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Marketing Strategy: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Create One

A marketing strategy is a plan to achieve a defined marketing goal to reach consumers and convert them into customers.

CMOs Respond to Economic Uncertainty in a Variety of Ways

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Build a Marketing Strategic Plan That Works — Even in Volatile Times!

Effective marketing strategic planning connects your enterprise strategy to specific initiatives for your function. Done well, your marketing strategic plan should provide a clear roadmap to deliver on your business goals.

Use this one‑page marketing strategic planning template to:

  • Build a clear, measurable marketing strategic plan aligned to your organizational goals 
  • Combat 7 costly planning mistakes to develop a robust and agile strategy for your marketing department 
  • Capture and communicate your marketing strategy to stakeholders with an exclusive one-page template

The core components of a marketing strategy

The most effective marketing strategies are built for a dynamic environment to drive the business forward. 

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Spend
  • Strategic KPIs
  • Capabilities
  • Marketing Mix

Build resilient marketing strategies aligned to enterprise goals

For CMOs , the challenge is not just to “do more with less” but rather “do the right less” due to unpredictable macro forces and pressure from new, wide-ranging and ambitious enterprise objectives. CMOs must focus on resilient methods for strategy development that help them define and communicate marketing’s contributions to organizational objectives.

Four themes are essential for marketing leaders to implement in their marketing strategies this year and beyond:

Customer journey orchestration

Marketing’s shifting role in the enterprise

Strategic brand management

Change and volatility management

Developing a succinct and compelling strategy also requires a balance between a high-level vision that captures stakeholders’ attention and tactical guidance for the marketing team. CMOs must articulate their marketing strategy by sharing highlights without overwhelming business stakeholders with too much information.

A common marketing strategy structure is to nest business objectives, marketing objectives, marketing initiatives and related marketing measurements. But this approach has gaps in each area and leads to wasted resources and a misalignment of business objectives. It may look tidy and organized, but it’s masking underlying problems. A successful marketing strategy is cognizant of potential gaps and addresses them by:

Strategy Gaps

Probing for the drivers behind business goals and identifying issues both inside and outside of marketing that must be solved for you to achieve your goals

Selecting the right marketing initiative to support business objectives

Selecting key performance indicators that accurately show the impact of marketing initiatives and connect back to the business goals they are designed to support

Reduce, protect and invest to drive growth and efficiency

CMOs must prepare for the tough decisions required to address the economic headwinds that lie ahead. Even the most optimistic CMOs should be ready to make some tough cost decisions, especially in a volatile and changeable environment. To survive and thrive in the face of budgetary challenges, CMOs need marketing spend strategies that optimize costs, strengthen their ability to meet evolving business goals and deliver maximum business value. 

By cost optimization, we mean a continuous business-focused activity to drive structured spend optimization while maximizing business value. When done effectively, it seeks to improve efficiency and productivity, shifting spend from lower-yield programs to those that can deliver greater return.

For marketing, that means assessing your spend in key areas such as agencies, media, martech , operations, digital commerce, campaigns, marketing analytics and projects — exploring how each one supports (or hinders) the customer journey and influences business revenue. Consider what programs actively create marketing value versus those that merely support it. 

Take action now, even if your CFO has yet to start talking about reducing costs. The marketing spend playbook you must adopt has to reflect the specific challenges that lie ahead. These essential steps should be part of your playbook to navigate economic headwinds:

Step 1: Benchmark your budgets to identify how your current budget and spending stack up against peers and competitors.

Step 2: Build your understanding on the changing behaviors of your customers and consumers. Build your VoC capabilities to track how economic uncertainty is impacting your customers.

Step 3: Shore up your scenario-planning capabilities to build agile, adaptive marketing strategies.

Step 4: Make an assertive case for the value of marketing investments. Invest in marketing because it is essential to delivering results today and keeping your brands top of mind as buying cycles elongate and spending power is challenged. It also maximizes the chances of accelerating out of the economic headwinds tomorrow. Rather than accept that cuts are inevitable, make a confident and assertive case for strong and continued investment.

The Evolution of Cost Management

Step 5: Cut marginal marketing costs. Build a cost management plan that balances potential fiscal benefits with risks.

Step 6: Refocus your investments in media, agencies and technology. Identify the investments across marketing’s operating model that enable you to deliver efficiency today and growth tomorrow.

For more on marketing spend, download:  Marketing Cost Optimization Framework

Define the performance metrics that link strategy to execution

Marketing has traditionally been seen as a cost center rather than a revenue-generating function, which has led to CMOs having to justify investments and keep costs in check. This is happening even more now, as CMOs seek to restore their postpandemic marketing budgets.

To position marketing as a value creator, strategies need to be informed by data and the use of consistent measurement frameworks. This prevents the cherry-picking of results, helps connect activities to the business and therefore helps articulate value to others.

However, calculating how marketing creates value can be elusive when trying to make a direct connection between a marketing activity (such as a digital campaign) and a business outcome (such as a sale). To show value, it’s imperative to deliver marketing metrics based on the roles and decisions supported — from the CEO, who needs to know about business outcomes, to campaign managers and analysts, who leverage granular metrics to optimize marketing tactics. Establishing a clear hierarchy of marketing metrics ensures the right people see the right measures at the right time — and are using those metrics for the right purpose.

If ROI cannot be easily measured, CMOs must frame marketing activities by the value they will deliver to business objectives. The key performance metrics for a demand generation program, for example, are more leads, higher-quality leads and an increase in funnel velocity. The value of these metrics collectively can be measured as return on objectives (ROO). ROO is an alternative way of measuring value when marketers are unable to show the return on investment (ROI) either directly or indirectly. 

Using the right KPIs with the right people also helps drive more confident decision making, making it easier to evaluate activities, understand when and where to shift direction, and respond to new changes and challenges.

Marketing-Led Innovation Overview

Build capabilities that enable agile execution

CMOs naturally assess the readiness of their teams to quickly adapt to waves of change. But too often they turn to the extremes of full-scale reorganization or isolated, role-based hiring tactics to alleviate short-term pressures. Rather than focus on jobs or reporting structure, CMOs should focus on sourcing the mix of capabilities they will require to adapt and execute their strategic initiatives in the mid- to long term.

Accurately assessing capabilities and capacity requirements is a key component of strategic planning and is critical for proper execution. To develop adaptive marketing capabilities to deliver on your strategic objectives, implement these four major steps:

Identify capability gaps.

Source capabilities.

Align capabilities to structure.

Evaluate impact and emerging needs.

Identify capability gaps

Develop your own capability assessment to think about what capabilities your team will need to execute against your strategic plan. Collaborate with your leadership team and identify larger functional groupings of related job roles and specific skills or expertise, that will support the deliverables you require, create scenario plans for changes you anticipate, and address how to resource or align those capabilities.

Source capabilities

Determine how you will resource missing capabilities or capacity. You may invest in upskilling current employees, acquire the capability by hiring or merger/acquisition, or partner to access the capability through agencies, freelancers, services or vendors.

Example of Marketing Capabilities

Align capabilities to structure

Decide how to fit the desired capabilities for internal staff into your current organizational structure. Adding capabilities or redeploying talent doesn’t require a full-scale redesign. Instead, think about ways to incorporate them with the least impact to the existing organization. This will reduce disruption and the likelihood of change fatigue.

Evaluate impact and emerging needs

No matter how carefully you craft your organization design, it will need to adapt as your strategy changes. Rather than seeing organization design as a single project, you need to view it as an ongoing process that’s necessary to ensure that the capabilities of your team continue to adapt to support the requirements of your strategy.

Optimize the channel strategy with a holistic approach

Marketing channels, both online and offline, play a vital role in spreading the word about a brand and reaching potential customers. Marketing leaders realize the importance of a clear and cohesive cross-channel experience, but too often they struggle to break their marketing channel strategies out of organizational silos.

Our research shows that across industries, customers reported using an average of four unique channels throughout their interaction with a brand, such as a company’s website, email, SMS and social media, during their customer buying journey. To build an effective channel portfolio, successful brands first gather insights to identify target customer groups and establish key leadership priorities. These insights include:

Top marketing goals and how they can be supported across channels

 Personas or segments that define the brand’s target customer

Brand research on customer sentiments and economic opportunities or threats

Existing customer journey map(s)

Ideal customer actions across the journey that would help meet the brand’s objectives

A thorough understanding of the target audience, business goals and available resources enables a brand to establish its overarching strategy across channels, versus at an individual channel level. An optimized channel strategy should:

Put the customer first. Brands that consider their target customers’ channel preferences and how they use those channels are less likely to invest in experiences that don’t align with customer expectations.

Factor in existing channel strategies. Achieving the right channel mix requires an honest look at a brand’s experiences to ensure they drive ideal customer actions. Successful marketers take an active approach to fine-tuning versus a “fix and forget” approach.

Prioritize. Every organization has its unique resource constraints. Having a thorough understanding of customer needs and how the existing channel strategy is (or isn’t) performing will help ensure that investments fuel the channels most likely to drive returns.

Improve performance, optimize investments and quantify marketing’s impact

CMOs are under tremendous pressure to prove the impact of marketing. But incomplete data across an ever-growing mix of marketing activities, channels, devices and touchpoints can lower trust in their performance metrics.

Marketing mix modeling (MMM) is a technique used to evaluate how the different elements of a marketing mix affect overall performance. By using MMM to identify which tactics have the strongest impact, CMOs can make data-driven decisions about their marketing strategies, track the return on marketing investments, allocate resources more effectively, and optimize their tactics to achieve their objectives successfully.

Marketers still struggle to answer foundational questions about the impact of marketing on the business. The goal of MMM is to determine the incremental impact of marketing activities and use those findings to answer strategic marketing questions. The details of the modeling approach differ, but most forms use aggregate (not user-level) data. As a result, MMM can consider a wide range of channels and external influences, including:

Digital media (e.g., social media and banner ads)

Traditional media (e.g., broadcast television, out-of-home and radio)

Company factors that can impact conversions (e.g., inventory levels, staffing or geographic footprint)

Market forces (e.g., relative price, competitive media spending and share of voice)

External factors (e.g., weather, seasonality, economic conditions or consumer confidence)

MMM has a long history, and it continues to evolve. If you looked at marketing mix a decade ago and dismissed it as “insights only at the channel level” or “results only updated quarterly,” you may want to reconsider. Recent improvements in MMM include faster turnaround times, greater depth of insights and more prescriptive recommendations.

In short, successful CMOs use MMM to ease challenges and uncertainty around marketing’s growing complexity.

To maximize the effectiveness of your marketing mix model, adopt these three practices:

Prioritize insights. Rank the outputs that will bring the most value from your marketing mix model. Then lean into scenario planning and model validation to improve program effectiveness.

Build trust through validation. Our research showed that marketing leaders with higher trust in their MMM were more likely to describe insights delivered by marketing analytics as “essential to our organization’s success.” But MMM findings often challenge conventional wisdom. Treat your marketing mix model as a credible suggestion, not a mandate.

Plan and optimize. Engage in what-if scenario planning to create resilient, higher-performing marketing plans over time.

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marketing strategic planning management

Frequently asked questions

What is a marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy is a plan designed to achieve a defined marketing goal, generally to reach a particular audience of consumers and convert them into customers.

What makes a good marketing strategy?

A good marketing strategy is succinct, compelling and balances a high-level vision that captures stakeholders’ attention with tactical guidance for the marketing team. A good marketing strategy must also be built for a dynamic environment to drive the business forward.

Why is a marketing strategy important?

A marketing strategy is important because it defines what the function will do to help the enterprise be successful — how it plans to compete and win in its chosen markets or deliver expected services to consumers and fulfill its public mission.

Drive stronger performance on your mission-critical priorities.

Peep Strategy

marketing strategic planning management

What is Strategic Marketing Planning? A Step-by-Step Guide

In today’s fiercely competitive business environment, understanding what is strategic marketing planning and creating a successful plan is crucial to achieving growth, profitability, and long-term sustainability.

This step-by-step guide will not only help you comprehend the importance of what is strategic marketing planning but also provide essential insights on how to develop and implement a well-rounded marketing strategy to stay ahead of the competition.

Short Summary

  • Strategic marketing planning is a systematic approach to achieving business objectives and optimizing resources.
  • Key components include market research, target audience identification, objective setting & utilization of the 4 Ps of marketing.
  • The process involves effective execution & monitoring with regular reviews for successful results and continuous improvement.

Understanding Strategic Marketing Planning

Strategic marketing planning is a systematic approach that our agency follows to reach predetermined marketing objectives. It provides the essential foundation, guidelines, and steps to achieve those objectives. Strategic planning plays a pivotal role in optimizing marketing efforts and achieving better results, ultimately leading to business growth and profitability.

Definition and significance

Strategic marketing planning is defined as a systematic approach to achieving marketing goals through the analysis, segmentation, and identification of competitive advantages. Efficient marketing operations are crucial for the successful strategic marketing implementation of the successful strategic marketing plan. By employing successful strategic marketing planning , businesses can ensure that their marketing plan is well-executed and delivers the desired results.

Crafting a successful marketing strategy primarily emphasizes the marketing mix, which consists of the following:

Incorporating price into a strategic marketing plan is essential to guarantee that the value of the product is justified to prospective customers.

Key components

The essential elements of strategic marketing planning include:

  • Market research
  • Identification of the target audience
  • Establishment of objectives
  • Formulation of the marketing mix
  • Assessment of performance

A SWOT analysis is a tool used to evaluate a company’s internal strengths and weaknesses in comparison to external opportunities and threats.

Defining the ideal customer profile is crucial in creating efficient marketing communication strategies, conserving time and resources by concentrating on the requirements of the current consumer, and serving as the foundation of any marketing campaign.

The Strategic Marketing Planning Process

The strategic marketing planning process is a comprehensive approach to achieving business objectives by conducting market research, identifying the target audience, and setting marketing goals that align with overall business objectives. This process enables marketers to gain an understanding of the business’s current standing and craft suitable marketing strategies, optimizing marketing efforts and achieving better results.

By following this process, marketers can ensure that their marketing efforts are aligned with the overall business objectives.

Market research and analysis

Market research and analysis play an essential role in understanding external factors, market trends, and consumer behavior and conducting a competitive analysis to identify potential opportunities and threats. By analyzing the business environment, prevailing market trends, and consumer behavior, the likelihood of the marketing plan’s success is enhanced.

A competitive analysis assists in identifying opportunities for improvement in the largest competitors’ marketing strategies, enabling the agency to focus on areas where they are lagging behind.

Identifying target audience

Identifying the target audience involves:

  • Defining the ideal customer profile based on similarities between existing clients and prospective customers
  • Recognizing the target audience is significant in the strategic marketing planning process
  • Assisting businesses in creating efficient marketing communication strategies
  • Conserving time and resources by concentrating on the requirements of the current consumer
  • Serving as the foundation of any marketing campaign

It is important to understand the target audience in order to create effective marketing campaigns that will reach the target audience.

Setting marketing goals

Setting marketing goals requires using prior data and desired business outcomes to establish realistic objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). In strategic marketing planning, specific marketing goals may include acquiring a certain number of new clients, growing followers on social media, or sourcing additional leads for the sales funnel.

Establishing marketing objectives enables the ability to:

  • Assess performance
  • Assign resources
  • Maintain a clear direction
  • Make decisions based on data
  • Ultimately leads to improved marketing results.

Developing Marketing Strategies

Developing marketing strategies involves crafting the marketing mix and selecting appropriate marketing channels to reach the target audience effectively. The marketing mix is a combination of product, price, promotion, and place, which can be utilized to select marketing channels by determining which channels are most effective at reaching the target audience.

By understanding the target audience and the marketing mix, marketers can determine which channels are most effective.

Crafting the marketing mix

Crafting the marketing mix involves focusing on the four Ps of marketing to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. The components of the marketing mix are:

A successful marketing strategy primarily emphasizes the marketing mix.

Each of the four is one of the four. Ps of marketing must be carefully considered when creating a marketing strategy. Product refers to a product.

Selecting marketing channels

Selecting marketing channels involves choosing the most effective digital and traditional channels to boost brand recognition, draw in new customers, and accomplish marketing objectives. Digital channels such as websites, social media, email, search engine optimization, and online advertising are available, as well as traditional channels such as television, radio, print, and outdoor advertising.

Choosing marketing channels can assist businesses in:

  • Connecting with their target audience
  • Maximizing visibility
  • Utilizing resources effectively
  • Increasing brand recognition
  • Monitoring and assessing outcomes.

Implementing and Monitoring the Strategic Marketing Plan

Implementing and monitoring the strategic marketing plan involves executing the plan, managing projects, and measuring performance to ensure success. Execution and project management are essential components of the strategic marketing plan, which can be ensured by using tools such as Teamwork or Plaky to assign tasks, set timelines, and track milestones.

These tools can help ensure that the plan is executed on time and that all tasks are completed.

marketing strategic planning management

Execution and project management

We utilize project management tools such as Teamwork or Plaky to assign tasks, set timelines, track milestones, and ensure the successful implementation of the marketing plan . These tools offer a convenient solution to marketing planning by providing capabilities for task management and assignment, as well as a pre-made marketing strategy plan template.

With these tools, teams can easily collaborate on tasks, assign deadlines, and track progress. This is a very good article.

Performance measurement

Performance measurement entails tracking progress, assessing effectiveness, and making data-driven modifications to marketing strategies, tactics, and KPIs/OKRs. Monitoring progress assists in assessing the efficacy of marketing strategies and tactics and in recognizing areas that require adjustment.

Assessing effectiveness enables us to recognize which strategies and tactics are successful and which are not and to make adjustments as needed.

Adapting to Market Changes

Adapting to market changes in the strategic marketing planning process involves:

  • Modifying the marketing strategy to remain competitive
  • Consistently reviewing and updating the marketing plan
  • Recognizing and responding to the changing needs of the target market.

