Let your strategic marketing plan be your guide.

Your strategic marketing plan is critical to the success of your venture. For without a strategic plan in marketing, you will veer off course. We have also included a strategic marketing plan template for you.

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.

I don’t much care where, said Alice.

Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.

When each day begins, we each have a choice. We can ask, what shall I do? Or what should I do?

Without direction, without a plan, whatever you shall do will always get you somewhere. But when you’re going somewhere with purpose, there will always be something you should do that will get you where you must go.

And with that in mind, I’ll be discussing how to build a strategic marketing plan to get you where you want to go.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. – Alan Laken Click To Tweet

What is a strategic marketing plan?

The strategic marketing plan is your guide and the way a company effectively differentiates itself from its competitors by capitalizing on its strengths (both current and potential) to provide better value to customers than its competitors.

How to write a strategic marketing plan?

Here are 7 steps to developing a strategic marketing plan:

  1. Set goals and objectives.
  2. Analyze your situation with market research.
  3. Map your messages to your customer journey.
  4. Live out your mission.
  5. Outline your marketing tactics.
  6. Make a project schedule with a timeline.
  7. Set and manage your marketing budget.

We will cover all of this inside the post.

Marketing strategy implementation and control form of the vital link for a series of strategic marketing activities.

Moreover, these activities emphasize that strategic marketing plan is a continuing process of planning, implementing, evaluating, and adjusting strategies.

Strategic evaluation and marketing performance represents the first step in strategic marketing planning and the last step after launching a strategy. The objective is to develop an approach to strategic evaluation and building the strategic marketing plan.

We use our marketing process which shows the interactions of your activities from the customer’s perspective. If you want predictable revenue, review this model below.

customer engagement framework
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Strategic evaluation or marketing assessment is marketing management’s responsibilities. Audit lacks the glamour and excitement of new strategy development, effective strategic evaluation often separates the winners from the losers. Start with the best marketing audit here.

The management of successful companies like Uber, United, and Apple appreciate and respond effectively to changing market conditions and pressures.

What competitors are eating your lunch?

Continuous Strategic Evaluation

marketing plan evaluation
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Marketing strategy implementation and control are guided by the marketing plan and budget.

They indicate the activity and cost. The planning process moves into action through the marketing plan. It describes the activities to be implemented, responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations. The implementation process makes the plan happen.

The marketing programs are entered into a project management system to manage, track, evaluate, and make adjustments at the task level. Some great project management system includes Wrike, Teamwork, and Asana. I use and love Teamwork.

Implementation, a critical part of the marketing strategy, determines the success of the strategic marketing plan.

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PREPARING THE MARKETING PLAN AND BUDGET

The strategic marketing plan performs an essential implementation and control role. The marketing plan shows what the strategic actions are expected to accomplish and how they are to be accomplished.

Plans vary widely in detail and scope depending on the organization.

The planning process is based on:

  • An analysis of the product market and segments
  • Industry and competitive structure
  • Positioning strategy and competitive advantage.

This information guides targeting and positioning strategies. Several important planning considerations provide a checklist for plan preparation.

Planning Relationships and Frequency

The relationships between marketing strategy and the short-term plan are shown in Exhibit 1.

marketing planning relationships
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The planning cycle is continuous. A good marketing plan is developed, implemented, evaluated, and adjusted to keep the marketing strategy on target. The planning process can be viewed as a series of annual plans guided by marketing strategy.

The frequency of planning activities varies by company and marketing activity. Market targeting and positioning strategies normally do not change significantly during the marketing planning.

Specific changes in product, distribution, price, and promotion strategies may be included in the annual plan. An annual plan period necessary. Since several of the activities shown are completed within 12 months or less. Longer-range strategic decisions look beyond one year.

Planning Considerations

Suppose that a new product will be introduced into the United States market next year. The short-term plan for the introduction should include expected results, targets, actions, responsibilities, schedules, and dates.

The marketing plan should include:

  • Deadlines
  • Production plans
  • Market introduction program
  • Advertising
  • Employee training
  • Information necessary to launch the product

The plan should answer a series of questions—what, when, where, who, how, and why—for each marketing activity.

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Responsibility for Preparing Marketing Plans

The marketing executive is responsible for preparing the marketing plan to meet the business goals.

