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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  • 2.2 The Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • In the Spotlight
  • 1.1 Marketing and the Marketing Process
  • 1.2 The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing
  • 1.3 Factors Comprising and Affecting the Marketing Environment
  • 1.4 Evolution of the Marketing Concept
  • 1.5 Determining Consumer Needs and Wants
  • 1.6 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • 1.7 Ethical Marketing
  • Chapter Summary
  • Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
  • Critical Thinking Exercises
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • What Do Marketers Do?
  • Marketing Plan Exercise
  • Closing Company Case
  • 2.1 Developing a Strategic Plan
  • 2.3 Purpose and Structure of the Marketing Plan
  • 2.4 Marketing Plan Progress Using Metrics
  • 2.5 Ethical Issues in Developing a Marketing Strategy
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 3.1 Understanding Consumer Markets and Buying Behavior
  • 3.2 Factors That Influence Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 3.3 The Consumer Purchasing Decision Process
  • 3.4 Ethical Issues in Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 4.1 The Business-to-Business (B2B) Market
  • 4.2 Buyers and Buying Situations in a B2B Market
  • 4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior
  • 4.4 Stages in the B2B Buying Process
  • 4.5 Ethical Issues in B2B Marketing
  • 5.1 Market Segmentation and Consumer Markets
  • 5.2 Segmentation of B2B Markets
  • 5.3 Segmentation of International Markets
  • 5.4 Essential Factors in Effective Market Segmentation
  • 5.5 Selecting Target Markets
  • 5.6 Product Positioning
  • 5.7 Ethical Concerns and Target Marketing
  • 6.1 Marketing Research and Big Data
  • 6.2 Sources of Marketing Information
  • 6.3 Steps in a Successful Marketing Research Plan
  • 6.4 Ethical Issues in Marketing Research
  • 7.1 The Global Market and Advantages of International Trade
  • 7.2 Assessment of Global Markets for Opportunities
  • 7.3 Entering the Global Arena
  • 7.4 Marketing in a Global Environment
  • 7.5 Ethical Issues in the Global Marketplace
  • 8.1 Strategic Marketing: Standardization versus Adaptation
  • 8.2 Diversity and Inclusion Marketing
  • 8.3 Multicultural Marketing
  • 8.4 Marketing to Hispanic, Black, and Asian Consumers
  • 8.5 Marketing to Sociodemographic Groups
  • 8.6 Ethical Issues in Diversity Marketing
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 9.1 Products, Services, and Experiences
  • 9.2 Product Items, Product Lines, and Product Mixes
  • 9.3 The Product Life Cycle
  • 9.4 Marketing Strategies at Each Stage of the Product Life Cycle
  • 9.5 Branding and Brand Development
  • 9.6 Forms of Brand Development, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Metrics
  • 9.7 Creating Value through Packaging and Labeling
  • 9.8 Environmental Concerns Regarding Packaging
  • 9.9 Ethical Issues in Packaging
  • 10.1 New Products from a Customer’s Perspective
  • 10.2 Stages of the New Product Development Process
  • 10.3 The Use of Metrics in Evaluating New Products
  • 10.4 Factors Contributing to the Success or Failure of New Products
  • 10.5 Stages in the Consumer Adoption Process for New Products
  • 10.6 Ethical Considerations in New Product Development
  • 11.1 Classification of Services
  • 11.2 The Service-Profit Chain Model and the Service Marketing Triangle
  • 11.3 The Gap Model of Service Quality
  • 11.4 Ethical Considerations in Providing Services
  • 12.1 Pricing and Its Role in the Marketing Mix
  • 12.2 The Five Critical Cs of Pricing
  • 12.3 The Five-Step Procedure for Establishing Pricing Policy
  • 12.4 Pricing Strategies for New Products
  • 12.5 Pricing Strategies and Tactics for Existing Products
  • 12.6 Ethical Considerations in Pricing
  • 13.1 The Promotion Mix and Its Elements
  • 13.2 The Communication Process
  • 13.3 Integrated Marketing Communications
  • 13.4 Steps in the IMC Planning Process
  • 13.5 Ethical Issues in Marketing Communication
  • 14.1 Advertising in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.2 Major Decisions in Developing an Advertising Plan
  • 14.3 The Use of Metrics to Measure Advertising Campaign Effectiveness
  • 14.4 Public Relations and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.5 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Relations
  • 14.6 Ethical Concerns in Advertising and Public Relations
  • 15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.2 Classifications of Salespeople Involved in Personal Selling
  • 15.3 Steps in the Personal Selling Process
  • 15.4 Management of the Sales Force
  • 15.5 Sales Promotion and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.6 Main Types of Sales Promotion
  • 15.7 Ethical Issues in Personal Selling and Sales Promotion
  • 16.1 Traditional Direct Marketing
  • 16.2 Social Media and Mobile Marketing
  • 16.3 Metrics Used to Evaluate the Success of Online Marketing
  • 16.4 Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing and Social Media
  • 17.1 The Use and Value of Marketing Channels
  • 17.2 Types of Marketing Channels
  • 17.3 Factors Influencing Channel Choice
  • 17.4 Managing the Distribution Channel
  • 17.5 The Supply Chain and Its Functions
  • 17.6 Logistics and Its Functions
  • 17.7 Ethical Issues in Supply Chain Management
  • 18.1 Retailing and the Role of Retailers in the Distribution Channel
  • 18.2 Major Types of Retailers
  • 18.3 Retailing Strategy Decisions
  • 18.4 Recent Trends in Retailing
  • 18.5 Wholesaling
  • 18.6 Recent Trends in Wholesaling
  • 18.7 Ethical Issues in Retailing and Wholesaling
  • 19.1 Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.2 Traditional Marketing versus Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.3 The Benefits of Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.4 Sustainable Marketing Principles
  • 19.5 Purpose-Driven Marketing

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • 1 Explain the role of marketing in the strategic planning process.
  • 2 Discuss the business portfolio and identify planning tools.
  • 3 Describe a SWOT analysis.
  • 4 List and describe marketing strategies based on analytics.

Explain the Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process

To get a better idea of the importance of marketing in the strategic planning process, let’s imagine that you’re the owner of a manufacturing business that produces widgets. You’ve been able to recruit top engineering talent to design these widgets and source components from trusted, reliable vendors, and your manufacturing facility is efficient and can produce the widgets in a cost-effective manner. Sounds like a winning business, doesn’t it?

Well, the only thing we’ve left out of the equation for success is customers, and without customers, the finest engineering staff and manufacturing facility in the world won’t ring the bell in terms of profits or revenue. You need to determine who your customers are, what their needs and wants are, how you’re going to reach them, and how you’re going to persuade them to buy your widgets. That’s where marketing comes into the strategic planning process, and that’s why it plays a crucial role.

Marketing in the strategic planning process has several basic but critical functions:

  • First, marketers assist the strategic planning team in executing a marketing philosophy throughout the strategic planning process.
  • Second, marketers assist the organization in gathering and analyzing information necessary to examine the current situation (the first step in a gap analysis).
  • Third, marketers are responsible for the identification of trends in the marketing environment and assessing the potential impact of those trends. 24

Business Portfolio Definition

As noted above, many businesses have a single product or business unit. However, larger organizations such as Apple , Alphabet , General Electric , Meta , and Microsoft often have multiple diverse business units called strategic business units. Despite the fact that these SBUs report directly to the parent company’s headquarters, they typically develop their own vision statements, mission statements, objectives, and goals, and the strategic planning for these SBUs is performed separately and apart from other SBUs within the organization. 25 When companies have multiple products or business units, these comprise the business portfolio —the total group of product lines, services, and business units that the company possesses.

To give you a better sense of what a business portfolio entails, look at Figure 2.5 , which illustrates the products and services of Microsoft and how each offering contributes to the overall strategic plan of the company. 26 Microsoft reported $168 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2021, and each of its product lines (or strategic business units) contributes to this revenue in differing amounts. 27 It’s easy to see from this breakdown why each of these businesses under the Microsoft “umbrella” would have different strategic plans to execute within the markets they serve. You likely wouldn’t have one overarching marketing or business strategy for all of these SBUs because the markets for Office, Gaming, LinkedIn , and the other SBUs are likely very different and would require different strategies to reach and retain customers.

Analyze and Design the Business Portfolio

There are many reasons why an organization would establish separate business units or product lines as it grows. For example, if the current product line is in a market where growth is limited, it may choose to branch out to other product lines or markets. Alternatively, an organization may choose to expand into other product lines to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Emerson Electric , headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, has five business segments: Network Power, Process Management, Industrial Automation, Climate Technologies, and Commercial and Residential Solutions (i.e., tools and storage). These business segments provide products as diverse as hardware and software technologies; motors; fluid control systems; heating and air-conditioning products and services; and tools, storage products, and appliances for residential, health care, and food services. 28 When you consider divisions as diverse as these, it should be readily evident why each is a separate division with separate strategies to compete in its respective marketplaces.

Conversely, a business may choose to expand in areas in which it already has experience and can use the power of its core competencies to establish sustainable competitive advantage with new products in existing markets.

There are a few tools that can help determine which course of action is best advised given the current circumstances of the organization, the marketplace, and other factors. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix

The BCG matrix is a model developed by Boston Consulting Group that can be used to analyze a business’s product lines or SBUs and make decisions about which to invest in in the future and which they should try to minimize further investment in or even eliminate. The bottom line is that no business has unlimited funds to invest in its product lines, and the BCG matrix is a useful model in determining how to allocate money in terms of marketing, research and development (R&D), etc. to that portfolio.

As shown in Figure 2.6 , the BCG matrix considers both market share and market growth rate. The SBUs or products that have high market share in a high-growth market are called stars and are placed in the upper left quadrant. These are the opportunities that hold the most promise for the organization.

Conversely, those SBUs or products that have low market share in a low-growth market are referred to as dogs and are placed in the lower right quadrant. These are prime candidates for divestiture or elimination because they have relatively low growth potential, and although the business has significant funds tied up in them, they bring in virtually nothing in terms of revenues. Divestiture could also provide needed capital to invest in your stars or question marks.

Cash cows , in the lower left quadrant, are an interesting breed, so to speak. A cash cow is an SBU or product that has high market share in a low-growth market. They’re valuable to a business because they generate significant revenue that can fund other strategic initiatives or emerging opportunities. Incidentally, they’re called cash cows because the thinking is to “milk” these products for profits.

Those SBUs or products that have a low market share in a high-growth market are called question marks (sometimes also called “problem children”) and are placed in the upper left quadrant. Question marks are among the most complex decisions to be considered when developing a BCG matrix because a root cause analysis may be required in order to determine why these SBUs are, in fact, question marks. Obviously, with high-market growth, the market is strong, but there are one or more reasons why your organization hasn’t been able to capitalize on it and gain market share. Does the product line need more investment in order to move into the “star” category? Is competition so strong in this market that additional funding in terms of advertising campaigns or other marketing tactics render them useless? Is the question mark just a trend in which you can expect high growth without a lot of market share for a short period of time?

Once you have categorized each of your SBUs or products on the BCG matrix, you’ll have a crystal-clear vision of where each stands and can identify which you should prioritize and which need to be divested.

To better understand the BCG model, let’s do a simplified matrix for Apple and some of its products (see Figure 2.7 ). Because Apple has so many products and services, we’re showing only four hardware products in this matrix.

In this sample matrix, we’re going to place the Apple iPhone in the star category. You’ll recall from our discussion above that stars have relatively high market share in a growing market. Let’s face it: the iPhone is the shining gem of Apple’s portfolio. Even though Apple has diversified its product line, the iPhone is still responsible for 52 percent of the company’s revenue, raking in an astounding $192 billion in 2021. 29

Next, we’re going to put the iPad and the MacBook in the cash cow category. Remember that the BCG matrix is built on two parameters—market share and market growth. Both the iPad and the MacBook have relatively high market share compared to competitors, but the market for these products is not growing much anymore. 30 The Apple iPad had a 31.5 percent share of the global tablet market during the first quarter (down from 38 percent in the previous quarter), and the MacBook still holds popularity, garnering 15.3 percent of the market share. 31 Both the iPad and the MacBook are well-established products that continue to generate substantial income for Apple, and these products require relatively little additional investment for them to remain profitable.

Let’s move on to the question mark category. Remember that question marks have low market share in a high-growth market, and we’re going to place the Apple iWatch in this category. The iWatch has the potential to become as big of a hit as the iPhone, but the jury is still out because there are too many unknowns in the market. Global sales of smartwatches increased by 13 percent in the first quarter of 2022, and the Apple iWatch continues to lead in market share. 32 However, Apple will need to analyze its iWatch vis-à-vis its other products to decide if it should continue to invest in the product. 33

Finally, let’s move on to the dog quadrant of the matrix. We’re going to place the iPod in this category because market growth has slowed considerably as people use their phones to listen to music or podcasts. The iPod has experienced a shrinking market share as a result, and it wouldn’t make sense for Apple to continue to invest in the iPod. 34 As a matter of fact, Apple announced in May 2022 that it would discontinue the iPod Touch, while the touch-screen model launched in 2007 will remain on sale until supplies run out. 35

Link to Learning

Would you like to learn more about the BCG Matrix? Watch this brief video from Solve It Like a Marketer.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym for a business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and it is a useful aid for zeroing in on a feasible marketing strategy. The purpose of a SWOT analysis is really quite simple. Marketers want to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the organization’s internal environment as well as the opportunities and threats that exist in the organization’s external environment. It is generally presented in the format seen in Figure 2.8 . You would complete the template with bullet points in each of the four quadrants.

A SWOT analysis will aid in taking advantages of the organization’s strengths and opportunities while avoiding (or at least minimizing) weaknesses and threats to its success. Realistically, some of the factors are in the control of the company (i.e., strengths and weaknesses), but other factors are outside the control of the company (i.e., opportunities and threats). Let’s consider each of these in a little more detail.

Strengths can be factors such as patents or trademarks possessed by the company that hinder competitors in participating in the market; a better cost structure than competitors; a talented, innovative staff; or strong brand recognition in the market. Strengths are internal to the organization, and they’re also positives. Questions to ask when developing this section may be: What do you do well? What unique resources you can draw on? Consider a company like Starbucks . If you were preparing a SWOT analysis for Starbucks, its strengths might include a strong brand image, solid financial performance, impressive growth in the number of stores, and an extensive international supply chain. 36

Weaknesses are also factors within a company’s internal environment, but these are hindrances to your success, so they’re categorized as negatives. Weaknesses may be difficulty in accessing capital or funding, outdated technology, an unmotivated workforce, weak brand recognition, or high levels of debt. Let’s go back to Starbucks. If you were preparing a SWOT analysis for Starbucks, some of its weaknesses may be high prices versus the competition and the imitability of its products. 37

Now we’ll switch over to external factors that affect the business. Opportunities are openings for something positive to happen if (and only if) you can capitalize on them. Opportunities can be moving into a new market segment that offers improved profits (like a snack food manufacturer moving into the health foods sector), competitors that have quality or delivery problems, or impending legislation that would favorably affect your organization if you’re able to capitalize on it. Once again, let’s go back to Starbucks. If you were preparing a SWOT analysis for Starbucks, some of its opportunities might be expansion in developing markets, a coffee subscription service similar to that offered by Panera Bread , and the introduction of new products and holiday flavors. 38

Finally, threats are anything external to your organization that can negatively impact your business. These may include supply chain problems, ongoing staffing problems, new competitors entering the market, or impending legislation that would negatively impact your organization, like tariffs. If you were doing a SWOT analysis for Starbucks, you might identify threats such as competition with lower-cost coffee sellers, tightening discretionary spending due to inflation, or the rising price of coffee beans. 39

Check out this video for a very simple example of a SWOT analysis.

When preparing a SWOT analysis, it is also helpful to compare elements by ranking strengths and weaknesses (internal factors) in terms of relative competitive importance. Marketers can also rank threats and opportunities (external factors) in terms of their likelihood and magnitude. 40

Earlier in this chapter, we pointed out the differences between corporate-level strategy, business-level strategy, and functional strategy. If you’re a fan of movies like Other People’s Money or Wall Street , you might think that corporate strategy focuses on hostile takeovers, mergers, and ruthless acquisitions.

The movie Moneyball is about a baseball general manager assembling a team by using computer analysis to hire new players. This is a great example of using analytics to inform strategy. Watch a clip of the movie here, where you see the analytics applied.

Market Penetration

When a company focuses on growing its market share in its existing markets, it is using what’s known as a market penetration strategy . This approach generally entails significant expenditures in advertising and other marketing efforts in order to influence consumers’ brand choice and create a brand reputation for the company, thereby increasing its market share.

In some mature industries (like soap, laundry detergent, or toothpaste), a market penetration strategy becomes a way of life because nearly all competitors are also engaged in intensive advertising and battle for market share. It becomes a way of life because companies fear that if they don’t advertise as much as or more than their competitors, they will lose market share.

To give you an idea of how fierce the competition is with a market penetration strategy, consider Procter & Gamble , which spent $4.7 billion on advertising in 2020. 41

Product Development

As noted above, a market penetration strategy focuses on existing products and existing markets. By contrast, a product development strategy involves the creation of new or improved products in order to drive growth in sales, revenue, and profit. Although the advertising expenditures involved with a market penetration strategy may be significant, they often pale compared to the expenditures involved in a product development strategy. This is because product development generally requires significant investment in R&D activities. 42

The automobile industry provides a good illustration of the product development strategy. Car makers generally refresh their models every few years to encourage car owners to trade in their old vehicles and buy the redesigned cars with the latest tech features such as driver assist, Wi-Fi hotspots, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 43 At the same time, all the manufacturers are spending billions of dollars developing new electric vehicle models to meet ambitious goals for phasing out gasoline-powered engines.

