There is often confusion in the SME sector as to the definition of marketing. Many firms locate their marketing activity as a function of their sales team. Others seem overly focused on digital marketing or search engine optimisation. Worse some seem to think that marketing is purely a promotional activity linked to the design of advertisements or brochures.
Strategic marketing planning is none of the above activities and your marketing team should not be placed is a discreet silo.
Strategic marketing planning is the process of:
- Defining markets
- Quantifying the needs of customer groups
- Determining value propositions to meet the needs of targeted consumers
- Communicating those needs and value propositions to individuals within the organisation who are responsible for delivering the. Getting those individuals to buy into the strategy.
- Helping to deliver the value propositions primarily through communication
- Monitoring the value actually delivered
Strategic marketing planning is the process of creating an effective, customer-centric organisation. It is matching an organisation’s capabilities to the needs of the marketplace. it is using an organisations asset base to deliver consumer value. If you examine most commercial disasters, they are the result of a firm expanding into areas for which they are not suited.
The role of marketing is to produce continuous growth in earnings per share and increasing the value of shares. This is the true bottom line for any organisation, not fluctuating profit or turnover. This depends on four factors:
- An excellent product or service
- Excellent, efficient processes
- a creative and entrepreneurial workforce
- AND a professional approach to marketing
Effective commercial organisations develop profit through customer satisfaction. This is the principle measures of efficacy in what such an organisation is doing. Cheapness of product, efficiency or any other measure are not in themselves criteria of commercial effectiveness. there is little point in producing a cheap, efficient or even perfect product if people do not want to buy it. An organisation that continues to produce products where there is a long-term fall in demand, will go bust. There is also a direct link to an organisation’s long-term survival and its ability to understand its customer’s needs. Also, what is the point of producing products inefficiently if there is a better option for consumers elsewhere. What is the point of continued increases in productivity if no one wants the products you make.
Strategic marketing planning allows an organisation to know its capabilities and what their identified customer base need and want. Once you have identified target market segments that matches your corporate goals and capabilities, a structured, consistent and complementary marketing mix which is targeted at those consumers.
A strategic marketing plan is a combination of all of the above combined with associated metrics and control measures. It is a plan that touches all parts of an organisation from senior management to the shop floor. It affects production, price plans, the promotional mix and the places where your organisation operates. It is a critical part of your organisations planning process.