It may also include product adaptation to appeal to a new or evolving customer base.

Regular review and updates

To avoid potential implementation issues caused by fluctuating internal and external factors and to guarantee compatibility with corporate objectives, it is essential to regularly review and revise the strategic marketing plan.

Regular review and updates of the strategic marketing planning process are essential for the following:

  • Assessing effectiveness
  • Responding to changing market conditions
  • Ensuring alignment with business goals
  • Optimizing resources.

Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement involves executing, monitoring, and refining the marketing plan to reach goals, increase competitiveness, and foster strategic thinking. Launching, executing, reporting, and iterating the marketing plan should be done in an orderly fashion to ensure objectives are met, competitiveness is increased, and strategic thinking is promoted.

Ongoing improvement is fundamental for any effective strategic marketing plan. It guarantees that the plan is current and that objectives are being achieved. Moreover, it encourages strategic thinking and boosts competitiveness.

marketing strategic planning management

In conclusion, a successful strategic marketing plan is pivotal to achieving business growth, profitability, and long-term sustainability. Through a step-by-step approach involving market research and analysis, target audience identification, goal setting, marketing strategy development, implementation, monitoring, and continuous improvement, businesses can adapt to market changes, stay competitive, and achieve their objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the marketing strategy planning.

Strategic marketing planning is the process of creating a plan to achieve a specific marketing goal, such as increasing revenue and profits or improving the brand’s visibility. Companies use this process to outline their objectives, the programs they’ll use to reach them, who is responsible for those metrics, and when they’ll be achieved.

These objectives are typically broken down into short-term and long-term goals, each goal having its own set of strategies and tactics. The plan should also include a timeline for when each goal should be achieved, as well as a budget.

What is the purpose of a strategic marketing plan?

Strategic marketing planning is an essential process that involves creating a plan to reach specific marketing goals. This plan outlines objectives, programs, who is responsible, and when the goals need to be achieved in order to increase revenue and profits, gain visibility, discourage competitors, or improve their appearance.

What are the five parts of a strategic marketing plan?

A strategic marketing plan consists of five core components: product, price, promotion, place, and people. These are the key elements that you need to focus on in order to create a successful plan that will help your brand reach its goals.

Each of these components should be carefully considered and planned out in order to ensure that your plan is effective. The product should be tailored to meet the needs of your target audience, while the price should be reasonable.

What are the 4 phases of strategic marketing planning?

The 4 phases of strategic marketing planning are formulation, implementation, evaluation, and modification. This process involves setting goals and objectives, analyzing internal and external business factors, product planning, implementation, and tracking progress to ensure successful outcomes.

Setting goals and objectives is the first step in the process. This involves identifying the desired outcomes and the resources needed to achieve them. Internal and external business factors must be considered.

What are the key components of strategic marketing planning?

Strategic marketing planning involves market research, target audience identification, goal setting, creating a marketing mix, and assessing performance. It is essential for businesses to have an effective strategy in place to be successful.

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What Is a Marketing Plan? And How to Create One

Learn what a marketing plan is, how they help businesses, and the steps for building yours.

[Featured image] A woman in a blue shirt shows a marketing plan on a whiteboard to a group.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a document that a business uses to execute a marketing strategy. It is tactical in nature, and, as later sections of this article explore, it typically includes campaign objectives, buyer personas, competitive analysis, key performance indicators, an action plan, and a method for analyzing campaign  results.  

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

In general, a marketing plan serves several purposes: 

Streamline and organize marketing efforts 

Guide businesses and their marketing teams through a sequence of marketing activities 

Determine how to measure a campaign’s success  

Effectively allocate the marketing campaign budget  

A business might develop a marketing plan for a specific need, campaign, or goal within its larger mission. Here are some examples: 

Launching a new product or service

Carrying out campaigns through different marketing channels, including social media , email marketing, print media, TV, or offline events  

Implementing paid advertising 

Measuring marketing efforts over specific periods of time, such as every quarter, six months, or year

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy vs. business plan

In researching what a marketing plan is, you may come across the related concepts of marketing strategy and business plan. Think of all three as written roadmaps for developing your business. You’ll find similarities among them, including your business objectives and information on your target market, but there are some important differences to know as you build these roadmaps, as we’ve laid out in the chart below. 

Review these roadmaps periodically to measure the success of your marketing and business efforts. 

How to create a marketing plan 

The following sections describe the components of a solid marketing plan and the steps to building each one. Develop each section in the order listed, and use insights from each section to guide your process in the ones that follow. Once you complete all of the sections, review your entire plan for areas that need refining. 

1. Executive summary

Here, you will write a short summary, usually no longer than a few paragraphs, to introduce the sections that follow. In a few paragraphs, orient readers to the following:

General information about the business, such as its mission, past accomplishments and setbacks, and brand identity

Information specific to the marketing campaign driving this plan and how it will advance or improve upon past marketing efforts 

You might choose to compose this section last, after you’ve written and refined the marketing plan as a whole. 

2. Marketing campaign goals 

Borrowing from your marketing strategy and business plan, state the marketing campaign's goals with specificity and data-driven metrics. For example:

 Specify “get more email subscribers” as “increase email subscribers by 50 percent by next quarter.” 

“Generate more online purchases” could be specified as “Drive traffic from paid Facebook ads to a sales page and increase the site’s conversion rate from 2 percent to 5 percent.”

3. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are the specific metrics you’ll monitor to measure the success of your marketing efforts. It’s important to determine KPIs so that you can continually optimize your tactics, reduce inefficiencies, and steer your marketing campaign toward success.  

KPI examples include:

 The number of website visitors

The number of new email subscribers

The number of event registrants 

The rate of converting leads into customers

Sales revenue figures

4. Buyer personas 

Refer to your marketing strategy and business plan to crystalize target market insights into detailed buyer personas. You can think of a buyer persona as a fictional character that you create based on your existing customers and extensive market research. Building clear buyer personas helps to focus your marketing efforts and drive campaign results. 

Answer these questions to get started:

What is this persona’s demographic profile, including age, income, location, occupation, etc? 

Where do they go to find information? 

What keywords do they use to search?

How do they prefer to purchase products and services?

At what times of the day are they most likely active on social media or other marketing channels, online or offline?

What words, phrases, and questions do they use to describe their challenges and goals?

Use answers to tailor every detail of your marketing campaign to your buyer persona and guide potential customers toward an action, such as subscribing to your email list or making a purchase.

5. Competitor analysis 

Refer again to your marketing strategy and business plan to extract key information about how competing brands are reaching customers in your target market. Then, examine competitors’ marketing strategies in more detail.

Here are three ways to generate marketing-specific information about competitors:

Use SEO tools like SEMRush to discover how your competitors are leveraging popular keywords, content, and ad copy to attract an audience.

Study competitors’ social media accounts and note the content they post to engage followers. 

Subscribe to competitors’ email lists to learn how they market and sell to potential leads right in their inboxes. 

6. Action plan 

Your campaign’s action plan should include the specific tactics and methods you’ll use to market your products and services to potential customers. 

Include the following information in your action plan:  

The campaign budget and target date of completion

Key milestones you need to pass on your way to achieving the goals 

The marketing channels you will use, offline and online 

The kinds of content you will create and your schedule for delivering it

Organic and paid marketing activities

7. Method of analyzing results 

Your marketing plan should describe how you will monitor KPIs and analyze your campaign results at each milestone. That way, you can find out what’s working and what’s not and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Be sure to set up analytic tools for each of your marketing channels, including your social media accounts, email system, website and landing pages, and event registration pages. Set calendar alerts based on your action plan for reviewing KPIs.

Which channels see the most traffic?

Which channels are converting at the highest rates? 

How are individual pieces of content performing?

How efficiently is your budget performing?

Which metrics are improving, staying the same, or declining over time? 

Marketing plan key takeaways

Remember: Having a solid marketing plan can make it possible to allocate your marketing budget effectively and streamline your marketing activities. By following the seven steps above, you may be able to see improvements in your marketing efforts, from attracting more ideal customers to inspiring them to take action. 

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What Is a Marketing Strategy?

  • How It Works
  • Strategies vs. Plans

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

  • Marketing Strategy FAQs
  • Marketing Essentials

Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One

marketing strategic planning management

Investopedia / Daniel Fishel

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition , key brand messaging, data on target customer  demographics, and other high-level elements.

A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

Key Takeaways

  • A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
  • Marketing strategies should revolve around a company’s value proposition.
  • The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.

Understanding Marketing Strategies

A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.

This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart ( WMT ) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.

Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans

The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan —a document that details the specific types of marketing activities that a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.

Marketing strategies should ideally have longer life spans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.

For example, a marketing strategy might say that a company aims to increase authority in niche circles where their clients visit. The marketing plan puts that in action by commissioning thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn.

Benefits of a Marketing Strategy

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization , or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.

Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.

Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.

  • Identify your goals: While sales are the ultimate goal for every company, you should have more short-term goals such as establishing authority, increasing customer engagement, or generating leads. These smaller goals offer measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan. Think of strategy as the high-level ideology and planning as how you accomplish your goals.
  • Know your clients: Every product or service has an ideal customer, and you should know who they are and where they hang out. If you sell power tools, you’ll choose marketing channels where general contractors may see your messaging. Establish who your client is and how your product will improve their lives.
  • Create your message: Now that you know your goals and who you’re pitching to, it’s time to create your messaging. This is your opportunity to show your potential clients how your product or service will benefit them and why you’re the only company that can provide it.
  • Define your budget: How you disperse your messaging may depend on how much you can afford. Will you be purchasing advertising? Hoping for a viral moment on social media organically? Sending out press releases to the media to try to gain coverage? Your budget will dictate what you can afford to do.
  • Determine your channels: Even the best message needs the appropriate venue. Some companies may find more value in creating blog posts for their website. Others may find success with paid ads on social media channels. Find the most appropriate venue for your content.
  • Measure your success: To target your marketing, you need to know whether it is reaching its audience. Determine your metrics and how you’ll judge the success of your marketing efforts.

Why does my company need a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.

What do the four Ps mean in a marketing strategy?

The four Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The four Ps can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It also can be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.

What does a marketing strategy look like?

A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and public relations campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the four Ps. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging  that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, and platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.

Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?

The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Walmart Corporate. “ About .”

HubSpot Blog. “ 7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2022 .”

i7 Marketing. “ 6 Steps to Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign .”

CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”

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The Definitive Guide to Strategic Marketing Planning

By Joe Weller | June 23, 2017

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In this article, we’ve researched and outlined the key components of a strategic marketing plan that will help you align your overall marketing and business goals.

Included on this page, you’ll find the essential steps to develop a strategic marketing plan with free downloadable templates, examples of how various marketing processes work , and how marketing automation can give you a competitive edge .

5 Essential Steps for a Successful Strategic Marketing Process

The strategic marketing process is a deliberate series of steps to help you identify and reach your goals. Even more, you’ll discover what your customers want and develop products that meet those needs. Here are the steps to a successful strategic marketing process.

  • Situation Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy/Planning
  • Marketing Mix
  • Implementation and Control

Marketing Process Overview

Strategic marketing planning involves setting goals and objectives, analyzing internal and external business factors, product planning, implementation, and tracking your progress. Consider the example of Apple, winner of the CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence for the past seven years. Here’s an example of the strategic marketing plan for one of the most successful companies in the world.   Mission: Apple is dedicated to making innovative, high-quality products.

Situation Analysis: Apple’s competitive advantage is driven by its commitment to understanding customer needs, focusing on the products that are core to its mission, and fostering a collaborative work culture.

Marketing Strategy: Apple usually is first to the marketplace with new products and the company relies on brand loyalty from existing customers as a strategy when launching new products and services.

Marketing Mix: While Apple offers a range of products, it values premium pricing and relies on strict guidelines for distribution.

Implementation and Control: Each Apple product complements the others and work within the same ecosystem, so customers tend to stay with the brand, creating loyal consumers.   The strategic marketing process puts all the pieces together so that everything you do contributes to the success of your business. Rather than executing haphazard activities and ideas, developing a solid plan that weaves goals and tactics into a seamless experience is essential. You can follow these steps to create products and services that will delight your customers and beat out your competitors.

Step One: Mission

First, identify and understand the company’s mission. Maybe it’s written down and promoted throughout the organization. If not, talk to stakeholders to find out why your company exists. A mission statement explains why a company is in business and how it can benefit consumers. Sometimes, the mission statement is aspirational, motivating staff and inspiring customers. Or it is simply a straightforward statement about who you are. Either way, you can’t plan a marketing strategy without knowing clearly what business you are in and why.   Here are some example mission statements:   Citigroup: Our goal for Citigroup is to be the most respected global financial services company. Like any other public company, we’re obligated to deliver profits and growth to our shareholders. Of equal importance is to deliver those profits and generate growth responsibly.   IKEA: At IKEA, our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.   Universal Health Services: To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.   Unlike the other steps in the planning process, senior leaders or the board of directors typically develop the mission statement and corporate objectives. Your role is to identify those objectives in the planning process to ensure that your efforts stay aligned with corporate leadership.   The mission statement is a core message that guides and influences your marketing strategy. Questions to ask when evaluating the mission:

  • Why is your company in business?
  • What is the purpose of your business?
  • What is the strategic influence for your business?
  • What is the desired public perception for your business?
  • How does your mission statement clarify your strategy?
  • How does your mission statement unify your team?

Step Two: Situation Analysis

The second step of the strategic marketing process is to evaluate internal and external factors that affect your business and market. Your analysis will illuminate your strengths and the challenges you face — either with internal resources or with external competition in the marketplace. Situation analysis provides a clear, objective view of the health of your business, your current and prospective customers, industry trends, and your company’s position in the marketplace.   There are several methods to conduct this analysis. A typical analysis is called a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, under your company’s control. What do you do well? What needs to be better? Opportunities and threats are external factors, such as interest rates or a new competitor in the market. Here are some questions that can help you identify internal and external factors:

  • Strengths: What do you do well? What are the factors that you control? What is your competitive advantage? How are your products and services superior to others in the marketplace?
  • Weakness: Where are you underperforming? What is limiting your ability to succeed? Where do limited resources affect your success?
  • Opportunities: What are untapped markets? Where is the potential for new business? Can you take advantage of any market trends?
  • Threats: What are the obstacles? Which external factors (political, technological, economic) can cause a problem?

SWOT Analysis with Summary Template

Download SWOT Analysis Template With Summary

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A 5C analysis (Company, Customers, Competitors, Collaborators, Climate) is another way to evaluate the market environment. Like SWOT, it includes an internal analysis as well as an exploration of external factors.

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Here are some questions you can ask when working on a 5C analysis:

  • Company: How successful are your product lines? What is your image in the marketplace? How effectively are you achieving your goals? How does your company’s culture affect your performance?
  • Customers: Who is your audience and what is the market size? How much is your customer base growing? What motivates customers to buy your product or service? What are overall sales trends and how is the buying process changing? 
  • Competitors: Who are your direct, indirect, and future competitors? What are their products and market shares? How are they positioned in the market? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Collaborators: Who are your suppliers, distributors, partners, and agencies? How can they help you grow your business? How does the stability of their business affect the success of your business?
  • Climate: What are the governmental policies and regulations that affect the market? What economic factors (inflation, interest rates) are at play? What trends influence your customers? What is the impact of technology on the demand for your product or how could technology give you an advantage over your competitors?

Download 5C Analysis Template

Excel   |   PDF

You can also conduct a PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological), which is similar to the climate section of a 5C analysis. This method provides a comprehensive analysis of external factors that could affect your company.

PEST Analysis

Here are some questions you can ask when performing a PEST analysis:

  • Political: What laws and regulators affect consumers? What’s the impact of trade regulations, employment laws, and tax guidelines? How stable are the foreign markets and countries in which you sell products, contract with suppliers, or offer services?
  • Economic: How do interest rates, inflation, taxes, and exchange rates affect your customers and your bottom line? What is the impact of the stock market on your business? What are the local business cycles and overall economic growth?
  • Social: What lifestyles and attitudes affect the buying habits of your consumers? What are the demographics of your customers (age, gender, education, etc.)? How are they changing?  
  • Technical: What patents, innovations and licenses can influence your company? Which manufacturing trends can increase your production levels or drive down costs? How can information technology help or hurt your product placement, positioning, and promotion?

Download PEST Analysis Template

Your analysis, no matter which method you use, will help you list the most critical problems and relevant opportunities, as well as show you how well your company can tackle projects. Once you have a clear picture of your business, you can identify potential markets and products.

Step Three: Marketing Plan

Now that you’ve identified opportunities through your analysis, you should prioritize and map out which ones you are going to pursue. Writing a marketing plan will specify your target customers and how you will reach them, and should also include a forecast of the anticipated results. These questions can help:

  • How will customers respond to your marketing efforts? 
  • How much will the plan cost? 
  • How will your competition respond? 

The data from your market research and situation analysis will help you build these projections into your plan.   Define Your Target Audience

Few companies can meet the needs and wants of the entire market. You want to split the market into a segment that aligns best with your strengths and opportunities. Your goal is to identify customers. You can select your target market by choosing all kinds of characteristics, behaviors, and demographics. The important thing is to make sure the audience is clearly defined and large enough to support your product or service.  

how to segment your target market

  Even though you may have some information about your customers based on your situation analysis, you may need to conduct more research on their needs and wants. With research, you can create detailed profiles or personas of your ideal customers. The more you know about your target audience, the more effectively you can offer them value through your product or service. Nothing matters more than how you make customers feel about your company.   Set Measurable Goals 

How will you know if your plan succeeds? You need specific, measurable goals with milestones that measure your progress. Do you want to increase your sales? The goal you set should specify how much you want to grow the sales number, and the timeframe for meeting that target. Each goal should be actionable and attainable through tactics you control. At this stage, avoid contingent goals, which are dependent on circumstances beyond your control. With each goal, list the tactics or steps you will take to achieve it. Combine simple, clear, and precise goals (whether it’s gaining customers, improving brand recognition or something else) with a detailed plan that defines the tactics to meet your goal. For more information on writing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals, read this article .    Identify and Set a Marketing Budget 

Now it’s time to allocate the resources that will turn your plan into action. Your budget will outline all the expected costs for implementing your marketing plan, including advertising, online content, branding, public relations, staffing costs, and more. Depending on the size of your budget, you may have to make some tough choices about which goals and tactics are the top priorities. Or you may have to adjust your tactics until you reach a budget that’s affordable. By creating the budget, you can finalize and stick to your plan. For more help with marketing budgets, read 12 Free Marketing Budget Templates .