Another great example of a product development strategy is Tide laundry detergent. Tide has undergone more than 50 formulation changes over the past 40 years in an effort to continually improve its product’s performance. The name always stays the same, but Tide has a “new and improved” formula with each new product release. 44

If you doubt the power of a product development strategy, the next time you go to the grocery store or supermarket, just look at how many “new and improved” products are on the shelves!

Market Development

A market development strategy involves searching for new market segments and uses for a company’s products. This strategy can involve the launch of its existing products into new markets or different geographical areas. In doing so, the company attempts to capitalize on the strength of the brand name it has developed in the existing markets and find new markets in which to compete.

Facebook is a great example of a market development strategy. It’s difficult to remember when Facebook wasn’t a household word, but Facebook started out as a small platform that enabled Harvard University students to compare headshots. The popularity of the platform spread to other college campuses, and eventually Facebook allowed nonstudents to join. It looks like the strategy worked—Facebook is now the largest social network in the world, with nearly 3 billion users! 45

To help you better understand these strategies, let’s consider each one from the perspective of one company— Harley-Davidson . If Harley-Davidson were to adopt a market penetration strategy, the company would focus on selling more Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the US market. If the company were to adopt a product development strategy, it would begin selling a new product such as biker clothing for children under the Harley-Davidson brand in the US market. Harley-Davidson is currently pursuing a market development strategy, with plans to develop a new motorcycle to manufacture and sell in China. Harley-Davidson’s diversification strategy might entail selling new products like children’s biker clothing in China for the first time.

Product Diversification

A product diversification strategy is still another tool that companies can use to improve profitability and increase sales of new products. This strategy can be utilized at both the business level and the corporate level. At the business level, marketers would expand into a new segment of an industry in which the company is already operating. 46 For example, consider Apple . The company launched its revolutionary iPhone in 2007, but it didn’t stop there. It has since diversified into tablets and other technology-related products. 47 At the corporate level, let’s consider a dine-in restaurant that adds corporate catering and perhaps a fleet of food trucks—both businesses outside the scope of its existing business.

There are three types of diversification techniques, as shown in Figure 2.9 .

Let’s look at each of these strategies in a little more detail.

The concept of concentric diversification revolves around the addition of similar products or services to an existing business. 48 If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an example has to be worth even more, particularly an example to which you can easily relate as a student. As you’re reading this chapter, consider book publishers, like Harper Collins , Simon & Schuster , or Penguin/Random House . These book publishers don’t only print the works of one author; rather, they have hundreds or perhaps thousands of authors’ works in their arsenals. These publishers will publish print books, e-books (like the one you’re reading right now), and audiobooks and may even sell the rights to some of the books for film and TV adaptations, allowing them to garner additional streams of revenue for one product. 49

Conversely, the concept of horizontal diversification involves making available to existing customers new and perhaps even unrelated products or services so that you can garner a larger customer base. 50 For example, consider a company that produces dental hygiene products like toothbrushes and dental floss. In order to increase sales to existing customers, the company may decide to introduce into the market a line of oral irrigators or teeth whiteners. These products are new to the company, but they still serve the same customer base as its existing products.

Finally, conglomerate diversification takes horizontal diversification one step further. Conglomerate diversification involves the development and addition of new products or services that are significantly unrelated. You’re not only introducing a new product, you’re introducing a new product that is completely unrelated to your existing line of business. 51 Consider General Electric when looking for an example of conglomerate diversification. General Electric started out as a lighting business, but over the years, it has diversified into medical devices, household appliances, aircraft engines, financial services, and more. That’s taking conglomerate diversification to a whole new level!

Blue Ocean Strategy

Learn about market-creating strategies known as the Blue Ocean strategy from Harvard Business Review , where it uses Cirque du Soleil as an example.

Knowledge Check

It’s time to check your knowledge on the concepts presented in this section. Refer to the Answer Key at the end of the book for feedback.

  • Opportunity
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  • The ratio of dogs to cash cows in the product portfolio
  • The potential for question marks to cross over and become stars
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  • Market development
  • Product diversification
  • Horizontal diversification
  • Product development

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  • Book title: Principles of Marketing
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What Is a Marketing Strategy?

  • How It Works
  • Marketing Strategies vs. Plans

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

The bottom line.

  • Marketing Essentials

Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Create One

marketing strategic planning management

Investopedia / Daniel Fishel

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan to facilitate the buying and selling of its products or services. A marketing strategy determines how to reach prospective consumers and turn them into customers. It 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 its 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 into 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. Here are some of the steps you should consider when creating your marketing 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 message. 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 a 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.

Companies need to sell their products and services to generate revenue and put them on the path of being a successful business. To sell their products or services, they have to let consumers know of them. They must also convince consumers to buy them as well as convert consumers from competitors. Having a marketing strategy that outlines this process and more is a crucial step in converting consumers into customers.

Walmart Corporate. “ About .”

CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”

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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.

Implementation

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.

Leveraging Product Strategy

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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 Strategic Marketing Planning?

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The strategic marketing planning process involves creating a marketing strategy that outlines what your objectives are, what programs you’ll use to achieve those objectives, who is responsible for those metrics, and by when you’ll be achieving those goals. In short, developing and managing a strategic marketing plan is crucial in reaching business objectives.

What is the strategic marketing planning process?

Step 1: liaise with other departments.

While marketing does proactively drive demand and new business, they need to do so in the framework of supporting the larger business objectives. That’s why when it comes to the planning process, start by looking at other departments. Here’s what to ask yourself before developing and managing a strategic marketing plan: 

  • What are the executive team’s top priorities for this year and long term?
  • Who is our target market?
  • What pipeline and revenue numbers are we aiming for this fiscal year?
  • Are any adoption rates or implementation goals being set for our products and services? 

Step 2: Create marketing goals that align with the business

Now that you’ve understood the business goals, you’re more informed on  how to plan marketing strategy.

For example, if the business has a goal to generate $5 million in new business from Jan. 1 to June 1, you have to ask yourself how marketing can drive new business. For instance, let’s say in your business, each new client would be purchasing an average of $500,000. That means sales needs to close 10 new clients in order to meet their $5 million goal. 

Then you need to figure out how many qualified accounts you need to tee up for sales, in order to close 10 new clients. For example, a good way to start is: how many accounts today engage with our marketing content, get passed to sales, are qualified, have a demo, and then book? If the percentage is 10%, then you need 100 contacts to get transferred to sales in order to close about 10 new clients. 

That is to say, starting with a focus on your goals, you ensure that you are actually building a marketing strategy vs. plan (a list of marketing tactics). 

Step 3: Determine which campaign planning will achieve that marketing goal 

In order to generate 100 engaged contacts for sales, you want to look at your existing programs and determine the success of each at driving engagement. For example, let’s say you ran four webinars last quarter. Each had 100 registrants, and 30 people attended. Of those 30 people, 10 requested a demo and five were from qualified accounts. Once passed over, sales closed one lead. 

If that’s the average data, then you now know that you can expect a webinar to result in five contacts and one deal.

After that, replicate the process across your campaigns to plan out which activities will actually support your company growth goals.

Step 4: Create a marketing campaign calendar that aligns with your goals 

Now that you have focused goals that are strategically aligned with business objectives, you can create a calendar of activities, from content marketing to events. The best part? You won’t have someone asking “why is marketing running that webinar again” because you’d know the answer—it’s to drive X number of leads to sales.

Then, in your marketing campaign planning calendar, you’d want to include this information:

Period: Q1 Goal: Support sales in generating $5 million in new business, from Jan. 1 to June 1, by generating 100 engaged contacts.

Step 5: Establish your investments

After that, it’s time to align investments to your planned campaigns. The good news is that marketers who conduct the marketing strategy process from the get go can easily justify and secure budget for their activities—because they can directly tie that dollar into how it will impact the business goal. That’s one of the reasons why Uptempo’s process of marketing strategy planning encourages marketers to directly tie their spend to specific company goals.

Step 6: Let it run!

Finally, it’s time to execute on your plan—and start achieving business impact. While you execute on your strategic marketing plan, keep in mind that you should revisit the business goals quarterly. That keeps you on the right track to ensure the marketing organization continues to drive toward overarching corporate goals.

Knowing how to strategize marketing plans is a critical part of the marketing process. Now that you’ve completed the six steps of strategic marketing planning, you’ve set yourself and your team up for success. 

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An Introduction to Marketing Management

What are the processes of marketing management, how is a marketing strategy implemented, philosophies of marketing management, what does a marketing manager do.

  • 2.  The Role of a Marketing Project Manager
  • 3.  Building a Marketing Team
  • 4.  How To Create a Marketing Strategy
  • 5.  How to Create a Marketing Plan: Ultimate Guide
  • 6.  How To Build a Marketing Calendar
  • 7.  An Introduction to MarTech
  • 8.  Choosing Marketing Tools & Software
  • 9.  A Guide to Marketing Analytics
  • 10.  How To Create a Marketing Dashboard
  • 11.  Marketing Resource Management Guide
  • 12.  FAQs
  • 13.  Marketing Glossary

What is marketing management?

Marketing management involves developing and implementing strategic marketing programs, processes, and activities that align with wider business objectives, while utilizing customer insights, tracking metrics, and optimizing internal processes to achieve success.

Being an effective marketing leader is more complex than it sounds. Speak to any marketing management professional and they’ll tell you that their work is equal parts strategy, planning , execution, and analysis. It’s easy to see why. Marketing professionals with a documented strategy are 313% more likely to succeed when compared to their peers who do not have a documented strategy.

To help you succeed, we will take a close look at marketing management in this article. Read on to learn more about what marketing management is, the benefits of marketing management, different processes, and tips.

If you are looking for a 360-degree marketing tool to manage all the components of your marketing strategy, Wrike has the solution for you.

Marketing management is centered on creating, planning, and implementing strategies that will help achieve wider business objectives. These business objectives can involve increasing brand awareness, boosting profits, or entering previously untapped markets. When we begin to consider the field of marketing management, it’s important to look to marketing experts Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller, who, in their book “Marketing Management," offer a standard marketing management definition as “the development, design, and implementation of marketing programs, processes, and activities that recognize the breadth and interdependencies of the business environment.” 

Managers need to study their customers, have a deep understanding of the methods and strategies that retain and delight them, and be active in measuring achievements and optimizing internal processes. 

Think of it this way: a high school teacher does not simply teach. They have to understand their students, create methods and strategies for passing on information, and track student progress through metrics and achievements. 

In marketing, the right processes should elevate a brand, establish a strategically planned vision for an organization, and coordinate resources to get it all done.

Why is marketing management important?

Marketing management is important for businesses because it ensures effective customer engagement, product appeal, and targeted campaigns that can increase profits and achieve business objectives. You could spend years getting a product ready to launch but without proper management, you would inevitably hit several stumbling blocks. 

At the outset, marketing management ensures you understand what your customer desires, down to colorways and packaging. Without it, you might find your product doesn’t even appeal to customers. 

After spending considerable time preparing your product or service to be released, the right processes ensure it reaches your target market via the right channels at the right time. Marketing management can take your business from average to profitable. This can be accomplished when a team is able to analyze customer profiles and market share ahead of time, as well as scrutinize campaign outcomes, team performance, ROI , and costs once the project is completed.

International marketing management

International marketing management encompasses marketing activities that take place across national borders. This requires the marketing manager to achieve a deep understanding of the customer base in any country where the product is marketed, including cultural nuances and demographics particular to that nation. 

When you are marketing products in various other countries, you might need to engage with marketers in those localities, which will further expand your management remit. This could involve hiring employees in that country or a third-party marketing agency to better reach customers there.

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What are the 9 types of marketing management?

Marketing management spans a wide range of methods, strategies, and processes, which need to be coordinated effectively to ensure success. When weaved together, these elements will raise awareness of and generate ROI for your brand:

  • Marketing strategy: Your organization’s plan for reaching prospects and converting them into customers
  • Business development: Strategic initiatives such as mergers and acquisitions, business transformation, and entering new markets
  • Brand management: Techniques to increase the perceived value of a brand over time
  • Product development: The process of bringing a new product to market 
  • International marketing: Managing international distribution channels 
  • Media relations: Engaging with media and influencers to spread the word about your organization
  • Customer marketing: Managing the customer experience to improve satisfaction and reduce churn
  • Marketing operations: Managing marketing processes, technology, and data
  • Sales: Generating leads, developing opportunities, and closing deals

Managers can use the following processes to optimize marketing efforts from all angles: 

  • Market and customer analysis: This process is all about understanding your organization’s current market position and analyzing consumer behavior.
  • Development of strategy, goals, and objectives: Where does a business want to go? How does it plan to get there? After market and customer analysis, strategy will map the way forward.
  • Product development: Marketing managers play a crucial role in product development. When it comes to articulating the benefits of a product, these professionals help craft poignant, on-brand messaging.
  • Marketing program implementation: Once promising programs and campaigns have been identified, it’s time to deploy the right resources to launch them.
  • Monitoring and control: Analyzing the success of marketing programs and activities is a crucial process. It informs how future activities will be planned and implemented.

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How is a marketing management strategy created?

While the marketing strategy involves the overall goals the company has with regard to reaching customers and markets, strategic marketing management involves creating a marketing plan to reach those goals and using a range of tools to ensure success is achieved. 

Strategic marketing management often starts with a brand audit, which will allow a company to ask and answer several questions that can help direct the future strategy. A company should seek to understand the following about their present situation: 

  • How is its current brand strategy working?
  • What are its strengths and weaknesses with regard to resources and expertise?
  • What opportunities and threats does it face?
  • How do its pricing and costs compare to competitors?
  • What strategic issues might be facing the company?

A brand audit will allow a company to get a full picture of its competitive advantage in the market and any obstacles it needs to overcome in the future to maximize profitability. Once these questions are answered by relevant team members, strategic decisions can be made to create set goals and advance the company’s marketing vision. 

The marketing management strategy is the set of activities required to meet the company’s marketing strategy goals and includes elements such as price points, product specifications, market location, and promotion. To develop this strategy, marketers will first need to have a strong understanding of the data around market share, customer profiles, and any past campaigns and marketing activities. 

A marketing management strategy is implemented using a variety of methods, tools, and resources.

Activities of marketing management

To achieve these goals, the strategy must consist of a wide range of marketing channel management activities related to price, product, place, and promotion. This is widely referred to as the marketing mix . The job of the marketing manager is to adjust each of these elements in order to maximize sales and ROI. 

These activities fall into the following categories: 

  • Price: Price is the monetary value placed on a product. It depends on production costs, the segment of customers targeted, and their ability to pay for the product, as well as demand for the product. 
  • Product: The product on the market needs to be optimized with target customers in mind for the remainder of the marketing mix to achieve the overall goal. 
  • Place: Place refers to both the general and exact locations customers are able to purchase a product. This involves making choices about online or brick-and-mortar availability, as well as the specific locations therein. 
  • Promotion: Finally, activities such as various advertising channels, direct marketing, press releases, and even incentives can all be utilized to promote the product once it has been optimized and produced. 

What is the extended marketing mix? 

The extended marketing mix is an extension of the above-outlined marketing mix. It looks specifically at service businesses, rather than physical products. Marketing management professionals can adjust these levers in order to optimize campaign success. In addition to price, product, place, and promotion, the extended marketing mix also includes the following: 

  • People: In businesses that deliver a service, employees are a critical component, and the amount of training or remuneration they receive is a component of the marketing mix. 
  • Process: Service industries rely on a set of processes to ensure customers receive a quality result, and processes can be tightened in order to maximize productivity and efficiency. 
  • Physical evidence: In service situations — for example, a hair salon — the physical location can be optimized for the customer’s experience in order to encourage better word-of-mouth marketing.

Deliver marketing campaigns with effortless collaboration

There are a number of marketing management philosophies that determine marketing direction, stance, and activities. These philosophies are commonly called “marketing management concepts.” 

These concepts have developed over time, but generally dictate the prioritization of marketing efforts. 

  • Production concept: Prioritizes production efficiency 
  • Product concept: Prioritizes the quality of the product(s) 
  • Selling concept: Prioritizes customer satisfaction 
  • Marketing concept: Prioritizes profits through customer satisfaction 
  • Societal concept: Prioritizes the societal impact of marketing activities

These concepts help marketing managers develop strategies and refine their approaches. They also dictate monitoring methods as each concept will have unique benchmarks and indicators of success.

Features of marketing management

Features of marketing management differ from the philosophies in that they describe the overall goals a strategy seeks to address. Features include: 

  • Helps to understand and satisfy the customer’s needs
  • Assists in achieving the company’s overall goals
  • Consists of a range of activities
  • Facilitates successful exchanges between buyer and seller

The strategy must address the research and data collection that enables marketing teams to understand the customer’s wants, needs, and demands. Simultaneously, it needs to promote and advance the organization’s business goals and ultimately facilitate a successful exchange of goods between the organization and the customer.

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Depending on the size of the company, marketing management roles will vary in scope and responsibility, ranging from customer data analysis to managing a brand’s social media accounts. 

