The emergence of new marketing platforms and technologies seems to have heightened awareness amongst C-Level executives that they need to dust off their websites and make some serious changes to their marketing strategy (or lack thereof).
Unfortunately, in the face of the changing marketing landscape, most companies respond with knee jerk reactions that can be expensive and ineffective.
Slapping on a blog tab and social media icons to your website, or stuffing your content with keywords – heck, even frantic Google Adwords campaigns – are too often reactive and not particularly thoughtful.
At MarketingWise, we recommend to every client that any major marketing initiative should be preempted with a thoughtful and strategic marketing audit.
A strategic marketing plan helps refine your value proposition
What do you stand for?
How are you different from the competition?
What are your most special products, services and qualities?
Are you articulating the answers to these fundamental questions in all of your marketing materials?
A strategic marketing plan helps you clearly and meaningfully refine your unique value proposition so that it resonates in multiple formats, across various platforms – for all of your stakeholder groups.
A strategic marketing plan identifies your target clients’ pain points
97% of all purchasing decisions are initiated these days with an online search.
Ever wonder what all of those folks are searching for?
Most of the time, they are searching for answers to their questions, and solutions to the challenges that they can’t seem to overcome.
Here are some real-life pain points that we’ve helped our clients to articulate about their target customers:
I am wasting IT resources on reporting functions that should be automated.
My insurance models are error laden and unreliable.
We need better visibility into our sales performance management processes.
Whatever your business model, all of your messaging should start with a clear understanding of your target customer’s pain points, and a strategic marketing plan helps you to figure out precisely what those are.
A strategic marketing plan helps you create an editorial calendar
We believe that all of your marketing efforts should be content driven.
But not in an ad hoc, mindless kind of way. Rather, you want to coordinate your content thoughtfully and strategically, and align your marketing materials with your sales cycle.
You should always take into consideration seasonal fluctuations over the course of the full year and tailor your content accordingly. You also want to make sure that you are repurposing content in a way that makes the most of your marketing spend.
A strategic marketing plan saves you money
Most companies allocate 10% to 25% of their total operating budget on marketing.
Marketing costs money. But marketing well doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money.
In fact, a strategic marketing plan can help ensure that you allocate your resources wisely, which ultimately means cost savings and greater efficiency.
When you have a roadmap in place, you are able to prioritize and you don’t get derailed.
A strategic marketing plan identifies opportunities
At MarketingWise, when we engage with clients, we always benchmark against the competition and identify gaps in the market.
Sometimes these are difficult to see when you are mired in the day-to-day chaos of running a business.
By surveying the landscape at a high level, you are better positioned to determine the best opportunities for growth.
It wouldn’t have taken much effort to extend this list to 10 or even 15 reasons your business needs a strategic marketing plan. It really is the most essential starting point for any comprehensive marketing effort. Especially when you consider the complexity and sophistication of new technologies and resources and the changing ways in which people consume information nowadays.
Have you undertaken a strategic marketing plan? Did you find it helpful? Do you have other points to add to this list? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, and don’t forget to tweet and share this post if you found it useful.