Successful businesses create and rely on business plans to help guide them and to clarify priorities. Business plans spell out ways companies intends to rationalize their resources, engage in production, and even handle their clients. Most importantly, sound business plans include strategic marketing plans.
Strategic marketing planning is considered a creative process in its own right. Management and operations teams strive to come up with and implement practical marketing strategies that can guarantee a stable flow of business for a company.
Strategic marketing plans revolve around the kind of environment an entity desires to establish for clients in the quest to make sales. Plans include concepts such as geographical and demographic target markets as well as market segmentation.
Components of a Marketing Plan
The specifics of strategic marketing plans will vary from business to business and industry to industry, but all plans should include five key components:
- Company positioning: Outline the current position of the firm financially. Such an analysis allows the planning team to identify the strategies that were previously put in place and assess the success of the overall plan against the financial results. In the end, a SWOT analysis reveals the current situation of the company by examining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Goals and strategies: The strategic marketing plan is never complete without listing the organizational goals and strategies to be implemented. The goals inform the rationalization of resources in production, distribution, and marketing while the strategies discuss the conversion of targets into realities. For instance, a goal may state the intention to improve brand recognition and image while the corresponding plan defines the most appropriate media or promotion method to achieve desired results.
- Market opportunities: The plan always should assess emerging or existing market opportunities that may be harnessed in the short and long term. By so doing, the planners easily can dedicate resources to the most promising opportunity.
- Target market defined: It is important to define the target groups for all your products and services. This step allows you to conduct more research on their needs, demands, and even preferences to capitalize on sales. Also, define the demographic and geographic stratification of these groups.
- Marketing budget: Last and most importantly, a strategic marketing plan is considered complete due to the inclusion of a realistic marketing budget and the dedication of an implementation period. Tough decisions have to be made at this point. These include the division of duties and responsibilities.
Benefits of Strategic Marketing Planning
The process of creating a plan facilitates a common understanding among all stakeholders in an organization. The plan informs management decisions, the behavior of the employees towards institutional goals, and also the response among current and potential clients. The plan also is subjected to changes over a period of time to meet changing demands.
A sound marketing plan allows a corporate entity to grow its market share which results in more revenue and profits. As a firm expands, it can enjoy large economies of scale and thus fewer operational costs. Overall, the strategic marketing planning process connects the production engine to consumption.