In a small or medium business, marketing manager responsibilities may include all or some of the following:

  • Setting goals and objectives for the marketing function of the company
  • Researching the customer base in order to ascertain which segments of the market are ideal for the company’s campaigns
  • Coordinating with third-party vendors for events, or with other departments for the completion of graphic design of materials
  • Overseeing and controlling the marketing budget and making adjustments to ensure products and services are marketed appropriately

What are examples of marketing management?

In larger companies, marketing management roles can be extensive and involve large teams. Specialized roles can range from digital marketing manager to product marketing manager, and each role has different responsibilities that vary by marketing department. 

Five examples of specialized marketing management roles: 

  • Digital marketing manager: A digital marketing manager develops, implements, and manages online marketing campaigns designed to promote a company’s products and services, and enhance its brand. 
  • Product marketing manager: A product marketing manager devises marketing plans to communicate features and benefits of new products to customers, delving into market research on product trends and serving as the voice of the customer within the company to ensure products are designed to suit customer needs. 
  • Brand marketing manager: A brand marketing manager ensures that brand messaging and imagery are utilized consistently across the company and plans ways to increase brand recognition in the market. 
  • Content marketing manager: A content marketing manager focuses on creating effective, valuable, and consistent content that highlights a company’s products or services to potential customers. 
  • Social media marketing manager: A social media marketing manager works specifically on optimizing social media communication and interactions for the company, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram. 
  • Marketing campaign manager: A marketing campaign manager is responsible for the life cycle of a marketing campaign. They work closely with other departments, including sales, to execute campaigns and compile reports on their effectiveness.

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What are some examples of marketing management tasks?

Each specialized marketing management role requires a host of different tasks, although there is some overlap depending on the size of the organization. Each organization will have a slightly different set of roles, depending on the company’s requirements. 

  • Digital marketing manager: A digital marketing manager sets goals and monitors targets for any digital campaigns they have planned. Oftentimes, they are in charge of creating and implementing strategies for pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and email marketing campaigns.
  • Product marketing manager:  A product marketing manager creates messaging to differentiate products from others in the market and articulate the product’s unique selling point, and conducts SWOT analysis, while also helping plan and execute new product launches and writing detailed case studies of client success to highlight to potential customers. They will also plan and execute marketing campaigns, oversee all elements of the campaign, and determine product price based on the company’s SWOT analysis.
  • Brand marketing manager: A brand marketing manager works closely with graphic designers to ensure the company’s logo and brand guidelines are used properly. Daily tasks could include monitoring social media for trends and pitching stories to journalists with whom you’ve built relationships.
  • Content marketing manager: A content marketing manager’s tasks typically include planning content campaigns, placing articles with news organizations, or collaborating with bloggers to amplify information about the product or service. Content marketing managers will also produce materials such as eBooks and blog posts, often with the goal of maximizing SEO opportunities and optimizing inbound marketing efforts. 
  • Social media marketing manager: A social media marketing manager plans campaigns for different channels, creates content via photography or video, and responds to questions or comments from potential or current customers.
  • Marketing campaign manager: A marketing campaign manager plans and executes marketing campaigns, oversees all elements of the campaign, and delivers regular reports on its performance.

Where can I get marketing management training?

Marketing management is a popular degree, diploma, and training subject. Top-tier universities and institutions across the world offer BA, MSc, and program certifications in this subject. 

It’s also possible to transition into a management role by having relevant work experience and qualifications. A keen marketer may choose to rise in their position and take supplemental marketing management training courses as a way of exploring this career path. 

Of course, there is no better teacher than experience. As a marketer gains more knowledge and hands-on experience in the industry, they may find that a management role is simply a natural career progression for them.

What is the best marketing management software?

When it comes to deciding on the best marketing management software for your organization, it’s important to pinpoint the essential features for your team. A marketing manager likely needs software that enables them to:

  • Create and organize documentation
  • Track ongoing project progress each day
  • Integrate with business intelligence tools such as Tableau 
  • Proof and approve marketing materials and assets
  • Invite external stakeholders and clients to collaborate
  • Wrike does all of this and more. 

Wrike’s features enable 360-degree marketing management. From ideation to strategy, implementation, and monitoring, Wrike makes these processes easier and more efficient than ever.

Enable cross-functional collaboration to sync product and marketing efforts, track key marketing metrics and benchmarks for every campaign, and give in-context feedback that keeps all your objectives on track. 

Learn more about how Wrike’s robust features could help support your marketing strategies. Grab a free two-week trial and see why more than two million customers choose Wrike.

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Marketing Concepts

  • Marketing Funnel
  • Targeting In Marketing
  • Lead In Marketing
  • Marketing Asset Management
  • What is A/B Testing in Marketing
  • Marketing Reach
  • Marketing Channel

Marketing Tools and Software

  • Marketing System
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Marketing Roles & Skills

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Marketing Performance Management

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  • Most Important Marketing Metrics
  • The Strategic Marketing Process: A Complete Guide

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A well defined and feasible marketing strategy makes meeting customer needs a likely and attainable goal. And while most companies do great marketing, only a few have created brand attachment and customer loyalty through their marketing practices and tactics.

The Strategic Marketing Process: A Complete Guide

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In this article, we explore, 1) the definition and purpose of strategic marketing , 2) the three phases of the strategic marketing process , 3) guidelines for effective strategic marketing process , 4) problems to expect in the strategic marketing process , 5) p.e.s.t: trends to consider when implementing marketing strategy , 6) strategic marketing process simplified , and 7) why Apple’s strategic marketing process is genius .

DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF STRATEGIC MARKETING

Strategic Marketing is a process of planning, developing and implementing maneuvers to obtain a competitive edge in your chosen niche. This process is necessary to outline and simplify a direct map of the company’s objectives and how to achieve them. A company wanting to secure a certain share of the market, should ensure they clearly identify their mission, survey the industry situation, define specific objectives and develop, implement and evaluate a plan to guarantee they can provide their customers with the products they need, when they need them. Of course, the central objective of any company will be customer satisfaction so they may dominate the market and become leaders in their industry and thus providing substantial business satisfaction. In order to do that, three phases of marketing strategy must be perfected to create delight in their customers and beat out the competition.

THREE PHASES OF STRATEGIC MARKETING PROCESS

1. planning phase.

The planning phase is the most important as it analyzes internal strengths and weaknesses, external competition, changes in technology, industry culture shifts and provides an overall picture of the state of the organization. This phase has four key components that will provide a clear diagram of where your company is and what it is doing.

  • Analyze competitors
  • Research company’s current and prospective customers
  • Assess company
  • Identifying trends in the company’s industry

Once this analysis is complete the results should be used as a basis for developing the company’s marketing plan, which should be measurable and attainable.

  • Marketing program – Once the needs of the customers have been determined, and the decisions have been made about which products will satisfy those needs, a marketing program or mix must be developed. This marketing program is the how aspect of the planning phase, which focuses on the 4Ps and the budget needed for each element of the mix.
  • Once the customer needs are understood, goals can be set to meet them, thus increasing the chances of success with new products.
  • Find points of difference: like your company’s unique selling point, each product should also have a certain set of traits or characteristics that makes it superior to the competitive substitute. For example, your product could be longer lasting, more accessible, more reliable or very user-friendly so the buyers will choose it over the competition each time.
  • Position the product: market so that in people’s minds your product is the “go to” for their problem. Through emotional and mental marketing customers will associate your brand with their solution and eliminate choice. For example, many mothers use “Pampers,” when referring to diapers, as this brand has been positioned as the go to in baby diapering needs.
  • Select target markets: based on the research and their commonalities, that way needs and goals are both met.
  • Price strategy : focuses on the list price, price allowances (reductions), discounts, payment periods, and credit contracts.
  • Place (Distribution) Strategy : the final ‘P’ in the marketing mix should focus on distribution channels, outlets and transportation to get the product to the customer when they need it.
  • Promotion Strategy : this element of the program should focus on direct marketing, advertising, public relations and sales promotions that create brand awareness.
  • Product Strategy : this element focuses on the features, packaging, branding and warranty of the product.

2. Implementation Phase

The implementation phase is the action portion of the process. If the firm cannot carry out the plan that was determined in the early stages, then the hours spent planning were wasted. However, if the planning was adequately and competently structured, then the program can be put into effect through a sales forecast and a budget, using the following four components.

  • Obtaining Resources – sums of cash to develop and market new products.
  • Designing marketing organization – there should be put in place a marketing hierarchy to properly see the plans to fruition.
  • Developing planning schedules – time needs to be allocated to specific tasks so they can be accomplished.
  • Executing the marketing plan – effectively executing the marketing plan will take attention to detail, and focus on the strategy and tactics defined in your marketing plan.

3. Evaluation or Control Phase

The evaluation phase is the checking phase. This process involves ensuring that the results of the program are in line with the goals set. The marketing team, especially the manager will need to observe any deviations in the plan and quickly correct negative deviations to get back on course; for example fluctuations of the dollar creates a lesser need for the product than in the past, then the production of said product should be repurposed for a new more desired item. And they should exploit the positive divergences as well, for example if sales are better than predicted for certain products then there could be more resources allocated to greater production or distribution of the same item.

A few ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy include paying attention to:

  • Strategy versus tactic – strategy defines goals and tactic defines actions to achieve goals.
  • Measurable versus vague – have milestones that define when you’ve achieved your goals.
  • Actionable versus Contingent – According to Inc.com : “ A strategic goal should be achievable through the tactics that support it, rather than dependent upon uncontrollable outside forces.”
  • Marketing strategy should be backed by a business plan with tactical moves to accomplish goals, or it is useless.

GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE STRATEGIC MARKETING PROCESS

A well thought out plan for offering value and solutions to your target market allows the company to discover the needs of the targeted customers and fulfill those needs in a cost effective and timely fashion. This in turn allows for the marketing team to be able to measure a company’s value based on your ideal customer’s response to your product and strategy. Some guidelines to ensure this strategy is effective are:

  • Set measurable, achievable goals by ensuring they are clear, structured and measurable it will be easier to accomplish your purpose.
  • Base plans on facts and validated assumptions through market research .
  • Use simple, clear and precise plans to detail what benefits you will offer your clients and how. Customers are driven by needs and desires so a clear plan will target those to gain customer loyalty.
  • Have a feasible plan by using research to decide the best way to connect with and engage your ideal customers and then implement a plan your company can afford and carry to fulfillment to do so.
  • Ensure control and flexibility by customizing your business plans and goals to match the needs of the customers, as they determine the success or failure of your company.

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PROBLEMS TO EXPECT IN THE STRATEGIC MARKETING PROCESS

While creating the perfect marketing plan for your company, there are certain issues that could arise to deter the process. Here are a few possible issues to be prepared to face:

  • Organizational Issues such as Poor Assumptions : – assuming customer needs without validation, lack of skilled workforce to implement the plans once they are arrived at, loss of sight of customer needs during the planning phase and changing demographic of consumers.
  • Issues in the Marketing Department such as : inflexibility, performance assessment problems, coordination problems, poor information management and human relations issues.
  • General problems such as : trouble obtaining marketing feedback, issues related to cost of marketing and problems integrating collected information into plans.

P.E.S.T: TRENDS TO CONSIDER WHEN IMPLEMENTING MARKETING STRATEGIES

According to Business news daily , while industry related factors could affect a company’s performance, outside factors can also play a major role in the outcome of a business’s plans. To determine the role of the external factors, it is recommended that companies perform a PEST analysis. Below is a break-down of what the four factors analyze.

  • Political – this analyzes how legal issues and government regulations affect profit and consumer behavior. The major considerations of the political aspect are tax guidelines, political stability, trade regulations and embargos, employment laws and safety regulations. An example of this analysis and how it works is looking at the effects of political instability in a foreign market and how it affects your company’s plans.
  • Economic – this factor looks at the outside economic issues that affect a firm’s success. Companies should pay attention to economic growth, inflation rates, exchange, interest rates and local business cycles. Changes in interest rate could improve or decrease the company’s bottom line.
  • Social – demographic and cultural aspects affect whether a company can compete in the market or not. The social factor helps businesses to examine why customers purchase and what exactly their needs are. Issues to consider include lifestyle changes, health consciousness, environmental responsibility awareness, and attitudes toward work, education levels, population growth rates and country demographics. A certain shift in educational requirements may result in career changes that could reflect in changing needs of the customers.
  • Technical – this aspect considers how technology impacts product placement and marketing. Technology can bring advantages and challenges that will increase or decrease production level. Specific areas to consider are new technological advancements, the use of technology in marketing, the role of the Internet and the impact of the information technology changes. The introduction of the Internet has created an expectation of instant gratification in today’s consumer; so social media marketing has to be considered an option.

STRATEGIC MARKETING PROCESS SIMPLIFIED

According to Center for Simplified Strategic Planning , “ Any strategic planning process involves digesting information and some fairly difficult analysis. Good strategic planning should be simplified, not simplistic. ” And it should also answer the questions: what are we selling, to whom and how do we beat the competition? The first two questions will determine the focus of your overall business while the third will help you specify your strategies to market. The following five steps are essential to accomplishing a simple, effective strategic plan.

  • Identify objectives and determine mission
  • Do business environmental scan-including trends and competition
  • Devise strategy including SWOT , budget, marketing, price and distribution
  • Implement strategy-put your plan into action
  • Evaluate and modify- measure how close or far you are from objectives, track what works and change what doesn’t.

WHY APPLE’S STRATEGIC MARKETING PROCESS IS GENIUS

Apple has a significant competitive advantage over it’s rival because of it’s strategic marketing process. This company was voted overall winner of the 2012 CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence and before that it was listed in the top marketers group for five years in a row, as reported in Forbes.com . This competitive advantage is due to a thirty-five year old, 3-point philosophy employed by the Apple brand. The three points that constitute this philosophy include

  • empathy -authentic understanding of customer need,
  • focus- eliminate all unimportant opportunities and
  • impute – ensuring creative, professional presentation of products.

Listed below are some of the main strategies used by Apple to ensure they beat the competition in marketing, placement and brand awareness and loyalty.

  • Identify and respond to trends – though an innovative visionary, (the Apple Tablets ignited a market and were an industry leader) Apple’s team saw the digital trend shifting and responded with the iPad mini, despite Steve Jobs showing his disdain for smaller tablets in the past.
  • Analyze competition and adjust – Though Apple and Microsoft have always been in competition, the two technology giants have not passed up opportunities to collaborate. And while Apple worked with Microsoft to accumulate a very big share of the market, the company went ahead and added Intel chips into their computers to ensure they were a step ahead of the competition including Microsoft.
  • Innovation – Apple is usually first to market with products and visions customers love, and though it does not strive to be an innovator, usually focusing on specific strategy and enthusiasm, Apple is usually a leader in the market segment they occupy.
  • Emotional branding – Companies like Apple tend to have very specific strategic aims and work hard to ensure they are met. One such strategy can be seen as forming an emotional attachment to the products sold to ideal customers. By effectively integrating emotions into the marketing strategy, the brand recognizes positive results, such as customers spending nights lined up to be the first to own the newest product.
  • Enhanced distribution systems – Apple opened international retail stores and improved sales drastically. Now Apple representatives can be found in local malls and plazas to help solve customers’ issues and offer upsells and upgrades. This accessibility helps to build customer trust and helps make the decision process much easier when choosing a brand.
  • Excellent customer service – Apple brand is synonymous with excellence customer service, friendly environments, and great customer experiences. The secret lies in the acronym APPLE, which, according to Social media today spells out:
“ A pproach customers with a personalized warm welcome P robe politely to understand all the customer’s needs P resent a solution for the customer to take home today L isten for and resolve any issues or concerns E nd with a fond farewell and an invitation to return ”
  • Product placement – The Apple App store and iTunes compliment and extend the customer experience and the personality and reputation of the brand lead to loyalty and evangelism.

By incorporating these practices into your company’s marketing program and ensuring to follow through consistently, your company will be rewarded and recognized for its efforts.

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Strategic Marketing Plan Template & Examples

marketing strategic planning management

Imagine setting out to climb Mt. Everest guided only by intuition. You wouldn’t make it very far without a detailed plan (and an experienced sherpa) to guide the way. 

Marketing may not be an extreme sport with life-or-death consequences, but you’ve got big goals to reach nonetheless. And your team’s success relies on a lot more than gut instinct. 

That’s why a strategic marketing plan is a must, no matter your industry. Think of it as the roadmap that gets your business where it needs to go each and every year. 

Drafting your first marketing plan can feel intimidating, but don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the basics, show you what a strategic marketing plan looks like, and even give you a couple of free templates to get started. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a strategic marketing plan?

Essential elements of a strategic marketing plan, free marketing plan templates and examples.

Let’s start from square one and define what a strategic marketing plan is. 

A strategic marketing plan is a formal document that guides your team’s marketing efforts throughout the year. It maps your annual marketing goals to your company’s overall business objectives, while also outlining how you’ll spend your yearly marketing budget.

A good marketing plan clearly outlines:

  • Your target market and key competitors
  • Major goals for the year and how they’ll help you get ahead
  • Key results that serve as indicators for success
  • How you’ll use your money and resources to meet your goals 

Keep in mind that your plan may vary based on your industry and goals. Length and format don’t matter as much as the details you include. Do your research, and make it as easy as possible for company leaders to understand how your strategic marketing plan helps business grow.

What’s the difference between a marketing strategy vs. marketing plan?

A marketing strategy details how you’ll execute a piece of your marketing plan with a specific tactical goal in mind. You might do this by launching an email or social media campaign, publishing a blog series, offering a special promo, or hosting a live event. 