Step Four: Developing Marketing Mix Decisions

At this stage of the strategic marketing process, it’s time to focus on the “how” of planning. Your marketing mix is based on the 4Ps of marketing, including Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.  In 1960, E. J. McCarthy first expressed the 4Ps, and it is probably the best-known way to describe the marketing mix. The 4Ps will guide the way you convey the value of your product to your customers. You are positioning your product and its competitive advantage. You need to be clear about what you are marketing: convenience or quality? And you need to know who is likely to buy your product or service.    By using the market research conducted in step two, you can develop the ideal marketing mix for your target audience and the type of product or service you sell. Although there are dozens of marketing channels, you will want to choose the tactics that will reach your prospects when they’ll be most receptive to your message.  

The Four Ps of Marketing

  Product: A product is a good or service that meets the needs of your target market. Even more, products solve problems. Whether you are developing a marketing plan for Coca-Cola, a luxury hotel, or a cell phone, you have to know what problem it solves and why your product is a unique solution. Make sure you have a clear understanding of all the details of your product, including its features, branding, and packaging.

  • What is the product or service?
  • What does the customer want from it?
  • What needs does it satisfy?
  • What features does it have to meet these needs?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • How does it compare with similar products?
  • Who are the competitors? 

Price: The price is the amount of money your target market is willing to pay for your product. Factors for price include any discounts, payment periods, and list price, as well as how much it costs your company to produce the product. You also need to consider overall marketplace conditions and your competition. How healthy is the economy? How much are your competitors charging for a similar product? Do they have the same business model?   The marketing message around your price depends on your market and your audience. Maybe it’s a way to position your product in a crowded marketplace. It might be a competitive advantage or a way of demonstrating the value of your product.

  • What is the value of the product to the customer?
  • Are there existing price points for similar products? If so, what are they?
  • Will a small decrease give you extra market share? How much will that affect the product’s perceived value?
  • Will discounts to certain market segments be part of your strategy?

Promotion: The way you communicate with your target audience about the value and benefit of your product is promotion. Think of promotion as an opportunity to educate your customers about your products and services. You teach them the value of what you offer and how your product meets their needs or solves their problem. There are countless ways to educate them through marketing channels including direct marketing, paid search and social, advertising, public relations, and sales promotions that create brand awareness. This extends to almost every aspect of how you present the product to your target market, and is everything that teaches your audience about your product or brand. 

  • Where can you get your marketing messages across to your target market? Options include advertising on TV and billboards, direct marketing, public relations, sponsored events, and promotions. Consider the details you used when segmenting your audience.
  • What marketing channels does your target market use on a regular basis? Where and when are they most ready to buy your product?
  • When is the best time to promote?
  • How do your competitors do their promotions?

Place: Consider place as product distribution or how you plan to get your product to your customers and make the buying process easy. Place includes distribution channels, outlets, and transportation to get the product to the target market.

  • Where do customers look for your product? In a store? Online? Through a catalogue?
  • Do you need a sales force to reach customers or should you sell directly to your target market?
  • What are the best distribution channels?
  • Where are your competitors reaching customers?

Step Five: Implementation and Control

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. Identify how and when you will launch your plan. At this stage of the strategic marketing process, you will reach out to customers to inform and persuade them about your product or service. Your next steps include getting the resources (cash and staffing) to market your product, organizing the people who will do the work, creating calendars to keep the work on track, and managing all the details for each goal. It will help you stay focused and energized if you create monthly benchmarks and projects, weekly action steps, and daily marketing appointments.   Remember, the strategic marketing process is dynamic. You need to regularly measure and evaluate the results of your plan in order to succeed. This will help you see whether you are accomplishing your goals and where you need to adjust tactics to improve your results. This can include looking at revenue, sales, customer satisfaction, the number of views your website receives, or other metrics. If the numbers aren’t meeting your projections, you can make changes to get back on track. You also need to monitor the actions of your competitors. How does the success of your product affect the price of similar items on the market? Are new products being released that could be perceived of greater value by your audience? Use this information to make informed decisions about the 4Ps for your product.

What Is the Definition of Strategic Marketing?

A marketing plan establishes the goals and tactics of every marketing campaign. It keeps everyone in your organization on the same page about the direction and purpose of your marketing efforts. A marketing plan also provides a way for you to measure your success. Without a plan, you won’t really know whether you’re succeeding.

While every individual campaign should have a plan, your company also needs a strategic marketing plan to guide your overall efforts. A strategic plan identifies your business goals, the marketplace in which you compete, your target audience, the ways you want to reach them, and how you will evaluate your success. It integrates everything you say and do to grow your company. A strategic marketing plan is not a static document that gets tossed in a drawer once it’s written. Instead, a plan is a living document that guides your work and is regularly updated to reflect changes in your business, your customers, and your competition.

The process of developing a strategic marketing plan is crucial to your business. You cannot create strategic marketing without strategic thinking. This planning helps you clarify your goals and identify where you see your business in the future, which ultimately strengthens your strategy. A strategic marketing planning process also helps with:

  • Providing a clear map of your company’s goals and how to achieve them.
  • Getting all stakeholders to share a common goal and a have a common understanding of your company’s opportunities and challenges.
  • Identifying and meeting customer needs with the right products in the right places.
  • Growing your market share and product lines, leading to more revenue.
  • Enabling smaller companies to compete with bigger firms.

One caution: A strategic marketing plan focuses on your goals for your products and customers. The overall business plan, which outlines all of your company’s goals, should support the marketing plan. If they don’t work together, neither plan will succeed.   What Problems Should You Anticipate in the Strategic Marketing Process 

Every manager knows to expect the best but plan for the worst. In the marketing planning process, here are some challenges you may face:

  • Confusing Strategy with Tactics: A strategic marketing plan outlines your larger goal. Sometimes, this can be confused with a tactical marketing plan. The difference between the two is that the strategy identifies your goals and objectives and the tactical marketing plan outlines the details for how you’ll reach those goals. Your strategy may be a larger goal, such as increasing your market share. Tactics are the action steps, such as lowering your prices, so more people buy your product. A successful plan needs both, implemented at the proper stage of the process.
  • Lack of Resources: Maybe your goal is to increase sales, but you don’t have the workforce to meet all the incoming orders. Perhaps you don’t have the resources to hire experienced people who can adequately staff the marketing pipeline. The strategic planning process will help you identify the resources you have and the best way to put them to work for the good of the company.
  • Assumptions About Your Customers: Market research can help you identify your target audience. Sometimes the audience changes, and your planning process should include steps for adjusting to the evolving tastes of consumers.

How Do Specific Marketing Processes Work?

The steps of the strategic marketing process (mission, situation analysis, marketing plan, marketing mix, and implementation and control) are different than the process for a specific marketing effort. Specific efforts may support one goal or business line, but the strategic process supports the entire mission of your organization.   Target Marketing Process

Target Marketing Process

Target marketing identifies the specific market segments that will help your business grow. The three main activities of target marketing are segmenting, targeting, and positioning. Organizations use this S-T-P approach to pinpoint the best prospective customers.

  • Segmenting: Segmenting divides the overall market into smaller groups based on demographics, geography, lifestyle or behavioral approaches.
  • Targeting: Choose the segment of potential customers that offers the most business opportunity for you.
  • Positioning: The final step is to position your product in a way that will appeal to the needs of your target audience and encourage them to buy your product.  

Content Marketing Process 

Content marketers generate demand for a product by generating a steady flow of content that focuses on the problems and desires of potential and current customers. Here are the five steps of the content marketing process: 

  • Plan: Develop a plan that specifies the details of creating, publishing, distributing, and measuring a content marketing program.
  • Create: Take key ideas and themes, and turn them into raw material.
  • Publish: Turn raw material into various kinds of content assets, including articles, blog posts, whitepapers, online events, videos, printed documents, and podcasts.
  • Distribute: Use a range of promotional tactics to distribute content assets.
  • Analyze: Track and measure the results so you can publish more effective content in the future.

Product Marketing Process

The product marketing process is the pipeline from strategy to implementation for a product marketing campaign. To be successful, this process focuses on making sure the product continues to meet the needs of customers throughout the product cycle. Here are the stages of this process:

  • Product: Research new ideas for meeting customer needs from a wide variety of sources, including customer feedback, sales requests, and competitor products.
  • Reach: Work with other departments to implement new ideas and develop marketing plans to deliver new products to consumers.
  • Audience: Track response through metrics and direct customer feedback.
  • Pricing: Prioritize innovation based on the customer value, the cost of implementing them, and the revenue they will generate. 

Inbound Marketing Process

Inbound Target Marketing Process

Inbound marketing draws prospective customers to your product by providing useful and quality content that entices them to find out more. The inbound approach includes content marketing, social strategies, and search engine optimization, all tactics that bring your target audience to you. It’s different than outbound marketing, a traditional approach in which you advertise your product or service, typically through television and radio, print ads, and direct mail. Here’s how inbound marketing works:

  • Attract and Engage: Create targeted content that answers your customers’ questions and be readily available online. This includes blog content, a social media presence, keywords that guide prospective customers to your site when they are searching for answers, and a well-designed and helpful website.
  • Convert: Get more information about your prospective customers so you can guide them through the sales funnel. Start collecting details about your customers through sign-up forms and landing pages, email newsletters, ebooks, whitepapers, and tip sheets. The key is to deliver targeted marketing to the right audience at the right time.
  • Close: Once you’ve collected detailed information about your prospective customers, you can customize the marketing that leads them to buy your product or service. This includes email messaging, which is typically done using marketing automation software that responds to the actions of a prospective customer.
  • Delight: While an immediate goal may be the sale of one product, your strategic goals focus on brand loyalty and long-term value. In this stage, you should be staying in touch with your customers, monitoring the conversations on social media, asking for feedback through surveys, and finding ways to provide rewards for customer loyalty. 

Email Marketing Process  

Email Campaign Segmentation Process

  Email marketing is one of the most powerful drivers of sales for many businesses. It has an advantage over direct mail because you can track and measure your results, and it tends to be less expensive than other marketing channels. Here’s an overview of the email marketing process:

  • Define: Identify your goals and your audience. Base the content of your email on who you want to reach and what you want them to do.
  • Test: Email marketing has a range of variables that can affect the performance of your campaign. You need to choose the best design, content, and format for the message you want to send.
  • Send: Email is one of the largest drivers of sales for many products. Each email you send has to align with your brand, connect with your audience, and offer a clear call to action.
  • Measure and Report: You want to understand how people interact with each campaign. Track the open rate for your email, the number of clicks through to your site, and when they read your marketing. This data will help you create a more effective campaign next time.

How Is Marketing Automation Changing the Strategic Marketing Process?

Marketing automation is about software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing processes and tasks. It reduces the amount of manual effort and tracking that marketing campaigns require. Automation makes your marketing, and your company, more efficient, effective, and profitable. Whether you have a small company or a large organization, you can gain a competitive edge by automating your ability to target your audience and track and measure your results. Here’s how:

  • Marketing automation helps you nurture prospects for the long-term. Automation connects multiple digital channels, including social media, email, and content marketing. You can create and deliver a comprehensive plan in which every consumer touch point is optimized for conversion.
  • Marketing automation makes your communication stronger. Once you’ve collected user data, you can add dynamic content that adds personal touches to your campaign. You’re not blasting customers with broad or irrelevant advertising messages. Instead, you’re guiding prospects through the sales funnel. With every action by your prospective customer, you can automate a response.
  • Marketing automation can help your company find an effective approach for email campaigns. You can test different variables like email send times, subject lines, and ideas for personalization.
  • Marketing automation improves your ability to segment your customers. As you gather data about their behavior, interests, and demographics, you can refine your messaging.
  • Marketing automation helps you listen to your customers. You can map sales cycles, collect email data (unsubscribe rates, open rates, spam complaints), and customer service feedback.

Use Smartsheet to Effectively Manage and Monitor Your Marketing Processes

The best marketing teams know the importance of effective campaign management, consistent creative operations, and powerful event logistics -- and Smartsheet helps you deliver on all three so you can be more effective and achieve more. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Improve your marketing efforts and deliver best-in-class campaigns.

What Is Strategic Marketing?

Flori Needle

Published: April 14, 2021

Marketing is the actions you take to attract an audience to your business. You aim to get people interested in what you have to offer and share content with them to help them decide to do business with you.

marketers working together during a strategic marketing process

However, since marketing helps you attract people to your business, it’s essential to know how to attract them, and even more so who the people are that you want to attract to begin with. Without this critical information, it will be challenging to be successful in your marketing processes.

The way you can get this information is through strategic marketing. In this post, we’ll define strategic marketing and explain the different phases of the process that will help you effectively market your business, attract customers, and drive revenue.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

What is the strategic marketing process?

The strategic marketing process involves conducting research and establishing goals and objectives that will maximize the effectiveness and success of your overall marketing strategy.

This process is beneficial as it helps you be more intentional with your marketing. You’ll be able to ensure that you’ve targeted the right audience, entered the right markets, and used the correct mediums.

You can think of it like this: strategic marketing is the butter you spread on toast. You can have plain toast as it is, but the butter enhances the flavor and makes it better. Strategic marketing ensures that your marketing campaigns are well-planned, effective, and shown to the right people.

Essentially, strategic marketing is the act of uncovering the information you’ll need to create an effective marketing plan and execute successful campaigns.

Strategic Marketing Process Phases

Given that strategic marketing directly influences many elements of your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to approach the process carefully. Below we’ll discuss the different phases of a strategic marketing process.

1. Planning Phase

The first stage of strategic marketing is the planning phase. It’s the most critical step, as it is the basis of your efforts. You’ll want to identify your business purpose, needs, and the goals and objectives you want to accomplish, as the entire process will help you achieve them.

Without this information, it will be challenging to progress to the next steps as you won’t understand the purpose behind your marketing efforts, which makes it even harder to create a solid plan that helps you succeed.

2. Analysis Phase

The analysis phase involves taking an outward look at how your company measures up to your competitors and your industry. During this stage, many businesses will conduct market research and competitor analyses .

Market research will give you an understanding of what your industry looks like, like current trends, market share , and an overall sense of the playing field. The information you discover should also validate your goals and objectives and let you know if they’re achievable. For example, if your overall business goal is to bring a new type of fork to market, but there is no industry or consumer demand for this new type of fork, your efforts won’t be worthwhile.

A competitor analysis will teach you the ins and outs of how your competition works, their position in the industry, and any possible gaps in the market that you can take advantage of to out-perform them. You can look at competitors’ customer testimonials to get a sense of what your target audience is looking for that they don’t provide and use that insight to build a product that your ideal customer already wants.

You’ll also want to take time to study your target audience and create buyer personas . Aim to gain a well-rounded understanding of who your customers are, their needs, desires, interests, and where you’ll find them within the market.

All in all, your analyses should give you an understanding of how competitive you are, and how competitive you’ll need to be in your final strategy to outshine similar businesses and become a viable market competitor.

3. Development Phase

Once you have a clear picture of your industry and how you should present yourself in the market, the next step is to develop your marketing plan. This stage is more closely related to the aspect of marketing you may be most familiar with, as you’re establishing the marketing tactics that are informed by your strategic marketing process.

This stage involves defining your marketing mix, which is how you’ll meet the objectives from phase one concerning the information you discovered during phase two.

A marketing mix is composed of four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s go over some brief definitions of each:

  • Product: This is what your business is selling. Product marketers or managers typically do this work, but it involves researching (from phase two), development, and creating a product launch timeline.
  • Price: The price point at which you’ll sell to consumers. Pricing should also be informed by market research and reference to different pricing strategies .
  • Place: Where your product or service will be sold, like online or in-store.
  • Promotion: How you’ll advertise your product and introduce it to the market. For example, the different promotional channels (like social media) you’ll use to get your audience excited and entice them to do business with you.

You can think of it like this: say your end goal, developed during phase one, is to create a full-service CRM. Your discoveries in phase two have shown you that the current CRM your customers use isn’t scalable, which is a consistent pain point. They also want a more reasonably priced option.

This current phase would help you create, price, market, and promote your full-service, scalable, and affordable CRM to the correct audiences that are ready and eager to purchase what you have to offer.

4. Implementation Phase

The final phase of the process is when you begin to act on your marketing efforts. As the name suggests, you’ll start implementing the strategy you’ve developed based on your planning and market research. You’ll launch your product and begin seeing sales.

After implementation, it’s also important to take time to review your processes and make changes as necessary. As the market is constantly evolving, you may need to re-address certain things from phase two due to new trends or changing consumer interests.

Strategic marketing is a full circle process.

Although each phase has its unique requirements, it all comes full circle; the marketing mix you created during phase three is based on research from phase two. And, if you’ve put time and effort into your overall strategic marketing process, you’ll attract customers, drive revenue, and meet the goals and objectives you identified in phase one.

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10 Marketing Plan Examples to Inspire Your Campaigns

What do hiking a trail, driving to a friend’s house, and executing marketing campaigns all have in common? Each requires you to closely follow directions.

