In the same way that companies seek to understand the needs of their clients so that they can deliver the most useful solutions, the purpose of a Strategic Marketing Plan is to understand the goals of a company and prepare the company’s foundation for growth. That growth cannot, and will not, happen efficiently without internal alignment of the entire organization. If everyone is rolling boulders up different hills, you might get a lot of small rocks to the top of little hills, but you will never get the whole team with an impressive boulder to the top of the same mountain.
KEY OUTCOMES OF A STRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN
Everyone understands the goals of the company and the planned path(s) to get there. The path may change, but with clearly defined goals and strategic initiatives, the team reaches an understanding of the direction and the reasons for specific activities and processes.
Mixed signals and inconsistent messages create confusion both externally and internally. Clients care about who they work with, and want their assumptions and expectations to match reality. Consistency is vital in branding. Strong brands are recognizable and clearly understood. Evolution is acceptable, but arbitrariness is not. A Strategic Marketing Plan creates structure for brand definition, messaging, positioning and presentation.
It’s hard for an organization to be harmonious when everyone is singing a different song. A lack of consistency also results in wasted business development, sales and marketing efforts. It is easier for a team to get sidetracked when everyone is creating their own definitions of success instead of being aligned in their work to reach specific goals.
Growth happens when companies differentiate themselves and clearly communicate those differentiators to the appropriate target audience. Strategic Marketing Plans use competitor research for benchmarking and to ensure that companies are effectively positioning themselves in meaningful ways. The plan looks at what competitors are doing, and determines how to best set the company apart, for who, and why.
When we create Strategic Marketing Plans, we invest heavily in understanding our clients so that we can create a strategic marketing plan that supports their strengths. We can create numerous marketing processes and strategic initiatives, but if they don’t get implemented, or if we set our clients up to overpromise and underdeliver, no one wins. Competitive benchmarking gives us an opportunity to determine HOW to be different and better, and then to put it in writing for everyone to reference while performing marketing activities.
A mentor of mine always says “the purpose of marketing is to turn the sales team from educators into order takers.” What he means is that if marketing can spread a compelling message to the right people, then by the time prospects are ready to reach out, they already know what they want and what they are going to get, and it becomes merely a matter of logistics.
Those components of market awareness and education require ongoing and targeted communication. But if no one understands the target and the goals, then what is the message and how is it communicated? Again, communication internally and externally is required. A marketing plan codifies the foundation of those messages based on market research and a clear process for measuring outcomes.
Marketing should be a reflection of company culture. Potential employees should look at a company’s digital presence and be able to determine whether the culture is a good fit for them, before they even begin the application or interview process. Ideally, potential clients should also be able to determine cultural compatibility in advance. All external communication is an indicator of culture, both to clients and to employees.
HOW WE CREATE MARKETING PLANS
If you choose to work with Gladiator Consulting to create your Strategic Marketing Plan, what should you expect from the process and what will be the end result?
We ask a lot of questions.
We ask questions internally, and where possible, externally. We dig deep into market segments, target audiences, competitor messaging, company strengths, and we define goals. We look at websites, social media channels, existing collateral, and we pull the best examples and identify ways to make them even better.
Some of our recommendations are purely logistical, but we call our deliverables “Action Plans” because people tend to believe they can ignore recommendations, and that’s just silly.
“Why involve an expert and promptly disregard everything they provide?”
We highlight the valuable resources that already exist within the company and determine how to make them more effective.
When the Strategic Marketing Plan is complete, we expect that everyone will understand the company’s vision and growth objectives. We enable our client’s team to speak the same language about the company’s mission. Then, because the ideal clients are defined, the value offered can be clearly communicated, and the whole organization can come together to tackle the initiatives required for growth.
Do you need a Strategic Marketing Plan?
Let’s discuss how Gladiator can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.