A marketing plan , on the other hand, is the high-level framework that drives all your marketing strategies. It’s a big-picture look at the who, what, and why behind your marketing goals, with a focus on tying them to larger organizational objectives. 

No two marketing plans are exactly the same, but they do share some common threads. Here are 6 important elements you’ll want to identify and research before you build out your next strategic marketing plan.

  • Business objectives

Everything you do as a marketing team should support your company’s overall strategy and goals. So summarize your organization’s business objectives, and let it serve as your marketing plan’s true north. Your team and stakeholders should be able to clearly see how the marketing strategies and goals you outline in your plan align with your company’s top priorities.  

  • SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis breaks down your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This enables you to assess both the internal and external factors that influence your success so you can build targeted strategies that close gaps and drive results. 

  • Strengths and weaknesses : Take stock of your organization’s inner workings. Where does your team or company really shine? What’s working well, and what needs to be improved? Do you have any resource limitations?
  • Opportunities and threats : Now look outward to consider your market and competition. Where do you have a chance to push ahead? Where are you struggling to keep up? Are there any market changes to consider?
  • Market research

Research is the core of any marketing plan because it’s what you’ll use to shape your goals and strategy. Don’t be afraid to dive deep into the details here. A well-researched marketing plan is worth the time invested. 

Focusing your research energy on these areas will equip you with a solid base for smart marketing decisions.

It’s important to understand major movements in the industry you’re marketing to so you have a feel for the pulse of the market. Thoroughly research the industry your organization works in, and be sure to report on the general climate, as well as any noteworthy happenings. If your company serves any subindustries, don’t forget to include them in your analysis too. 

Target market

Marketing to the masses rarely pays off. That’s why narrowing down your target audience is a must for any marketing plan. Consider it the filter you run every marketing strategy through. 

The more specific you can get, the better. Answering questions like these can help you paint a clear picture of your ideal buyer so you know how to focus your resources for a bigger impact on the people you want to reach.

  • What are your ideal buyer’s key demographics (e.g., age, location, job title)?
  • What do they care about (e.g., interests, values)?
  • What are their biggest challenges or pain points? 
  • Where does your ideal buyer hang out (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, industry conferences or events)?

Competitive analysis

It’s also important to understand who and what you’re up against when it comes to attracting your perfect buyer. Identify the key players in your space, and give a brief rundown of what they’re doing to win. This groundwork will make it easier to see how to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

  • Strategic marketing goals

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to talk strategy. Outline your strategic marketing goals for the year, and briefly explain how these strategies support company-wide goals. Use a gantt chart to establish a timeline for each goal and monitor results along the way. This is an easy way to set expectations and keep your team and stakeholders in the loop.

  • Key marketing metrics

Metrics are where the rubber meets the road in your marketing plan. Use your market research to define specific KPIs or key marketing metrics that will serve as your measure for success. This will help you track progress so you know if you need to change course mid-project to ensure you hit your strategic marketing goals.

  • Marketing channels

Marketing channels are the vehicles you’ll use to reach your target audience and grow your brand. Choose your channels wisely based on where you expect to get the most bang for your marketing buck. Briefly explain the purpose of each channel and how it supports your overall marketing strategy and business goals. 

Want to build a more detailed plan for each marketing channel so you can bring your ideas to life? Check out our free social media strategy plan and editorial content plan templates for more information on planning by channel. 

Marketing budget

Establishing a monthly budget for your marketing plan—and tracking it along the way—helps you maximize ROI and identify wasted spend before it drains your marketing dollars. 

Start by listing any ongoing expenses you have so you know what you can afford to spend on new initiatives. Then do your best to estimate any new costs you expect in the coming year. Don’t forget to account for any new hires, freelance workers, or third-party agencies you might need to rely on to get the work done. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you! Here are a few examples of how you might structure a marketing plan so you can easily start writing your own. 

Your marketing plan may shake out differently depending on the industry you work in or the goals you’re focused on. Use these marketing plan templates and samples as a guide to jumpstart the process and come up with a marketing plan structure that works for you. 

Google Docs marketing plan template and example

The most common way to create a marketing plan is simply to write it out as a text document. This format enables you to freely elaborate on any research findings you gathered during discovery, while also making a clear case for the marketing goals you’ve set for the year.

We put together a free Google Docs marketing plan template to help you save time so you can get your planning process off the ground faster. This marketing plan example is perfect for documenting and sharing the full scope of your strategic marketing plan with your team and stakeholders.

marketing strategic planning management

Here’s a basic breakdown of what the Google Docs marketing plan template covers:

  • Company mission

Save a copy of the template to your Google Drive or download it as a Word document, and customize it to fit your own strategic marketing plan needs.  ‍

Use template in Google Docs

Gantt chart marketing plan template and examples

A plan’s no good if you set it and forget it. That’s where a gantt chart comes in handy. Use this free gantt chart marketing plan template to track your strategic marketing plan all the way to success. 

A gantt chart is a great way to lay your marketing plan out in a simple, visual timeline that’s easy to update as work progresses. It gives you a high-level view of your plan’s major goals and strategies, while enabling you to collaborate on and share your plan with your team and stakeholders.

How you use a gantt chart to put your plan into action is up to you. Build a timeline for the tasks you need to complete as you develop your marketing plan, like the example below. 

marketing strategic planning management

Once you’ve fleshed out the details of your marketing plan, you can use a gantt chart to define and track your strategic marketing goals. For example, you could break your marketing plan down by quarter to show when specific objectives will come into play and update progress as you close in on your goal. Here’s how that might look.

marketing strategic planning management

Use template in TeamGantt

Ready to build a strategic marketing plan of your own? 

We’ve created a free marketing plan template for you in TeamGantt so you can jump right in!

Customizing the template is quick and easy, thanks to TeamGantt’s drag and drop simplicity. And since everything’s online, your whole team can collaborate on activities in real time.

Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of our free TeamGantt strategic marketing plan template.

Drag and drop tasks to schedule your plan

Configuring your marketing plan is as easy as dragging and dropping tasks—or entire task groups—into their new rightful place. Click and drag the edges of each taskbar to set a new task duration. 

marketing strategic planning management

Communicate with comments 

Collaboration is easy with TeamGantt's discussion feature . Share documents and chat with your team directly from a task’s Comments section. Use Notes to communicate important information—like goals, target audience, and budget—at the project level. 

Have a more formal marketing plan document? Attach the file or link to your project so everyone has easy access to it.

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Share a copy with stakeholders

Plans are meant to be shared, so we made it easy to keep even the most inquisitive stakeholders in the loop. Export your plan to a printer-friendly PDF , or share a view-only link to your project so stakeholders can see your marketing plan progress in real time. 

marketing strategic planning management

Sign up for a free TeamGantt account today , and save time on project setup with this free marketing plan template!

marketing strategic planning management

marketing strategic planning management

Strategic Marketing: Definition, Importance And Process

The channels and practices undertaken to ensure maximum sales while satisfying consumers sum up marketing as a concept. Marketing is…

Difference Between Strategic Marketing and Marketing Strategy

The channels and practices undertaken to ensure maximum sales while satisfying consumers sum up marketing as a concept. Marketing is an essential aspect of doing business—in fact, it’s often called the backbone of business. Removing marketing from the equation automatically eliminates trade, and without trade, there’s no business. 

Given that every consumer has a different set of needs and preferences, it’s important to research, identify and study the type of consumers who have better chances of reacting favorably to a product. This exercise allows for building a marketing strategy unique to that product. This is strategic marketing . 

What Is Strategic Marketing?

Strategic marketing objectives  , process of strategic marketing, difference between strategic marketing and marketing strategy, important pointers for strategic marketing, importance of strategic marketing.

A growing number of organizations are now employing strategic marketing . It’s only natural, as strategic marketing presents them with the opportunity to outperform their competitors. Yet, there isn’t enough clarity as to what strategic marketing is. 

Under strategic marketing , organizations evaluate their positives (both present and potential) over their competition through the lens of their targeted consumers’ perception of them. Building on this allows organizations to provide better service and value to their consumers while creating an image that differs from their competitors. Successful application of strategic marketing into the marketing plan first requires answering these three questions:

  • Where to compete: Determining markets suitable for competition
  • How to compete: Determining the core element of an organization’s competitive advantage
  • When to compete: Determining when and how to enter each suitable market

Understanding these tasks through research and analysis helps fulfill the role of strategic marketing. The role of strategic marketing is defined as determining what a business needs to be and become to consistently beat competitors by consistently delivering better value. After answering the questions mentioned above, you can advance to the next stage—the strategic marketing planning stage.

The strategic marketing objectives are fundamentals that give meaning to what the process of strategic marketing is known for. The strategic marketing objectives are as follows: 

  • Drawing attention to what an organization is best known for
  • Focused promotion for specific consumer groups
  • All-around marketing using all available channels 

With these objectives in mind, the process of strategic marketing can be executed with a more tactical edge. 

Though each phase seems to perform differently, all are interdependent. This makes the strategic marketing approach a full-circle process. The findings and results of each phase in the strategic marketing process meet the goals set by the previous one until the objective in the planning phase is achieved. Let’s break down the process of strategic marketing into its separate phases: 

1. Planning

Planning is the first phase of the strategic marketing process. This phase is the most important because it lays down the groundwork for the subsequent phases. Here, identification and assessment are key. Goals, merits and shortcomings are identified while assets and liabilities are assessed. It’s divided into three steps:

  • SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. Using a SWOT analysis brings out an organization’s strengths, uncovers its weaknesses, identifies possible opportunities and reveals threats that may hinder progress.

This analysis proves beneficial in identifying the direction in which an industry is moving, understanding prevailing trends and gaining an approximate assumption of how well an organization might perform against competitors. A proper SWOT analysis becomes a major factor in developing a strategic marketing proposal for an organization.

  • Marketing Mix

A marketing mix is a popular business model organizations use to formulate and pursue their marketing activities. It comprises four key factors, namely: product, price, place and promotion. These are also known as the 4Ps of marketing.

Here, it’s the next step in the planning phase. A marketing mix will help meet objectives brought to light in the strategic marketing proposal based on the SWOT analysis conducted. It aims to strengthen the organization on selling and brand fronts by focusing on its 4Ps.

Product will focus on what commodity or service is being planned for launch by the organization. It’ll involve research into the various aspects of the product, from its packaging to features and after-sales service, and work on developments on responses from focus groups.

Price focuses on the price point planned for the sale of the product. Based on research, factors such as flexibility, discount and anticipated value are to be taken into account.

Place focuses on the most advantageous channels of distribution (online, offline or telemarketing), key advertising locations for assuring maximum exposure and transit and storage.

Promotion is the process of identifying and implementing how the product will be advertised and introduced into the market.

  • Setting Goals

Establishing achievable and measurable goals for a product boosts teamwork and efficiency in having them met and, therefore, is one of the best ways to achieve success for the product.

This phase helps in presenting management with a clear vision of the product’s current standing and the organization’s image. It’s a critical phase that ensures smooth progression.    

2. Implementation

As the name implies, this phase is where the strategic marketing proposal and all the data generated from the planning phase are implemented. Based on the data collected, it places a product’s launch into the planned market at a carefully determined price.

3. Evaluation

This phase can be seen as a review of the entire process. Based on the statistical data gathered from the sales in the second phase, the figures are evaluated with a plan to see if they live up to expectations. If yes, then the strategic marketing process has been successfully implemented. If the result is dissatisfactory, the plan needs to be worked on again.

With evaluation, this process completes a cycle. Another cycle of strategic marketing begins right after, and it is built upon the results of the preceding cycle.

The difference between strategic marketing and marketing strategy will help shed light on what sets them apart, so as to better understand how to best make use of each of these processes:

  • Strategic marketing is aimed to have a lasting impact over a long time frame (three years), while a marketing strategy is effective over a shorter time frame (one year)
  • Strategic marketing is built with the idea to steer an organization in the right direction, while a marketing strategy focuses on branding and publicizing the organization
  • The strategic marketing process is concerned with personnel at a corporate level, while the marketing strategy process is concerned with personnel at the product manager level 

Strategic marketing, therefore, is very different from marketing strategy. While marketing strategy is formulated keeping the brand in focus, strategic marketing is a 360-degree approach to the organization’s entire marketing plan.

The following points must be kept in mind to ensure smooth execution of the strategic marketing process:

  • A strategic marketing proposal must be built only after a thorough market analysis
  • Avoid assumption of consumers’ needs and wants
  • Product goal and plan objectives must be in accordance with consumer expectations
  • SWOT analysis must be carefully cross-checked for any factual errors
  • Budgeting issues due to fluctuating marketing activities can arise, so room for adjustments must be kept in mind

In addition to understanding the process, these pointers serve as helpful suggestions for better understanding and implementing the activities involved in strategic marketing. 

  Importance Of Strategic Marketing

The importance of strategic marketing can be seen in marketing plans. Plans built incorporating strategic marketing have proven integral to organizations when aiming for good reception on factors concerning product and brand name as well as retaining and gaining a growing consumer base and more. The ability of this process to refine organizational objectives sheds light on the importance of strategic marketing , Following are the ways that illustrate the importance of strategic marketing :

  • By understanding where an organization stands in comparison to competitors and what trends prevail in the target market, strategic marketing smoothens the entry of an organization in a market. It ensures easy setting of its product’s sure-footing in the market.
  • Data from strategic marketing plans give clarity on the current status of an organization’s resources. This helps in planning resource utilization better.
  • Research and analysis conducted under strategic marketing provide important information on what updates are needed for a product to yield the highest profits with maximum customer satisfaction.
  • Using strategic marketing, it becomes easy to identify and study groups that will have the most positive feedback on a product. This aids organizations by drawing their attention from a wide and varied spectrum of consumers to understanding a more narrowed down and suitable group of customers. Thus, organizations can work more efficiently on consumer engagement options.
  • Strategic marketing maximizes sales targets by helping organizations determine and perform in areas they’re most suited to excel in. 

Put simply, the strategic marketing process has an equal impact on the outward performances of an organization as much as it affects its interior functioning. This makes strategic marketing plans an important factor for the marketing schemes of organizations.

Understanding and using a strategic marketing process is an advisable and highly sought-after approach, but doing so effectively can prove to be a challenge. Harappa’s Create New Solutions pathway is designed with the tools to aid this pursuit so that eager business minds are conditioned to formulate the best strategic marketing plans for maximizing chances of success. Sign up today! 

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What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. In this article, we'll guide you through the strategic planning process, including why it's important, the benefits and best practices, and five steps to get you from beginning to end.

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. The strategic planning process informs your organization’s decisions, growth, and goals.

Strategic planning helps you clearly define your company’s long-term objectives—and maps how your short-term goals and work will help you achieve them. This, in turn, gives you a clear sense of where your organization is going and allows you to ensure your teams are working on projects that make the most impact. Think of it this way—if your goals and objectives are your destination on a map, your strategic plan is your navigation system.

In this article, we walk you through the 5-step strategic planning process and show you how to get started developing your own strategic plan.

How to build an organizational strategy

Get our free ebook and learn how to bridge the gap between mission, strategic goals, and work at your organization.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a business process that helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. During the strategic planning process, stakeholders review and define the organization’s mission and goals, conduct competitive assessments, and identify company goals and objectives. The product of the planning cycle is a strategic plan, which is shared throughout the company.

What is a strategic plan?

[inline illustration] Strategic plan elements (infographic)

A strategic plan is the end result of the strategic planning process. At its most basic, it’s a tool used to define your organization’s goals and what actions you’ll take to achieve them.

Typically, your strategic plan should include: 

Your company’s mission statement

Your organizational goals, including your long-term goals and short-term, yearly objectives

Any plan of action, tactics, or approaches you plan to take to meet those goals

What are the benefits of strategic planning?

Strategic planning can help with goal setting and decision-making by allowing you to map out how your company will move toward your organization’s vision and mission statements in the next three to five years. Let’s circle back to our map metaphor. If you think of your company trajectory as a line on a map, a strategic plan can help you better quantify how you’ll get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be in a few years).

When you create and share a clear strategic plan with your team, you can:

Build a strong organizational culture by clearly defining and aligning on your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.

Align everyone around a shared purpose and ensure all departments and teams are working toward a common objective.

Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go and achieve desired outcomes.

Promote a long-term vision for your company rather than focusing primarily on short-term gains.

Ensure resources are allocated around the most high-impact priorities.

Define long-term goals and set shorter-term goals to support them.

Assess your current situation and identify any opportunities—or threats—allowing your organization to mitigate potential risks.

Create a proactive business culture that enables your organization to respond more swiftly to emerging market changes and opportunities.

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?

The strategic planning process involves a structured methodology that guides the organization from vision to implementation. The strategic planning process starts with assembling a small, dedicated team of key strategic planners—typically five to 10 members—who will form the strategic planning, or management, committee. This team is responsible for gathering crucial information, guiding the development of the plan, and overseeing strategy execution.

Once you’ve established your management committee, you can get to work on the planning process. 

Step 1: Assess your current business strategy and business environment

Before you can define where you’re going, you first need to define where you are. Understanding the external environment, including market trends and competitive landscape, is crucial in the initial assessment phase of strategic planning.

To do this, your management committee should collect a variety of information from additional stakeholders, like employees and customers. In particular, plan to gather:

Relevant industry and market data to inform any market opportunities, as well as any potential upcoming threats in the near future.

Customer insights to understand what your customers want from your company—like product improvements or additional services.