Directions are a critical part of our daily life. Used correctly, they can guide decision-making processes, make labor more efficient, and get where you want to go as quickly as possible. 

But failing to keep track of directions could cost you — and not just gas money. When it comes to marketing strategies, not having a clear goal tanks web traffic, dissipates brand interest, and costs companies across the United States a whopping $400 billion a year.

Designing a marketing plan is certainly no easy task, but it can be made easier with best practices, strategic tips, and concrete examples from successful businesses all over the world.

marketing strategic planning management

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What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic document that acts as a guide for marketing campaigns and strategies. These critical road maps detail where you are, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there.

The average marketing plan consists of seven major sections:

  • Writing an executive summary
  • Discussing the mission statement
  • Listing marketing objectives
  • Performing a SWOT analysis
  • Completing market research
  • Designing a market strategy
  • Determining a budget

The more detailed a marketing plan is, the more efficient it will be at accomplishing its goals. 

As you might imagine, marketers who bother to write a concrete marketing plan enjoy several benefits :

  • Organized marketers have a 674% higher chance of reporting success
  • Marketers who set goals are 377% more successful than those who don’t

It’s clear that a successful marketing plan opens pathways to other forms of business success — although the process is underutilized at best. More than three out of four small business owners lack an overarching marketing plan if they don’t have a clear path of growth. Creating a holistic marketing plan is absolutely necessary to scale brands at any level of development.

10 marketing plan examples from every industry

It’s much simpler to design a plan of action when the groundwork already exists. Below are 10 marketing plans sourced from real companies and brands around the world, highlighting unique approaches to researching, crafting and implementing a marketing strategy . 

1. Contently

Popular SaaS Contently developed a visual marketing plan for developing future campaigns. The strategy depicts its plan in a “waterfall” format, with goals blending into methods of application that eventually lead to success metrics. Although far more casual than other examples on this list, the work provides an excellent overview of a marketing plan’s necessary components.

Contently marketing plan

2. Visit Baton Rouge

The Baton Rouge area of Louisiana generates millions of dollars every year from tourism alone. The Visit Baton Rouge marketing plan was born from a need to better position the area and create long-term strategies for generating interest. This 38-page document goes into detail describing different destinations, events, and calendars, including recommended measurements for success.

Top marketing plan examples: Baton Rouge

Created by SaaS company HubSpot , this template includes a business summary, SWOT matrix, market strategy, budget, and other important aspects of a marketing plan. By filling it out, you can make informed decisions about your company’s positioning and your marketing in general.

HubSpot marketing plan

4. Evernote

Evernote provides a comprehensive marketing plan template for businesses of any size. Create a plan that walks through overviews, timelines, research, personas, and all other elements of an airtight campaign. If desired, you can also implement this template into your Evernote account to start developing a marketing plan almost immediately.

great examples of marketing plan: Evernote

5. University of Illinois

Even educational institutes need marketing plans. The University of Illinois created a very straightforward document that encapsulates its market context, research efforts, and current campaigns. Objectives and success metrics are completed in the third section, with about 40 pages overall. 

6. Monday.com

Monday.com is a project management platform providing in-house templates to all active users. This marketing plan offers various categories and subcategories that track project progress with data visualizations. Detailed objectives and KPIs can be identified in-app, including columns for a projected cost range.

Popular health and hygiene brand Lush released a comprehensive marketing plan walking through some products, positioning, and a marketing calendar for upcoming product releases. One of the highlights includes a detailed SWOT analysis with easy to read graphics. This is particularly helpful for brands in the personal care industry, among others.

Lush marketing plan

8. Coca-Cola

Industry titan Coca-Cola released a strategy video that encompasses all seven elements of a holistic marketing plan. The proposal primarily explains the major content initiatives for the coming year, and focuses on how the brand’s initial ideas can be practically implemented into the existing strategy. 

marketing strategic planning management

9. Naperville Park District

Publicly funded recreational parks often have limited access to resources, which is why the Naperville Park District created a strategic marketing plan right at the beginning. This extremely detailed document walks through the company’s mission, situational analysis, strategy, and budget, on a micro-level.

nashville park marketing plan

10. Starbucks

Unlike the longform documents we’ve seen already, Starbucks takes a more concise approach. This six-page release details a strategy to elevate CX and brand ambassadors around the world. The marketing plan touches on individual strategies and tactics, as well as the methods used to ensure success. It’s important to note the detailed customer journey profiles that fit into a five-year strategy.

beverge marketing plan: starbucks

How to approach a marketing plan

Now that you know what a marketing plan looks like, it’s time to explore the initial stages of drafting and publishing your very first plan. Once you establish some basic starting points, a little research is all you need to get started.

Determine your goals

Directions simply don’t matter without an endpoint in mind. Craft some meaningful goals for your marketing campaign that envelop your brand’s values, objectives, and year-end plans. It’s best to use the SMART goal framework:

The more specific your goals are, the more effective your marketing plan will be.

Check your competitors

Staying abreast of your competitors and market share is critical in the early stages of a marketing plan. Using competitive analysis tools or an internal process, take some time to evaluate the approach that others are using — and how you can do better.

You might want to:

  • Perform a competitive analysis
  • Keep a close eye on industry news
  • Browse competitor social media content

Keep in mind that it’s possible to hire freelancers to perform competitive analysis for you, depending on your needs and time constraints.

Identify your audience

Understanding your target market — including their goals, ages, values, and demographics — is the golden rule of marketing. This can be done several ways, either by using data, creating personas, or outlying features in a document.

It’s best to consider everything that may be relevant to your audience in the marketing plan, including how products can be positioned in a way that makes them relevant. For example, a customer with a degree in IT would be more interested in ads that speak to their experience and industry pain points.

If you don’t have a target audience in mind yet, consider using programs like Google Analytics or in-platform insights from Facebook to identify specific segments.

Craft final KPIs

The difference between a good marketing plan and a great marketing plan starts with key performance metrics (KPIs). These will be used to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and provide detailed information about what worked, what didn’t, and what you can change in the future.

Every marketing plan should rely on its own unique set of metrics, all fitted to individual needs. If you’re looking for specific examples, you might want to try:

  • Raising the number of followers on a social media account
  • Generating a certain amount of website leads 
  • Achieving higher email open rates 

Keep in mind that your final metrics should adhere to the SMART method for best results.

Perform your revisions

The marketing plan is a living document and must be updated regularly to remain current. The average plan only has a shelf life of one to five years , on average, and should receive regular revisions in the meantime.

Take a closer look at your past goals, competitors, audience, and KPIs. Are any of these outdated or ill-aligned? What has changed for the company since its initial publication date? Make these adjustments accordingly (and hopefully with members of a team or committee).

Create marketing plans that guide your business well

It’s not enough to just write a marketing plan. In an increasingly competitive world of iron-clad strategies, marketing pros should take their time developing a plan that lasts. The above examples are a great place to start, especially as you craft an approach that is catered to your industry. 

Keep an eye on the growth of your business once your marketing plan hits the shelves. Continue to find new ways to optimize, refine, and otherwise make what you have even better than before. With an airtight marketing plan by your side, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Want to learn more?

  • How to Create a Killer Social Media Marketing Plan
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Strategic Marketing Management

What are the 3 phases of strategic marketing, the 9 steps of a strategic marketing plan, examples of strategic marketing, the benefits of strategic marketing management, disadvantages of strategic marketing management, is strategic marketing management right for your team, strategic marketing management books, .css-uphcpb{position:absolute;left:0;top:-87px;} what is strategic marketing management, definition of strategic marketing management.

Strategic marketing management is the process of implementing your business’ mission through specific and strategic processes in order to maximize your current marketing plan.

Each action step within a strategic marketing management process should be analyzed to improve before making the next step in this current plan.

Need to test how thorough and clear your process is? You should be able to hand the plan to anyone in your company and have them understand what the aims of the marketing plan are and how to get there.

Of course, there will be technical sections included but for the most part, it should be straightforward but detailed.  

While there can be many stages to a strategic marketing management process, each of them comes under three sections: planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Just as with product management, planning is everything when it comes to strategic marketing. This requires a deep dive into not only your business but your customers and competitors. 

The first step is a SWOT analysis . Analyze your business's strengths and weaknesses before looking at the opportunities and threats coming from elsewhere. Here, you can also include a competitive analysis , analyzing their strategies and markets. 

Additionally, you can also include a PESTEL analysis, which looks at political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors. 

Armed with this research, it’s time to look at your marketing mix . This involves defining your product out of the product mix, product, price, place, and promotion. The product part you’ll have nailed down already. But how should your product be priced? Where will it be available to buy or download? What types of promotion will work best?

Finally, it’s time to set some goals. Make sure they’re SMART goals so you know exactly what you want to achieve and by when. However, allow some leeway if you are a start-up business.


This is the action to all of that planning and analysis. 

Budgeting for stock and resources, setting up distribution models and marketing channels, developing content plans and cash flow accounting are all introduced in this phase. It’s about making actionable steps towards achieving your commercial goals. 

It’s important to note here that, while planning is essential, your process won’t be set in stone. Strategic marketing plans are designed to be adaptable so if the market changes (hello, Covid!) or you have trouble sourcing suppliers, it’s okay to rethink.

Many teams leave an evaluation for when a project is completed. However, within the strategic marketing management process, it’s important to evaluate each stage as it ends, so no insights get forgotten. By using analytical data, you can track any KPIs set as well as the progress of your goals.  Track any changes made on the fly and use this information to see what would work better next time. You can use a wide range of data to evaluate too, from website traffic to customer feedback . 

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics let’s get a bit more tactical. Here’s how to create a strategic marketing plan in just nine steps. 

1. Conduct a marketing audit

Before thinking about what might work in the future, it’s important to look to the past. Go back as far as is practical and do a marketing audit , that is to compile a list of all marketing activations along with their results. This will help you fine-tune your strategic marketing plan. 

2. Collect market research

The next step is to clearly understand where your business stands in the marketplace . This will help give you a sense of strategic direction, and it’s best discovered by conducting market research with your target users or customers. 

3. Understand your audience

Now that you have the results of your market research, your next step is to define exactly who you’ll be targeting with your strategic marketing plan. This may be a specific demographic, socioeconomic group, age, gender, and so on. 

4. Develop your positioning and messaging

Marketing campaigns live and die on messaging. At this point in strategy development, clarify and document precisely what you want your brand position to be and how you want customers to see you in the market. 

5. Set company and marketing goals

One of the primary goals of strategic marketing is to align your efforts with your overall company goals and objectives — and now’s the time to do it. 

6. Determine your budget

Money talks, especially when it comes to the reach of your marketing campaigns. Decide exactly what you want to spend now, and you won’t end up blowing your budget further down the road. 

7. Develop marketing campaigns

Next, it’s time to get practical. Begin to develop specific marketing campaigns based on the channels you’re most likely to reach your target customer. 

8. Develop an implementation timeline

Timing is everything, so set specific flight dates for your campaigns before they go live. This will also help when it comes to assessing outcomes. 

9. Evaluate and make improvements

The final step in developing a strategic marketing plan is to review the results of your campaigns to see what worked (or what didn’t) so that you can make changes next time.

Agile: Best Practices and Methodologies

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The best way to learn is often to study those who’ve made the strides you want to make — so let’s look at some examples of strategic marketing. 

In its early years, Apple made all of its decisions based on forecasting and strategy . For instance, the Apple logo is very simple in its design because they wanted it to be easy to remember. The same goes for the name “Apple.” They also (famously) looked at the cellphone market and saw a need for a product, then made the necessary decisions and implemented a strategy. Now, more than 1 billion people have an iPhone in their pockets.

Tesla's evolution over the past few years is another great example. Tesla came in when people thought electric cars were boring money-savers — and then they completely changed the industry. Thanks to strategic marketing management, Tesla is viewed as the world’s first luxury electric vehicle manufacturer.

The team at Spotify spotted a glaring strategic opportunity to make music more accessible. Rather than loading up iPods or spinning CDs, Spotify focused on the strategic opportunity offered by streaming — all your music, all the time, anywhere. This simple strategy has turned them into one of the world’s biggest brands. 

The strategy Nike took in its earliest days was simple — to open up sports to everyone. Prior to the brand’s “Just do it” ethos (and iconic slogan), health and fitness could seem like a closed shop. With that one inspirational phrase, Nike’s strategy encouraged millions to go out and just do it . 

The idea behind strategic marketing management is to adapt to your market as things change around you. The goal remains the same, but the path that leads you toward your goal can change.

The benefits of implementing strategic marketing management are fairly recognizable in the business world. Here are a few of the advantages of implementing a strategic marketing strategy:

A better understanding of the market

The research involved in properly implementing strategic marketing management will inevitably end in a better understanding of your given market. Research regarding domestic and international markets, competition , and market trends will need to be conducted.

Helps identify the strategic direction

Strategic marketing management involves making better decisions that align your plan with the company’s goals. 

Can have a big payoff

If implemented correctly, strategic marketing management can yield some impressive results for a business. The result could be a better handle on budget, and an overall increase in the longevity of a business.

All in all, there are many advantages to this style of management. By implementing strategic marketing management, you’re making strategic decisions to better your business and your understanding of the market as a whole.

As helpful as strategic marketing management can be for a business, there are some drawbacks. Here are some disadvantages you should consider before implementing strategic marketing management:

Budget versus cost

As we’ve stated a few times before, strategic marketing management often involves making quick and game-changing decisions. Marketing campaigns are expensive, advertising is expensive, and simple analysis and research can end up costing money. At the end of the day, you could make a decision that can greatly affect the end cost of the campaign . If affected too much, the budget will be blown.

It’s very time-consuming

Strategic marketing management can take quite a long time to research and plan. The process should be very precise, which means that the initial planning should be, too.

It may not pay off

Making these strategic decisions may not end up working out in the end. They are often risky, which means that you could end up with nothing to show for your efforts at the end of the period. As you may already know, marketing plans , strategic or not, can often take months to reach their end. That means you may end up wasting not only a lot of your own time, but everyone else on the marketing team may end up doing the same.

These are just some of the major issues that arise when practicing strategic marketing management. Just like any other methodology, marketing strategy, or business plan in general, there are things that can and will go wrong. 

Now the impending question comes up: is strategic marketing management right for your team? The answer to that question is a simple one. If you and your team are willing to combat the negatives in pursuit of the positives, then yes, it could work. 

But, as we explained above, there will be drawbacks no matter how you look at it. If you’re running a massive corporation with lots of money to spend in the budget, a wrong decision may not affect you so badly. However, for a small startup with just a few employees, a simple mistake could lead to a massive blow to the entire company.

The key is research. Precise decisions and calculated risks are all going to be based on market trends, competition, and the customer.

Below we’ve listed a handful of books that we recommended on strategic marketing. 

These are great if you want to deeper delve into the subject before setting up yourself.

Strategic Marketing Management (9th edition) - Alexander Chernev

Strategic Marketing Management: Planning, implementation and control (3rd edition) - Richard M.S. Wilson and Colin Gillan

Strategic Marketing Management: a process-based approach - Luiz Moutinho and Geoff Southern

What is Strategic Marketing Management

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What is a BCG Matrix and how to get the most out of it?

marketing strategic planning management

Trying to make high-level decisions about the future of your company can feel overwhelming. Trust us — we know first-hand what that feels like here at Miro. Companies often set up special committees that take months — or even years — and dozens of meetings before committing to a path.

But in the 21st century, the first mover’s advantage is more crucial than ever. You need to prioritize fast without letting biases affect how you invest your capital and effort.

That’s where the BCG (Boston Consulting Group) Matrix comes in. It’s a portfolio management tool that helps your company prioritize different businesses or products to get the best long-term results.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about a BCG Matrix.

Try Miro’s BCG Matrix Template

  • BCG Matrix definition: What is a Growth Share Matrix?

The Growth Share Matrix, also known as the BCG Matrix, is a portfolio management framework developed by the Boston Consulting Group’s founder in 1968.

It divides a company’s business units into categories based on their respective market shares and market sizes. To help you roughly estimate the profitability of a business, the matrix uses the two metrics of relative market share and market growth rate.

  • Relative market share: Your share of the market compared to your largest competitor.
  • Market growth rate: The rate at which a certain market grows in revenues compared to the previous year.

Based on these two metrics, you divide your company’s businesses or products into four categories:

  • Stars: High market share in a high-growth market.
  • Cash cow: High market share in a mature market.
  • Dogs (or pets): Low market share in a market with a slow growth rate.
  • Question marks: Currently low market share in a fast-growing market.

The different categories help you simplify complex decision-making about investment and business focus. Companies use the framework to decide which businesses or products to invest in to maximize growth potential and profitability.

While first created to manage product lines for manufacturing companies in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it’s equally relevant for tech startups that offer a variety of digital services. Just because you deal in pixels doesn’t mean you’re immune to regular business mistakes like overspending on a product with little potential.

The BCG Matrix can help you make sense of your portfolio of products and make smarter decisions about future investments in both R&D and marketing. If you’re struggling to visualize it, don’t worry. Below, we’ll cover a real example and showcase how the different categories work.

marketing strategic planning management

  • BCG Matrix example

The table below shows a fictitious company’s product line, including necessary metrics for using the BCG Matrix.

It includes the revenues, the largest competitor’s market share — the local market leader — the product’s market share, and the market growth rate.

marketing strategic planning management

If we put these products through the BCG Matrix, #1 is a dog, #2 a cash cow, #3 a star, and #4 a question mark.

marketing strategic planning management

As you can see, the quadrants have nothing to do with the objective revenue numbers. It’s all about where the market is going and how your product’s doing within that market.

But before you dive in and create your own, you should understand the benefits and your ultimate goal for creating a BCG Matrix in the first place.

Why you should use a BCG Matrix — key benefits

You should use a BCG Matrix because it helps you prioritize business and products, cut waste, and create a robust portfolio.

