Strategic marketing planning is the process that the operational and managerial staff of a company goes through to create and implement effective marketing strategies. Strategic marketing planning takes several aspects of company marketing and promotion into consideration. The aspects that contribute to strategic marketing planning include identifying promotional opportunities and evaluating the marketing opportunities; researching, analyzing and identifying the target markets; developing a strategic position for the company to pursue and how to implement the strategy; preparation and implementation of the marketing plan; and measuring and evaluating the results of the marketing efforts of the company.
Strategic Marketing Plans
Strategic marketing planning involves combining customer experiences with the overall direction the company wants and needs to take in order to succeed. For example, market segmentation plays a vital role in strategic marketing. Geographic and demographic differences in a company’s target markets can affect the purchasing habits of consumers. Strategic marketing planning allows companies to go through the process of identifying what these differences are, and then adjusting marketing messages and presentation of the company and the products and services of the business to meet the individual needs of the different segments of the market. For example, the Baby Boomers generation has created a surge in need for products and services that range drastically. Some companies have adjusted existing products and services to meet the increase in demand, while other companies with the foresight to strategically plan for the increase, developed new products and services to meet the demand.
Once a strategic marketing plan is in place, the company can use the plan as a guide in conducting its daily business as well as making short-term and long-term decisions. Implementation of the strategic marketing plan typically leads companies to the tactical marketing portion of conducting business. The strategic marketing plan transitions into the company’s plan for product and service development; the communication plan on how the company intends on promoting the business offerings; developing the sales plan; and finally putting together the customer service plan on how the company intends on interacting with current and potential customers.
The primary benefit of a strategic marketing plan is that it puts a written guide in place for a business to follow to reach its goals and objectives. The second major advantage of strategic marketing planning is that is allows the business to create and utilize consistent messaging internally and externally. Consistent messaging in marketing creates efficient companies because employees and customers understand what the company offers and how the company offers it. They work toward a common goal. Efficient companies typically see an increase in revenues and market share, while it sees a decrease in expenses. Ultimately, it all leads to an increase in company profitability.
Strategic marketing planning is not a one-time action, but rather an ongoing process. Typically, a company creates a strategic marketing plan that covers short-term (one year) and long-term (two year, three year and five year plans) periods. When a strategic marketing plan is put in place, the company uses it as a guide for six months to one year at a time. The company then evaluates the strategic plan by measuring the results of the marketing programs the plan put in place. After evaluating the strategic marketing plan on a six-month or one-year basis, the company may tweak the plan to improve efforts that didn’t go as planned or to mimic the results of plans that achieved success.
Effective strategic marketing planning requires companies to conduct a great deal of research and to really get to know its target market. Companies need to fully get to know who the target market is, how they think and feel, what they do, how old they are, where they live, what their hobbies are and more. Companies need to be able to live, think, breathe and feel like their target market to develop products and services that fit the needs of the target market. Companies need to remember that product and service development needs to have an existing marketing to sell, rather than developing products and services, and then seeking out a target market in which to sell it.