Benefits of Strategic Marketing Planning

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What is a strategic marketing plan?

A strategic marketing plan is a comprehensive overview that outlines a company’s marketing and advertising efforts for the future. Typically, it’ll include things like:

  • Company overview
  • SWOT analysis
  • Competitor overview
  • Buyer personas or target audience
  • Goals and objectives
  • Tactics to achieve those goals
  • Roadmap and associated budget



How does a strategic marketing plan differ from a general business plan?

A strategic marketing plan is usually broader and more long-term focused. Usually a year or more, or sometimes three to five years. It focuses on the company’s overall marketing objectives and strategies to help achieve the longer-term business goals for the entire business.

A tactical or operational marketing plan tends to be more specific, shorter-term, and more detailed. It focuses on the execution of an individual marketing activity or a campaign. For example, an upcoming trade show event or a new product launch that supports the overall broader strategic marketing plan.


What are the top benefits of strategic marketing planning?

Number one, strategic marketing planning helps keep the company and the team focused with a clear roadmap for the business’s marketing efforts. If you’re starting something new, you need to understand how it helps your goals. How does this work with the plan that we originally started?

Second, it ensures your resources are allocated efficiently across the various marketing initiatives. This approach helps maximize ROI, which we’re always needing to prove.

Thirdly, it acts as a guide for decision-making. It provides a framework for evaluating new opportunities and challenges. So, it helps identify and capitalize on a company’s unique selling proposition and competitive advantages.


How does strategic marketing planning contribute to business success?

It aligns the marketing efforts with the business goals. If the two are not aligned, then any marketing that you’re doing that doesn’t help a business achieve its goals is wasted marketing, wasted budget, and wasted resources.

It also helps to drive that decision-making as mentioned before, You always have a clear path and you’re not just being reactive every single day to what’s going on around you. But you can be a little bit more proactive in your strategies.

Marketing objectives also need to reflect business goals. Whether it’s expanding into new markets, enhancing brand recognition, launching a new product, or driving innovation in the industry, a strategic marketing plan needs to translate those overarching business goals into what we call “SMART goals”.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Also, marketing plans facilitate cross-functional integration. It ensures that the marketing efforts are really coordinated across sales, development, customer service, and any other departments that rely on marketing to start conversations and keep them going.


How can strategic marketing plans provide a competitive advantage?

When we do strategic marketing planning at BNP Engage, we look at the competition as a whole. To get that competitive advantage, we need to understand a few things in the market more deeply. Doing so helps us target our marketing efforts more precisely and, again, allows us to allocate our resources optimally.

One way, for example, is incorporating digital channels effectively to engage with customers where they spend a significant amount of their time. Whether it be via SEO, social media, email marketing, content marketing, or any of the other digital channels out there, businesses can reach larger audiences more cost-effectively. Businesses can also offer personalized content that consumers today demand, crave, and expect.


How can strategic plans help navigate changes in the market?

Strategic marketing planning is designed with built-in flexibility. It allows businesses to pivot as a company based on unforeseen circumstances. Maybe there’s an acquisition, organizational changes, or budget reallocations throughout the year that you were not expecting.

There needs to be that ability to flex over the course of the year internally. And then externally, there are forces that could easily happen in a given industry. There could be technological changes. There could be new government restrictions or requirements.

There could even be something else in the environment that you don’t have any control over but need to react to. Think about COVID. When we ended 2019, we had a full year’s marketing plan built out for ourselves and a lot of our clients. Then, March 2020 came around. Businesses had to pivot and pivot fast.

Imagine if leadership comes in and says they want to announce a new product line. Do you change the existing plan? Or do you take what’s being given and push it by the wayside for the time being because it’s not a priority? You have to go through that process internally and understand the severity of how you need to react.


strategic marketing plan template cta


What KPIs can help measure marketing success?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will vary depending on what your business goals are. Is it about expanding into new markets? Is it about enhancing brand recognition? Is it about a new product launch? Is it about driving innovation? What is that business goal?

Then, you take that business goal and dive deeper into it by tying a marketing goal to that business goal. So, some things to consider could be conversion rates, lead acquisition, or overall brand awareness. Brand awareness can be tough to measure but it could be done through social media interactions, surveys, or website engagement rates.

One thing to be cognizant of is that this is a marketing plan. It is not a sales plan. You need to understand how your marketing plan can help affect a sales plan. That’s why it’s all about aligning with other teams and making sure that everybody’s working towards the same goals.


What are common challenges for implementing strategic marketing plans?

Communication is probably one of the main challenges. If there is a disconnect in what the marketing team knows or if the marketing team is not fully aware of the broader business objectives, your marketing goals and objectives won’t align with where the company wants to go.

Another challenge is accurately identifying and understanding the target market. If you’re not sure who your target market is, the business may struggle to create targeted strategies that resonate with the right audience.

Let’s say you’re launching a new product and it has a new audience. You might be relying on what you know from previous launches or previous products. But if this is a new audience, even if it’s a sub-segment, you need to make sure you understand that audience. It’s essential to have insights into their needs, preferences, behaviors, and pain points. But you also need to understand the “Why should somebody care about this”?

A third challenge is securing buy-in for your plan, especially around budget and resource allocation. Again, that goes into leadership. Successful implementation of a strategic marketing plan really requires collaboration and support across the organization.


How can businesses develop a strategic marketing plan?

Whether it’s a first-time new business or whether it’s an existing business that’s historically been more reactionary than being proactive, always start with a clear understanding of the goals.

Also, be realistic about what you can achieve with your available resources. Keep in mind resources isn’t just about money. It’s time and it’s people. You never want to stretch your budget, but you also don’t want to stretch people’s time by overworking them. That could lead to unhappiness and employee turnover.

Then, know your target audience’s triggers, fears, needs, and challenges. Where do they go for information? How can you reach them?

Next, understand the competitive landscape. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you capitalize on them with your own unique selling propositions? Where are the opportunities to grow for you? Where might there be an opportunity to fill a void within the market?

Keep in mind that your competitors are not just who you think they are. There are also organic competitors that are served up by search engines when somebody searches for your product or service. Get on a search engine and start typing in some search terms that you want to be seen for. See who else pops up. They’re your competition as well.


Not sure where to start? Prioritize digital marketing

After understanding the competitive landscape, prioritize digital marketing. This can be very cost effective and it’s also easy to measure. You can track ROI, especially if you’re using a CRM like HubSpot. Speaking of measuring, measure everything. Establishing clear KPIs and using those analytics to track performance will help you understand what’s working and what’s not.

At BNP Engage, we understand that building a strategic marketing plan is time-consuming. We’re here to help! Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest tips and reach out to us today for any questions you may have.

Jennifer GreenjackApril 12, 2024by Jennifer Greenjack