Employee feedback that needs to be addressed—whether about the product, business practices, or the day-to-day company culture.

Consider different types of strategic planning tools and analytical techniques to gather this information, such as:

A balanced scorecard to help you evaluate four major elements of a business: learning and growth, business processes, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

A SWOT analysis to help you assess both current and future potential for the business (you’ll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). 

To fill out each letter in the SWOT acronym, your management committee will answer a series of questions:

What does your organization currently do well?

What separates you from your competitors?

What are your most valuable internal resources?

What tangible assets do you have?

What is your biggest strength? 

Weaknesses:

What does your organization do poorly?

What do you currently lack (whether that’s a product, resource, or process)?

What do your competitors do better than you?

What, if any, limitations are holding your organization back?

What processes or products need improvement? 

Opportunities:

What opportunities does your organization have?

How can you leverage your unique company strengths?

Are there any trends that you can take advantage of?

How can you capitalize on marketing or press opportunities?

Is there an emerging need for your product or service? 

What emerging competitors should you keep an eye on?

Are there any weaknesses that expose your organization to risk?

Have you or could you experience negative press that could reduce market share?

Is there a chance of changing customer attitudes towards your company? 

Step 2: Identify your company’s goals and objectives

To begin strategy development, take into account your current position, which is where you are now. Then, draw inspiration from your vision, mission, and current position to identify and define your goals—these are your final destination. 

To develop your strategy, you’re essentially pulling out your compass and asking, “Where are we going next?” “What’s the ideal future state of this company?” This can help you figure out which path you need to take to get there.

During this phase of the planning process, take inspiration from important company documents, such as:

Your mission statement, to understand how you can continue moving towards your organization’s core purpose.

Your vision statement, to clarify how your strategic plan fits into your long-term vision.

Your company values, to guide you towards what matters most towards your company.

Your competitive advantages, to understand what unique benefit you offer to the market.

Your long-term goals, to track where you want to be in five or 10 years.

Your financial forecast and projection, to understand where you expect your financials to be in the next three years, what your expected cash flow is, and what new opportunities you will likely be able to invest in.

Step 3: Develop your strategic plan and determine performance metrics

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. Take your current business position and strategy into account, as well as your organization’s goals and objectives, and build out a strategic plan for the next three to five years. Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a long-term plan, parts of your plan should be created or revisited as the quarters and years go on.

As you build your strategic plan, you should define:

Company priorities for the next three to five years, based on your SWOT analysis and strategy.

Yearly objectives for the first year. You don’t need to define your objectives for every year of the strategic plan. As the years go on, create new yearly objectives that connect back to your overall strategic goals . 

Related key results and KPIs. Some of these should be set by the management committee, and some should be set by specific teams that are closer to the work. Make sure your key results and KPIs are measurable and actionable. These KPIs will help you track progress and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Budget for the next year or few years. This should be based on your financial forecast as well as your direction. Do you need to spend aggressively to develop your product? Build your team? Make a dent with marketing? Clarify your most important initiatives and how you’ll budget for those.

A high-level project roadmap . A project roadmap is a tool in project management that helps you visualize the timeline of a complex initiative, but you can also create a very high-level project roadmap for your strategic plan. Outline what you expect to be working on in certain quarters or years to make the plan more actionable and understandable.

Step 4: Implement and share your plan

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. Strategy implementation involves clear communication across your entire organization to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to measure the plan’s success. 

Make sure your team (especially senior leadership) has access to the strategic plan, so they can understand how their work contributes to company priorities and the overall strategy map. We recommend sharing your plan in the same tool you use to manage and track work, so you can more easily connect high-level objectives to daily work. If you don’t already, consider using a work management platform .  

A few tips to make sure your plan will be executed without a hitch: 

Communicate clearly to your entire organization throughout the implementation process, to ensure all team members understand the strategic plan and how to implement it effectively. 

Define what “success” looks like by mapping your strategic plan to key performance indicators.

Ensure that the actions outlined in the strategic plan are integrated into the daily operations of the organization, so that every team member's daily activities are aligned with the broader strategic objectives.

Utilize tools and software—like a work management platform—that can aid in implementing and tracking the progress of your plan.

Regularly monitor and share the progress of the strategic plan with the entire organization, to keep everyone informed and reinforce the importance of the plan.

Establish regular check-ins to monitor the progress of your strategic plan and make adjustments as needed. 

Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed

Once you’ve created and implemented your new strategic framework, the final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan.

Remember, your strategic plan isn’t set in stone. You’ll need to revisit and update the plan if your company changes directions or makes new investments. As new market opportunities and threats come up, you’ll likely want to tweak your strategic plan. Make sure to review your plan regularly—meaning quarterly and annually—to ensure it’s still aligned with your organization’s vision and goals.

Keep in mind that your plan won’t last forever, even if you do update it frequently. A successful strategic plan evolves with your company’s long-term goals. When you’ve achieved most of your strategic goals, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first made your plan, it might be time to create a new one.

Build a smarter strategic plan with a work management platform

To turn your company strategy into a plan—and ultimately, impact—make sure you’re proactively connecting company objectives to daily work. When you can clarify this connection, you’re giving your team members the context they need to get their best work done. 

A work management platform plays a pivotal role in this process. It acts as a central hub for your strategic plan, ensuring that every task and project is directly tied to your broader company goals. This alignment is crucial for visibility and coordination, allowing team members to see how their individual efforts contribute to the company’s success. 

By leveraging such a platform, you not only streamline workflow and enhance team productivity but also align every action with your strategic objectives—allowing teams to drive greater impact and helping your company move toward goals more effectively. 

Strategic planning FAQs

Still have questions about strategic planning? We have answers.

Why do I need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is one of many tools you can use to plan and hit your goals. It helps map out strategic objectives and growth metrics that will help your company be successful.

When should I create a strategic plan?

You should aim to create a strategic plan every three to five years, depending on your organization’s growth speed.

Since the point of a strategic plan is to map out your long-term goals and how you’ll get there, you should create a strategic plan when you’ve met most or all of them. You should also create a strategic plan any time you’re going to make a large pivot in your organization’s mission or enter new markets. 

What is a strategic planning template?

A strategic planning template is a tool organizations can use to map out their strategic plan and track progress. Typically, a strategic planning template houses all the components needed to build out a strategic plan, including your company’s vision and mission statements, information from any competitive analyses or SWOT assessments, and relevant KPIs.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. business plan?

A business plan can help you document your strategy as you’re getting started so every team member is on the same page about your core business priorities and goals. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you get your business up and running.

You should create a business plan when you’re: 

Just starting your business

Significantly restructuring your business

If your business is already established, you should create a strategic plan instead of a business plan. Even if you’re working at a relatively young company, your strategic plan can build on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. During the strategic planning process, you’ll draw from a lot of the fundamental business elements you built early on to establish your strategy for the next three to five years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. mission and vision statements?

Your strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statements are all closely connected. In fact, during the strategic planning process, you will take inspiration from your mission and vision statements in order to build out your strategic plan.

Simply put: 

A mission statement summarizes your company’s purpose.

A vision statement broadly explains how you’ll reach your company’s purpose.

A strategic plan pulls in inspiration from your mission and vision statements and outlines what actions you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

For example, if your company produces pet safety equipment, here’s how your mission statement, vision statement, and strategic plan might shake out:

Mission statement: “To ensure the safety of the world’s animals.” 

Vision statement: “To create pet safety and tracking products that are effortless to use.” 

Your strategic plan would outline the steps you’re going to take in the next few years to bring your company closer to your mission and vision. For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. 

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. company objectives?

Company objectives are broad goals. You should set these on a yearly or quarterly basis (if your organization moves quickly). These objectives give your team a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish for a set period of time. 

Your strategic plan is more forward-thinking than your company goals, and it should cover more than one year of work. Think of it this way: your company objectives will move the needle towards your overall strategy—but your strategic plan should be bigger than company objectives because it spans multiple years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a business case?

A business case is a document to help you pitch a significant investment or initiative for your company. When you create a business case, you’re outlining why this investment is a good idea, and how this large-scale project will positively impact the business. 

You might end up building business cases for things on your strategic plan’s roadmap—but your strategic plan should be bigger than that. This tool should encompass multiple years of your roadmap, across your entire company—not just one initiative.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a project plan?

A strategic plan is a company-wide, multi-year plan of what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years and how you plan to accomplish that. A project plan, on the other hand, outlines how you’re going to accomplish a specific project. This project could be one of many initiatives that contribute to a specific company objective which, in turn, is one of many objectives that contribute to your strategic plan. 

What’s the difference between strategic management vs. strategic planning?

A strategic plan is a tool to define where your organization wants to go and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning is the process of creating a plan in order to hit your strategic objectives.

Strategic management includes the strategic planning process, but also goes beyond it. In addition to planning how you will achieve your big-picture goals, strategic management also helps you organize your resources and figure out the best action plans for success. 

7 Steps to a strategic marketing plan

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Table of Contents

Creating a strategic marketing plan is a vital part of any marketing process because a good marketing plan brings a competitive advantage and leads to commercial success .

Of course, whatever your marketing goal might be — you won’t arrive there in a day. 

You need to invest some time into careful planning, and — most importantly — you need to maintain realistic objectives. 

Luckily, there are certain steps you should go through if you want your plan to be successful. 

So, keep reading, as in this blog post we’ll give you a quick overview of the 7 steps to creating a strategic marketing plan. 

7 Steps to a strategic marketing plan

What is a marketing strategic planning process?

The strategic marketing planning process is a procedure a company goes through to arrive at a practical marketing plan. 

In other words, an actual marketing plan is the output of a marketing process. 

One of the main characteristics of a strategic marketing process is that it should focus on pursuing a concrete goal. This makes the process more feasible in the long run.

Planning processes are usually 1–3 years long. However, the length of the process often depends on the size of your company. 

Usually, larger companies need more time to implement any changes. 

This is because these processes are often highly formalized at large companies — and need to go through several predetermined stages before they can take effect.

7 Steps to a successful strategic marketing plan

Achieving a certain marketing goal is possible only if you develop a step-by-step strategy , which should be based on detailed research and solid data.

Understanding the crucial steps of the planning process will improve your chances of creating a winning strategy. 

Here are the 7 steps to creating a successful strategic marketing plan:

  • Align your marketing goals with overall company objectives
  • Research the market 
  • Do the SWOT analysis 
  • Determine you “marketing mix”
  • Set a budget
  • Pick a PM tool 
  • Review and update

Step 1: Align your marketing goals with overall company objectives 

First and foremost, planning is all about creating a practical plan and pursuing a clear marketing goal. 

But, in order to do that, you first need to have a clear understanding of the company’s overall goals.

In the initial stage of your marketing process, you should determine your company’s primary mission , as well as the company’s values . 

If you’re not exactly sure how to do that, our advice is to start by answering some of these questions: 

  • What do we plan to achieve? 
  • What’s the purpose of our plan?
  • What values do we keep to?
  • What are our long-term goals and objectives?
  • What’s our corporate vision?

You need to understand your company’s overall goals so that you can align your marketing objectives with them.

In addition, according to Malcolm McDonald , you should think of the company’s plans for the future, including:

  • What the company will do,
  • What the company might do, and
  • What the company will never do.

💡 Plaky Pro Tip

If you want to find out more about setting goals in a company whose work involves project management, check out this blog post:

  • How to define S.M.A.R.T. goals in project management

At this point, you probably have an overall idea of what you’re heading for. 

So, you can proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Research the market

Having established your goals, it’s time to analyze external factors that could influence your marketing strategy — such as:

  • Business environment 
  • Market trends and consumer behavior
  • Competition 

When it comes to the business environment , you should be aware of the current:

  • Economic, 
  • Political, 
  • Social, and
  • Cultural climate.

These factors could have a huge impact on the final outcome of your strategy. 

Furthermore, by understanding the market trends and consumer behavior , you directly increase the chances of your marketing plan’s success. While trends indicate recent developments in the marketplace, consumer behavior helps you understand consumers’ buying decisions and what drives them. 

On top of all, market research should include a competitive analysis.  

This means — determining major competitors, as well as comparing their products, pricing, and strengths and weaknesses. 

When analyzing competition, try focusing on the following questions:

  • How much do they invest in brand positioning, promotions, and advertising?
  • What are their distribution channels?
  • What are their new or improved products?
  • What makes a competitor stand out from others?
  • How do you differ from competitors?

Having conducted the market research, you should be ready to take the next step — the SWOT analysis.

Step 3: Do the SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis is a great way of analyzing your own company’s position by identifying internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to external opportunities and threats . 

Here’s how the SWOT analysis works on an example of a new type of branded sunglasses being introduced in the market. 

The brand in question, Isee , specializes in distributing eyeglasses. The brand has great online selling rates and wants to broaden its distribution to sunglasses. The demand for sunglasses is high, and the already-established famous brands, such as Ray-Ban and Oakley , are the main competitors. 

So, what does the SWOT analysis say?

The SWOT analysis should:

  • Contain just a few paragraphs, focusing on key factors only 
  • Include a summary of reasons for potential good or bad performance
  • Be interesting to read
  • Contain concise statements
  • Include only relevant and important data

We hope these tips have helped you paint a clearer picture of what the SWOT analysis should look like. 

If the answer is yes — we can move on to the next step — determining your “marketing mix”.

Step 4: Determine your “marketing mix”

After you’ve determined your company’s objectives, as well as gathered all the necessary data, you’re ready to proceed to the next stage of the marketing planning process — creating the marketing strategy .

A successful marketing strategy is concerned with the marketing mix — the so-called ‘ four Ps ’ . 

The four Ps represent the factors you should take into account when working on your marketing strategy.

P #1: Product

To create a marketing strategy, a marketer first needs to understand the product, as well as all information on the product’s:

  • Modifications, 
  • Design, 
  • Branding, 
  • Positioning, and

P #2: Price

Marketers need to be well aware of the product’s price in relation to its value, so that they can justify it to potential customers.

When forming the price, you should consider the following:

  • Supply costs,
  • Seasonal discounts,
  • Competitor’s prices, and
  • Retail markup . 

P #3: Place

You also need to think about the best distribution channels for your product, i.e.:

  • Physical stores, and\or
  • Online stores.

Tip: Think of the place your product will gain the most attention, and reach its target audience — that’s the place you should provide.

P #4: Promotion

Finally, you need to think about how best to promote your product. 

You should determine the best communication channels with prospects, such as:

  • Advertising, 
  • Sales force ,
  • Sales promotion,
  • Exhibitions,
  • Affiliate marketing ,
  • Social networking, and\or
  • Digital marketing.

Determining the ‘four Ps‘ leads you one step closer to a strategic marketing plan completion — now, you’re ready to set the budget. 

Step 5: Set a budget

At this point of your strategic marketing planning process, it’s good to determine everything that has to do with your current marketing expenditures , including:

  • Advertising,
  • Digital assets (e.g. a website, social media, visual content marketing ),
  • Promotions,
  • Marketing events, and
  • Sponsorships.

Now is also the right moment to calculate the costs of the future marketing activities you’ve outlined in your marketing strategy.

Tip: Be especially careful when it comes to incremental marketing expenses , as those are all costs incurred after the product launch, other than those involved in its physical distribution. 

Most importantly, any form of discounting that reduces the expected gross income is considered an incremental marketing expense. 

This includes costs such as the following: 

  • Promotional discounts, 
  • Quantity discounts,
  • Sales commission, and 
  • Unpaid invoices.

After you’ve done the math — it’s time for the 6th step — picking a project management tool that will help you put your plan into motion.

Step 6: Pick a PM tool 

At this point, you probably think that managing a marketing plan is quite challenging. 

And, you’re mostly right. 

The marketing planning process requires you to stay on top of your tasks at all times. 

Apart from actually creating the strategy, a marketing planner should implement it — task by task .

Using a project management (PM) tool such as Plaky can make the entire process a lot easier. A project management tool is great for communication within your team, as well as managing and assigning individual tasks.  

Plaky also offers a pre-made marketing strategy plan template that can help you easily create your marketing strategy. 

This customizable template will save you valuable time and help you manage your strategic plan without having to start from scratch. 

Also, the template offers features such as: 

  • Person field, 
  • Status field, 
  • Date field, and 
  • Link field.

which will turn your marketing plan into an actionable plan.

An example of a Marketing Plan Strategy template in Plaky PM tool

In the Status field of the Plaky Strategy Plan template, you can manage tasks by priorities by assigning different statuses, such as: To Do, In progress, Done, and so on.

Also, you can assign tasks to one person or even add multiple people in the Assignee field . 

Moreover, the Due dates field allows you to track the progress of your strategic plan, as well as manage deadlines. 

The Tag field helps you manage your tasks by categories, while the Link field enables you to attach any files relevant to the marketing plan process.

Step 7: Review and update

The final step towards your marketing plan is quite simple — review and revise your plan , and be ready to make changes on the go.

As you’ve probably noticed, all the steps are tightly related to each other and shouldn’t be seen as independent, but as interconnected. This means they can and likely will affect each other.

Plus, it’s only normal that the external and internal factors change over time. 

That’s why it is important to update the plan when necessary.

It’s a good idea to do a monthly or quarterly review of your plan and make any necessary changes to prevent possible implementation pitfalls . 

