A little reminder before we dive in – what is strategic marketing planning? Strategic marketing planning (or SMART goals, as some like to refer to it) is the systematic process of identifying your company’s long-term growth opportunities, creating a plan for taking action on those opportunities, and then executing on that plan over an extended period of time.
This process helps you identify how to maximize the effectiveness of each part of your business — from developing new products to finding new ways to market existing ones — so that you can achieve your overall business goal(s). It also ensures that none of your resources are wasted because there was no clear roadmap or direction set.
When done properly, this process gives you both short term and long term success. Short term, the process will help you develop strategies and plans to improve your current performance, while long term, it will ensure that you do not lose sight of your organization’s bigger vision.
There are five main steps to the strategic marketing planning process.
The next step in the marketing planning process is to actually create your plan. This can be done through either of two methods- via an external tool or using Microsoft Office products.
External tools such as Google Analytics, Adobe Acrobat Pro, etc. make it easy to keep track of all of your accounts and statistics. These apps are designed to help you organize information so that you can better understand what’s going on with your business.
By creating an internal system for tracking and organizing this data, you will be able to identify patterns more quickly and efficiently.
That way, you can begin making changes earlier than ever before!
Microsoft Office is another good option since most people have access to them. You do not need special software to create a strategic marketing plan. Some versions of Word and Excel have templates that can easily be adapted to fit your needs.
After defining your business, determining what products and services you offer, and deciding where you want to focus your efforts, the next step in marketing is doing some research to determine if there are ways to improve your business. This can be done through studying past strategies that worked for similar businesses or individuals, figuring out how to do your own things more efficiently, and looking at how others marketed their product or service.
There are several different types of research you can conduct to achieve this. Some of the most common include:
Comparing yourself to competitors
Reading review articles about your industry and area closeouts
Surveying people about changes they wanted to see in your business or theirs
Interviewing potential customers or clients
Some of these require additional money to pay professionals for their time, but it is important to know who your competition is so you can take advantage of their techniques and tools. You will also need to talk to people to find out why certain methods work for them and not for you!
Strategic planning takes time to develop, so don’t try to rush through any steps. Be careful with trying to fake-out or trick people into telling you something by asking vague questions or giving pre-made answers.
This is an important step in any marketer’s career because it takes place before you actually launch your product or service. Before you can position yourself as someone who knows how to effectively market products and services, you have to make sure that your personal branding matches what people perceive of you.
This includes things like whether you use social media to promote your business, how you dress for work, and what kind of personality you project while talking about your company.
Your branding also means making sure your audience sees only positive messages about you and your company. People will form opinions about you and your organization based on their experiences with you, so keep up this level of consistency!
When creating and developing your brand, remember that perception is more powerful than reality. Your actions and behaviors control what others think of you, not necessarily what you want them to be.
So instead of trying to convey a certain impression, focus on doing those things which inspire trust and confidence. Because once they do, people will feel comfortable being around you and working for you.
After you have determined what areas of business are performing well, and what strategies are working now for you, it is time to create an actual plan to improve upon that success.
You will want to evaluate how successful each element of current advertising campaigns is. For example, did sending out mail advertisements work? Did posting on social media get you some engagement? Were there changes in phone calls or visits due to the re-design of your website?
By having interactive conversations with people about your business, you can learn more about it and determine if other ways to promote it are needed. These discussions also help establish your business as someone who listens and cares about their customers!
Strategic marketing planning takes time to do correctly, so don’t expect results immediately. However, if you keep at it consistently, you will see growth and improvement over time.
After you have gathered all of your resources, signed up for various websites, and purchased a domain name, what comes next is to develop your online presence or marketing site.
This includes creating an about page, business pages like Facebook and Twitter, as well as a personal profile (all with appropriate information), setting up email accounts, and developing your voice through social media sites and blogs.
You will also need to pick your niche and area of specialization and grow in it. This will determine how successful you are as an entrepreneur!
Your niche can be anything from fashion to fitness, books to music, and even something totally unrelated – just make sure your audience is there. Your specialty should be one that brings value to others and makes you money, however.
After you have determined what area of business you want to target, it is time to create an advertisement or promotional material to get people aware of this product or service.
This can be done through writing a article or story about the products and/or services you offer. You may also choose to develop a video or picture set that features your product or company.
By creating content like this, you will are able to showcase your expertise and draw in new customers. If you need help finding ideas for articles or pictures, there are many free sources available online.
Many companies produce ebooks which feature their tips and tricks for success. There are also plenty of websites with free content you can use for marketing purposes.
After you have gathered all of your resources, it is time to distribute them! This includes announcing your product to the market and establishing milestones and timelines. You will also need to make sure that everyone has their assignments and that there are adequate supplies for the job.
As mentioned before, marketing planning is an ongoing process so do not get overwhelmed at the end of the project when everything comes together. Keep distributing information and keeping in touch with people until the work slows down or stops!
Your marketing team will still be working hard up till the day you stop telling stories about your company and designing logos and advertisements.
A successful marketing plan is not something that happens once a year, it must be re-evaluated constantly to see if it is working and needs changing. You will need to monitor your results at least monthly!
This can mean looking at the numbers, reviews of the products you use for your business, or testing different strategies to determine which ones work best for you.
For example, let’s say your company’s main product line is yoga pants. One of your competitors has introduced workout shirts with longer sleeves than yours.
You could test two weeks of having shorter sleeve towels compared to one week each way to see which style gets more sales. Or you could try both styles and choose the one that sells more.