Let’s break down these benefits.

Prioritize the right business or product quickly to establish a first-mover advantage

Instead of focusing on dying products or cash cows that sustain themselves without much effort, your company can focus on creating new winning products and businesses.

For example, your star product has the lion’s share of the market in a marketplace that’s growing at a rapid pace. Focusing on this business unit would be the smart move going forward.

Eliminate wasteful spending by cutting your losses

A dog product or product line can weigh down your company’s capital and manpower when you’d be better off selling it off and focusing on your winners.

By identifying a business as a dog — something with limited growth potential — you can cut your losses by selling the business or even, if it’s not profitable, simply closing it down.

For example, realizing that its TV business was a dog, Phillips decided to sell off its TV business unit in 2012. The company was coming off record deficits in 2011 and decided to cut its losses.

Since that decision, the company has refocused on other areas and regained healthy profitability.

marketing strategic planning management

It is one of the most iconic success stories of selling off and divesting from a “dog” product line in modern history.

Create a more robust and balanced portfolio

Ultimately, the goal isn’t to succeed in one area but to better balance your company’s investment of capital and effort across your entire portfolio. By placing bets on high-growth markets while maintaining healthy cash cows, you can future-proof your company.

If you’re looking for a similar tool to help you plan the journey of a single product, you could try impact mapping .

  • What are the four quadrants of the BCG Matrix?

The four quadrants of the BCG Matrix are stars, dogs, cash cows, and question marks.

While we’ve roughly covered them above, let’s explore each category a bit closer, using real product examples.

A cash cow is a well-established business with stable brands in a mature market.

An example of a cash cow business is the domestic soft drink business in the U.S. for Coca-Cola, where the company maintains a 44% share of all revenue.

The market has long since matured and is growing at a fairly slow rate at about 5.1% , which is currently lower than the U.S. rate of inflation.

So, it’s a low-growth market with little potential for future growth, but the business is a winner — AKA a cash cow.

An example of a star is Amazon’s Amazon Web Services business that provides cloud services to B2B customers. The company has a 32% market share, and the public cloud industry is growing rapidly, forecasted to grow 21% in 2021 alone.

This type of market-leading product in an industry that’s virtually exploding is what we call a star .

Phillips’ television business — which we covered earlier — is an example of a dog, where the company had a low market share in a mature marketplace.

Question mark

Kia’s electric vehicle business is a good example of a question mark. Although it currently has a small market share of around 2.1% , the EV market is rapidly growing globally, at an expected average rate of 24.3% in the U.S. until 2028.

Because of the rapid growth of the market, there’s plenty of opportunity for new players to establish themselves.

  • How to calculate relative market share in the BCG Matrix

Before you can categorize your businesses, you need real data to see where they stand in the marketplace. The relative market share is one of the key metrics you use in the BCG Matrix.

Let’s break down how to calculate it.

Find a reliable source for up-to-date marketplace data

There are a plethora of market research firms that sell industry data of varying levels of accuracy online.

Either find a firm that specializes in your industry and locations and offers the most accurate data, or establish your own in-house research team.

The important thing is to find a reliable source of the latest, up-to-date market information. Without accurate data, your product portfolio decisions are going to be more luck than judgment.

Identify your largest competitor’s market share

Examine the marketplace data and find your largest competitor for the specific product you’re researching.

Try to find its latest revenue numbers. The company may release revenue data by sector or even product in its quarterly reports. Get as specific as possible to use accurate numbers on the actual business area you want to compare.

Divide your market share by the largest competitor’s market share

The formula to find your relative market share is super simple — just divide your market share (or revenues) by that of your largest competitor.

For example, if your main competitor sells $600,000,000 in tablets and you sell $150,000,000 worth of tablets per year, your relative market share is 0.25.

The relative market share focuses on the importance of “owning” a market, which typically means stable income even without large marketing efforts.

marketing strategic planning management

  • The role of the BCG Matrix in strategic management

Strategic management is the process of using objectives, procedures, and initiatives to make a company more competitive.

Instead of vague guesswork and thinking, you use formalized processes and real data to come up with objectives and strategies.

For example, this could be investing in researching competitors to explore where your products stand in the marketplace.

The BCG Matrix in itself isn’t the end-all-be-all of strategic management. It’s only a single tool in a larger process.

Start with a planning workshop and creating a big-picture strategy

Don’t try to create a BCG Matrix in a vacuum. Before your company will get anything of value out of it, you need the big picture figured out.

You wouldn’t try to build a house without setting up a robust foundation. So first, you should come up with a vision and strategic objectives for your company based on real data like market research.

A practical way to do this is to arrange a planning workshop with executives and key stakeholders involved with your entire portfolio.

Using a framework like OKR (Objective & Key Results) makes it easier to avoid wild guessing and personal biases.

Combine with strategic objectives to prioritize investments

If your objective is to focus on innovation, double down on stars and question mark businesses in rapidly growing markets, and move some of the marketing and R&D budgets away from stable cash cows.

If it’s to expand globally, focus on the market expansion of an existing cash cow product.

marketing strategic planning management

Revise and adapt as circumstances change

It’s important to understand that you’re not going to perfectly predict the path to bombastic success for your company in a single planning workshop and your first BCG Matrix.

As markets and competitors change, you need to adapt your plan and revise your BCG Matrix and priorities.

For example, as market growth peters off, a previous question mark could quickly become a dog, with no real prospects of becoming a winning product for your company.

  • How to use the BCG Matrix to improve your marketing strategy

The BCG Matrix can also help you optimize your marketing strategy and grow your business with better promotions.

Let’s look at how.

Re-adjust budgets based on the growth Matrix quadrants

The first step is to use the BCG Matrix to recalibrate your marketing budget.

Ideally, you’d do this in a live meeting with every key stakeholder on board. Of course, if everyone doesn’t work in the same office, which is often the case, this can be difficult. But with our BCG Matrix Template , your team can remotely collaborate on a virtual board in real-time.

marketing strategic planning management

With a visual representation of where the products are in their market, it’s easier to accurately distribute the budget.

If you want to be more aggressive, you can focus on question marks and star products with growth potential rather than the safe and steady cash cows.

Adjust your marketing message based on the state of the market and your brand

If you’re pushing an up-and-coming product, you can’t use the same message as you use for markets where you’re already the go-to brand.

You need to adjust based on your place in the market. For example, Avis had a legendary marketing campaign where the company pointed out that it wasn’t the market leader.

By making the argument that “we work harder since we’re second,” Avis experienced rapid growth and established itself as a strong contender to Hertz in the rental car market.

The average consumer tends to default to familiar products and market leaders because it’s a “safe choice.” Find a unique angle to turn your underdog status into a perceived benefit, not a risk.

  • Disadvantages of using the BCG Matrix

Just because you can use the BCG Matrix in various areas of your business doesn’t mean you should trust it blindly.

This framework has a number of limitations and issues that make it an imperfect tool for strategic planning.

A high market share doesn’t equal profitability

Just because your product has a high market share doesn’t mean it’s a profitable business. It could be a cut-throat market with high costs, leaving you with bad margins and poor cash generation.

Depending on variations in market size and product type, dogs can actually earn more than cash cows.

It doesn’t account for external factors

The BCG Matrix doesn’t leave room to account for crucial external factors outside the market. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the tourism sector as a whole, with over one trillion dollars in lost revenue in 2020.

If your company had a plan to expand your tour bus offerings, it’s probably a good idea to put that on hold, even if you could win market share.

Lack of middle ground — only classified low or high

The BCG Matrix tends to deal in extremes — a product either has a low market share or high, with no in-between.

But that’s an overly simplistic outlook on marketplace dynamics. For example, could you truly describe PepsiCo’s share of the U.S. beverage market as low? That’s what you’d have to do if you followed the BCG Matrix formula.

The model is simply too simple

Market growth rates and your relative market shares are important metrics, sure. But on their own, that’s not enough data to make a solid investment or other business decisions.

To make a truly educated decision about your company’s future, you must also consider overall market size, profit margins, operating costs, cash flow, and much more.

So for best results, use it in combination with other frameworks and data when planning budgets and marketing campaigns.

  • Use the BCG Matrix as a starting point to make better long-term strategic decisions

The BCG Matrix alone isn’t a complete framework that will help you predict the future and always make the right business decisions.

But it’s a great starting point to help you live up to your strategic objectives over the long term.

It forces you to dig up data on your competition and put your products into context, which can help you identify new marketing opportunities.

It’s not a solution on its own, but it can become a valuable tool in your strategic management toolbox.

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  • Why you should use a BCG Matrix — key benefits

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Strategic Marketing Planning

marketing strategic planning management

Market-oriented strategic planning is the managerial process of developing and maintaining a viable fit between the organisation’s objectives, skills, and resources and its changing market opportunities.

The aim of strategic marketing planning (SMP) is to shape and reshape the company’s businesses and products so that they yield target profits and growth.”

Strategic planning takes place at four levels- Corporate, division business unit and product.

Learn about:-


1. Meaning of Strategic Marketing Planning 2. Characteristics of Strategic Marketing Planning  3. Importance 4. Need 5. Approaches 6. Steps7. Techniques 8. Levels 9. Models 10. Strengths 11. Pitfalls.

Strategic Marketing Planning: Meaning, Characteristics, Importance, Need, Approaches, Techniques and Other Details

Strategic marketing planning – meaning and objectives.

Strategic Marketing Planning – “Without a strategy, the organisation is like a ship without a rudder” – Joel Ross and Michael Kami

In a hyper competitive marketplace, companies can operate successfully by creating and delivering superior value to target customers and also learning how to adapt to a continuously changing market place. So to meet changing conditions in their industries, companies need to be farsighted and visionary, and must develop long-term strategies.

Strategic planning involves developing a strategy to meet competition and ensure long-term survival and growth. The marketing function plays an important role in this process and it provides information and other inputs to help in the preparation of the organisation’s strategic plan.

The overall objective of strategic planning is twofold:

(i) To guide the company successfully through all changes in the environment.

(ii) To create competitive advantage, so that the company can outperform the competitors in order to have dominance over the market.

Strategic planning consists of developing a company mission (to give it direction), objectives and goals (to give it means and methods for accomplishing its mission), business portfolio (to allow management to utilise all facets of the organisation), and functional plans (plans to carry out daily operations from the different functional disciplines).

No matter how well the strategic planning process has been designed and implemented, success depends on how well each department performs its customer-value-adding activities and how well the departments work together to serve the customer.

Value chains and value delivery networks have become popular with organizations that are sensitive to the wants and needs of consumers. The marketing department (because of its ability to stress the customer’s view) has become central in the implementation of most strategic plans.

Ultimately, the aim of strategic planning is to serve the company’s business products, services and communications so that they achieve targeted profits and growth.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Characteristics

Strategic planning provides a broad framework according to which all future organisational activities will be conducted. Thus, it is a very essential to do strategic planning for any organisation very prudently.

Strategic Marketing planning is said to have the following characteristics:

1. Top Management Involvement – Strategic planning or formulation of strategy is directly involved in building up the future of the company. Strategic decisions primarily involve development of long-term objectives and policy formulation of the organisation. Thus, it becomes imperative that these decisions are taken by the top level management of an organisation as it requires a lot of wisdom and insight on the part of decision-makers.

2. Involves Huge Allocation of Resources – Strategic decisions involve commitment of the firm for a long period of time and on major issues related to overall organisation. Thus, it requires deployment of resources in huge volumes in terms of men, material, money, machines and time.

3. Impact on Long-Term Survival and Success of the Firm – Strategic planning, having a long- term commitment in terms of organisational objectives, are usually said to have a strong impact on the success of the firm. A good strategy formulation may bring company to new heights whereas a weak strategy formulation may ruin the company.

4. Future-Oriented – Strategic planning is done for the purpose of implementation in future. It is shaping of the future today. Strategies are proactive plan of actions developed for future execution. Strategic planning aims at reducing the total uncertainty of the future by devising goals and objectives and methodologies to attain them.

5. Irreversible – Strategic planning due to its complexity, huge investment involvement and long-term commitment is generally said to be irreversible. Such decisions if required to be reversed or changed, requires a huge cost. That is the reason why strategic planning is to be done very carefully after detailed analysis of both internal and external factors.

6. Sensitive to the Environment – Strategic planning in order to be effective requires maintaining a balance between internal strengths and weaknesses of an organisation with the external opportunities and threats stemming from the environment. The main prerequisite of strategic planning is that it should be responsive to the environmental factors and be capable of adapting the changes.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Importance

Imagine starting college and just randomly taking classes because they are interest­ing, easy, or you have friends enrolled in a particular section. You could be a full-time student each semester, get good grades, and at the end of four years what would you have? Not much of anything except student loan debt.

Most of you have a check­list of courses you must complete to graduate in your selected field. Selecting your major as a freshman or sophomore and determining when you will take the required courses is a strategic plan you set for yourself.

Without the specific objec­tives of your degree program and a strategy for bal­ancing your classes with the personal and professional demands on your time, you likely will not succeed in achieving your desired result – a college diploma.

Whether you are marketing yourself or some other product, strategic planning can greatly increase the likelihood of success. Strategic planning is the process of thoughtfully defining a firm’s objectives and developing a method for achieving those objec­tives. Firms must continually undertake the task of strategic planning.

Shifting conditions, including changing customer needs and competitive threats, ensure that what worked in the past will not always work in the future, thus requiring firms to modify their strategy. Strategic planning helps to ensure that marketers will select and execute the right marketing mix strategies to maximize success. The primary stra­tegic planning tool for directing and coordinating the marketing effort is the marketing plan.

1. The Marketing Plan :

A marketing plan is part of an organization’s overall strategic plan, which typically captures other strate­gic areas such as – human resources, operations, equity structure, and a host of other non-marketing items. The marketing plan is an action- oriented document or playbook that guides the analysis, implementation, and con­trol of the firm’s marketing strategy.

Creating a marketing plan requires the input, guidance, and review of employees throughout the various departments of a firm, not just the marketing department, so it is important that every future business pro­fessional understand the plan’s components.

The specific format of the marketing plan differs from organization to organiza­tion, but most plans include an executive summary, situation analysis, marketing strategy, financials section, and controls section. These five components commu­nicate what the organization desires to accomplish and how it plans to achieve its goals.

Each of the components should be grounded in the firm’s overall mission, which is ideally defined in a clear and succinct mission statement. We’ll discuss the characteristics of an effective mission statement that follows before turning to a more in-depth discussion of each of the marketing plan components.

2. Mission Statement :

The first step in creating a quality marketing plan is to develop an effective mission statement. A mission statement is a concise affirmation of the firm’s long-term purpose. An effective mission statement provides employees with a shared sense of ambition, direction, and opportunity.

A firm should begin the process of devel­oping a mission statement by considering the following classic questions posed by Peter Drucker, who is considered the father of modern management –

i. What is our business?

ii. Who is our customer?

iii. What is our value to the customer?

iv. What will our business be?

v. What should our business be?

These basic questions are often the most challenging and important that a firm will ever have to answer.

From there, the firm should focus on instilling the three primary characteristics of a good mission statement:

i. The mission statement should focus on a limited number of goals:

Companies whose mission statements contain 10 or more goals are typically focusing too much on small, less meaningful objectives, rather than creating a broader statement that provides purpose and direction to the entire organization.

ii. The mission statement should be customer oriented and focused on satisfy­ing basic customer needs and wants:

Advanced technological products of just a generation ago, such as the VCR or Polaroid camera, are outdated technologies today. Still, consumers’ desire to watch movies in their home and to take and share pictures with friends and family is stronger than ever.

Apple has been one of the most successful companies of the past decade because it has designed innovative new products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Since it is quite possible that consumers 20 years from now will think of these products the same way you think about VCRs and Atari game sys­tems today, Apple’s mission statement should reflect the firm’s customer orientation and focus on meeting customer needs.

iii. Mission statements should capture a shared purpose and provide motivation for the employees of the firm:

They should emphasize the firm’s strengths, as Google’s does – “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The following mission statements of other leading companies illustrate these three characteristics:

i. Amazon – We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company for four pri­mary customer sets – consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators.

ii. Citigroup – Citi works tirelessly to serve individuals, communities, institu­tions and nations. With 200 years of experience meeting the world’s toughest challenges and seizing its greatest opportunities, we strive to create the best outcomes for our clients and customers with financial solutions that are simple, creative and responsible. An institution connecting over 1,000 cities, 160 countries and millions of people, we are your global bank; we are Citi.

iii. CarMax – To provide our customers great quality cars at great prices with exceptional customer service.

iv. Xerox – Through the world’s leading technology and services in business process and document management, we’re at the heart of enterprises small to large, giving our clients the freedom to focus on what matters most – their real business.

v. Microsoft – Microsoft’s mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.

vi. Ford – An exciting viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all.

A firm’s mission statement drives many of the other decisions it makes, includ­ing how best to market its goods and services to consumers. A sound mission statement provides a basis for developing the marketing plan and, as the firm con­tinues to modify its marketing plan to fit changing times, the mission statement provides a standard to ensure that the business never strays too far from its core goals and values.

Once the firm has established its mission statement, it can begin to develop the five main components of its marketing plan.

3. Executive Summary :

Once you have graduated and begun your career, you will likely come into contact with senior level executives at your firm in casual places, such as – the break room or elevator. When they ask what you are working on, you won’t have 20 minutes to discuss yourself and your projects.

More likely, you will have time for only a short elevator pitch, which is a one- to two-minute opportunity to market yourself and share the main points of the work you are doing.

The executive summary serves as the elevator pitch for the marketing plan. It provides a one- to two-page synopsis of the marketing plan’s main points. In the same way that you should put great effort into making sure that every second of your elevator pitch counts, every line of an executive summary should convey the most valuable information of the marketing plan.

