Does your business have a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Does your business have a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Do you know the difference between a Strategic Marketing Plan and a Tactical Marketing Plan? There’s a key distinction, and without the former, the latter is set up to fail. Your Strategic Marketing Plan is the firm foundation on which your marketing activity (Tactical Marketing Plan) should be built. Accredited Consultant, Kara Stanford, tells us more. 


You can put lots of effort into your marketing activities – that is the tactics (like email, social media, etc.), but if your marketing is built on sand, then you’ll continue to leak profit, time and energy. How can you tell what your marketing is built on? And, how can you make it solid ground?

Organisations with a Strategic Marketing Plan have these three things in common:

  • Can clearly articulate what they are about – as can everyone else involved in their business.
  • Have a written, up to date, active Strategic Marketing Plan. It states what they are selling, why and to whom. It provides their tactical marketers with clear guidance so they can choose the right marketing tactics to achieve the organisation’s goals.
  • Are in control of their marketing. They might be able to do better. But they know they’re moving in the right direction; because they know what that direction is.

Create that rock-solid marketing foundation:

If you’ve read this blog before, you will have heard Bryony Thomas say this before… There is no magic marketing diet pill. No short-cut. This requires thought, time and effort. It will be worth it. It will give your marketing the best chance to succeed. The rock-solid ground that all marketing should be built on is: a Strategic Marketing Plan.

What are the components of a Strategic Marketing Plan?

1. Understand your clients and their context

Assess what’s going on with your clients and the market place they exist in. This helps you best position your business to meet market needs. It also allows you to set realistic marketing goals and realistic plans to achieve these goals.

2. Understand your marketing capabilities

Get a genuine picture of your organisation’s marketing resource: time, budget, current set-up and skills. Now you can plan what marketing you are capable of doing rather than your tactical marketing plan being a wish-list that never gets done. (See: How to resource marketing in your growing business)

3. Clarity of purpose

Your organisation needs to be very clear about what it does and doesn’t do. This will provide you with immediate and obvious guidance about the actions you should and shouldn’t take. (See: Foundation Leak 14 – The Wrong Kind of Work)

Not convinced? Then let’s head to the world of SciFi for an example: To boldly go where no man has gone before. Yes, the stated mission of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek. How does it help the crew? They’re mooching along in space and up pops a planet that humans visited last year. Do they stop? No. Because it is not what their mission is. Man has been there before. Carry on.

Your business needs to have this stated clarity of purpose so it helps you with decision making. It rules our distractions, and shines a light on what’s right. (See: You’re not Watertight readt if you can’t say WHY you do it)

4. An unambiguous description of how you want your organisation to be known in its market place

People in your chosen market place need to be able to quickly discern what you are about and what you do, so that the right clients can choose your services. You can provide this ‘short-cut’ by choosing your market position, then making sure that everything your organisation writes, produces, says and does reinforces and reflects this position. You need to help them decide which of their psychological boxes to file you in. (See: The three Cs of what you do: Clarity, Consistency, and Context)

A great example are hotels. Do you want cheap, cheerful, comfy and hearty breakfasts? Then a Premier Inn might be just the place for you. Check out their adverts, website and marketing to see how they’ve consistently achieved this brand positioning in the UK. Do you want luxury, quirky, with little surprises you want to tell your friends about, check out the Mr & Mrs Smith guide.

5. State clearly what you need your marketing to achieve

Marketing exists to support business goals. So, your overall marketing goals have to be contributing to the success of your organisation.

Here’s a simplified example:
Business aim: To have gross turnover of £1m in Year 1

Strategic Marketing goals:

  • £0.5m income from selling Product A to Market X
  • £0.3m income from selling Product B to Market Y
  • £0.2m income from selling Product A to Market Z

These Strategic Marketing goals make it very clear what your marketing has to achieve to contribute to the business aim. Now, you can ensure that all your marketing activities (tactical marketing) are working to achieve these strategic goals.You would also headline marketing metrics like Lifetime Customer Value in here. It’s in your Tactical Marketing Plan that you turn these into tactical metrics, like size of database, number of respondents, etc. (See: Are you practising mindful marketing measurement?)

Like building a real house, build on sand and whatever you do, your efforts will be frustrating and fruitless. But build on rock and your efforts are likely to pay you back. Watertight Marketing is a go-to-market methodology. That is, it provides clear steps to take your products and services to market, you first need to know what you are selling to whom. This means that for Watertight Marketing to work most powerfully for you, you need to already have this strategic thinking in place.

© Watertight Marketing Ltd


Kara StanfordBy Kara Stanford – Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant.  Kara is a strategic marketing consultant based in Hampsire. She works with ambitious business who aren’t satisfied with being ‘good enough’. See Kara’s full profile

Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @KaraKMS


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