Strategic Marketing Plan
Proceeding without a plan is like shopping at a home improvement store without a list. It costs you more, it takes longer, you forget to buy necessities, and you make purchases that aren’t needed. A good strategic marketing plan brings the future to the present and gives you an efficient roadmap for getting to your destination: increased sales and profits.
The process of planning is often more important than the plan itself. Questions that are answered during the planning process include:
- What are you selling?
- Who you are selling to?
- Where you are selling it?
- Why are you different?
- How will you leapfrog the competition?
Even if you strongly believe you have the answers to these questions, it’s important to test your assumptions and do the research. To illustrate this point, answer this simple question. What color are yield signs? If you answered yellow, you’re incorrect. Yield signs have been red and white since 1971. A surprising number of people that drive by red yield signs every day believe they are yellow.
Where to Start?
Collect external and internal data and analyze it. Develop a comprehensive side-by-side competitive analysis. Look at everything from facilities and branding to applications and perceived value. Develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
Define the marketing objectives and align these with the overall business goals.
What geography areas buy the most product from you and where is the biggest potential? Which markets are showing increases or decrease in sales? Do you know why your customers buy from you? What changes are occurring in the industry that impact your buyer? Define standards for a qualified lead. Develop a detailed buyer persona.
Products and Services
Determine the lifecycle stage your products or services in. Detail the features, benefits, points of differentiation, applications and sales messages.
After you’ve completed the competitive analysis and taken a fresh look at the target and offerings, you will have a clearer understanding of why you’re different. You may have also found a new potential niche or opportunity to pursue.