Why do I need a strategic marketing plan?

by Sonja van den Bosch

Why do I need a strategic marketing plan?

Do you sometimes feel that marketing is an enormous smorgasbord and it’s easy to believe that you should be trying a bit of everything? That is often how most SME businesses are trying to do marketing. Unfortunately, this hit and miss way of marketing doesn’t really work, but rather results in a waste of time and money and often leads to frustration, which is the last thing you want.

The main reason why it doesn’t work is that the most important ingredient, a solid strategic marketing plan, is missing.

But why do I have to spend time and money putting a strategic marketing plan together? I just really want to get into the doing! This is what I often hear business owners say.

Unfortunately, they are ignoring the fact that a good game plan is of outmost importance.

Don’t you think you’ll get healthier faster and lose more weight with an expert training and nutrition program? Don’t you think you’ll build a better house with smart architect’s drawings? Don’t you think you’ll get better marketing results with a solid strategic marketing plan?

Without a practical game plan, you’ll be falling into the same old ‘getting healthy doesn’t work’ or ‘marketing doesn’t work’ trap. You’ll be rushing into marketing activities that might not necessarily be the right activities for your business and target market and you’ll probably not be doing them in the right order and in the best integrated way…so no wonder that it will not work.

A strategic marketing plan provides clarity, focus and direction
Strategic marketing clarifies where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Being strategic means starting with the end in mind and creating a plan of actions that will help you get there. It’s as simple as that. Marketing is not about doing a bunch of activities, but it is about helping a business achieve its goals. Just remember it doesn’t matter how often you say or do the wrong thing, it is still the wrong thing.

A strategic marketing plan helps you make the right decisions
focusA strategic marketing plan helps you determine what should be done and what should be ignored and keeps you focused on what really matters to accomplish your business goals. Especially with so many new and wonderful marketing opportunities popping up all the time, your strategic marketing plan gives you a framework with the right criteria to evaluate whether an opportunity makes sense or not for your business. It becomes your best guide, helps simplify decisions and keeps you on track to reaching your business goals.

A strategic marketing plan gives you a competitive advantage
A strategic marketing plan creates alignment, not only between your internal people and teams, but also between your business and your target market. You’ll become customer focused and you’ll be providing the best customer experience, which will make you excel and stand out from the crowd.

But how do I develop a strategic marketing plan? I don’t have the expertise in-house. This is the other thing I often hear business owners say.

Use marketing experts to help you develop your strategic marketing plan
HowDeveloping a strategic marketing plan is not something you can learn in a text book or at a university course. Most marketers that come out of university are often very good at the doing of marketing activities, but their strategic marketing skills will only develop over time by being exposed to different markets, businesses and situations. A strong strategic marketer has both good business and life experience, backed up by an understanding and knoweldge of the marketing theories of course.

Combine your business knowledge with a fresh, outside perspective
When we develop strategic marketing plans for our clients, we always combine the business owner’s intelligence with customer and staff intelligence with our own marketing intelligence. In this way we are combining the best of the different worlds, ensuring we get the best outcome. Furthermore, we always work together in a team of minimum three strategic marketers, as more marketing heads know more than one and we benefit from our different areas of expertise.

Tailored and practical
successLast but not least, a strategic marketing plan for your business should be practical and completely tailored to your situation – your business, your products or services, your market, your customers, your internal capabilities, your growth targets etc. There simply is no one size fits all approach. That’s one of the elements that we enjoy most when developing strategic marketing plans, as every single one of them is a unique piece of work with personalised, practical advice.

If you are interested in making marketing work for your business, make sure you take the first very important step of developing a strategic marketing plan.  please feel free  contact us for any help or assistance with this.

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