Every prudent business owner knows that a strategic marketing plan is key to expanding sales and growing a business. In our Innovate Today post today, we explore the details of how to create an effective strategic marketing plan for your business. As most business owners and organizations are usually on the lookout for new ways to promote their businesses and generate increasing profits, we believe this post will be quite useful.
In our last post, we took a look at Marketing Tactics for Small Business Owners and explored why having a marketing tactic is so important. We also reviewed the key elements of marketing tactics and some effective marketing techniques that small business owners can use. It’s a great read and we encourage you to take a look at it as well.
In today’s post however, we will take a look at how to create a strategic marketing plan for your company. With that said, let’s get right into it.
What is the Purpose of a Strategic Marketing Plan?
The main reason why businesses create marketing plans is to identify their target market and customers. Understanding the needs of your potential clients and figuring out how best to reach and engage them is key for every business. Knowing and using these key facts will literally turn potential customers into raving fans. It is therefore for this reason that time and effort must be taken to put a marketing plan together.
The Three Stages of a Great Marketing Plan
Strategic marketing takes time to develop and can change over time. Also, methods for delivery of services to customers can change. A great example of this is the Thomas Cook Group, the giant tour agency conglomerate that collapsed after 178 years in business. While the collapse was caused by several reasons, one reason for a decline in business for Thomas Cook was people having the option to book vacations and trips for themselves online rather than through an agent.
The point here is that the needs of customers and how they expect to have those needs serviced change over time. As such, companies must be flexible with their marketing plan and find new ways to meet those needs.
That being said, there are three stages involved in creating a strategic plan. They are:
- The Planning Stage: This is where all the resources, strengths and weaknesses of the business are analyzed. In this stage, the needs of potential customers are also understood and processes are put in place to meet those needs. This stage provides a clear understanding of what the Client needs and the services available to meet those needs.
- Execution Stage: In this stage, laid out plans are put into action, reviewed, tested and fine tuned.
- The Appraisal Stage: After plans are made and executed, the appraisal stage ensures that results are reviewed carefully to ensure that results are in line with expectations or adjusted further if otherwise.
How to create an Effective Strategic Marketing Plan
A lot has been said about the necessity of an effective marketing plan. In the next five steps, we review how to create an effective strategic marketing plan for your business.
- Determine your current Situation: First assess your current marketing plan. This means understanding where you are, what you are doing and how you are doing it. It also means determining where you are going, what you need to get there and your strengths and weaknesses as a company.
- Understand your Product: Next, you will need an in-depth knowledge of your product and what your competitors are offering. This way, you’ll get a clear idea of where your company stands in the market, where you need to make adjustments to satisfy market demands and what to do to make the most of opportunities for product promotions and increased profits.
- Set Measurable Goals: Ensure that your company goals are clear, well structured and achievable. Setting goals are essential as they can be used as a scale to judge the success of your strategic marketing plan.
- Outline your Approach: Here you decide the best way to connect with and engage your ideal customers. This can be done through several avenues such as print media, social media, online ads, etc.
- Set a Budget: A marketing plan will not be effective without the backing of a set budget. So, when fixing a budget, keep in mind that marketing is important for your business growth and is necessary to determine if your marketing strategy is indeed effective.
What are your thoughts on effective marketing strategy? How have you implemented such a strategy in your company? What do you think of the Thomas Cook collapse, after 178 years? As usual, feel free to leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
Today’s Funny Quote
We end today’s post with a funny quote by Doug Larson, the Columnist:
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
Many of us would probably agree with Doug on this.
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Have a great week ahead.
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