As an SME or growing business do you really need a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Marketing is often viewed as a cost rather than an opportunity.  But for those marketing focused businesses amongst us, investing time in a structured plan brings its rewards. In competitive markets, targeted and strategic marketing helps to raise awareness of your key differentiators and importantly enables you to win business too.

SME’s that align marketing strategy to key business goals are much more likely to succeed than those that don’t.

Putting together that strategic plan, needn’t be war and peace, nor a thief of time.  In fact, an outline plan could be presented on just a couple of pages.

Typical considerations for your plan would include research on your competitors, markets and customers. This would be supported with a clear understanding of your positioning, target markets and how these markets are segmented.

Understanding the needs of the market and your customers should form the basis of your marketing strategy.  This may well involve the creation of personas that provide a typical profile of the people (and their roles) using your products and services.

You will also need to give thought to the type of strategy you want to pursue – market penetration, market development, product development or diversification and the regions and countries to be targeted and adapted to.

Before committing to a set of marketing tactics, it is worth carrying out some research with your existing customers to gain an insight into which marketing platforms they are most likely to be receptive too.  This could involve any combination of social media, events, webinars, forums, newsletters, blogs and emails, amongst others.

Regular strategy reviews should be undertaken, and consideration given to external factors such as the competition and the market.  Similarly, internal evaluations provide a gauge of marketing performance against marketing objectives.  These reviews allow you to make changes to the strategy moving forward and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

As with any type of strategy, structure and measurement are critical to sustainable success. Processes provide the framework for measuring the effectiveness and output of marketing tactics aligned to the strategy, to quantify return on investment.  This enables you to reinvest in areas that are successful, while eliminating those that are not.

Departmental collaboration forms a major part of any marketing strategy.  In fact, teams from product development and sales should work closely with marketing in providing input based on their engagement with customers and experiences in the market.

Collaboration also becomes a key requirement for activities such as product launches.  The connection between multiple departments in the planning of strategy ensures greater communication and transparency, allowing all the key milestones to be achieved before the launch of the product.  This ensures that all business teams are ready for the launch and able to support prospects and customers in areas such as sales, after sales, training and delivery.

And remember too, communicating the marketing strategy to the wider business helps to empower teams. This provides clarity around the marketing focus and aligns departments in meeting and supporting the key objectives.

If you would like to discuss how to structure a targeted and measurable marketing strategy / plan, please contact the Fresh Collective team, we are here to support your business growth through a step by step model that drives collaboration and success.