The channels and practices undertaken to ensure maximum sales while satisfying consumers sum up marketing as a concept. Marketing is an essential aspect of doing business—in fact, it’s often called the backbone of business. Removing marketing from the equation automatically eliminates trade, and without trade, there’s no business.
Given that every consumer has a different set of needs and preferences, it’s important to research, identify and study the type of consumers who have better chances of reacting favorably to a product. This exercise allows for building a marketing strategy unique to that product. This is strategic marketing.
What Is Strategic Marketing?
A growing number of organizations are now employing strategic marketing. It’s only natural, as strategic marketing presents them with the opportunity to outperform their competitors. Yet, there isn’t enough clarity as to what strategic marketing is.
Under strategic marketing, organizations evaluate their positives (both present and potential) over their competition through the lens of their targeted consumers’ perception of them. Building on this allows organizations to provide better service and value to their consumers while creating an image that differs from their competitors. Successful application of strategic marketing into the marketing plan first requires answering these three questions:
- Where to compete: Determining markets suitable for competition
- How to compete: Determining the core element of an organization’s competitive advantage
- When to compete: Determining when and how to enter each suitable market
Understanding these tasks through research and analysis helps fulfill the role of strategic marketing. The role of strategic marketing is defined as determining what a business needs to be and become to consistently beat competitors by consistently delivering better value. After answering the questions mentioned above, you can advance to the next stage—the strategic marketing planning stage.
Strategic Marketing Objectives
The strategic marketing objectives are fundamentals that give meaning to what the process of strategic marketing is known for. The strategic marketing objectives are as follows:
- Drawing attention to what an organization is best known for
- Focused promotion for specific consumer groups
- All-around marketing using all available channels
With these objectives in mind, the process of strategic marketing can be executed with a more tactical edge.
Process Of Strategic Marketing
Though each phase seems to perform differently, all are interdependent. This makes the strategic marketing approach a full-circle process. The findings and results of each phase in the strategic marketing process meet the goals set by the previous one until the objective in the planning phase is achieved. Let’s break down the process of strategic marketing into its separate phases:
Planning is the first phase of the strategic marketing process. This phase is the most important because it lays down the groundwork for the subsequent phases. Here, identification and assessment are key. Goals, merits and shortcomings are identified while assets and liabilities are assessed. It’s divided into three steps:
- SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. Using a SWOT analysis brings out an organization’s strengths, uncovers its weaknesses, identifies possible opportunities and reveals threats that may hinder progress.
This analysis proves beneficial in identifying the direction in which an industry is moving, understanding prevailing trends and gaining an approximate assumption of how well an organization might perform against competitors. A proper SWOT analysis becomes a major factor in developing a strategic marketing proposal for an organization.
- Marketing Mix
A marketing mix is a popular business model organizations use to formulate and pursue their marketing activities. It comprises four key factors, namely: product, price, place and promotion. These are also known as the 4Ps of marketing.
Here, it’s the next step in the planning phase. A marketing mix will help meet objectives brought to light in the strategic marketing proposal based on the SWOT analysis conducted. It aims to strengthen the organization on selling and brand fronts by focusing on its 4Ps.
Product will focus on what commodity or service is being planned for launch by the organization. It’ll involve research into the various aspects of the product, from its packaging to features and after-sales service, and work on developments on responses from focus groups.
Price focuses on the price point planned for the sale of the product. Based on research, factors such as flexibility, discount and anticipated value are to be taken into account.
Place focuses on the most advantageous channels of distribution (online, offline or telemarketing), key advertising locations for assuring maximum exposure and transit and storage.
Promotion is the process of identifying and implementing how the product will be advertised and introduced into the market.
- Setting Goals
Establishing achievable and measurable goals for a product boosts teamwork and efficiency in having them met and, therefore, is one of the best ways to achieve success for the product.
This phase helps in presenting management with a clear vision of the product’s current standing and the organization’s image. It’s a critical phase that ensures smooth progression.
As the name implies, this phase is where the strategic marketing proposal and all the data generated from the planning phase are implemented. Based on the data collected, it places a product’s launch into the planned market at a carefully determined price.
This phase can be seen as a review of the entire process. Based on the statistical data gathered from the sales in the second phase, the figures are evaluated with a plan to see if they live up to expectations. If yes, then the strategic marketing process has been successfully implemented. If the result is dissatisfactory, the plan needs to be worked on again.
With evaluation, this process completes a cycle. Another cycle of strategic marketing begins right after, and it is built upon the results of the preceding cycle.
Difference Between Strategic Marketing And Marketing Strategy
The difference between strategic marketing and marketing strategy will help shed light on what sets them apart, so as to better understand how to best make use of each of these processes:
- Strategic marketing is aimed to have a lasting impact over a long time frame (three years), while a marketing strategy is effective over a shorter time frame (one year)
- Strategic marketing is built with the idea to steer an organization in the right direction, while a marketing strategy focuses on branding and publicizing the organization
- The strategic marketing process is concerned with personnel at a corporate level, while the marketing strategy process is concerned with personnel at the product manager level
Strategic marketing, therefore, is very different from marketing strategy. While marketing strategy is formulated keeping the brand in focus, strategic marketing is a 360-degree approach to the organization’s entire marketing plan.
Important Pointers For Strategic Marketing
The following points must be kept in mind to ensure smooth execution of the strategic marketing process:
- A strategic marketing proposal must be built only after a thorough market analysis
- Avoid assumption of consumers’ needs and wants
- Product goal and plan objectives must be in accordance with consumer expectations
- SWOT analysis must be carefully cross-checked for any factual errors
- Budgeting issues due to fluctuating marketing activities can arise, so room for adjustments must be kept in mind
In addition to understanding the process, these pointers serve as helpful suggestions for better understanding and implementing the activities involved in strategic marketing.
Importance Of Strategic Marketing
The importance of strategic marketing can be seen in marketing plans. Plans built incorporating strategic marketing have proven integral to organizations when aiming for good reception on factors concerning product and brand name as well as retaining and gaining a growing consumer base and more. The ability of this process to refine organizational objectives sheds light on the importance of strategic marketing, Following are the ways that illustrate the importance of strategic marketing:
- By understanding where an organization stands in comparison to competitors and what trends prevail in the target market, strategic marketing smoothens the entry of an organization in a market. It ensures easy setting of its product’s sure-footing in the market.
- Data from strategic marketing plans give clarity on the current status of an organization’s resources. This helps in planning resource utilization better.
- Research and analysis conducted under strategic marketing provide important information on what updates are needed for a product to yield the highest profits with maximum customer satisfaction.
- Using strategic marketing, it becomes easy to identify and study groups that will have the most positive feedback on a product. This aids organizations by drawing their attention from a wide and varied spectrum of consumers to understanding a more narrowed down and suitable group of customers. Thus, organizations can work more efficiently on consumer engagement options.
- Strategic marketing maximizes sales targets by helping organizations determine and perform in areas they’re most suited to excel in.
Put simply, the strategic marketing process has an equal impact on the outward performances of an organization as much as it affects its interior functioning. This makes strategic marketing plans an important factor for the marketing schemes of organizations.
Understanding and using a strategic marketing process is an advisable and highly sought-after approach, but doing so effectively can prove to be a challenge. Harappa’s Create New Solutions pathway is designed with the tools to aid this pursuit so that eager business minds are conditioned to formulate the best strategic marketing plans for maximizing chances of success. Sign up today!
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