Depending on your organization’s size and objectives, the marketing plan you create may be viewed by dozens or even hundreds of people. Some will take the time to read each line, but most are looking for a way to quickly understand the basic ideas and strategies behind your plan. The executive sum­mary provides this resource. While the executive summary is listed first, firms should complete this part of the marketing plan last.

4. Situation Analysis :

The situation analysis section is often considered the foundation of a marketing plan because organizations must clearly understand their current situation to make strategic decisions about how to best move forward. A situation analysis is the systematic collection of data to identify the trends, conditions, and competi­tive forces that have the potential to influence the performance of the firm and the choice of appropriate strategies.

The situation analysis comprises three subsec­tions:

i. Market summary,

ii. SWOT analysis, and

iii. Competition.

i. Market Summary :

The market summary sets the stage for the situation analysis section by focusing on the market to which the firm will sell its products. A market is the group of consumers or organizations that is interested in and able to buy a particular prod­uct. The market summary describes the current state of the market.

For example, a market summary for McDonald’s might look at the size of the fast food market in the United States and how rapidly its numbers are growing or declining. A quality market summary should provide a perspective on important marketplace trends. For example, the residential home phone market is a multibillion-dollar-a- year industry.

However, a market summary for this service should also point out that the number of traditional landline customers for AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers shrinks every year as more people decide to use only a cell phone. Understanding where a market is and where it might be going gives organizations a much better view of what resources to invest where, and what a firm can achieve through a specific marketing plan.

The market summary would also consider the growth opportunities internationally and potential sales through international expansion.

BCG Matrix:

One of the most popular analysis tools to describe the current market is The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix. The tool is a two-by-two matrix that graphically describes the strength and attractiveness of a market. The vertical axis mea­sures market growth while the horizontal axis mea­sures relative market share, which is defined as the sales volume of a product divided by the sales volume of the largest competitor.

The BCG matrix combines the two elements of market growth and relative market share to produce four unique product categories—stars, cash cows, question marks, and dogs—each of which requires a different marketing strategy.

Star products combine large market share with a high growth rate. Apple’s iPad falls under this category. Firms with star products generally have to invest heavily in marketing to communicate and deliver value as the indus­try continues to grow. Marketing efforts around star products focus on maintaining the product’s market position as a leader in a growing industry for as long as possible.

b. Cash Cows:

Cash cows are products that have a large market share in an industry with low growth rates. An example of a cash cow product is the Apple iPod. The market growth rate for MP3 type players has slowed in recent years, but the iPod still retains a large share of the market.

As a result, Apple market­ers may decide to allocate only enough marketing resources (e.g., televi­sion commercials, special pricing discounts) to keep sales strong without increasing costs or negatively affecting profits.

c. Question Marks:

Question marks have small market share in a high-growth industry. Prod­ucts in this quadrant are typically new to the market and require significant marketing investment in promotion, product management, and distribution. A new iPhone application would be a question mark product.

Marketers for the new app must move quickly and creatively to reach Apple product users before competitors develop comparable apps. Question marks have an uncer­tain future and marketers must monitor the product’s position in the matrix to determine whether or not they should continue allocating resources to it.

Dogs are products that have small market share in industries with low growth rates. Products that fall into this category typically should be discontinued so the firm can reallocate marketing resources to products with more profit potential. An example of a dog product might be compact discs, an industry in which no firm has large market share and the growth rate is declining.

As part of the market summary, The BCG matrix allows a company to deter­mine where its product will fall in the marketplace and serves as a starting point for developing marketing strategies to address that market position.

ii. SWOT Analysis :

The evaluation of a firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is called a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis can be a valuable tool in the develop­ment of a marketing plan, but only if it’s executed well. Perhaps the most common mistake a firm makes when conducting a SWOT analysis is failing to separate internal issues from external issues. Consider how a firm like McDonald’s might conduct a SWOT analysis.

Internal Considerations:

The strengths and the weaknesses aspects of the analysis focus on McDonald’s internal characteristics. Strengths are internal capa­bilities that help the company achieve its objectives.

McDonald’s strengths include its strong brand recog­nition with consumers of all ages and backgrounds; a system that ties individual store owners’ profits to company profits; and the fact that it’s a profitable company, which gives it the financial strength to con­sistently develop new products, further promote its brand, and make strategic acquisitions when opportu­nities present themselves.

Weaknesses are internal limitations that may pre­vent or disrupt the firm’s ability to meet its stated objectives. One major weakness for a firm like McDonald’s is the challenge of finding and retaining quality employees.

Another weakness is the perception that McDonald’s drives profits by selling unhealthy foods to consumers, especially children. Marketers must be honest with themselves when identifying weak­nesses because developing strategies to overcome them begins with recognizing them as problems.

External Considerations:

The opportunities and threats aspects of the SWOT analysis focus on the external environment. Opportunities are external factors that the firm may be able to capitalize on to meet or exceed its stated objectives. Opportu­nities for McDonald’s in the years ahead include increased international expansion.

McDonald’s currently serves approximately 68 million customers each day in 119 countries. International growth, especially in Europe and Asia, has exceeded earn­ings growth at domestic McDonald’s restaurants in recent years.

Threats are current and potential external factors that may challenge the firm’s short- and long-term performance. McDonald’s faces a number of potential exter­nal threats, including a declining global economy and the domestic consumer trend of eating healthier and consuming less fast food.

External factors can be both opportunities and threats. For example, the slug­gish economy following the global recession that began in December 2007 has made it harder for many firms to expand their businesses, secure loans, and hire new employees. Restaurants as an industry have faced additional challenges as consum­ers attempt to reduce the amount of money they spend on luxuries like going out to eat.

This reality threatens McDonald’s as well. However, the slow economy has also prompted consumers to look for cheaper food alternatives, and, as the world’s lead­ing choice for discounted dining, McDonald’s has an opportunity to take advantage of this trend. Firms must understand and analyse environmental factors—both internal and external—to develop a quality marketing plan.

iii. Competition :

Many firms struggle to successfully compile the com­petition section of the market summary. The section should begin by clearly stating the organization’s direct competitors. Continuing with our McDonald’s example, direct competitors would include Burger King and Wendy’s. The section should briefly describe how Burger King and Wendy’s position their products relative to McDonald’s.

It should also indicate where McDonald’s is most vulnerable to Burger King and Wendy’s on important customer metrics such as – taste, value, pricing, convenience, and customer satisfaction.

While most marketing plans examine direct com­petitors thoroughly, indirect competitors typically receive far less attention or are overlooked entirely. Indirect competitors can take market share away from a firm as macro trends or consumer preferences change.

McDonald’s must worry not only about other burger chains but also about the consumer trend of eating healthier, which has translated into massive expan­sion for chains like Subway. In 2011, Subway surpassed McDonald’s as the largest restaurant chain in the world, with almost 34,000 stores worldwide compared to less than 33,000 for McDonald’s.

Consumers choosing to eat at home rather than purchase fast food in a slow economy also compete indi­rectly with McDonald’s. A good study of the competition provides a thoughtful analysis of both the direct and indirect competitors.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Need

In a changed setting described above, it is interesting to know how the companies compete in a global marketplace. Philip Kotler found that one part of the answer is 9 – commitment to creating and retaining satisfied customers. He added a second part to this answer- Successful Company and high-performance businesses know how to adapt to a continuously changing marketplace.

They practice the art of market-oriented strategic planning. According to Philip Kotler, “Market-oriented strategic planning is the managerial process of developing and maintaining a viable fit between the organisation’s objectives, skills, and resources and its changing market opportunities. The aim of strategic planning is to shape and reshape the company’s businesses and products so that they yield target profits and growth.” Strategic planning takes place at four levels- Corporate, division business unit and product.

Strategic marketing planning calls for action in three key areas:

1. The first-calls for managing a company’s businesses as an investment portfolio. Each business has a different profit potential, and the company’s resources should be allocated accordingly.

2. The second key area involves assessing accurately each business by considering the market’s growth rate and the company’s position and fit 111 that market. It is not sufficient to use current sales or profits as a guide. For example – if the Ford Motor Company had used current profits as a guide to investment in the 1970s, it would have continued to pour money into large cars, since that was where it made its money at that time.

But Ford’s analysis showed that the profits on large cars would dry up. Therefore, Ford needed to reallocate its funds to improving its compact cars, even though the company was losing money on compact cars at that time.

3. The third key area of strategic planning is strategy. For each of its businesses, the company must develop a game plan for achieving its long-run objectives. Because there is no one strategy that is optimal for all companies in that business, each company must determine what makes the most sense in the light of its industry position and its objectives, opportunities, skills and resources.

Strategic Linkages :

Marketing plays a critical role in the company’s strategic planning process. In the words of a strategic planning manager of General Electric, “The marketing manager is the most significant functional contributor to the strategic planning process, with leadership roles in defining the business mission – analysis of the environmental, competitive, and business situations; developing objectives, goals and strategies; and defining product, market, distribution, and quality plans to implement the business’ strategies. This involvement extends to the development of programmes and operating plans that are fully linked with the strategic plan.”

Thus, the chief marketing executive’s strategic planning responsibility includes:

1. Participating in corporate strategy formulation, and

2. Developing business unit marketing strategies in accordance with corporate priorities.

Since these two areas are closely interrelated, it is important to examine marketing’s role and functions in both areas to gain more insight into marketing’s responsibilities and contributions.

Peter Drucker describes this role, “Marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered a separate function (i.e., a separate skill or work) within the business, on a par with others such as – manufacturing or personnel. Marketing requires separate work, and distinct group activities. But it is, first, a central dimension of the entire business. It is whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view.”

Some more needs for Strategic Planning are as follows:

Many companies operate without formal plans.

However, formal planning can provide many benefits:

i. It encourages management to think ahead systematically.

ii. It forces managers to clarify objectives and policies.

iii. It leads to better coordination of company efforts.

iv. It provides clearer performance standards for control.

v. It is useful for a fast-changing environment since sound planning helps the company anticipates and respond quickly to environmental changes and sudden developments.

There are three different types of plans that companies might use:

i. Annual plans (deal with the company’s current businesses and determine how to keep them going).

ii. Long-range plans (also deal with company’s current businesses and determine how to keep them prosperous).

iii. Strategic plans involve adapting the firm to take advantage of opportunities in its constantly changing environment.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Practical Approach to Develop Strategic Marketing Plan

A Practical Approach to Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan:

Making spur of the moment strategic decisions reduces the likelihood that these decisions are the best marketing is an exciting process and one that lends itself to creativity, enthusiasm and innovation. Preparation of a marketing plan requires information that is available within the organization (e.g. sales data) and information that is external to the organization (e.g. demographic trends).

Development of a marketing plan can be approached in a variety of ways and, of course, is impacted by the size of the organization, the number of products and services offered and the number and size of the target market segments.

A better approach is to perform an annual comprehensive review of markets and opportunities, then make long-term strategic decisions without the distractions of day-to-day marketing and sales activities. Daily decisions then fit into the company’s overall strategic marketing goals.

It’s important for a strategic marketing planning process to look at the company from the customer’s point of view by asking questions that have a long time horizon, such as:

(i) What needs or problems cause customers to consider buying from our company?

(ii) What improvements in the customer’s personal or business life can we enable or improve?

(iii) Which customer market segments are attracted to our company or products?

(iv) Which customer motivations or values lead people to decide to purchase our products?

(v) What changes or trends in our customer base are affecting their general interest or attraction to products like ours?

Other Aspects:

Freewheeling Opportunism :

Under this approach, a business will not have any formal system of strategic planning, and will exploit the opportunities as and when they arise. The firm will not operate within the rigid structure of an overall corporate strategy. The opportunities are judged by their individual merits and not evaluated by preplanned strategy.

This approach is more appropriate in the following situations:

(a) Turbulent environment – where change is impossible to predict and the organization is in some respect vulnerable to change.

(b) Size of the firm – Small firms need to establish a market niche.

(c) Type of industry – Especially the industries in which the consumer tastes and habits change very frequently.

(d) Exploitation of synergies.


(a) It is flexible and adaptable.

(b) It encourages a more creative attitude among lower level managers.

(c) The environmental opportunities can be availed as and when they arise.

(d) Rigid planning framework is eliminated.


(a) It fails to provide a coordinating framework for the organization, as a whole.

(b) It cannot guarantee that all opportunities are identified and appraised.

(c) It emphasizes the profit motive to the exclusion of other considerations.

Milking Policy :

The management of some companies exploit their business by squeezing as much as possible from the operations of the firm and its profits. This is generally done through improper practices like by not transferring profits to reserves for expansion and modernization; declaration of liberal dividend; paying very high salaries than prevailed in the industry; insufficient provision of depreciation; improper methods of accounting; insufficient provisioning for estimated risks; losses and damages etc. Such financial practices will enrich the stakeholders at the expense of the company. The above situation is termed as ‘milking policy’. Such policy is adopted through management rather than mismanagement.

Position Audit :

It examines the current state of the entity in respect of resources of tangible and intangible assets and finance, products, brands and markets, operating systems such as production and distribution; internal organization; current results; return to stakeholders.

Miles and Snow’s Organization Typology :

Raymond Miles and Charles Snow have developed a typology of organizations that describes the relationship between an organization’s culture, strategy and mission. A firm’s culture shapes the internal strategies, policies and plans which guide the organization in its relationship to its environment.

Miles and Snow classify organizations as follows:

1. Defenders :

Defenders choose a position in the environment and attempt to maintain (or defend) that position. Defenders strive towards a stable form of organization in a stable market niche. Defenders focus on stability and maintaining their markets.

They defend their markets aggressively; compete through maintaining their internal efficiencies and produce reliable, high-quality products at low prices. Defenders are efficiency oriented, achieving high employee productivity and low direct costs through high capital intensity.

2. Prospectors :

These organizations are with fairly broad product lines, and they focus on product innovation and market opportunities. These are likely to adopt an offensive strategy by identifying weaknesses of the leader and attacking it.

Prospectors are organizations in a constant state of change and constantly seek new product and market opportunities, striving to pioneer in product-market development while avoiding becoming locking into any single product, market, technology or facility. These firms seek to innovate, take risks and aggressively seek new opportunities for growth. High product R&D expenses and marketing expenses deter the competitors from entering into the industry.

3. Analyzers :

These firms try to balance efficiency and innovation by maintaining core in established markets and look for expansion into new areas. Analyzers fall between the defenders and prospectors in their orientation toward efficiency, stability and product-market changes.

4. Reactors :

These firms do not have consistent strategy, but they are interested in Guerrilla warfare and consistently perform poorly. Reactors don’t have clear strategies and respond to whatever is happening in their environment.

They will not attempt to strategies and plans to meet the changing environment and to meet new opportunities. They maintain an existing strategy and structure when environmental changes require a major reorientation by the organization.

Sustainability :

The term ‘sustainability’ refers to a development process that improves economy, society and ecology, to meet the needs and wants of the current generation, while maintaining or increasing the resources and productive capacities that are passed along to future generations.

Sustainable Growth :

Sustainable growth is the term used to describe a view on growth which advocates that growth be limited to a relatively slow rate so that growth does not jeopardize the carrying capacity of the immediate physical environment. Organizations must recognize changes in the environment that will limit the organization’s growth. Specifically, population, resources, pollution and technology are important environment param­eters.

For e.g. the slower population growth in a country will lead to fewer people to consume products and a smaller workforce and limited growth opportunities for some organizations in such countries. Another environmental constraint on growth is resources availability. Technology is another factor in the environment that may limit the growth of some firms. The control of pollution is another constraint limiting growth prospects of some firms.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage :

A business strategy is powerful if it is capable of producing sustainable competitive advantage. Normally, a firm can sustain a competitive advantage for only a certain period due to rival firms imitating and undermining that advantage.

A firm must strive to achieve sustained competitive advantage by:

(a) Continually adapting the changes in external trends and events and internal capabilities, competen­cies and resources; and

(b) Effectively formulating, implementing and evaluating strategies that capitalize on those factors.

The organization has to develop its resources so that they reflect the uniqueness of the organization and they continue to remain within the organization. For a business unit’s competitive advantage to be sustainable, its resources must be valuable, scarce and difficult to imitate or substitute.

The advantage that results from generating core competencies can be sustained due to the lack of substitution and imitation capacities by the organization’s competitors. The generic building blocks of competitive advantage help the firm in charging premium price thereby it can improve sustainable competitive advantage.

Normally, imbalance between various dimensions of competitive advantage such as efficiency, quality, innovation and customer responsiveness are to be considered to be the basic causes for failure of a business firm. The new organizational structure, appropriate leadership style, proper control systems in response to the changed environment will help in maintaining competitive advantage.

Situation Audit :

In relation to strategic planning, the concept of situation audit is to break the business into its component parts and functions and then to evaluate them separately in relation to each other, in relation to the whole, and in relation to the environment that affects them. The concept tries to break the business into its component parts and functions, and then evaluates those parts and functions in relation to the environment that affects them.

The basic purposes of situation audit are:

(a) To identify and analyze the key trends and forces that has a political impact on strategy formulation.

(b) To emphasize on the systematic assessment of environment impacts.

(c) To analyze divergent views about relevant environmental changes.

(d) All such information collected provide a base for the strategic planning process – from evaluating missions to strategy formulation or implementation.

(e) A critical assessment of key market forces and its impact.

The situation audit refers to the analysis and appraisal of basic planning premises and covers some of the following issues:

(a) Expectations of major inside and outside interests in relation to customers, competitors, business community, managerial staff.

(b) Data base with respect to past performance, current conditions.

(c) Evaluation of the key forces of the market environment.

