’s competitive position;
- Challenges facing your business;
- Opportunities you can take advantage of.
- Let’s see how you can do it all.
And if you’re hesitating, it’s important to put them aside now.
Your business needs a strategy, and this process is not as complicated as it sounds 🙂 .
There are three analyses you can use here: SWOT, PEST or 5C.
They are similar, but they are carried out in a different way.
Whichever one you choose is perfect.
The important thing is to make one.
Next, we’ll show you how to do a SWOT analysis.
To start with, you should know that it consists of 4 elements:
Your aim is to identify some ideas for each category.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Strengths refer to internal (within the company) factors that can be considered an advantage.
- Very wide diversity of products or services;
- Excellent value for money;
- Many resources available;
- Efficient organisation;
- Efficient equipment;
- Experienced employees.
… And the list goes on.
What you need to do here is figure out what your company’s strengths are.
Here are some questions that can help you determine them:
- What do you do well?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- How are your products or services superior to others in the market?
- What is the positive performance of your employees?
- What strategies work? When have you performed well?
Put your key strengths on a list and go to the next step.
Weaknesses refer to the internal weaknesses and obstacles to your company’s development.
- Insufficient resources;
- Outdated technology;
- Lack of employee experience;
- Lack of annual training;
- Poor organisation;
- Lack of effective communication.
To determine the negatives, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the poor performers in the company?
- What can be improved?
- What is the resource situation?
- What is preventing you from performing better?
- What internal processes can be improved?
- What could make your business more profitable?
- Is there outdated equipment or technology preventing you from performing better?
Formulate a few ideas, put them on the list and move on to the next point.
Opportunities refer to external factors that can help you grow your business.
- Improving customer relations by providing free advice;
- Making a new product or service available;
- Implementing effective marketing campaigns;
- Entering a new market;
- Developing partnerships.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What are the trends in the market?
- What do customers need, what is required?
- What do customers think of the company?
- Which segments of the market remain untapped?
Answer the questions and formulate some ideas.
Put opportunities on the list and let’s see what risks your business poses.
Threats are external factors you can’t control that can hinder the development of your business.
- High competition;
- Increasingly demanding and dissatisfied customers;
- Legal provisions that may affect the company;
- Changes in people’s consumer behaviour;
- Emergence of new technologies to which you don’t have access;
- Other social, political, economic or technological factors.
To identify threats, ask yourself the following questions:
- What obstacles does the company face?
- Is there a legal framework that could hinder business growth?
- What are the competitive advantages?
- What “threatens” the company?
Think about the answers and write down some ideas.
When you’re done, it’s time to draw conclusions and set your goals.
Identify business objectives
Now that you know what your company’s mission is and what it looks like, it’s time to set your business goals.
Here it’s important not to confuse business goals with marketing goals.
Business goals are the goals of your business.
Marketing objectives are different and are part of the marketing plan.
They actually help you achieve your business objectives.
We’ll talk about the marketing plan and objectives a little later.
Now you need to establish what your business objectives are.
To do this, consider:
- The resources you have;
- The size of the business;
- The size of your market;
- Number of competitors;
- The experience of your employees.
Your company’s objectives can be: long-term or short-term.
It’s best to set your main long-term goals and then move on to your short-term ones.
When writing them down, remember that a goal should always be:
I mean… SMART.
For example, if your goal is to increase your turnover, it’s not enough to just say that.
You need to be very specific and have a relevant objective.
In this case, a more appropriate wording would be: increase turnover by 10% in the next 6 months.
Now that you know how to set your business goals…
Let’s take action 🙂.
Make a marketing plan
By now you’ve established what your company’s mission is, where it stands and what your business goals are.
The next step is to make a marketing plan. Here’s how to do it.
To be able to do this, you will need to identify:
- Your target audience;
- Your available budget;
- Your marketing objectives;
- The right promotion channels;
- Effective strategies and tactics.
Let’s take them one at a time:
Your target audience (or ideal customer profile)
Here, you need to find out who you are targeting and what your ideal customers look like.
That way you’ll know where to focus your marketing strategy and efforts.
Here are 3 questions to answer:
- Who is the customer?
- What needs does the customer have?
- Where is the customer’s attention?
Our advice is not to assume that you know who your customers are and what they want. It’s a mistake that can cost you dearly.
If you’ve run campaigns before or have already sold products, we advise you to look at data from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and reviews left by customers on various platforms.
You’ll learn a lot of valuable information about what people are looking for, what their needs are and what they think about various services or products.
Now… it’s time to “throw down” the cash 🤑.
Determine what resources you will allocate to make your dreams (and plans) come true.
Depending on your budget, you can start thinking about goals and strategies.
At this point you know who you are targeting and what your budget is.
Let’s move on to your marketing objectives.
To be effective, they need to be:
When formulating a marketing objective, you should always have business growth in mind.
For example: if you want to get more traffic to your website, it’s not enough to just say that.
Instead, try this approach: if I now have 1000 visitors per month on my website, in the next 3 months I want to get 5000 visitors per month.
Pretty easy, right? 😀
This whole simplified, realistic and effective approach is derived from growth hacking: the concept behind the growth of the world’s most popular startups.
