Prepare For The

Coming Year With This Guide on Strategic Marketing Plan Process

Your goal as a business is to deliver your products or services to your customer for a profit. To achieve this, you need to market your offer to your customers to make them aware of your product or service, engage them as a brand, and convince them to buy your offer. Unfortunately, regardless of your budget, you have limited resources for marketing your business so you need to be strategic in how you approach this task. This is where a strategic marketing plan can help you.  

So, what is a strategic marketing plan? What are its essential elements? How do you undertake a strategic marketing plan process for the new year? All of these will be answered in this short guide.

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What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?

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If you would search for it online, you will find agencies and marketers have different ways to state the strategic marketing plan definition. However, when you simplify all of these, you will find that it is simply the strategy of your business to reach marketing goals for the year within a defined budget. A good strategic marketing plan outlines the following:

The Strategic

Marketing Plan Process

Here are the following steps on how to create a strategic marketing plan for your business:

STEP 1:

Establish a common view of your business

Before making any plans, your team members must first have a common view of your company’s overall objective. They must have the same answer to what your business exists to do. You can establish this by discussing the mission statement of your company and identifying its niche market.

Mission statement

This is a short statement of what your business does, who it aims to serve, and what makes it different and unique.

Niche market

This is your area of specialty. It is how you serve or where you focus your efforts in serving your target market.

STEP 2:

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your previous marketing campaigns

A SWOT analysis assesses the internal and external factors that may influence your business. The internal factors considered are the strengths and weaknesses of your business, brand, and team. On the other hand, the external factors are the threats and opportunities present in your industry, the market, competitors, and customers.  

Performing a SWOT analysis before creating a strategic marketing plan will give you the following benefits:

Here are some questions to help you with your SWOT analysis:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

STEP 3:

Conduct market research

Market research collects information about the thoughts of your target market about your brand, products or services, and marketing campaigns. You can do this through a survey online, a one-on-one interview, or a focus group discussion. Your research into your customers will test your assumptions about them by asking questions like:

STEP 4:

Conduct a competitive analysis

Competitive analysis studies your competitors in the market. It examines your competitors’ features, products and services, pricing, marketing, market share, strengths, weaknesses, customer reviews, and differentiators. It can help you take advantage of opportunities to surpass your competition, improve your market share, or enhance your brand image.

You can conduct a competitive analysis with the following steps below:

  1. Identify competing brands, products, or services – You can categorize these competitors as direct and indirect. Direct competitors are those who have similar products or services as you do. On the other hand, indirect competitors are those who have different products or services but solve the same problems that you do.
  2. Research your competition – The most important aspects to research include the features of their products and services, pricing strategies, sales and marketing strategies, distribution and delivery strategies, and after-sales support.
  3. Analyze the information that you researched – Identify which areas of their business you can emulate or improve upon to improve your marketing campaigns, offer a better experience to your customers, and gain a bigger share in the market. You must also look for any weaknesses and gaps in their marketing campaigns that you can take advantage of to gain an edge over them.

STEP 5:

Define your target market

Your target market is your ideal customer for your product or service. They are the target of all your marketing campaigns. You can identify your target market with the following characteristics:
Clear identification of these attributes will help focus your marketing resources where it counts and create effective marketing strategies.

STEP 6:

Set S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals

After the SWOT analysis of your previous campaigns, market research, and competitive analysis, you have the necessary information to make an informed decision on your strategic marketing goals. The best way to set your goal is to follow the acronym S.M.A.R.T. – which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Since a strategic marketing plan spans 18 to 24 months, your goals should   

The standard duration of a strategic marketing plan is 18 to 24 months. Therefore, your goals should fit into a schedule that lasts for this amount of time. 

Below is a description of each trait and a few questions to help you set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your strategic marketing plan process:

Specific

Your goals should be clear and well-defined.

Measurable

Your goal should have a criteria to measure its progress.

Achievable

Your goals should be possible for your company to achieve. It should be challenging enough to maximize the possibilities. But, its achievement should not be beyond the means of your team and the limits of your market. 

Here are two questions to qualify your goal:

Realistic

Your goal should be practical. Your team should be up to the challenge and believe the goal can be accomplished.

Time-bound

Your goal must have a start and end. If applicable, there should also be a schedule to ensure it is progressing accordingly.

STEP 7:

Set a tentative budget for your strategic marketing plan

Depending on company policy, this step may come before or after you and your team decide and develop the mix of marketing strategies for the plan. However, regardless of when you will seek its approval, it is best to approach planning your strategies with a limited budget in mind. You can know how much you will need based on your spending on the previous marketing plan, the goals you have set for the coming year, your SWOT analysis, market research, and competitor analysis.  

If you are starting from scratch or have no basis for your budget, you can base your marketing budget on your annual gross income. Most businesses set their budget on 3 to 5 percent of their gross income. However, if you are in a highly competitive market, your spending can go from 10 percent or more of your gross annual income.

STEP 8:

Identify and develop the different marketing strategies you will use

With the budget set, you can now identify which marketing strategies you can use to meet your marketing goals, engage with your target market, build customer loyalty, and build your brand. A good rule to follow is to spend 70 to 80 percent of your budget on strategies that worked in the past. If you are a new business, you will have to start experimenting by trying out those that have worked for your competitors. 

As for the remainder of your budget, you can use 10 to 20 percent of it to increase your spending on strategies that had the best impact on your goals in the past. Anything left in your budget can be spent on untested but promising marketing strategies and channels.

STEP 9:

Identify and develop the different marketing strategies you will use

Creating an implementation schedule will visualize and set up a timeline of your strategic marketing plan actions. The schedule spans the whole length of the plan’s duration and specifies the person and/or team in charge of each task. Moreover, the schedule should also state the dates for weekly, monthly, or quarterly reviews.

STEP 10:

Create an evaluation process for the reviews

Your strategic marketing plan must deliver the results you are aiming for and within the indicated timeframe. An evaluation process ensures things are according to plan using the standards you set to measure the progress of your plan. Each strategy you implement will have its standards to measure its progress and each one must be reviewed on time. 

If the results are not in line with your expectations, you need to find out the reason behind them before changing any part of your plan. Only when you have determined its cause should you make the necessary adjustments.

Are You Ready to

Get Started With Your Strategic Marketing Plan Process?

With the questions like “what is a strategic marketing plan” and “how to create a strategic marketing plan” answered, you are ready to get started with one for your business. But, before starting, take advantage of our free marketing consultation here at Big Market Solutions. We can help you identify any problem areas and opportunities for your business. You can also benefit from an outsider’s perspective to ensure you are not missing anything. 

Contact us today to schedule your free marketing consultation with us.

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