In the past five years, like many of you, my business has changed dramatically. As a marketing and advertising professional, the introduction of social and mobile media has produced a brand new paradigm for brand management, retail marketing, and customer communication. So much in fact that it has thrown the entire agency model into chaos.
No longer can advertising agencies count on a 15% media commission for revenue, or rely on some clever television ads to drive the business goals of a client. We have had to become more responsive, more creative and more diverse in what we do.
Plus, now outside marketing consultants find ourselves competing with internal resources when it comes to things like plotting Facebook strategies, deciding when to rely on Pinterest over Twitter or implementing QR codes on a mobile platform.
An organization needs to make a lot of marketing decisions these days. And, it’s not always clear where and how to start. This is what makes the development of a strategic marketing plan so important for any organization.
Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan
A strategic marketing plan is a document that helps make sure your organization’s marketing efforts are tied directly into achieving your business goals and objectives.
It is equally important no matter whether your organization is a consumer-facing business, a business-to-business or business-to-government supplier, or a non-profit.
Your strategic marketing plan should be developed collaboratively based on input from both internal and external stakeholders, and presented in an easy-to-follow format (think PowerPoint, not Word) to your entire organization.
A well-executed plan should define your business goals and relate them to marketing objectives that lead to an achievable number of strategies with tactics that your organization has the resources (both in terms of time and personnel) to implement.
It is a measurable plan, with built-in metrics to help judge success, and should establish reasonable milestones for evaluation. In short, it is the marketing rules by which the organization will operate.
Strategic Marketing for a Digital World
In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing world of marketing, a strategic marketing plan is more important than ever. Particularly when it comes to social, digital and mobile media. One of the wonderful aspects of social media is the ability it presents for any organization or individual to respond to market conditions in real-time.
One of my favorite examples of this comes from last years Super Bowl blackout, when Oreo sent out a tweet that read “You can still dunk in the dark,” complete with a picture of an Oreo cookie and milk against a blacked-out background that mirrored the effect inside the Superdome at the time.
While this message and the creative were dictated by the situation at hand, the organization laid the groundwork for this type of response much earlier when they decided strategically how they were going to use social media to help impact their business goals.
And, if you recall, they also ran a TV spot during the game, taking advantage of the immense audience available. This type of synergistic marketing can only come through a well-executed strategic marketing plan.
So, as an organization, sit back and ask yourselves the following questions before starting your strategic marketing plan:
- How do we make marketing decisions currently?
- Do our marketing strategies always sync up with our business goals?
- Are we aligned with the right individuals (internally or externally) to think strategically about how we approach marketing?
If you don’t know the answers to any of those questions (or the answer is “no”), it may be time to get onboard the development of a strategic marketing plan. You’ll be glad you did.