Chances are good that you have a strategic plan, but what about strategic marketing? Strategic marketing is a mind-set and blueprint. It is specific, analytic, and motivational in ways that Business Plans are not. Yes, your marketing strategies must promote your product or service, but they must also outline marketing logistics for identifying your customers, and build the business credibility of your name, experience, and potential. Strategic marketing spells out your plans for partners, employees, and others interested in your success. To put it simply, it is a way of understanding who and what you are as a business.
- Be able to explain your business in 60 seconds. Refine and reduce your business concept to a mini-commercial that sets your business apart. Be able to explain your value and key selling points. If you are not ready to do this in 60 seconds or five sentences, you are not ready to go on.
- Draw a detailed picture of your target customer. Use internet resources to build a specific profile that includes demographics, socio-economic data, and spending habits. Include specifics that show you know the competition, their products, pricing, and marketing plans. Use software to create a model that updates the data and drives your response.
- Set clear, measurable, short and long-term goals. Target the year’s revenue, the anticipated sales, and the expected profit. Then, benchmark quarterly and monthly expectations. Setting objectives motivates you, your staff, and those with a financial interest in your success.
- Develop a plan of attack. Draw a blueprint of how you plan to meet your objectives. Include staffing and advertising. If your business requires a sales force, you need to engineer a sales performance model that will justify the added expenses that employees bring to the mix. Describe the organization of the sales team, their territories and approaches, and compensation plan. In any case, you need an advertising and communication strategy. You need to target your media – print ads, website sales, radio spots, etc. Be very specific about targets, costs, and justification.
- Prepare a budget. Project your expected gains and costs on a calendar. Make it as finite as you can because this is a living document evolving over the year and, then, over the ensuing years. Cite detail that educates you and everyone with an interest.
Strategies need to be agile and responsive. They require tools and know-how to keep them freshly informed and effective. Strategic marketing is a work-in-progress. This is both its challenge and its value.
by Steven Schlagel