Did 2017 Mark the Death of the Strategic Marketing Plan?
When well planned and executed a strategic marketing plan can place your business leaps ahead of your competition.
In recent years (decades, really), companies would get together with their partner-agencies and develop Strategic Marketing Plans. This would recap the year’s activities, refresh the facts about the marketing environment and competition, update audience profiles, highlight upcoming product releases, and rethink marketing goals and objectives for the new year. It was a Bible for marketing. It made sure that everyone was on the same page. And it prevented knee-jerk reactions over the coming year to try tactics that were hot, but didn’t fit corporate objectives.
How to Make Strategic Marketing Plans Pay Off
Today, few companies engage in this time-consuming activity. Why? The main reason is that no one has the time or the patience to do this homework upfront. If you’re a sales person and you don’t have any leads, you can’t wait for an elaborate plan. You need to make quota and you need to make it now. It isn’t exciting to analyze the situation. It’s more exciting to create an email blast, a print or banner ad, a direct mail piece, or launch a webinar. Why can’t marketing to do that?
Just recently, I found this corroborating advice about developing content marketing:
“Some people think they need a complicated content strategy, but the best thing is just to get started! The real goal of your content is to get the highest amount of traffic and sales for the least amount of time and money! Strategy will evolve over time.”
Most of the time, such advice comes from companies who are selling a service or a platform for marketing, where overthinking strategy becomes a stumbling block to implementation. Google Adwords is a great example. It’s easy to get started running ads on Google Adwords; you can start spending money in about 30 minutes. But without a strategy, you’re not likely to be very effective. And it’s not Google’s responsibility to worry about that.
Do Tactics and Marketing Strategy Simultaneously
I was having lunch earlier this week with a marketing consultant colleague, Gail Pomerantz, of Gail Pomerantz Associates, and we talked for quite a while about Strategic Marketing. According to Pomerantz, it’s about doing the tactics and the strategy simultaneously. You do an assessment and determine the “quick hits.” You go after those “sure things” all the while developing the overall marketing strategy that will bind your various tactics together.
There’s no point in doing things in a scattershot approach. You end up with a lot of balls in the air that have no possible way of landing near each other. Instead, by proceeding down parallel paths – tactically and strategically – you’ll be able to satisfy all company constituents while getting the most value for your marketing dollars spent.
Strategic Marketing Plans
At HiveMind Marketing, we believe in Strategic Marketing Action Plans. As Gail suggests, Action Plans try to grab low hanging fruit, while backtracking to make sure that the overall strategy is viable and strong. Action Plans acknowledge the Attention Deficit Disorder that pervades American business, and accomplish the same basic task, but with more finesse. Of course, in the end, to be effective, one of our marketing strategists (usually me) is going to have to ask the same questions about competitive marketing environment, industry status, target audiences, key advertising messages, company and product positioning, specific goals and objectives, inbound marketing strategies, budgets constraints, and timelines.
We just try and do create your new marketing plan quickly so you can execute on it.
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Marketing takes time, money, and lots of preparation. One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to develop a solid strategic marketing plan. Strong strategic marketing plans will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds wisely and appropriately. – www.sba.gov
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