What is strategic marketing?
Strategic marketing is a marketing process used to identify and leverage a business’s growth opportunities. It combines planning, market research, competitive analysis and other key elements to execute an effective marketing plan. With a strong focus on understanding customer needs, it helps businesses develop their products and services to engage their target audience.
At its core, strategic marketing helps businesses gain a long-term competitive advantage by making smart decisions about product offerings, pricing, distribution and promotion. It's critical for long-term business success, since it allows brands to identify opportunities, grow their market share and increase profitability.
5 steps to creating a strategic marketing plan
Through strategic marketing, businesses can effectively target their ideal customer base by tailoring their marketing plan to satisfy them. This involves developing value propositions that meet consumer needs and executing plans that effectively deliver the desired results.
The following are five steps that can help businesses of any size build a strategic marketing plan of their own:
1. Assess the current market
Before creating a strategic marketing plan, it’s important to assess the current market and competitive environment in order to identify potential opportunities and threats. This can be done through market research, competitive analysis and customer behavior analysis.
2. Set strategic objectives
Once you have an understanding of the market, set objectives to guide your strategy and plan. These should be based on an assessment of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as market opportunities and risks.
3. Identify strategic goals
Your next step is setting a list of goals your business wants to accomplish with your marketing plan. These goals should be specific, measurable and attainable.
4. Create a strategy
Having identified your marketing objectives and goals, it’s time to strategize a plan. This strategic plan should outline the steps, resources and timeline needed to achieve each of your business goals.
5. Monitor and review
The last step in creating a strategic marketing plan is to monitor and review its progress regularly. This will ensure that any adjustments needed are made accordingly and that the strategic goals are being met on time and within your budget
Strategic marketing metrics and analysis
This is the process of identifying opportunities and risks in order to inform your marketing plan. This process involves analyzing market trends, assessing customer behavior and competitor strategies in order to stay ahead of the competition. Common strategic marketing analysis metrics include customer segmentation, positioning, competitive landscape, product portfolios and pricing strategies.
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Strategic marketing examples
Some famous examples of brands who nailed their strategic marketing thinking, planning and execution include:
Apple's "Think Different" campaign
Introduced in 1997, this campaign by Apple celebrated the creativity and innovation of artists, musicians and other cultural icons. The ads strategically helped establish Apple as a leader in the tech industry and reinforced its image as a company that values creativity and innovation.
Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign
Old Spice’s 2010 campaign featured a charismatic spokesman who challenged men to upgrade their grooming routine. The ads were a huge success, strategically driving sales and establishing Old Spice as a leader in the men's grooming industry.
Books on strategic marketing
Want to be inspired? Get started with these resources.
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne: This book offers a framework for creating new market space and attracting new customers. For businesses looking to disrupt traditional markets, it provides practical strategies on how to gain a competitive advantage.
Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey Moore: Moore provides a roadmap for businesses marketing innovative products to mainstream customers. The book explores the challenges and opportunities associated with crossing the "chasm" between early adopters and the mass market.