With these data, strategists will be in a position to define the basic mission of the organization, purpose, strategies and the various policies.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Process

Strategic marketing planning process consists of following steps:

1. Conduct a situation analysis

2. Determine marketing objectives

3. Select target markets and measure the market demand

4. Design a strategic marketing mix

5. Prepare an annual marketing plan.

Process # 1. Situation Analysis:

It is review of company’s marketing programme. By analysis where the programme has been and where it is now, management can determine where the programme should go in the future. A situation analysis normally includes an analysis of the external environmental forces and the non-marketing resources that surrounds the organization’s marketing programme.

A situation analysis also includes a detailed review of the company’s present marketing mix – its product and pricing situation, its distribution system and its promotional programme.

Process # 2. Determine the Marketing Objectives:

The next step in the marketing planning process is to determine the marketing objectives. As with organizational objectives, the marketing goals should be realistic, specific, measurable and mutually consistent. And they should be clearly stated in writing.

The goals at the marketing level are closely related to the company wide goals and strategies. In fact a company strategy often translates into a marketing goal.

Process # 3. Selection of Target Markets:

Selections of target markets is obviously the key step in marketing planning. Management should analyse existing markets in detail and identify potential markets. At this point, management also should decide to what extent and in what manner, it want to segment its markets. As part of this step in the planning process, management also should forecast its sales in its various markets.

Process # 4. Designing a Strategic Marketing Mix:

Management next must design a strategic marketing mix that enables the company to satisfy the wants of its target markets and to achieve its marketing goals. The design and later the operation of the marketing mix components, constitute the bulk of a company’s marketing effort.

Process # 5. Preparing Annual Marketing Plan:

Periodically, the ongoing strategic marketing planning process in an organization culminates with the preparation of a series of short term marketing plans. These plans usually cover a period of a year. In some industries, it is necessary to prepare these plans for even shorter time periods because of the nature of the product or market. A separate annual plan should be prepared for each product line, major product, brand or market.

An annual marketing plan is the master guide covering a year’s marketing activity for the given business unit or product. The plan then becomes, the how-to do it document that guides executives in each phase of their marketing operations.

The plan includes:

(i) A statement of objectives

(ii) The identification of target markets

(iii) The strategies and tactics pertaining to the marketing mix and

(iv) Information regarding the budgetary support for the marketing activity.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Techniques

SWOT Analysis is a simple framework generating strategic alternatives from a situation analysis. A scan of the internal and external environment is an important part of the strategic planning process. Environmental factors internal to the firm usually can be classified as Strengths (S) or Weaknesses (W), and those external to the firm can be classified as Opportunities (O) or Threats (T), such an analysis of the strategic environment is referred to as a SWOT Analysis.

SWOT Analysis is applicable to either the corporate level or the business unit level and frequently appears in Marketing Plans. SWOT (sometimes referred to as TOWS) stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The SWOT framework was described in the late 1960’s by Edmund P. Learned, (Ronald Christiansen, Kenneth Andrews, and William).

The SWOT Analysis is useful when a very limited amount of time is available to address a complex strategic situation. It provides information that is helpful in matching the firm’s resources and capabilities to the competitive environment in which it operates. As such, it is instrumental in strategy formulation and selection.

SWOT Analysis Framework :

By understanding these four aspects (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of its situations, a firm can better leverage its strengths, correct its weaknesses, capitalize on golden opportunities, and deter potentially devastating threats.

Technique # 1. Internal Analysis :

The internal analysis is a comprehensive evaluation of the internal environment’s potential strengths and weaknesses.

i. Strengths:

A firm’s strengths are its resources and capabilities that can be used as a basis for developing a competitive advantage.

Example of such strengths include:

a. Your specialist marketing expertise

b. A new, innovative product or service

c. Location of your business

d. Quality processes and procedures.

f. Strong brand names

g. Goodwill among customers etc.

ii. Weaknesses:

The absence of certain strengths may be viewed as a weakness for example.

Weakness could be:

a. Lack of marketing expertise

b. ii. Undifferentiated products or services

c. Damaged reputation

d. Lack of patent protection

e. Weak brand name

f. Poor reputation among customers.

Technique #   2. External Analysis :

External Analysis refers to analysis of various opportunities and threats prevailing in the external environment i.e., outside the company.

i. Opportunities:

The external environmental analysis may reveal certain new opportunities for profit and growth.

Some examples of such opportunities include:

a. A developing market such as the internet.

b. ii. Mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances.

c. Moving into new market segments that offer improved profits.

d. A new international market.

e. A market vacated by an ineffective competitors.

f. Arrival of new technologies

g. Loosening of regulations etc.

ii. Threats:

Changes in the external environmental also may present threats to the firm.

For example, a threat could be:

a. A new competitor in your home market.

b. Price wars with competitors.

c. A competitor with new, innovative product or service.

d. Competitors have superior access to channels of distribution.

e. Shifts in consumer tastes.

f. Emergency of substitute products.

g. New regulations.

h. Increased trade barriers etc.

The SWOT Matrix :

A firm should not necessarily pursue the more lucrative opportunities. Rather, it may have a better chance at developing a competitive advantage by identifying a fit between the firm’s strengths and upcoming opportunities. In some cases, the firm can overcome a weakness in order to prepare itself to pursue a compelling opportunity. Once the analysis has been complete, a SWOT profile can be generated and used as the basis of goal setting, strategy formulation and implementation.

The completed SWOT profile are sometimes arranged as follows:

When formulating strategy, the interaction of the quadrants in the SWOT profile- To develop strategies that take into account the SWOT profile, a matrix of these factors can be constructed.

i. S – O Strategies pursue opportunities that are a good fit to the company’s strengths.

ii. W – O Strategies overcome weaknesses to pursue opportunities.

iii. S – T Strategies identify ways that the firm can use its strengths to reduce its vulnerability to external threats.

iv. W – T Strategies establish a defensive plan to prevent the firm’s weaknesses from making it highly susceptible to external threats.

Rules for Successful SWOT Analysis:

i. Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization when conducting SWOT analysis.

ii. SWOT analysis should distinction between where your organization is today and where it could be in the future.

iii. SWOT should always be specific. Avoid grey areas.

iv. Always apply SWOT in relation to your competition i.e., better than or worse than your competition.

v. Keep your SWOT short and simple. Avoid complexity.

vi. SWOT is subjective.

SWOT Analysis Limitations :

While useful for reducing a large quantity of situational factors into a more manageable profile, the SWOT frame work has a tendency to oversimplify the situation by classifying the firm’s environmental factors into categories in which they may not always fit the classification of some factors as strengths or weaknesses, or as opportunities or threats is some that arbitrary.

For example, a particular company culture can be either a strength or a weakness. A technological change can be a either a threat or an opportunity. Perhaps what is more important that the superficial classification of these factors is the firm’s awareness of them and its development of a strategic plan to use them to its advantage.

Strategic Marketing Planning – 3 Main Levels

A business plan should always have a strategic face. Strategy gives a specific focus to the plan. It throws light on how the plan gets into action. This is the reason why an organization dwells on strategic planning. Without strategic planning, the organization cannot cope with the vagaries of the market situation, insulate it from competitive thrust and attain targeted sales and profits. It aims to equilibrate corporate objectives and resources in perfect synchronization.

Kotler (1988) defined strategic planning as the managerial process of devel­oping and maintaining a viable fit between the objectives and resources of an organization. The aim of strategic planning is to shape and reshape the businesses and products of a company so that they combine to produce satisfactory profits and growth.

Strategic marketing planning finds development at three levels.

These are as follows:

1. Corporate level.

2. Business level.

3. Product/Functional level.

1. Corporate Level Strategic Plans :

These strategic plans are the ones that are chalked out at the helm of the organi­zational ladder where the top brass of management is entitled to decide about –

i. Corporate mission,

ii. Strategic business units (SBUs),

iii. Allocating resources to SBUs, and

iv. Filling up strategic planning gaps for existing and new businesses.

These issues are discussed briefly as follows:

i. A mission is a stated sense of purpose for an organization.

It answers the following questions:

a. Who are the organization’s stakeholders?

b. Why and how does the organization serve them?

c. Where does the organization intend to reach by serving its stake holders?

Through mission statements, a workforce can understand the shared sense of purpose, scope, values, direction, opportunity, and achievements of the business. Both sales managers and salespeople operate within the framework of corporate mission statements. Moreover, these statements are the bases of corporate guidelines that are observed by sales management.

ii. Most organizations are multi-business centres, manufacturing more than one product or service. Each of these businesses deals with at least one product or service and serves a definite customer group. So each business unit has a specific product/service-market combination with a definite strategic purpose. Each unit is called SBU.

Each SBU has its own objectives, strategies, profit motives, budgetary allocation because each unit is an independent business centre having its own target markets, customer groups, competitors, modalities of serving customer needs, and capacity to contribute profits to the organization.

So, the principle underlying the business-level planning is that all related products or services are grouped under one SBU. For example, the BPL group with more than one hundred products in its portfolio constituted six SBUs. These are entertainment electronics and appliances, components, telecom, power, soft energy, and financial services.

iii. The third activity of allocating resources to various SBUs is based on the business potentials and market demands. Resources add strength to the unit to become equal to or to surpass the competitors. Resources are needed to make further development (Build), maintain current position (Hold), reap short-term benefits regardless of long-term effects (Harvest), as well as, sell or liquidate the business because of no attractiveness (Divest).

Sales managers under the ‘Build’ strategy advise their subordinates to increase their efforts to increase sales volume and distribution network. The objective here is to increase market share of SBU and consolidate the business on financial fundamentals. ‘Hold’ makes sense when sales managers want to maintain their sales volume by securing the present sales force and distribution network.

The objective is to concentrate on the present target market(s). Maintenance of a steady cash flow is the smart way to stay uncluttered in the ‘Hold’ strategy. ‘Harvest’ involves the efforts of the sales managers to target profitable accounts and reduce selling costs. So, limiting ties with customers where business prospect is dim and shift attention to profit-making customers under the ‘Harvest’ approach is the strategy used by managers.

Fourthly, when an SBU finds no hope, both in short- or long-term business accruals, the company decide to sell it off or terminate the operation. Sales managers in the ‘Divest’ strategy suggest stopping all the selling activities except making desperate bids to clear off inventories. The ‘Divest Strategy’ also recommends expansion of present business in new geographical areas, if possible or establishment of new businesses to fill the strategic planning gap.

iv. In selling parlance, sales managers call for greater market expansion, penetration or development (intensive growth) or suggest ways to strengthen the supply chain by forward integration (e.g., pursuing exclusive distribution network to firm up customer service), backward integration (e.g., acquiring one or more businesses of the suppliers) or horizontal integration (e.g., acquiring one or more competitors).

The company, as an alternative move can also choose the diversification strategy that entails where and how it should venture out to explore other business opportunities not akin to the existing businesses. Sales managers need to bother more about intensive growth because they are to operate under varied product-market situations. Each situation evolves an opportunity for improving the performance of the organization.

2. Business Level Strategic Plans :

An organization consists of a number of SBUs. Each SBU develops its own missions, objectives, and strategies to achieve. Each SBU explores its marketing opportunities separately and analyses its external threats as well. It lays down its own strategic plans which must not contradict the overall corporate plan.

The components of the SBU’s strategic plan, in general, are:

i. Defining the business mission.

ii. Analysing the external environment for identifying opportunities and threats.

iii. Analysing the internal environment for introspecting strengths and weak­nesses.

iv. Developing business objectives and goals.

v. Developing business strategies.

vi. Preparing programmes or action plans.

vii. Implementing action plans.

viii. Monitoring feedbacks and take corrective actions.

These are discussed briefly in the following paragraphs.

Each business unit within the organization has its own mission to develop. The mission statements for the business covers up the market segment and the target market for a company that they will serve. For example, mission for a pharma­ceutical business that manufactures paediatric medicines is to spread goodwill amongst parents by taking care of their children’s health.

How better an organization can fulfil its mission depends on how better it can manage its resources and control its impediments in its way to success. This means the ability of the organization to capitalize on strengths by keeping weaknesses at bay and exploit business opportunities by thwarting threats convincingly. SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis is an important strategic planning tool that helps the organization to do a critical review and compare its strengths and weaknesses with opportunities and threats.

SWOT analysis can be separately undertaken by the sales managers to review and identify the strategic advantages that they can use as promotional weapons. At the same time, the analysis will signal cautions on disadvantaged areas of the organization that the sales managers should take care of in the strategic planning process.

After the business mission is defined and the SWOT analysis is over, the sales manager decides on the objectives of the business dealing with specific product(s) or product line. Multiple objectives are set to cover up the major points of des­tination. Kotler (1988) viewed that most business units should pursue a mix of objectives including profitability, sales growth, market share improvement, risk containment, innovativeness, reputation, and so on.

Strategies lay down the activities and distribute resources with a long-term plan of how to compete with the designated products and markets zeroing in on busi­ness objectives and goals. A business strategy, in the same lines, suggests the plan of action which should be pursued by a business unit to accomplish objectives in a cost-effective manner.

In this regard, Porter’s strategic thinking is worthy of discussion because, according to him all strategic routes are condensed into three generic strategies. According to Porter, these generics provide food for strategic thoughts for managers to steer businesses towards accomplishment of objectives.

3. Product/Functional Level Strategic Plan :

A strategic plan provides the framework for preparing marketing strategies for a specific product or service. These product/functional level strategies should be consistent with the business strategies.

Marketing Mix Decision:

Marketing mix development is the central part of a marketing programme. A marketing programme should be designed in a man­ner that always surpasses that of competitors, which is termed as the competitive advantage. The development of marketing mix takes place basically in its four components, namely product, price, place, and promotion. Information on market potential, market size, growth, level of competitor’s activity, level of tastes and preferences of the customers, economic behaviour of customers, key buying influencers, cost factors for market entry, etc., are other factors to be studied before taking entry decisions.

Marketing mix decision is geared towards developing the marketing mix ele­ments product, price, place, and promotion in a way that meets the needs and preferences of specific target market. Kumar and Meenakshi (2006) advocated that competitive advantage can be built in the marketing programme by the following –

i. Being better – Superior quality or service.

ii. Being faster – Anticipate and respond to customer needs faster than the competitors.

iii. Being closer – Establishing close long-term relationships with the customers.

The objective is to create a clear competitive advantage over rivals. A higher fit amongst the dimensions of the marketing programme, as compared to other competitors, can bring competitive advantage to the organization.

Levels of Strategic Management:

Before we could discuss the various levels of strategy, we need to understand two terms:

1. Enterprise Strategy:

Enterprise Strategy seeks to answer the question “what do we stand for?” Enterprise strategy is the organization’s plan for establishing the desired relationship with other social institutions and stock holder group by maintaining the overall character of the organization.

2. Strategic Business Unit (SBU):

“A strategic business unit (SBU) is an operative division of a firm which serves a distinct product/market segment or a well-defined set of customers or a geographic area. The SBU is given authority to make its own strategic decisions within corporate guidelines as long as it meets corporate objectives.”

In a multi-business enterprise having several SBUs there would be three levels of strategy, viz:

i. Corporate strategy,

ii. SBU strategy and

iii. Functional strategy.

i. Corporate Strategy:

Corporate strategy is the long term strategy encompassing the entire organization. Corporate strategy addresses fundamental questions such as –

a. What is the purpose of the enterprise?

b. What business it wants to be in?

c. How to expand? etc.

Corporate strategy is formulated by the top-level corporate management. Corporate level strategic planning is the planning of activities, which define the overall character, and mission of the organization, the product/service segments it will enter and leave, and allocation of resources and management of synergy among its SBUs.

ii. SBU Strategy:

SBU level strategy, sometimes called business strategy or competitive strategy is concerned with decisions pertaining to the product mix, market segments and measuring competitive advantages for the SBU.

The responsibility for SBU strategy is with the top executives of SBU who are normally 2 nd tier executives in the corporate hierarchy. In single SBU organization, senior executives have both corporate and SBU level responsibility.

iii. Functional Strategy:

Functional level strategies are strategies for different functional areas like production, finance, personnel, marketing etc. Functional level strategy is the responsibility of functional area head.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Top 3 Models of SMP

Over the past few decades, a number of frameworks or tools – known as models have been designed to assist the strategic planning exercise. Most of these models can be used with both strategic company planning and strategic marketing planning.

A few other models are being discussed below:

1. Life-Cycle Portfolio Matrix:

The Arthur D Little model which is illustrated below uses two dimensions – the firm’s competitive position and the stages of industry maturity.

a. Dominant – This is a comparatively rare position and in many cases is attributable either to a monopoly or a strong and protected technological leadership.

b. Strong – By virtue of this position, the firm has a considerable degree of freedom over its choice of strategies and is often able to act without its market position being unduly threatened by the competition.

c. Favourable – This position, which generally comes about when the industry is fragmented and no one competitor stands out clearly, results in the giving market leaders a reasonable degree of freedom.

d. Tenable – Although the firms within this category are able to perform satisfactorily and can justify staying in the industry, they are generally vulnerable in the face of increased competition from stronger and more proactive companies in the market.

e. Weak – the performance of firms in this category is generally unsatisfactory although opportunities for improvement do exist.

2. The General Electric Model:

The General Electric Model (developed by GE with the assistance of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company) is similar to the BCG growth-share matrix. This also uses two factors in a matrix/grid situation.

The criteria used to rate market attractiveness and business position are assigned in different ways because some criteria are more important than others. Then each SBU is rated with respect to all criteria. Finally overall ratings for both factors are calculated for each SBU. Based on these ratings, each SBU is labelled as high, medium or low with respect to (a) market attractiveness, and (b) business position.

Every organisation has to make decisions about how to use its limited resources most effectively. That’s where these planning models can help in determining which SBU should be stimulated for growth, which ones maintained in their present market position and which one eliminated.

3. Porter’s Generic Strategic Model:

Michel Porter, a Harvard business professor proposed the following generic strategic models based on product market scope and competitive advantages.