As Nigel F. Piercy states in his book, Market-led Strategic Change , here are some of the things that could hinder the implementation of your strategy:

  • Strategic drift – losing the focus of where our strategy leads us may result in failure
  • Strategic ‘dilution’ – the lack of strong drive behind the strategy may cause managers to focus primarily on operational decisions rather than the strategic goals
  • Initiative fatigue – having too many ‘top priority ’ projects leads to failure
  • Impatience – expecting results too soon, and giving up, when we should’ve been patient
  • Not celebrating success – not recognizing and rewarding milestones

marketing strategic planning management

Tool for managing marketing projects

Manage your marketing goals, budgets, and campaigns from start to finish, with Plaky.

Plaky web app

Conclusion: The best strategic marketing plan is flexible 

To conclude, a strategic marketing plan isn’t supposed to be followed word-for-word, but it should rather serve as guidance.

In short, this is what your strategic marketing plan checklist should look like:

After you have checked all these boxes — congratulations, you should have your strategic marketing plan!

Last, but not least — don’t worry if everything doesn’t go exactly according to your plan, as here comes a final tip for all the perfections out there: the best strategic marketing plan is a flexible plan.

✉️ Can you think of any other important steps to creating a strategic marketing plan? If yes, feel free to contact us at [email protected] , and we may include your ideas in this or any other future blog posts.

IsidoraDjekic

Isidora is a project management author and researcher at Plaky. She graduated from the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade where she got her MA degree in English. Isidora’s guiding principle as a writer is to create reliable content enriched with both textbook and real-life examples.

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The Marketing Planning Process: Step-by-Step Breakdown

Erica Chappell

Managing Editor

September 7, 2023

Want to learn about the different steps that go into the marketing planning process? Managing a marketing project is a bit like managing a fast-food restaurant.

You have a very limited time to prepare the product (campaign). And you have to coordinate with staff members who are handling completely different duties. If it’s done right, you’ll be attracting a ton of loyal (and hungry) customers.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the strategic marketing plan process , how you can implement it in your business, and the best tool to help you with the entire process.

What Is a Marketing Plan?

Benefits of the marketing planning process, 1. document your business goals, 2. conduct a marketing audit and research, 3. define your buyer persona, 4. set a budget, 5. identify a marketing tactic, 6. schedule the marketing campaign , who benefits from using a marketing plan.

Order up! Let’s go.

A marketing plan is a document that showcases your company’s marketing strategy for the upcoming month, quarter, or year.

Here’s what a marketing action plan contains when you unbox it:

  • Your current marketing activity and position
  • A detailed overview of your marketing goal and business goal
  • A description of customer needs
  • The metrics you need to track (ROI, number of potential customers, etc.)

And what happens when you create an amazing marketing plan? You’ll be able to stay focused on your marketing goal and also create an equally amazing marketing strategy. Here’s how you can create a marketing campaign that can make even the pros jealous!

Marketing efforts, when done right, can result in significant positive effects that can kickstart your business’s success. Here are a few benefits of proactive marketing planning .

Learn about the top marketing tools for new businesses !

Provides benchmarks and accountability

Through the planning process, you will be able to set benchmarks and create a roadmap for your marketing strategy to reach business goals. Making this visible allows the entire team to be accountable for their actions and tasks. It will also ensure everything runs smoothly as everyone knows what’s happening and how they need to work together.

Encourages team collaboration

Because the marketing planning process will likely run across departments and need a fair bit of collaboration, it opens up cross-departmental communication and unifies the organization. Also, getting your team involved early allows you to be realistic with your planning.

Reduces risk

Now, you have a marketing strategy. By having a planning process in place, you now have a framework to gain an overview of the target market, competitive advantage, and market segmentation. This allows you to be better prepared for risk factors that you might not have foreseen.

Challenges your beliefs and assumptions

Since business is always changing, having a marketing planning process allows you to keep adapting more effective strategies. By continually honing your marketing efforts, you might run across new tools and techniques, incorporate new ideas from different team members, and challenge your standard operating procedures .

What Are the Steps in the Marketing Planning Process?

Creating a marketing plan for the first time might seem like a convoluted process, but it’s actually super simple. The planning process becomes 100x easier to deal with when you break it down into these six steps:

  • Document your business goals
  • Do market research
  • Define your buyer/client persona
  • Set a marketing budget
  • Identify a marketing tactic
  • Schedule the marketing campaign  

Let’s take a closer look at each step.

Before planning a marketing strategy, you and your marketing team should ask your senior management to highlight your corporate objectives. 

Ideally, every large-scale business goal and objective should span 18-24 months. This gives you enough time to develop marketing initiatives that align with these overall business objectives.

goal folders in clickup

Let’s say you’re the marketing manager for Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad. The business owner, Gus Fring’s business goal might be to increase restaurant revenue to $3 million in the next year.

You’ll need to create a SMART marketing goal that can contribute to his business goals. For example: 

  • Gain 20% more repeat customers
  • Increase hot chicken sandwich sales by 35%
  • Boost shipment and distribution revenue for other products 😉

Curious about SMART goals? Check out our guide for tips on how to create a great business goal.

After you’ve decided on the goal, marketing project management tools like ClickUp can help you document and track them. In ClickUp, Goals are high-level containers that can be broken into smaller objectives, known as  Targets. Targets can be measured by units like numbers, $$$, true/false, and task lists.

Bonus: Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

When you meet your Targets, you achieve your marketing goal too. ClickUp automatically updates the progress percentage as you meet Targets in real-time. This can motivate your sales and marketing teams as they see the numbers rising every day!

Quickly pull up important data on a single screen with Dashboards in ClickUp

Want to monitor more marketing metrics? 

ClickUp is loaded with features that your teams need to manage your project or marketing program. Its Dashboards are the way to go. Each unique dashboard offers a lot of Custom Widgets that let you track marketing KPIs and every marketing objective.

Track sales, conversion rates, social media engagement, and more, with a Line Chart, Bar Chart, Pie Chart, Battery Chart, or however you best visualize data!

Want to get there faster? Use the ClickUp Content Management Template to easily track your content goals, budgets, and resources all within one space. Get this content branding template for free !

It’s time for a serious throwback. You need to take a look at all the marketing decisions and initiatives that you’ve taken in the past few years. Additionally, you’ll also have to go through old reports to see which marketing tactics worked and which didn’t.

With the help of a marketing audit, you’ll be able to avoid the issues your marketing department has faced in the past. Take it from Gus: ClickUp Docs let your team collaborate in real-time on your audit, marketing research , and annual marketing plan documents; it’s like Google Docs , but way better!

Not only can you embed lists, tables, images, and videos, but you can also assign actionable tasks directly within a ClickUp Doc. And to make your job even easier, ClickUp lets you save your work as a marketing plan template that you can use later!

After the audit, you’ll need to determine where you’re currently placed in the market and market trends. Ask your team:

  • Are your customers price-sensitive?
  • Have new competitors slowed down your business growth?
  • Do you have a competitive advantage over other businesses?

But why just limit feedback to your company?  Your customers and clients’ opinion matter too. 

After all, they’ll be using your products or services. With the Form view , you can create detailed customer survey forms faster than you can say Heisenberg . 

clickup forms

Choose from different fields of text, labels, questions, and more. ClickUp allows you to publicly share these forms, and it then collects responses within the tool. This way, you can directly take action on their responses by including their inputs in the marketing plan.

How well do you know your customers, really? In this phase, you’ll need to embrace market segmentation. What’s that?

Essentially, you’ll need to identify the different kinds of customers in your target market. Then you’ll have to narrow your focus to a specific target audience. After that, you’ll have to create a buyer persona. These are fictional representations of your ideal customer in your target market. Ask your team:

  • Who is this person?
  • What are their needs and priorities?
  • How do they make decisions?
  • Where do they work?
  • How much do they earn?
  • What do they like, and what do they absolutely hate?
  • What media do they consume?

You’ll need to really get into their minds, so you can tailor your marketing strategy that appeals best to them. For example, Los Pollos Hermanos settles on a buyer persona named Walt, who’s a middle-aged high-school chemistry teacher. 

Now that you have an idea of who he is, how he behaves, and what he wants, you can market to him better! But how do you come up with a buyer persona? Two words: Mind Maps .

Mind Maps in ClickUp

Drawing Mind Maps in ClickUp can help your marketing team organize your thoughts and ideas when creating a persona . Just place a central idea and add relevant thoughts when they pop up. 

And remember the more detailed the persona Mind Map, the better. Knowing your customers well will allow you to create a personalized yet strategic marketing plan that connects to your target audience.

You might have tons of cool strategic marketing ideas, but if they don’t fall into your marketing budget, it would be almost impossible to execute them. And even if you do break the bank to work on them, there are no guarantees that you’ll be rolling in dough in the end.

So how much should you spend on your strategic marketing plan? Allocating 7-15% of your company’s income to your marketing department is ideal, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all rule. 

However, keep in mind that any initial marketing activity can be expensive. This includes getting a logo , branding , and creating a campaign from scratch. How do you track all your marketing expenses?

In ClickUp, every task can have additional details called Custom Fields . With these fields, you can record data like phone numbers, labels, checkboxes, and more.

custom field library in clickup

In this case, you can track the budget, and cost of each marketing activity and task with the ‘Money’ field. What’s more is that with Column Calculations , you can automatically add up your spending to see whether it’s in line with your budget.

So no more half-measures when you’re creating your strategic marketing plan!

Bonus: Marketing calendar software !

Now that you know exactly what your customers are like, it’s time to choose the right distribution channels where they spend most of their time. After all, your target audience has to see your ad, right?

Let’s take a few platforms where you can implement your strategic plan , and the best tactics for each:

  • Blogs: Content marketing + Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Facebook/Instagram : Social media marketing + Influencer marketing
  • Google: SEO + Search Ads
  • Newspapers: Print advertising 
  • Television: Commercials + Sponsorships

Let’s look back at Walt’s persona. Since we determined that he gets all his news from TV, our marketing effort should focus on creating a wonderful commercial:

Remember that the message of your strategic marketing campaign should reflect customer needs. In this case, this commercial should reassure their target audience that their food is high-quality and fresh—99.99% fresh.

However, you don’t have to focus all your tactics on one single platform. A healthy marketing mix between offline and online media ensures everyone gets your message. Now, it’s up to your marketing team to decide which route they want to take.  For example, you can create and publish new content on your blog, host automated webinars , and at the same time promote offline content to convert your audience. With ClickUp’s Chat view , you can discuss tactics, and sales deals, attach images/videos, and assign tasks in your marketing mix.

Chat view stores all of your comments in ClickUp

Now we’ve finally reached the end of the strategic marketing planning process . After you’ve got the marketing plan locked down, it’s time to list all the tasks that need to be done in order to pull it off.

How do you do it?

With ClickUp’s Gantt Charts , you can create a dynamic timeline of your marketing campaign activities from start to finish. The Gantt view lets you visualize the start and end dates for each task, and any important milestones along the way.

marketing strategic planning management

With Task Dependencies , you can indicate the sequence in which you want to complete your tasks. All you have to do is draw a line between two tasks, and you’re done!

Now, your marketing team won’t be able to work on a dependent task until they’ve cleared the preceding task. Need to work on a digital marketing calendar ? You can schedule all your marketing activities through ClickUp’s Calendar view .

It’s super easy to schedule posts or tasks, and adjust due dates—all you have to do is drag and drop.

Note: Since the strategic marketing process requires your team to be quick on their feet, ClickUp offers marketing plan templates for your content calendar , SEO management , campaign tracking , promotional calendar , A/B testing , and graphic design processes . 

Just apply the marketing plan template, and you’re ready to start planning in seconds! However, note that ClickUp isn’t just built for the strategic planning process ; it can help with every marketing process from execution to monitoring. 

So, ClickUp has more features ? Here’s what ClickUp has to offer:

  • Flexible views : visualize your tasks in a to-do list , Kanban board , or a Calendar
  • Assigned comments : change a comment into an actionable task and assign it to a team member
  • Collaboration Detection : know when your coworker is working on the same task or Doc as you
  • Pulse : see what your team is doing in real-time; great for remote teams
  • Agile Dashboards : monitor Agile and Scrum metrics with diagrams like Velocity Charts , Burndown Charts , Burn-up Charts , etc.
  • Team Reporting : track and monitor your team’s performance and progress
  • Automations : speed up your strategic marketing process by automating repetitive tasks and marketing workflows
  • Integrations : allows you to connect with other important work software like Slack, Google Drive , and Outlook
  • Mobile Apps : dynamic iOS and Android apps to help you manage projects on the run
  • Restaurant Marketing Plan
  • Starting a Business Marketing Plan
  • Bookkeeping Marketing Plan
  • Service Business Marketing Plan
  • Creative Agency Marketing Plan
  • Marketing Agency Marketing Plan
  • Design Agency Marketing Plan
  • Advertising Agency Marketing Plan

Get Planning on Your Marketing Strategy With ClickUp

So what’s the secret behind running a great strategic planning session? All you need to do is figure out what your customers want, set a time and resource budget, brainstorm the best way to serve your customers, and that’s it. We told you, it’s just like the restaurant business. 😁 

And as most restaurants have sophisticated equipment to help you out, you’ll need a dedicated marketing automation software and project tool like ClickUp to help you out too! From Goal Trackers to Dashboards and Timelines , it’s got everything you need you to get started with your marketing plans.

Get ClickUp for free today, and cook up the perfect marketing campaigns!

Want more tips? Read our expert roundup to get more marketing management ideas .

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How to Create an Effective Sales and Marketing Plan

marketing strategic planning management

A comprehensive sales and marketing plan sets up organizations for long-term growth and success. In this guide, we’ll dig into the differences between sales and marketing plans, how to create your plan, and templates to get the ball rolling.

What is a Sales and Marketing Plan?

Sales plan vs. marketing plan, marketing plan template: the essential components, sales plan template: the essential components, steps to create a sales and marketing plan.

A well-crafted sales and marketing plan is indispensable for the success and growth of any company, whether it’s a startup, small business, or enterprise. This plan serves as a roadmap, outlining clear objectives, targeted customer segments, and actionable tactics to drive sales and promote brand awareness.

It enables companies to understand their market position, competitive landscape, and customer needs. On top of that, it provides a structured approach to buyer engagement , ensuring consistent and effective communication across various touchpoints.

By defining specific goals and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), a sales and marketing plan provides a structured framework for marketing and sales to align their go-to-market efforts. And when teams are aligned, companies can generate up to 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts.

While sales and marketing are integral to an overall business plan, they serve distinct purposes and focus on different aspects of the customer journey. Here are the key differences between a sales plan and a marketing plan:

Focus and Objectives

Sales Plan: Primarily focuses on the activities and strategies to drive direct revenue generation. It outlines the specific actions the sales team will take to achieve targets and goals.

Marketing Plan: Concentrates on creating awareness, generating interest, and positioning new products or services in the market. It aims to build and maintain the brand, nurture leads, and create favorable conditions for sales.

Sales Plan: Typically more tactical and operational, it details the sales team’s day-to-day activities. It addresses how sales representatives engage with prospects, close deals, and meet revenue targets.

Marketing Plan: Has a broader scope, encompassing the overall market strategy, brand positioning, promotional activities, and communication efforts. It sets the stage for sales by creating a favorable market environment.

Sales Plan: Often focuses on short-term goals and immediate revenue generation. It may have a more immediate and tactical orientation focusing on quarterly or annual targets.

Marketing Plan: Can have a longer-term perspective, building brand equity and customer relationships over time. It may include short-term and long-term initiatives aligned with the overall business strategy.

Sales Plan: Includes sales tactics, prospecting strategies, target setting, and customer relationship management (CRM) activities.

Marketing Plan: Encompasses market research, target audience identification, advertising, content creation, social media strategy, and overall brand positioning.

Sales Plan: Metrics focus on sales performance , revenue targets, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and individual sales representative performance.

Marketing Plan: Metrics include brand awareness, lead generation, website traffic, social media engagement, customer acquisition costs, and marketing ROI.

Collaboration

Sales Plan: Primarily involves collaboration within the sales team, setting individual and team goals, and coordinating efforts to meet targets.

Marketing Plan: Requires collaboration between marketing and other departments to ensure a consistent brand message and a seamless customer experience. This collaboration extends to content creation, advertising, and customer relationship strategies.

Here, you can see that a sales plan is more tactical and concentrates on direct revenue generation. In contrast, the marketing plan is strategic, focusing on creating a favorable market environment and building brand equity.

An effective marketing plan outlines a business’s strategies and tactics to achieve its marketing objectives. Here are the key components that typically go into creating a new marketing plan:

Executive Summary

  • Brief overview of the marketing plan, including goals, strategies, and key components.

Market Analysis

  • Analysis of the target market, including demographics, trends, and opportunities.
  • Competitor analysis, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).

Target Audience and Buyer Personas

  • Detailed profiles of the target customers, specifying their needs, pain points, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Development of buyer personas to guide marketing strategies, messaging, and sales outreach.

Marketing Goals and Objectives

  • Clearly defined SMART goals for the marketing efforts.
  • Specific objectives, such as brand awareness, lead generation, customer acquisition, or market share.

Positioning and Messaging

  • Clear articulation of the brand positioning and competitive advantages.
  • Development of consistent messaging that resonates with the target audience.

Marketing Strategies

  • Overview of the overarching marketing strategies, including product positioning, pricing, distribution, and promotion.
  • Differentiation strategies and competitive positioning.

Marketing Mix (4Ps)

  • Product: Details about the products or services being marketed.
  • Price: Pricing strategy, discounts, and payment terms.
  • Place: Distribution channels and logistics.
  • Promotion: Advertising, public relations, digital marketing, content marketing, and other promotional activities.