The planning process often involves several people. For example, the product manager may prepare a formal plan for his or her area of responsibility. Then they coordinate and receive input from advertising, marketing research, sales, and other marketing specialists.

The product group manager will then coordinate the plans of each product manager. Then the VP, Marketing will review and consolidate the plans covering all marketing operations, and creating a master marketing plan.

Preparing Marketing Plan
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The Format of the Marketing Strategic Plan

Marketing plan formats and contents depend on the size of the organization, managerial responsibilities for planning, products and marketing, and other situational factors.

The areas typically included in a marketing plan are shown below.

1.0 Executive Summary

2.0 Situation Analysis

2.1 Market Summary

2.1.1 Market Demographics
2.1.2 Market Needs
2.1.3 Market Trends
2.1.4 Market Growth

2.2 SWOT Analysis

2.2.1 Strengths
2.2.2 Weaknesses
2.2.3 Opportunities
2.2.4 Threats

2.3 Competition
2.4 Services
2.5 Keys to Success
2.6 Critical Issues
2.7 Channels
2.8 Macroenvironment

3.0 Marketing Strategies

3.1 Mission
3.2 Marketing Objectives
3.3 Financial Objectives
3.4 Target Marketing
3.5 Positioning
3.6 Strategy Pyramids
3.7 Marketing Mix
3.7.1 Services and Service Marketing
3.7.2 Pricing
3.7.3 Promotion
3.7.4 Service
3.7.5 Channels of Distribution

3.8 Marketing Research

4.0 Financials, Budgets, and Forecasts

4.1 Break-even Analysis
4.2 Sales Forecast
4.2.1 Sales Breakdown

The market target provides a focus on preparing the marketing plan. The guide for preparing the strategic marketing audit (also known as marketing assessment). The marketing assessment can be used as a checklist for the content of the marketing plan.

The marketing assessment shows the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing programs and organization. It often uncovers short-term and mid-term marketing opportunities that may have been missed.

The Strategic Marketing Planning Unit

The choice of the planning unit may vary due to the product market portfolio of the organization. Some companies planning managed by individual products or brands.

Others work with product lines, market targets, or specific customers. Flexibility exists in the selection of market planning team, several parameters should be considered in making the decision.

The planning unit should compromise a specific product, product line, or mixer products:

  • Serves the same or a closely related marketing target.
  • Uses the same marketing program positioning strategy.
  • Shares common marketing program components, such as distribution channels, advertising, and sales force.
  • Is large enough to represent and meaningful unit in strategy formulation and implementation.
  • Is it small enough to facilitate analysis, planning, and management.

The planning team may correspond to the marketing organization’s design. The market target provides a useful basic planning focus regardless of how the plan is created.

Because of the scope and importance of a new product, it may require a separate plan.

There are three reasons to do this:

  1. The approval procedure for a new product plan may differ from that of regular product plans
  2. There may be timing differences between the new product introduction in existing product plans
  3. Promotion and other marketing activities may be different for new and existing products.

The actual new product plan contains many of the elements that are in the marketing plans for existing products.

Preparing the Marketing Plan

?Before you begin writing your strategic marketing plan find a great strategic marketing plan template to start with. Create your demand waterfall to help predict leads and sales flow.

Executive Summary

The marketing planning document should open with a short summary of the main goals and recommendations called the executive summary. The executive summary permits higher management, boards, and others to quickly grasp the major thrust of the plan.

Strategic Situation Summary

This part of the plan includes the market definition and its important characteristics, size estimates, and growth projections. Market segmentation identifies the segments considered for targeting by management. The competitor summary illustrates the key competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, probable future actions, and the organization’s competitive advantage. Supporting information for the summary may be placed in an appendix or separate analysis.

Market Target Description

The planning information includes:

  • Each target market
  • Size and growth rate
  • Ideal customer profile
  • Description of end-users (personas)
  • Positioning strategy
  • Other available information is useful in planning and implementation.

Targeting priority should also be indicated by marketing management to aid and resource allocation.

Objectives for the Market Targets

This shows what the plan is expected to accomplish during the year. Some objectives may be extended beyond one year into the future. If so, they should also be shown in the annual plan. The objective should be stated for each market target. These may be financial, market position, or customer satisfaction achievements. Where possible the objective should be quantified.

The objective should also be included for each component of the marketing program. These are usually included in the positioning strategy portion of the plan.

