Strategic Marketing is a term that is used quite frequently to infer clever or well-planned marketing. Put simply, Strategic Marketing entails combining two important concepts, namely, Strategy Development and Strategic Implementation.
Strategy Development requires consideration of the most important, long-term planning and decision making areas (e.g. Target Markets and Brand Positioning etc.).
Strategic Implementation on the other hand, involves the actual implementation of plans that have been defined in the Strategy Development phase (e.g. Websites, Blogging Programs and Social Media Campaigns etc.).
Over the years clients have asked me the following questions:
- When is a strategic marketing plan complete?
- What makes for a good strategic marketing plan?
With these questions in mind I thought I would share with you 5 components of good marketing strategy.
5 Considerations for your Strategic Marketing Plan
1. Strategic Fit
I mentioned above that Strategic Marketing is about combining Strategy Development with Strategic Implementation.
Firstly, an important consideration is to ensure that all strategic plans and decisions have a strategic fit with the core marketing strategy areas namely:
- Primary and Secondary Target Marketing Selection
- Definition of Desired Brand Positioning
If other strategic decisions such as Product/Service Range definition or Selection of Sales Channels do not have a strategic fit then your overall Marketing Strategy is flawed to begin with.
Secondly, it is important to ensure that all planned implementation activity also has a strategic fit with your overall Marketing Strategy. If your choice of promotions tools do not reach your Primary Target Markets then this is not Strategic Implementation. Similarly, if your choice of advertising medium and tonality of creative material does not reinforce your desired brand positing then again, this does not suggest Strategic Implementation.
Good Marketing Strategy includes clearly defining the parameters of what is intended to be included or not included.
- Geographic territories
- Marketing segments
- Product/service range priorities
- Sales and Distribution Channels
- And more
Good Strategy is clearly defined and communicates the parameters involved.
A plan of attack that does not take into consideration the resources required compared to the resources actually available does not constitute good strategy. A plan that does not take resources into account is really more of a wish-list or day-dream.
Good Marketing Strategy includes an intended schedule of implementation that is rationalised to ensure that it can be implemented by available resources or outsourced resources that can be both funded and accessed.
4. Competitive Advantage
Sometimes I think that business owners get so busy and embroiled in the detail that they can lose sight of their own Competitive Advantage.
Good Marketing Strategy will ensure a focus on your Competitive Advantage, Point of Difference and Unique Selling Proposition.
To overlook your Competitive Advantage is to lose sight of what is special about your brand and business.
On occasions I have noticed both small companies and larger organisations developing their strategic plans in what seems like a ‘vacuum’. The end result can sometimes be that they arrive at plans and strategies that are relatively sound and have the potential for success but are overlooking significant opportunities.
When I say ‘vacuum’ I mean it in the sense that their planning has been completed without taking a ‘helicopter’ perspective of the whole organisation, associated relationships and other opportunities.
This missing ingredient that is often overlooked is that of looking for all potential synergies.
Potential synergies often overlooked include:
- Promoting different elements of the product/service range offering to all customer groups who are already dealing with the business
- Leveraging customer relationships and expertise to connect with and assist other customers who are already dealing with the business or even prospective customers
- Leveraging all of the skills and resources of employees and other key stakeholders
- Numerous other synergies that exist within a business and its extended relationships and resources
Strategy Development and Strategic Implementation
The above five suggestions are intended to assist you to close-out on your Marketing Strategy and determine if you have covered the most important bases during your strategy development process.
Overall, the most important concepts or steps are:
Step 1 – Develop your Marketing Strategy in the first place. During this process confirm that your strategy is complete using the above five suggestions as a checklist.
Step 2 – Implement your defined Marketing Strategy. Whilst doing this monitor and correct to ensure that unless there is good reason your implementation is aligned to the original strategy defined in Step 1 (this is the long-term and more difficult step).