Marketing Budget

  • Allocation of budget for each marketing activity and channel.
  • Cost projections and expected return on investment (ROI).

Marketing Calendar

  • Timeline for planned marketing activities, campaigns, and promotions.
  • Seasonal considerations and industry-specific events.

Marketing Channels

  • Identification and description of the marketing channels to be utilized (online and offline).
  • Social media strategy, content marketing plan, email marketing, advertising channels, etc.

Content Strategy

  • Development of a content plan, including types of content (i.e. case studies, one-pagers), frequency, and distribution channels.
  • Content creation and distribution strategy.
  • Regular content audit to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Measurement and Analytics

  • KPIs to benchmark the success of marketing activities.
  • Tools and methods for data collection and analysis.

A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines the tactics and activities a business will undertake to achieve its sales objectives. Here are the key components that typically go into a sales plan:

  • Brief overview of the entire sales plan, summarizing the goals, strategies, and key components.

Sales Objectives

  • Clearly defined and measurable sales goals, such as revenue targets, market share, or customer acquisition metrics.
  • Specific and realistic objectives for the sales team.

Target Market and Customer Segmentation

  • Identification of the target market and specific customer segments.
  • Create ideal customer profiles and characteristics to guide sales efforts.

Product or Service Offering

  • Detailed information about the products or services being sold.
  • Value propositions and key differentiators.

Sales Strategies

  • Overview of the overarching sales strategies , including prospecting, lead generation, and conversion tactics.
  • Strategies for acquiring new customers, upselling, cross-selling, and customer retention.

Sales Team Structure

  • Organization of the sales team, including roles, responsibilities, and reporting structure.

Sales Tactics and Techniques

  • Detailed description of the tactics and techniques the sales team will use to engage with potential customers and increase the bottom line.
  • Sales methodologies employed by the team.

Sales Forecast

  • Prediction of sales performance over a specific period.
  • Revenue projections, taking into account market conditions and other relevant factors.

Sales Territories and Distribution Channels

  • Definition of sales territories and distribution channels.
  • Strategies for reaching and serving customers in different geographic areas.

Sales Metrics and KPIs

  • Identification of key metrics to measure sales performance.
  • KPIs such as conversion rates, average deal size, and customer acquisition costs.

Sales Training and Development

  • Plans for training and developing the sales team.
  • Continuous improvement strategies.

Now that you have templates in place, let’s put them together to create an overall plan and what it could look like.

Look for trends in the data

Before you start digging into the meat of your plan, you need to gather data, drawing from internal company insights and external market trends. Internally, you can look at historical sales data, customer behaviors, and product performance, providing a foundation for understanding the company’s strengths and areas for improvement.

On the other hand, keeping a keen eye on external market trends, consumer preferences, and industry developments allows for a proactive approach to shifts in the market. This data-driven strategy enables businesses to effectively tailor their sales and marketing initiatives , aligning them with evolving customer needs. By combining internal insights with external trends, organizations can craft a dynamic plan that is not only grounded in historical performance but is also adaptable to the changing landscape of the business environment.

Know your customer

One of the most important steps when creating a sales and marketing plan is to know who you’re selling to. You should develop in-depth buyer personas based on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes. By understanding your target audience’s characteristics, preferences, and pain points, you can tailor your sales and marketing strategies to resonate more effectively.

This key step not only enhances the efficiency of marketing campaigns but also streamlines the sales process by aligning efforts with the expectations and behaviors of your customers.

Set achievable goals

Now that you have a clear image of who you’re selling to, where you stand, and where the market is, you and various stakeholders can begin to set realistic goals and targets for your team.

Setting goals is crucial for your success. They allow you to track if you’re making a real impact on your business. They create alignment between teams so they know what they must do to achieve those goals. A recent study by HubSpot found that 25% of companies say their sales and marketing teams are either “misaligned” or “rarely aligned” on goals, leading to confusion and poor performance.

To get your teams on the same page, you should consider setting SMART goals. Here is a great example of how to think about goal setting:

Specific: Make sure your goals are clear. What will be accomplished? What actions will you take? Don’t just say you want to increase revenue — explain how you plan to achieve it. For example, you can say: We will increase revenue by 15% by using a guided selling approach.

Measurable: What metrics will you use to determine if you met your goal? This makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress.

Achievable: Consider how to accomplish the goal, if you have the tools and skills needed, and what it would take to attain it. Don’t set objectives that are impossible to reach. The goals are meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement.

Relevant: Goals need to fit your current situation and sales strategy. They should align with the overall business goals and department objectives.

Time-Bound: Realistic timing for when you can achieve your goals is crucial. Provide deadlines and target dates to hold teams accountable.

Determine how you will measure success

Now that you’ve set goals, it’s time to start measuring them.

KPIs are crucial metrics that help measure the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts. Here’s a list of KPIs for a sales and marketing plan:

Sales KPIs:

  • Revenue: Total income generated from sales.
  • Sales Growth Rate: Percentage increase in sales over a specific period.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of leads that convert into customers.
  • Average Deal Size: Average value of a sales transaction.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Cost incurred to acquire a new customer.
  • Sales Cycle Length: Average time it takes to close a sale.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Predicted revenue generated throughout a customer’s lifecycle.
  • Win Rate: Percentage of opportunities that result in a sale.
  • Churn Rate: Percentage of customers lost over a given period.
  • Upsell and Cross-sell Rate: Percentage of existing customers who purchase additional products or services.

Marketing KPIs:

  • Lead Generation: Number of new leads acquired.
  • Website Traffic: Number of visitors to the website.
  • Conversion Rate (Marketing): Percentage of website visitors who take a desired action.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage of people who click on a specific link.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL): Cost associated with acquiring a new lead.
  • Social Media Engagement: Likes, shares, comments, and other interactions on social media.
  • Email Open and Click-through Rates: Percentage of opened emails and clicked links.
  • Content Engagement: Interaction with blog posts, videos, or other content.
  • Brand Awareness: Measured through surveys, social media mentions, or search volume.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Ratio of the net profit from marketing campaigns to the cost of those campaigns.

Overall Business KPIs:

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Measurement of customer satisfaction.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Indicator of customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend.
  • Market Share: Company’s portion of the total market.
  • Brand Equity: Perceived value and strength of a brand in the market.
  • Customer Retention Rate: Percentage of customers retained over a period.

Regularly monitoring these metrics provides insights into performance, helping businesses make informed decisions and optimize their sales and marketing strategies.

Define your sales and marketing strategies

How are you going to generate demand for your product or service? At this stage in your plan, you can start to define how you will reach your ideal customers and move them through the buyer’s journey. Integrated marketing campaigns that use various channels, such as social media and paid ads, are a great way to get started. Additionally, you should include lead generation strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and targeted promotions to nurture prospects and guide them through the sales funnel.

It’s important here that you work with your sales enablement team to create relevant content for the sales team .

Formulate a sales team structure and training program

A well-defined sales team structure and comprehensive training program are vital to a successful sales and marketing plan. The structure of the sales team should outline roles, responsibilities, and reporting hierarchies to ensure efficient workflow and clear lines of communication.

Along with getting the structure right, you must ensure that your sales reps have the right training and coaching to improve their skills, ramp up product knowledge, and stay aligned with the right messaging and communication techniques.

Teams should work closely with sales enablement to schedule regular training sessions that not only focus on enhancing existing skills but also address emerging market trends and customer expectations. Continuous improvement is key, and fostering a culture of learning within the sales team contributes to adaptability and responsiveness. This dual emphasis on structure and training ensures the sales team is well-organized and equipped to navigate challenges.

Download resource: What Good Onboarding, Training, and Coaching Look Like

Create a sales forecasting model

Creating a sound forecasting model provides a structured framework for predicting future sales performance. This model involves analysis of historical sales data, market trends, and external factors that might impact sales.

The sales forecasting model should incorporate variables such as product demand, pricing strategies, and market conditions to provide a comprehensive and accurate estimation.

A well-crafted model not only aids in resource allocation, inventory management, and budgeting but also serves as a proactive tool for anticipating challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities, contributing to the overall success of the sales and marketing plan.

Continuously Optimize

Recognizing that markets, consumer behaviors, and competitive landscapes evolve, an effective plan should be agile and responsive. This involves regularly reviewing KPIs, analyzing data, and soliciting feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Whether refining marketing strategies, adjusting sales tactics, or fine-tuning messaging, the goal is to stay attuned to shifts in customer preferences and market trends. By fostering a culture of continuous optimization, businesses can adapt swiftly, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and mitigate potential challenges.

Execute Your Sales and Marketing Plan with Highspot’s Sales Enablement Platform

Aligning your sales and marketing plans is no easy task. Highspot’s sales enablement platform aligns marketing initiatives with sales goals to maximize collaboration. By tracking key metrics across the buyer’s journey, you’ll know how to drive measurable revenue growth that improves lead acquisition and retention. Book a demo today !

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I Tried 10 AI Project Management Tools to See if They’re Worth It (Results & Recommendations)

Published: February 14, 2024

AI project management tools simplify decision-making, keep projects rolling, and streamline communications. Pick the right project management tool, and you could save hundreds — even thousands — per year.

women use ai project management tools

I started in digital project management nine years ago, and AI project management tools were unheard of. The project management role was different than it is today.

Project managers were doing a lot of manual admin and repetitive tasks while keeping everything together and bringing those all-important soft skills to clients and internal teams who were busy getting the job done.

It was a lot. If you’re reading this, you might still be working like that: more spreadsheets than you can bear to think about, project managers stressed with deliverables and shaky briefs, leaving the team to use their best guess.

Today, my workflow relies on AI tools to keep my clients and team happy.

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The tools take much of the project management, leaving me and the team with the mental capacity to do what humans do best: build and nurture relationships, send thoughtful updates, and deliver even faster than we could ten years ago.

With the right AI tool, your workflow could look more streamlined with happier staff at work.

Naturally, the AI project management tool you select will depend on how you want to use it, but this article should give you a solid guide for choosing the right AI project management tool for you.

I’ve included my review of each tool, how I found it, the AI features, the price, and who I think it’s best for.

What does AI project management software do?

Testing ai project management tools, the scenario, 10 ai project management software.

AI project management software can help manage and organize projects and teams.

They’re commonly used for automating routine tasks, managing production schedules, storing files against projects and tasks, and providing a central hub with all content related to a project.

With the rise of AI, you can automate workflows, remove decision fatigue with predictive analysis, bolster productivity, and essentially hire a digital assistant who’s there to support you every day.

Project management tools are worth every penny and will pay for themselves in productivity. But if you’re worried about budgets, plenty of brilliant free project management tools exist.

I’ve tested AI project management and many other marketing tools for years. I have to admit it: I love trying and testing tools.

It’s almost a problem because, in the digital world, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by choice and distracted by the next amazing new development.

But I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon. In fact, I committed myself to try more tools in the future.

Embracing the development of new tools is a fast track to an easier life, a streamlined business, and a to-do list that is as satisfying as it is productive. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s not just me saying this.

Of those surveyed in Hubspot’s State of AI report , respondents estimated they save two hours and 24 minutes per day when using AI compared to not. Automating manual tasks is estimated to save two hours and 16 minutes per day.

The time saved using AI is significant. All you need to do is find the one that suits you and your needs, and I’ve run extensive tests to help you out.

When I’m testing AI project management tools, I want a tool that:

  • Feels intuitive to use.
  • Manages projects, tasks, and sub-tasks.
  • Makes my team feel happy (and not overwhelmed!).
  • Streamlines communications related to projects and/or tasks.
  • Has integration options so that my business can scale with the tool.

I judged the tools tested in this article by these factors:

  • How well the tool replicates or replaces human action.
  • AI functionality.

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The scenario is close to my actual life as a marketer. I run many projects with fully remote teams internally and externally (my team and the client’s team).

We all need to work harmoniously in a central location.

The project needs to be well structured with some flexibility for changes. All team members need to add comments, set tasks, and have some accountability tracking to keep the project moving.

Finally, the AI project management tools must take some elements of the project. These tasks must be monotonous, undesirable for the humans involved, and safe enough for AI intervention.

AI project manager software; Asana

  • Individuals get started for free (This is all I’ve needed in the past, but now I have outgrown it)
  • Starter package is $10.99 per user a month, billed annually
  • Advanced package is $24.99 per user a month, billed annually
  • Traditional project management without customization
  • Small teams and individuals

AI project management tools, ClickUp

How I Discovered Trello

Trello was a tool I used many years ago. It was the first project management tool I was introduced to in 2011. I used Trello to manage content as part of a small marketing agency.

How Trello Supported My Project Management

I still use Trello today. It’s in my project management arsenal, even with Asana for client projects.

I like Trello because it is simple. For clients who don’t have many projects, I turn to Trello. It’s intuitive and easy to use, people get on board with it quickly, and the free package is enough for how I use it.

I don’t think Trello suits companies looking to scale, but it's perfect for small projects or teams.

Strategy AI

Tello’s Strategy AI helps with general project management and productivity. You can use the software to control who sees what project, and projects or tasks are marked with priority to keep the team working on the most important tasks first.

Trello is one of the cheapest project management tools. It is also one of the most simple.

  • Get started for free
  • Standard is $5 a user per month, billed annually
  • Premium is $10 a user per month, billed annually
  • Enterprise is from $7.38 a user per month, depending on seat quantity, billed annually
  • Small teams
  • Individuals
  • Small and few projects
  • Content management

ai project management tools, Motion

How OneCal Supported My Project Management

While OneCal isn’t managing projects, it is keeping my workload manageable and the monotony of checking multiple calendars at bay. This means I can go to any calendar for an accurate display of what’s happening in all of my calendars.

Ultimately, it saves me a lot of time and rids me of calendar anxiety.

For those who don’t use Motion, OneCal also has a booking system.

Calendar Syncing

Once you’ve integrated OneCal with your calendars, you’ll have synced calendars everywhere .

Booking Links

You can set up a booking system so your meeting guests can book a slot in your calendar at a time that suits you (and them!).

With this system, you can set buffer times and avoid back-to-back meetings, and your guests can easily see available slots in their time zones.

  • Starter is just $4 a month billed annually (this is all I needed)
  • Essential $8.30 a month billed annually
  • Premium $25 a month billed annually
  • Anyone using multiple calendars or wanting to streamline the meeting booking process

AI project management tools, Notion

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Paid Media Marketing In 2024: 7 Changes Marketers Should Make

What do you need to know to make sure your paid media marketing is ready for the new year? A look at the Google Tags Consent Mode update for ad personalization & remarketing in EEA.

Paid media’s main job is to increase visibility and drive traffic for your brand.

And as digital marketing evolves, so, too, will your strategy.

In the current state of paid, the main overarching theme is, you guessed it, AI and machine learning.

As paid media platforms get smarter and constantly find ways to infuse AI into campaign workflows and optimizations, marketers must find a way to keep up with the platforms.

The other side of the coin is maintaining user privacy all the while trying to use AI effectively.

So what major changes should you make to your paid media marketing strategy in 2024?

Here are seven changes you should incorporate without a second thought.

1. Review & Revise Google Tags

If you rely on Google tags for conversion tracking , this change should not be ignored.

In January 2024, Google made an update to its Consent Mode for its Google tags, which will, for now, affect any marketers who run ads targeted to users in the European Economic Area (EEA).

This update requires marketers to take action by March 2024 in order to keep using ad personalization and remarketing features in Google Ads.

Simply speaking, the Consent Mode will need to be updated to adjust its tracking behavior based on how a user interacts with a website’s consent banner.

The two new parameters introduced to Consent Mode are:

  • ad_user_data:  This controls whether user data can be sent to Google for advertising purposes.
  • ad_personalization:  This controls whether personalized advertising (remarketing) can be enabled for the user.

As privacy measures continue to become stricter in the United States, it would not be surprising if this becomes required for US advertisers in the somewhat near future.

Keep in mind that in 2024, we’ll have to get comfortable being uncomfortable with imperfect data because of privacy regulations.

2. Make Influencers Part Of Your Marketing Model

Small and large influencers alike are an awesome resource at your fingertips, just as long as your audiences align.

Even brands with a few thousand followers can utilize influencer marketing to make a big difference and gain traction in the market.

Go on a hunt to find the top influencers in your space . Then, figure out the cost per acquisition (CPA) for working with each of them (because you have to court influencers, especially the bigger ones).

From there, you can create a win-win  partnership that gets you more leads while the influencer earns income.

Pro Tip:  You can use influencer marketing tools to help you in your journey to integrate core influencers into your business model. Some of the most popular include AspireIQ, BuzzSumo, Upfluence, and NeoReach. Whichever you choose, make sure the influencers you find are big enough to provide real value to your brand — and that you’re paying a CPA that makes sense for your budget and overall goals.

3. Strategic Audience Management On Multiple Platforms

2024 is the year to nail your audience management strategy, both from a holistic perspective and within each encapsulated platform.

That means before building your audiences, you need to understand at a high level who your target customer is.

Further, identify what platforms those types of user-profiles spend their time on.

Once you’ve identified your ideal target customer, then it’s time for the first step in this process:

Building audiences.

From there, you must set up a strategy to target folks within every stage of the funnel – from upper to lower – and decide which networks make the most sense for the different audience cohorts.

Perhaps the most crucial part of this process is analyzing and refreshing your audiences as the year goes on.