In addition, to set goals, at BMF Digital we use another approach from growth hacking called “North Star Metric” or “One metric that matters”.
In short, it’s a metric you can improve to grow your business.
This metric can be:
- Monthly revenue growth;
- Increase the number of page views on your website;
- Increase the number of newsletter subscribers;
- Increase the number of active users, etc
The indicator can refer directly to sales or to a factor influencing them.
Set some marketing goals and let’s see which are the best promotion channels for your company.
Identify the most appropriate promotion channels for your business
Now that you know what your marketing goals are… it’s time to see how you can achieve them.
At this stage, you’ll need to identify which are the most appropriate promotional channels for your business.
At BMF Digital we use a simple, three-step process.
Establish the strategies you will use
Once you have a specific goal, you can start thinking about the strategies you want to use to achieve it.
The best way to do this is to convene your colleagues for a brainwriting session.
That is, ask each colleague to do some research and write down some ideas for suitable strategies themselves. Then you can put them all together to decide which ones are best.
We didn’t say brainstorming because we don’t think it would be a very effective process. In such a session you might have people who dominate the discussion or influence other colleagues a lot.
So ideas or potential strategies disappear.
When you are done, organize everyone’s ideas in one place.
At BMF Digital we use Trello, a free tool that helps us a lot in this process.
Once you’ve grouped them, you’ll need to prioritize them according to the resources you have available.
We’ve written some useful articles with lots of strategies you should consider at this stage.
Implement measurement systems and put your marketing plan into action
This is where you should first implement some performance measurement systems.
If you don’t have a system by which you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you’ll never know whether or not you’ve achieved your goals.
You can measure results using different tools, depending on the strategies you adopt:
This step is extremely important and worth paying attention to.
When you’re done…
Test, modify and adapt
The strategic marketing process is very dynamic.
You need to constantly test, measure and evaluate the results of your plan.
Test as many ideas as possible and write down your expectations.
We advise you to check at least 2-3 times a week how your campaigns are going. Analyse the results and see what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some rules to follow:
- If an idea has failed, take it off the list;
- If an idea is underperforming, but not by much, see if you can improve it and if it’s worth doing;
- If an idea worked as expected or even better, double your investment in it.
That way, you’ll always be able to make informed decisions.
3 useful tips for your business
No matter what stage your company is at right now, there are some important things you should know when implementing a strategic marketing plan and planning to grow your business.
Be aware of obstacles and problems
During the course of making and implementing a strategic marketing plan, a number of obstacles or problems can arise, such as:
- Lack of communication between departments;
- Lack of experience of some employees;
- Making wrong assumptions about customers and their consumption habits;
- Making decisions based on assumptions without prior research;
- Lack of resources;
- Lack of clarity and specificity in setting objectives;
- Implementing marketing strategies without considering customer needs;
- Ignoring the need to adapt or modify the initial plan.
All of these things can get you into trouble and waste time and money. Make sure you pay attention to all these issues and check them constantly.
Set your budget in advance and consider all expenses
When setting your marketing goals and strategies, your budget should be the first thing you think about.
Even if you’re setting out to increase sales by 50% or hire two experienced people, you need to consider the resources you have.
Also, pay attention to monthly living expenses, rent or other costs you may be tempted to omit.
The final piece of advice is to always set aside a small amount for unexpected expenses that will arise along the way.
And trust us… they will.
Deliver value to your customers
What we’re saying here is that you shouldn’t just focus on sales messaging.
People don’t always want to buy, and they don’t always feel good when they’re just bombarded with ads telling them what and how to buy.
A very effective way to attract customers and get your business noticed is to give them valuable information they really need.
You can do this by:
- Infographics with educational content;
- A free ebook;
- Blog articles that teach them things;
- Great live support;
- Educational, interesting podcasts;
- Useful posts;
- Seminars and webinars.
We advise you to consider this strategy throughout your marketing and promotion.
It will help you enormously to differentiate yourself from the competition and attract more customers.
What you should do next
Our advice is to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Take some time and think about what you see.
Re-analyse each aspect and make sure everything is clear.
After all, the purpose of a strategic marketing plan is to give you a complete view of your company and market opportunities.
Look at this strategic marketing process as a long road you need to travel to strengthen your company’s position and grow your business.
“Pull over” and adapt whenever necessary.
Nurture. Plan. Check all the pieces.
The more miles you cover, the greater your progress will be.
Over time, you’ll see your business evolve into exactly what you imagined it would be.
Grab a map and hit the road!
What is strategic marketing?
Strategic marketing is about analysing a company’s situation and identifying ways in which it can differentiate itself and grow.
What does a strategic marketing plan include?
Establishing the company’s objectives and mission;
Analysis of the company’s situation;
Analysis of the competition;
Making a marketing plan (this is different from and included in the strategic marketing plan);
Establishing the methods for implementing the marketing plan;
Analysis of results;
Adapting actions according to demand or needs.
How do I make a marketing plan?
To be able to do this, you will need to identify:
Your target audience;
Your available budget;
Your marketing objectives;
The right promotional channels;
Effective strategies and tactics.