The marketing strategy compiles all the marketing goals into one comprehensive plan, it tells you what to say, how to say it and who to say it too. It is vital for any organisation no matter what size to use both a Tactical and Strategic Marketing Plan to guarantee success and growth. The recognised framework I would suggest is PR Smith’s SOSTAC model. As being one of the most popular model it is also easy to remember and easy to structure plans for different planning activities.
By creating a strategy, you can have an overview of the company as a whole. The use of a strategy is to create a long-term outline of objectives that every department will strive to use to keep relevant in an ever-changing market. It involves defining who their potential customers are, where there is opportunity for growth, what their competitors are accomplishing and creating a realistic assessment of the company. Thus, a strategy should be created as it outlines how to utilise opportunities and destroy threats that might affect the running of the business.
There are many benefits to introducing a strategic marketing plan into your company. First, it gives the management team a chance to create objectives that can be executed throughout every department of the company; thus, giving a universal clear goal for all employees to work towards. In addition, producing highly motivated employees as it keeps each individual focused as it outlines the objectives that are needed to be carried out throughout the year.
A strategy provides clarity in an organisation and better communication as it gives employees a guideline on the actions that need to be implemented to be successful. It also helps structure the running of the company as it will depict the apparent prioritises that need the most attention. Furthermore, there will be minimum waste and duplication of resources as different departments can work together to complete corporate objectives. Also, benefiting the company as there will be greater control over the business as through strategic marketing planning the main threats will be highlighted’ thus there will be less vulnerability from the unexpected.
Finally, employees will also be encouraged to accept the idea of continuous change; where beforehand this idea would have been feared by many individuals. As by using this strategy it illustrates the bigger plan for the company and so the changes that need to be introduced never seem as daunting as they would have before.
The SOSTAC planning framework (PR Smith, 2011) is commonly used by managers for its simplicity as many managers may not be trained in marketing. Each stage helps a marketing manager set realistic objectives as this framework makes them look at the organisation and not just focus on one aspect.
Situation Analysis -
The first stage asks where the organisation is now, by completing a marketing and financial audit, a macro and micro environment analysis, as well as a SWOT analysis and summary of opportunity; they will be able to see the current state of the organisation and the opportunities that they can use to increase growth in the company.
This stage outlines where the organisation would want to be at the end of the following year. By using the information gathered in the first stage, a marketing manager can write up a list of goals and objectives for the company. They will be able to see the budget and resources available to them for the next year and the opportunities and threats; meaning you can create realistic objectives to benefit the whole company.
Next, we must analyse how do we get there; this section will ask marketing managers to decide how the goals and objectives they created in the previous section will be put into practice. Furthermore, helping you make the best decisions for the company as you will choose what groups to segment, target and position; so, you can engage with the right customers.
Now, how do we get there? This section you will carry out a marketing mix using the 7P’s (product, price, place, promotion, people, process, physical evidence), showing what actions can be done. The communication mix as well as details of the contact strategy can be done to give you a clear focus on what must be done to sell your product or service.
The framework states the delegating of responsibility throughout the organisation to ensure that all goals and objectives can be met. By adopting a Gantt Chart, you have a visual representation of how long a project is expected to take and in order of the tasks that need to be completed. This section is also beneficial as it here you decide if you need help from external agencies.
Lastly, it looks at how do you know when you have achieved your goals and objectives. By means of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) which have been created at the start of the planning process, you will be able to review the performance throughout the year to ensure you are meeting the monthly targets.
You should be encouraged to introduce Strategic Marketing Planning into the arrangement of your organisation. By following a recognised framework, you would set the direction for the company and giving them the knowledge of what must be done first, as too often short-term goals take priority over long-term goals. Additionally, without an articulated strategy you can leave yourself vulnerable to key ideas being given subordinate treatment.
By introducing a marketing strategy, it gives management the chance to put their virtual ideas that they have envisioned on paper in a clear and concise way; ensuring that objectives are accessible to all employees
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