The mix component objectives often indicate immediate results that move the strategy toward the target marketing objectives. Objectives form a hierarchy ranging from very broad corporate objectives to the specific objectives of a salesperson.

I tend to use smart goals. Here’s an example of SMART goals for a client.

Pick one goal that is SMART. For example, with a recent client, they recently launched an e-commerce website. They wanted 10,000 monthly visitors in 30-days. So we developed these SMART goals.

S – Specific: 10,000 visitors

M – Measurable: Google Analytics

A – Attainable: How to get there.

R – Relevant: Inspiring others is what I live for.

T – Time-bound: ~30 days.

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Use this marketing scorecard toolkit to bring structure and meaning to your numbers.

Marketing Program Positioning Strategy

The positioning statement indicates how the company would like to be perceived. It how you want to be seen in the eyes and minds of the targeted customers and prospects. Specific strategies for product, distribution, price, and promotion are detailed in this part of the strategic marketing plan. Actions to be taken, responsibilities, time schedules, and other implementation information should be included in the strategic marketing plan.

When more than one market target is involved, the positioning strategy discussion can be divided into two parts:

  1. The marketing mix actions that apply to all targets
  2. Those mix actions that are unique to a specific segment.

For example, advertising may be targeted to the broad market and two specific segments.

Planning and implementation responsibilities often involve more than one person or department. An executive or marketing team should be assigned responsibilities for each market target in each marketing mix component.

Product and geographic responsibilities are also assigned and some organizations.

Responsibilities and coordination needs should be indicated for marketing units and other business functions. The planning process should include representatives from all of the areas responsible for implementing the plan.

Contingency plans may be included in the positioning section of the strategic marketing plan or in a separate section.

The contingencies consider possible actions if the anticipated planning environment is different from what actually occurs.

In today’s turbulent business environment it makes it difficult to forecast future events.

The planner should evaluate how the marketing strategy will be changed if the future is different than anticipated. Actions were major contingencies that should be included in the marketing plan.

Forecasting and Budgeting Your Marketing Plan

marketing budgets
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Marketing financial planning consists of forecasting revenues and profits and estimating the expenses necessary to carry out the marketing plan.

The marketing executive is responsible for the market target, target audience, product, geographic area, or other units that may prepare the forecast. Such as the sales department.

Comparative data on sales, profits, and expenses from prior years provides a useful length to previous results. If plans that involve SBUs should be consolidated at a higher organizational level.

I suggest a strategic marketing budgeting approach that identifies the quantitative metrics for each task performance. These are the tasks required for subordinate resource units to achieve a specific marketing objective.

Objectives and tasks are determined for each organizational level and delegated for implementation to the level below.

The approaching encourages involvement in the planning and budgeting process by the marketing team. Evaluation and control are aided by the numerical statements of objectives and task performance.

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Conclusion about Strategic Marketing Plan

Remember Alice and the Cat. What shall I do vs. what should I do? Get it right and you are on your way to success!

We have seen that one of the most important outputs of the marketing process as a strategic marketing plan. We can now ask, what does a marketing plan look like?

Marketing plans will have several sections, varying with how much detail the leadership team wants from its marketing managers.

Creating marketing plans, particularly product and brand plans, will have the following section:

  • Executive summary
  • Current market situation
  • Opportunity an issue analysis
  • Objectives and marketing goals
  • Marketing strategy
  • Marketing programs
  • Projected profit and loss statements
  • Controls

How do you create your strategic marketing plan?

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General FAQ’s

What is a strategic marketing plan?

Strategic Marketing Planning is the method of designing a marketing plan that helps reach specific goals and objectives. The marketing plan help with management decisions, employee behavior towards the brand, and also the response to the market conditions and buyer behavior. Get this marketing plan template.


How do you write a strategic marketing plan?

Here are 5 steps to developing a strategic marketing plan:
1. Set goals and objectives. Before you create a marketing plan.
2. Map and create a communication architecture for your messages.
3. Your messaging is part of your marketing strategy and your brand.
4. Create and test your marketing tactics.
5. Create a marketing budget.
6. Track, monitor, and adapt your plan.


How can a strategic marketing plan help a small business?

A strategic marketing plan helps small business by:
1. Reaching its brand and sales goals.
2. Helping grow your business sales revenue.
3. The marketing plan will include a marketing communication section where it will help you communicate your unique value proposition to potential customers to sell more.

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