Three generic strategies proposed by Michel Porter are:

a. Overall cost leadership – A company or an SBU, typically large, seeks to satisfy a broad market by producing a standard product at a low cost and then under-pricing competitors. The battle among Deccan Airways with other Airlines, and Maruti Udyog with other automobile companies revolves around cost leadership at the present time.

b. Differentiation – An organisation creates a distinctive, perhaps even a unique, product through its unsurpassed quality, innovative design, or some other feature and as a result, can charge a higher than average price. This strategy may be used to pursue either a broad or narrow target market.

c. Focus – A firm or an SBU concentrates on part of a market and tries to satisfy it with either a very low-priced or highly distinctive product. The target market ordinarily is set apart by some factor such as geography or specialized needs. For example, a small company in the auto parts business might target owners of cars that are no longer produced.

A low-cost leader’s basis for competitive advantage is lower overall cost than competitors. Successful low-cost leaders are exceptionally good at finding ways to drive cost out of their business. Outperforming rivals in controlling the factors that drive costs is a very demanding managerial exercise.

In markets where rivals compete mainly on price, low cost relative to competitor is the only competitive advantage that matters. A low-cost leader is in the strongest position to win the business of the price sensitive buyers and still earn a profit.

A successful differentiation strategy will provide customers with perceived and actual value that is difficult for competitors to copy. The essence of a differentiation strategy is to be unique in ways that are valuable to the customers and that can be sustained.

Focused (or Market Niche) strategy is based on competitive advantages either on- (a) lower cost than competitors in serving the market niche or (b) an ability to offer niche members something they perceive better suited to their own unique taste and preferences. Even though a focuser may be small, it may still have substantial competitive strength because of the attractiveness of the product offering and its strong expertise and capabilities in meeting the needs and expectations of niche members.

Best-cost provider strategies aim at giving customers more value for their money. The most successful best-cost producers have competencies and capabilities to simultaneously manage unit costs down and product caliber up. The most powerful competitive strategy of all is relentlessly striving to become a lower-and-lower cost provider of a higher-and-higher caliber product. The closer a firm can get to the ultimate of being the industry’s absolute lowest-cost provider and, simultaneously, the provider of the industry’s overall best product, the less vulnerable it becomes to rivals’ actions.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Strengths

Some benefits of strategic marketing planning are as follows:

(a) The increase in size of companies will increase its risk.

(b) It improves the quality of management’s decision making by encouraging creativity and initiative by tapping the ideas of the management team.

(c) The economic environment of business is fast changing.

(d) The reduction in entry barriers has intensified the competitive spirit.

(e) The long-run survival and growth of a business firm requires a well-planned decision making, evaluation and control systems.

(f) The long-term, medium-term and short-term objectives, plans and controls can be made consistent with one another.

Strategic Marketing Planning – Common Pitfalls

The common pitfalls in strategic marketing planning are as follows:

(a) Non-availability of correct and accurate data.

(b) Doing strategic planning only to satisfy accreditation or regulatory requirements.

(c) Failing to communicate the plan to the people who execute the plan.

(d) Top management making intuitive decisions that conflict with formal plan.

(e) Failing to use plans as a standard for measuring performance.

(f) Delegating tasks to a few persons rather than involving all managers.

(g) Failing to involve key employees in all phases of planning.

(h) Failing to create an environment conducive of change.

(i) Lack of flexibility and creativity.

(j) Strategic planning is a costly exercise, as well as, time consuming.

(k) Strategic planning usually restricted to hard business concerns, leaving without proper attention for soft issues like customer, quality, labour productivity, social concerns etc.

(l) Strategy planning sometimes becomes a routine exercise, without having proper attention to strategic issues.

(m) The planning process is isolated from the external groups that critically affect the company like labour unions, consumer advocates, social service organizations etc.

Related Articles:

  • Strategic Planning Process: 4 Stages | Business Marketing
  • Strategic Planning Process for Industrial Marketing
  • Strategic Planning, Alternatives and Implementation | Business Marketing
  • Process of Strategic Planning: 5 Stages | Management

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Strategic Market Planning - Meaning & Stages

What is strategic market planning.

Strategic Market Planning is an ongoing process through which the company creates marketing strategies and plans its implementations in the target market. The process taken into account the current position of the company, helps in identifying the promotional opportunities & then evaluating these opportunities. Target market is identified through comprehensive research.

Marketing is a complicated process and mostly cannot be planned in short period of time. The strategic market planning takes into account long term and short term view of the market and considers various parameters to plan according to the target market.

Strategic Market Planning Stages

The strategic market planning has three stages:

1. Segmentation of the market and customers

2. Profiling of the market segments

3. Development of the actual marketing strategy

The strategic market planning can be applicable to various marketing objectives like increasing market share, new product launch, market research etc.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team . It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

Browse the definition and meaning of more similar terms. The Management Dictionary covers over 1800 business concepts from 5 categories.

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  • Brand Equity
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Marketing: planning and strategizing, sections of this topic include.

Rules of Marketing: Old Vs. New Makin’ the Marketing Strategy Happen! Additional Perspectives on Market Planning

Also, consider Related Library Topics

Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Market Planning

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Market Planning. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also, see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “Next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library’s Marketing Blog Library’s Public and Media Relations Blog

Rules of Marketing: Old Vs. New

(The following article also addresses public relations — the opinions in the article apply to both marketing and public relations. Note that many people would assert that public relations are a form of outbound marketing.)

© Copyright Lisa Chapman

What is Marketing? What is PR?

You’ve likely heard it before – in the digital world, “The lines have blurred between Marketing and PR.”

What does that mean? How have the lines blurred? In order to answer these questions, let’s take a look at the OLD versus the NEW rules of Marketing, as proposed by David Meerman Scott in his bestselling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR .

The OLD Rules of Marketing

The message was delivered ONE-WAY, and CREATIVITY was the secret sauce that commanded the audience’s attention. Among the fundamental concepts of the OLD marketing paradigm:

  • Advertising was the core tool
  • The advertising message was generally crafted to appeal to the masses
  • Advertising INTERRUPTED the audience with a one-way message
  • Advertising engaged campaigns for a defined time period
  • Creators focused on creativity – and award-winning campaigns
  • Advertising and PR were different specialties, run by different people

The OLD Rules of PR

The ultimate goal: Spin a press release to capture reporters’ attention, then get a clip of the story, to show that the message was viewed by the audience.

  • Media comprised the toolbox, in order to get the message out
  • A press release was the core tool
  • Only significant news commanded the attention of the media
  • It was all in “the spin” (or HYPE!)
  • Quotes from third parties were an important element of a press release
  • Press releases were meaningless unless a reporter decided that it was worthy of a story

The NEW Rules of Marketing and PR

Since the internet is now one huge publisher, ANYONE can learn how to create compelling messages and publish them. Getting found online is the science and art. A few of the new rules include:

  • People don’t want “spin” – they want authenticity
  • People don’t want to be interrupted anymore (it’s now called SPAM)
  • People don’t want to be ‘told’ (push marketing), they want to be heard
  • People want VALUE (content), which develops relationships and trust
  • Marketing and PR can reach niche audiences online in a wider variety of ways
  • Content is KING, and stays online, with no end to the campaign

The New TOOLS of Marketing and PR

It’s no longer TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, etc. Meaningful, valuable CONTENT is the vehicle that captures audiences’ attention. It is now found on:

  • Microblogs (Tweets)
  • Social Media platforms (Facebook.com, Myspace.com, etc)
  • Article Directories
  • Etc, etc, etc!

Makin’ the Marketing Strategy Happen!

© Copyright Tove Rasmussen

Implementing a marketing strategy is a multi-faceted activity. A good marketing strategy is driven by a clear, simple positioning statement. This makes it clear to your employees and market, that the company is superior to the competition. The marketing strategy encompasses the product or service offering, pricing, promotion, and distribution – or delivery of the product or service to your customers.

So, the marketing strategy is all-encompassing. It drives product features, time from order to delivery, logistics, research and development, customer services — in short, it drives what is key for all facets of the business.

Consequently, implementing a marketing strategy involves so much more than marketing. It involves the whole company.

How you implement the marketing strategy depends on who you are in the organization. Are you the president or the marketing director? If the organization has developed a marketing strategy, both need to be aligned with the strategy, on-board and enthusiastic.

The implementation of the marketing strategy can begin with the development of the marketing strategy. The organization can be involved or informed of the status of the development of the strategy. The input of operations, regulations, and sales can be part of the information that is used to develop the strategy.

Or the strategy can be developed by the management team and rolled out to the company once it is completed. The extent to which each approach works depends a lot on the issues involved with strategy development, the culture of the company, and the buy-in to the plan by the company as a whole.

If, for example, operations were asked for an opinion, it is very important to close the loop and let operations know what happened to the input. How it was used in developing the plan and, if possible, how the input affected the final strategy that was developed.

If the plan is being rolled out with no input, then it is critical for the department heads to consider the expected response from their teams, and to ensure the potential issues will be addressed. If unexpected issues are raised, it is critical to research these issues and respond to them. However, the key is to effectively demonstrate how the plan is in the interest of each department, in particular, the growth of the company. Information that provides confidence in this result is essential to provide, and an inclusive, enthusiastic, confident tenor of the meeting is important.

However, it is much more than one roll-out meeting, or several roll-out meetings. Implementation includes informal discussions in the hall, during chance encounters, and in regular meetings. People will absorb the information, and come up with excellent questions that need to be taken into account.

There is, of course, the formal implementation of the strategy as well. It will translate into objectives for performance evaluations, possibly organization shifts and changes.

As the company moves through the changes, focus on gaining some small wins first. This increases confidence in the new strategy and increases momentum. Keep it forefront in the company, and stay positive and flexible.

Additional Perspectives on Market Planning

Definition of Strategic Market Planning Planning Your Market Strategy How to Write a Marketing Plan Market Planning Worksheet Sample Marketing Plan Target and Market to Your Audience Makin’ the Marketing Strategy Happen! Understand your Buyers’ Behavior: The Key to Effective Promotion

Products and Market Planning Revisiting and Revamping Your E-Marketing Plan First Steps to Marketing a Small Business Learning How to Make Market Segmentation Work Again What Gandhi taught us about business planning Steve Harrison: Publicity Power Sample Marketing Plan Strategic Marketing

Marketing Ideas

Inexpensive Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses 100 Awesome Marketing Ideas You Can Use Right Now Why Nonprofits Need a Digital Marketing Plan (applies to for-profits, as well)

10 Best Digital Marketing Ideas And Strategies To Grow Your Business Top 25 Digital Marketing Tips & Ideas From The Pros

For the Category of Marketing:

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Using Technology to Improve Supply-Chain Resilience

  • Jonathan Colehower

marketing strategic planning management

Companies need to do more than simply invest in building effective supply chains — they need to place an equal priority on maintaining them.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought many global supply chains to a halt. And as we emerged from the pandemic, many companies overcorrected by adopting “just-in-case inventory management.” What’s more, when consumer confidence varies widely from month-to-month and demand remains volatile, it is difficult for businesses to plan. In the apparel sector, for example, buyers must place peak-season orders six months in advance. With high volatility, demand forecasts in June can be completely different than actual demand in December. This raises the overall risk of either missing the season by not having enough, or facing enormous markdowns in January. To move forward, supply chain managers need more flexible, dynamic connections between trading partners to replace their current point-to-point, static connections that are unable to adapt to sudden, unexpected supply chain disruptions. What they need is a more modern, more responsive supply chain platform. This article discusses how today’s supply chain technology can help businesses build more resilience into their supply chains moving forward.

The Covid-19 pandemic shook global supply chains to their core, and they have not yet fully recovered. What’s more, many managers who had previously followed “lean” principles, including “just-in-time inventory management,” have overcorrected by adopting “just-in-case inventory management.” This tendency to simply overcorrect (and overstock) with an ad-hoc and ill-defined “just-in-case” inventory strategy has resulted in soaring global inventories in the retail, wholesale, and manufacturing industries at a time when the Business Confidence Index and Consumer Confidence Index both show unusual volatility . When consumer confidence varies widely from month-to-month, it is difficult for businesses to plan. In the apparel sector, for example, buyers must place peak-season orders six months in advance. With high volatility, demand forecasts in June can be completely different than actual demand in December. This raises the overall risk of either missing the season by not having enough, or facing enormous markdowns in January.

The New Age of Operations

To move forward, supply chain managers need more flexible, dynamic connections between trading partners to replace their current point-to-point, static connections that are unable to adapt to sudden, unexpected supply chain disruptions. What they need is a more modern, more responsive supply chain platform.

Building Supply Chain Resilience with a Modern Technology Platform

Supply chain management technology platforms can build resilience on a number of levels, by allowing businesses to:

Establish unified commerce via increased supply chain visibility.

One of the most significant challenges facing retailers today is the orchestration of a seamless consumer experience across multiple channels, such as online, in store, and hybrid models that combine the two. Many grocers have developed innovative technologies that allow customers to place orders online, that notify the customer when the order is ready, and that then detect when the customer is nearby, creating a seamless customer experience. Network-wide inventory visibility is essential for enabling unified commerce. With network-wide inventory visibility, companies can avoid stockouts and overstock situations, reducing carrying costs and enhancing customer satisfaction. By utilizing advanced tracking technologies such as RFID, IoT sensors, and data analytics, businesses can gain insights into inventory levels, location, and movement in real-time, allowing them to make better data-driven decisions.

Collaborate on Sales & Operations Planning.

Successful sales and operations planning (S&OP) requires leadership participation from a broad range of functions, including finance, sales, marketing, production, and fulfillment. Fortunately, this becomes easier as modern collaboration platforms replace outdated tools to provide a single source of truth data, intuitive modeling, and performance dashboards. When executed properly, S&OP provides companies with the ability to anticipate future demand and respond proactively to changes in the market. This approach also aids in risk management and contingency planning, allowing businesses to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions or economic fluctuations.

Implement a SaaS System.

Software as a Service (SaaS) has had a profound impact on global technology implementation by revolutionizing how software is delivered, accessed, and utilized by businesses and individuals worldwide. For supply chain executives, SaaS extends reach and visibility by allowing every stage (e.g., raw materials, production, finishing, warehousing, and distribution) to share information, actions, and insights.

Create flexible and open cloud architecture.

Increasing complexity and constant restructuring require supply chain technologies to integrate easily and adjust quickly, meaning that composable architecture is particularly well-suited for modern supply chains. Like a LEGO™ set, composable architecture allows for complex systems to be built by combining smaller, modular components that can be easily assembled, interconnected, and reused. Administrators can add new hardware resources to the pool, and the composable infrastructure can automatically incorporate these resources into the available pool. New Balance is a great example of this in practice. The sportswear company created a single library of content that feeds all of its systems — wearables, mobile, kiosk, and beyond. Instead of rebuilding the New Balance commerce experience from the ground up for every system, the use of common composable architecture suitable for every situation was far more effective.

Technology Is the Driving Force Behind Supply Chain Excellence

While following this approach is critical to building a resilient supply chain that can endure unforeseen disruptions, the latest technology can also be leveraged to build stronger supply chain systems that position the entire organization for success. Instead of relying on technology to simply survive, forward-looking executives will use it to help their businesses thrive. The tactics adopted here will vary by organization, but here are a several broad approaches that can create stronger supply chains:

Leverage AI/ML to support supply chain management.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has sparked a transformative era for supply chain management. According to McKinsey , effective use of AI in inventory control can achieve up to a 20% reduction in inventory carrying costs and a 50% decrease in stockouts. By leveraging advanced algorithms and data analytics, AI/ML technologies enhance the accuracy of demand forecasting, enabling companies to anticipate market trends, fluctuations, and customer preferences with unprecedented precision. This predictive capability facilitates efficient inventory management, reducing excess stock, and minimizing stockouts, thus optimizing working capital. In addition, AI/ML-driven algorithms optimize logistics, streamlining transportation networks and reducing costs.

Take collaboration even further.

One of the most visible and lasting impacts of the pandemic was how it forced employees at every rung of the business to learn new collaboration skills. Daily meeting participants on Zoom rose from 10 million to 300 million in just four months. And the reality is that while collaboration within an organization has often proven to be challenging, it’s even more imperative for supply chain managers to collaborate outside of their organization with customers, suppliers, and partners. These managers, in particular, will need to rely on the implementation of proper tools such as permission-based private networks to provide a safe, easy, and trusted environment to share supply chain data.

Invest in comprehensive cyber security.

Since 2019, cyberattacks against supply chains have doubled . Just last year, attacks increased by more than 200% . In many of these cases, security vulnerabilities in the supply chain were exposed by third-party operators, such as vendors and contractors. Fortunately, modern platforms are becoming the most effective defense for fighting cyberattacks. While managers might not be able to predict and protect against every risk, a modern technology platform is vital to keeping the organization one step ahead of threats.

Establish greater supply chain visibility.

Traditionally, visibility across the supply chain has been limited to “one-up” and “one-down,” meaning that managers can generally only “see” what their tier one suppliers and immediate customers are doing. However, in a multi-echelon supply chain, operators won’t feel the impact of disruptions that occur three or four tiers back until it’s too late to adjust. Today, modern IT platforms enable trading partners to gather in a safe, permission-based exchange where they can share information, improving visibility and building resilience across the entire supply chain.

The pandemic illustrated that we need to do more than simply invest in building effective supply chains — we need to place an equal priority on maintaining them. Regardless of how much expertise went into the creation of an efficient and resilient supply chain — we must recognize that in our ever-changing world the supply chain is never a finished product. By keeping our supply chains in a constant beta state and investing in the technology and insights needed to continually elevate them, a global supply crunch can be avoided. The task of building a supply chain that responds to real-time inputs and evolves to meet shifting demands will never be truly finished, but that’s no reason not to start.

  • JC Jonathan Colehower is the Global Supply Chain Strategy Practice Lead at UST, a global digital transformation solutions provider.

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