You should definitely plan on retargeting and testing new audiences throughout the year.

If you fail to incorporate this part, you run the risk of targeting the wrong sector of people, ultimately throwing money down the proverbial drain.

However, if you retarget and refresh your approach, you’re bound to find a dynamic audience that correlates with your vision.

In the end, audience management alone can be worth its weight in gold.

4. Prepare For Video Content Dominance

You’ve likely heard this phrase before in marketing: co ntent is king .

With a slight tweak for 2024, the new hot phrase should be: v ideo content is king.

Not only is video taking over social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, but it’s also asserting its dominance in YouTube Ads . YouTube Shorts, the platform’s short-form video offering, is booming.

With this new form of video comes a new ad format: vertical video ads.

Not only should marketers focus on video marketing in general – 2024 is the year to get more sophisticated with video strategy.

Marketers should prioritize creating engaging and high-quality video content that’s appropriate for each platform on which it will be delivered.

If the thought of creating video content for multiple platforms scares you, just remember that a little goes a long way.

Start by creating evergreen content about your brand and test those with different lengths.

These can be used and recycled on multiple platforms and can be used for organic and paid video content simultaneously.

Just remember to create a variety so that your users don’t see the same message or content on the same platforms, which can reduce the effectiveness of video marketing.

5. Don’t Sleep On Microsoft Ads

Microsoft Ads continues to enhance its advertising platform year after year.

Not only does it have many of the same coveted features as Google Ads, but it has added features that are unique to the platform.

As a marketing professional, your brand will surely benefit from digging into it more in 2024.

Some of the most notable updates Microsoft Ads launched in the last twelve months include:

  • Video and CTV ads:  Microsoft unveiled these new ad types on its platform in September of 2023. Advertisers can choose from online video ads or connected TV ads that are non-skippable while a user is streaming content. This gives advertisers big and small a leg up on what once used to be a very complicated process of buying TV ads.
  • Three new generative AI solutions: Also announced in September 2023, Microsoft came out with three new AI features to help grow and scale. These include Compare & Decide ads, ads for Chat API, and Copilot campaign creation.
  • Data-driven attribution reporting: Gone are the days of last-click measurement! Microsoft Ads enhanced its UET tagging solution and implemented data-driven attributing modeling. It uses machine learning to calculate the actual contributions of each ad interaction.

While Microsoft still holds a lower share of the available search engines, just remember that you’re leaving a whole slew of potential customers behind by not considering this underestimated ad platform.

6. Focus On Optimizing The User Experience

Between a mix of shorter human attention spans and limited marketing budgets, every interaction and website experience counts.

If you find that your pre-sale metrics are favorable – such as high engagement or high CTR – but never result in a sale, you likely don’t have an ad problem. You have a  user experience problem .

In 2024, consumers expect more from brands, especially if they’re spending their hard-earned money with that company.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you sat down and went through your website’s checkout process through the lens of a customer?

If you’re not sure where to start on optimizing your website experience for users, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use tools like Hot Jar or User Testing to get real-life analytics of how your customers are interacting and what their pain points are.
  • Review the website landscape on desktop and mobile. While this may be a no-brainer, many websites  still forget to optimize for mobile!
  • Make sure that any relevant call-to-actions (CTAs) are above the fold – yes, on mobile, too!
  • Check your site speed.

These are items that should continuously be monitored and not a “set and forget,” which unfortunately happens quite a bit.

Optimizing the website user experience can have a positive impact on those paid media campaigns and can make those dollars go further in the future.

7. Use AI Tools To Your Advantage

Let’s face it: Machine learning and AI aren’t going anywhere.

For marketing leaders, 2024 really is the time to lean into its advantages instead of running away from the inevitable advances.

It’s not a question of whether to use AI or not. It’s a matter of how to use AI to your advantage.

While companies are tightening their budgets and scaling back staff, PPC marketers are constantly being asked to do more with less.

This is where AI comes in.

In fact, using AI can strengthen your ROI for paid media campaigns of all kinds (whatever channel you prefer).

Just make sure you don’t sacrifice your brand’s personality for a little efficiency.

One way you can do this is with Google’s generated AI assets (currently in beta). Using its Gemini-powered AI solution, the tool allows for more streamlined campaign creation and generated ad assets, including images, headlines, and descriptions for ads, and more.

Additionally, you’re likely already using one of Google’s Smart Bidding strategies to automate the bidding process.

With a combination of creativity and machine learning, your ads have the potential to go farther than ever before.

Your 2024 Plan Should Not Be Static

If the past year(s) have taught us anything in marketing, it’s to be fluid.

In some cases, tactics that used to be tried and true are now more volatile than ever.

Take advantage of advances in AI to boost your strategic advantage, and keep in mind platforms that you’ve typically shied away from – the time may come to incorporate them into your 2024 strategy.

What changes are you most excited to try this year?

More resources:

  • What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy? 5 Steps To Create One
  • What Is Paid Media: Types & Examples
  • PPC Trends 2024

Featured Image: Sutthiphong Chandaeng/Shutterstock

Brooke serves as the Director of Growth Marketing at Smith Micro Software, with over 10 years of paid media experience. ...

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College of Nursing

Driving change: a case study of a dnp leader in residence program in a gerontological center of excellence.

View as pdf A later version of this article appeared in Nurse Leader , Volume 21, Issue 6 , December 2023 . 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) published the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing in 2004 identifying the essential curriculum needed for preparing advanced practice nurse leaders to effectively assess organizations, identify systemic issues, and facilitate organizational changes. 1 In 2021, AACN updated the curriculum by issuing The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education to guide the development of competency-based education for nursing students. 1 In addition to AACN’s competency-based approach to curriculum, in 2015 the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) released Nurse Leader Core Competencies (updated in 2023) to help provide a competency based model to follow in developing nurse leaders. 2

Despite AACN and AONL competency-based curriculum and model, it is still common for nurse leaders to be promoted to management positions based solely on their work experience or exceptional clinical skills, rather than demonstration of management and leadership competencies. 3 The importance of identifying, training, and assessing executive leaders through formal leadership development programs, within supportive organizational cultures has been discussed by national leaders. As well as the need for nurturing emerging leaders through fostering interprofessional collaboration, mentorship, and continuous development of leadership skills has been identified. 4 As Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) nurse leaders assume executive roles within healthcare organizations, they play a vital role within complex systems. Demonstration of leadership competence and participation in formal leadership development programs has become imperative for their success. However, models of competency-based executive leadership development programs can be hard to find, particularly programs outside of health care systems.

The implementation of a DNP Leader in Residence program, such as the one designed for The Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence, addresses many of the challenges facing new DNP leaders and ensures mastery of executive leadership competencies and readiness to practice through exposure to varied experiences and close mentoring. The Csomay Center , based at The University of Iowa, was established in 2000 as one of the five original Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the country. Later funding by the Csomay family established an endowment that supports the Center's ongoing work. The current Csomay Center strategic plan and mission aims to develop future healthcare leaders while promoting optimal aging and quality of life for older adults. The Csomay Center Director created the innovative DNP Leader in Residence program to foster the growth of future nurse leaders in non-healthcare systems. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the development and implementation of the Leader in Residence program, followed by suggested evaluation strategies, and discussion of future innovation of leadership opportunities in non-traditional health care settings.

Development of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle has garnered substantial recognition as a valuable tool for fostering development and driving improvement initiatives. 5 The PDSA cycle can function as an independent methodology and as an integral component of broader quality enhancement approaches with notable efficacy in its ability to facilitate the rapid creation, testing, and evaluation of transformative interventions within healthcare. 6 Consequently, the PDSA cycle model was deemed fitting to guide the development and implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence Program at the Csomay Center.

PDSA Cycle: Plan

Existing resources. The DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership Program offered by the University of Iowa is comprised of comprehensive nursing administration and leadership curriculum, led by distinguished faculty composed of national leaders in the realms of innovation, health policy, leadership, clinical education, and evidence-based practice. The curriculum is designed to cultivate the next generation of nursing executive leaders, with emphasis on personalized career planning and tailored practicum placements. The DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership curriculum includes a range of courses focused on leadership and management with diverse topics such as policy an law, infrastructure and informatics, finance and economics, marketing and communication, quality and safety, evidence-based practice, and social determinants of health. The curriculum is complemented by an extensive practicum component and culminates in a DNP project with additional hours of practicum.

New program. The DNP Leader in Residence program at the Csomay Center is designed to encompass communication and relationship building, systems thinking, change management, transformation and innovation, knowledge of clinical principles in the community, professionalism, and business skills including financial, strategic, and human resource management. The program fully immerses students in the objectives of the DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership curriculum and enables them to progressively demonstrate competencies outlined by AONL. The Leader in Residence program also includes career development coaching, reflective practice, and personal and professional accountability. The program is integrated throughout the entire duration of the Leader in Residence’s coursework, fulfilling the required practicum hours for both the DNP coursework and DNP project.

The DNP Leader in Residence program begins with the first semester of practicum being focused on completing an onboarding process to the Center including understanding the center's strategic plan, mission, vision, and history. Onboarding for the Leader in Residence provides access to all relevant Center information and resources and integration into the leadership team, community partnerships, and other University of Iowa College of Nursing Centers associated with the Csomay Center. During this first semester, observation and identification of the Csomay Center Director's various roles including being a leader, manager, innovator, socializer, and mentor is facilitated. In collaboration with the Center Director (a faculty position) and Center Coordinator (a staff position), specific competencies to be measured and mastered along with learning opportunities desired throughout the program are established to ensure a well-planned and thorough immersion experience.

Following the initial semester of practicum, the Leader in Residence has weekly check-ins with the Center Director and Center Coordinator to continue to identify learning opportunities and progression through executive leadership competencies to enrich the experience. The Leader in Residence also undertakes an administrative project for the Center this semester, while concurrently continuing observations of the Center Director's activities in local, regional, and national executive leadership settings. The student has ongoing participation and advancement in executive leadership roles and activities throughout the practicum, creating a well-prepared future nurse executive leader.

After completing practicum hours related to the Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership coursework, the Leader in Residence engages in dedicated residency hours to continue to experience domains within nursing leadership competencies like communication, professionalism, and relationship building. During residency hours, time is spent with the completion of a small quality improvement project for the Csomay Center, along with any other administrative projects identified by the Center Director and Center Coordinator. The Leader in Residence is fully integrated into the Csomay Center's Leadership Team during this phase, assisting the Center Coordinator in creating agendas and leading meetings. Additional participation includes active involvement in community engagement activities and presenting at or attending a national conference as a representative of the Csomay Center. The Leader in Residence must mentor a master’s in nursing student during the final year of the DNP Residency.

Implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

PDSA Cycle: Do

Immersive experience. In this case study, the DNP Leader in Residence was fully immersed in a wide range of center activities, providing valuable opportunities to engage in administrative projects and observe executive leadership roles and skills during practicum hours spent at the Csomay Center. Throughout the program, the Leader in Residence observed and learned from multidisciplinary leaders at the national, regional, and university levels who engaged with the Center. By shadowing the Csomay Center Director, the Leader in Residence had the opportunity to observe executive leadership objectives such as fostering innovation, facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration, and nurturing meaningful relationships. The immersive experience within the center’s activities also allowed the Leader in Residence to gain a deep understanding of crucial facets such as philanthropy and community engagement. Active involvement in administrative processes such as strategic planning, budgeting, human resources management, and the development of standard operating procedures provided valuable exposure to strategies that are needed to be an effective nurse leader in the future.

Active participation. The DNP Leader in Residence also played a key role in advancing specific actions outlined in the center's strategic plan during the program including: 1) the creation of a membership structure for the Csomay Center and 2) successfully completing a state Board of Regents application for official recognition as a distinguished center. The Csomay Center sponsored membership for the Leader in Residence in the Midwest Nurse Research Society (MNRS), which opened doors to attend the annual MNRS conference and engage with regional nursing leadership, while fostering socialization, promotion of the Csomay Center and Leader in Residence program, and observation of current nursing research. Furthermore, the Leader in Residence participated in the strategic planning committee and engagement subcommittee for MNRS, collaborating directly with the MNRS president. Additional active participation by the Leader in Residence included attendance in planning sessions and completion of the annual report for GeriatricPain.org , an initiative falling under the umbrella of the Csomay Center. Finally, the Leader in Residence was involved in archiving research and curriculum for distinguished nursing leader and researcher, Dr. Kitty Buckwalter, for the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, the University of Pennsylvania Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, and the University of Iowa library archives.

Suggested Evaluation Strategies of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

PDSA Cycle: Study

Assessment and benchmarking. To effectively assess the outcomes and success of the DNP Leader in Residence Program, a comprehensive evaluation framework should be used throughout the program. Key measures should include the collection and review of executive leadership opportunities experienced, leadership roles observed, and competencies mastered. The Leader in Residence is responsible for maintaining detailed logs of their participation in center activities and initiatives on a semester basis. These logs serve to track the progression of mastery of AONL competencies by benchmarking activities and identifying areas for future growth for the Leader in Residence.

Evaluation. In addition to assessment and benchmarking, evaluations need to be completed by Csomay Center stakeholders (leadership, staff, and community partners involved) and the individual Leader in Residence both during and upon completion of the program. Feedback from stakeholders will identify the contributions made by the Leader in Residence and provide valuable insights into their growth. Self-reflection on experiences by the individual Leader in Residence throughout the program will serve as an important measure of personal successes and identify gaps in the program. Factors such as career advancement during the program, application of curriculum objectives in the workplace, and prospects for future career progression for the Leader in Residence should be considered as additional indicators of the success of the program.

The evaluation should also encompass a thorough review of the opportunities experienced during the residency, with the aim of identifying areas for potential expansion and enrichment of the DNP Leader in Residence program. By carefully examining the logs, reflecting on the acquired executive leadership competencies, and studying stakeholder evaluations, additional experiences and opportunities can be identified to further enhance the program's efficacy. The evaluation process should be utilized to identify specific executive leadership competencies that require further immersion and exploration throughout the program.

Future Innovation of DNP Leader in Residence Programs in Non-traditional Healthcare Settings

PDSA Cycle: Act

As subsequent residents complete the program and their experiences are thoroughly evaluated, it is essential to identify new opportunities for DNP Leader in Residence programs to be implemented in other non-health care system settings. When feasible, expansion into clinical healthcare settings, including long-term care and acute care environments, should be pursued. By leveraging the insights gained from previous Leaders in Residence and their respective experiences, the program can be refined to better align with desired outcomes and competencies. These expansions will broaden the scope and impact of the program and provide a wider array of experiences and challenges for future Leaders in Residency to navigate, enriching their development as dynamic nurse executive leaders within diverse healthcare landscapes.

This case study presented a comprehensive overview of the development and implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence program developed by the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence. The Leader in Residence program provided a transformative experience by integrating key curriculum objectives, competency-based learning, and mentorship by esteemed nursing leaders and researchers through successful integration into the Center. With ongoing innovation and application of the PDSA cycle, the DNP Leader in Residence program presented in this case study holds immense potential to help better prepare 21 st century nurse leaders capable of driving positive change within complex healthcare systems.

Acknowledgements

         The author would like to express gratitude to the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence for the fostering environment to provide an immersion experience and the ongoing support for development of the DNP Leader in Residence program. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The essentials: core competencies for professional nursing education. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/AcademicNursing/pdf/Essentials-2021.pdf . Accessed June 26, 2023.
  • American Organization for Nursing Leadership. Nurse leader core competencies. https://www.aonl.org/resources/nurse-leader-competencies . Accessed July 10, 2023.
  • Warshawsky, N, Cramer, E. Describing nurse manager role preparation and competency: findings from a national study. J Nurs Adm . 2019;49(5):249-255. DOI:  10.1097/NNA.0000000000000746
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  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Plan-do-study-act (PDSA) worksheet. https://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Tools/PlanDoStudyActWorksheet.aspx . Accessed July 4, 2023.
  • Taylor, M, McNicolas, C, Nicolay, C, Darzi, A, Bell, D, Reed, J. Systemic review of the application of the plan-do-study-act method to improve quality in healthcare. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2014:23:290-298. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002703

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Strategic Development of AO MZ Electrostal during Economic Recession

  • Problems of Economics
  • Published: 28 September 2018
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The prospects of development of the enterprise are analyzed using the information on its industrial and economic activity in 2009–2016; this time period is characteristic of the crisis and postcrisis stages in the world and Russian economics. The technical-and-economic indices that reflect the most important aspects of the enterprise activity are estimated. The long-term measures taken by the management and the staff allow them to develop business dynamically in strategic perspective.

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Experts about the Crisis in Russia in 2017. http://novyjgod. com/vesti/krizis-rossii-2017-mnenie-ekspertov.html.

What about Crisis in Russia in 2017? http://2017.wiki/budet-li-krizis-v-rossii-v-2017-godu/.

2017 Is the Year of New Possibilities. http://v-2017. com/budet-li-krizis-v-2017-godu/.

Strategic Aims of Development of AO Metallurgical Plant Electrostal in 2017. http://elsteel.ru/strategictargets-of-development.

S. V. Bogdanov and V. K. Vakhrushev, “Strategy of development of the activity of Metallurgical Plant Electrostal to execute orders,” Elektrometallurgiya, No. 11 , 11–15 (2007).

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Bogdanov, S.V., Tsimerman, S.G. Strategic Development of AO MZ Electrostal during Economic Recession. Russ. Metall. 2018 , 598–603 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0036029518060058

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