The strategic planning process defines the marketing strategy.

Nowadays,  marketing  plays an increasingly important role and is a key factor on which we must aim to compete and innovate.

In this article you will understand how an effective marketing strategy can help change your business. To start, take this test.

Strategic marketing planning: Check-list

Your marketing planning answers the questions:

  • Where are you?
  • Where do you want to go? With what objectives?
  • What internal and external conditions will you have to face to achieve the goals?
  • How do you intend to address the objectives?

The marketing plan, if well done, has several advantages:

  • can detect new market opportunities and threats
  • can optimize the use of resources
  • can help improve target definition
  • can  improve productivity

Good strategic marketing planning must fulfill the following actions:

  • be consistent with the market scenario
  • always be in step with the external environment
  • consider the passage of the customer  from a consumer to a “consumer-actor”  (the customer buys a product not only to satisfy a need, but also to be satisfied by its use).
  • understand consumer needs
  • evaluate the marketing mix levers
  • maintain market share leadership, increase profitability and gain confidence

To design a successful strategy it is necessary to develop 4 principles:

  • setting clear objectives
  • understanding of the competitive environment
  • resource evaluation
  • effective implementation.

And now we proceed with the 4 steps to be performed to devise a perfect strategic marketing planning.

Step 1 # Define the objectives to be pursued

strategic marketing planning

At this stage, strategic marketing objectives must be set   in terms of results (for example, increasing the market share for the next three years).

The objectives must be:

  • realistic
  • consistent
  • quantitative

It is necessary to  plan  a series of “moves” with a pre-established deadline because it is necessary to know how to anticipate and consider the consequences that can happen.

The classic example is that of a chess game where you have to predict what your opponent can do.

The company must set  goals  as a goal to reach and set up the necessary means to achieve them in terms of resources:

  • technological
  • financial
  • organizational
  • human.

Step 2 # Choose a target market and create a satisfying marketing mix

The strategies must be translated into actions to  successfully implement a marketing plan  and the actions must be translated into programs that relate to the marketing mix:

  • product
  • price
  • distribution
  • promotion

It is important to define the  target market  and develop a good marketing mix. These are the keys to achieving strategic success.

With the  marketing mix  the company is  able to determine how it will gain a competitive advantage . To do this it must overcome its competitors by offering the consumer something superior and unique:

  • with higher quality products
  • with prices proportional to the quality level
  • with efficient distribution methods
  • with the most effective promotion over the competition.

These advantages must be  sustainable and inimitable  so that the competitors are not able to reproduce them.

Step 3 # Analyze the market situation

The important things are:

  • understand consumer needs
  • analyze competitors
  • the characteristics of the distribution channels and the competitive position in the business
  • the margin of utile
  • profitability

In this phase a market analysis is needed  to know the factors that affect performance.

The main elements of a situation analysis are:

  1. Market demand : it is necessary to examine current demand, make assumptions about the potential market, the pace of market growth and factors that can limit growth.
  2. Customer behavior : we need  a careful analysis of customer needs , of how the consumer perceives the offer and how the company responds to the customer’s needs.
  3. Analysis of competitors : the company must take into consideration the competitors, assess the intensity of the rivalry, the type of competitive advantage enjoyed by each competitor, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of its products and compare them with those of the competitors .

After analyzing the various elements, the threats and marketing opportunities  that exist both inside and outside the company are identified  .

These data are summarized in the SWOT analysis  that evaluates:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of the internal environment  (factors on which the manager has direct control as an offer, marketing organization, etc.)
  • the threats and opportunities of the external environment  (trends, factors and elements on which management cannot act, such as the economic environment, market and competition).

Step 4 # Implementation of the strategy

The importance of  the  planning phase must not be neglected.

At this stage, a series of actions must be developed to successfully implement the  marketing plan .

strategic marketing planning

The success of the implementation depends on the application of the basic principles of management:

  • leadership
  • efficiency
  • effectiveness
  • resource evaluation
  • overcoming  resistance to change

In conclusion: in order to be  successful  in marketing and achieve the goals set, a company needs a good marketing plan and a well-executed implementation.

A good marketing plan without a well-executed implementation becomes useless.

Planning a real  marketing strategy  is essential to obtain a competitive advantage and allows to obtain positive results in terms of:

  • sales
  • image
  • relationship with customers

Good marketing planning aims to bring out the  opportunities  you want to exploit and the threats you need to overcome in order to achieve the goals set by the company.

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