Strategic Marketing Planning: 5 basic principles and best practices

Need help with strategic marketing planning? 5 basic principles and best practices to help you get started…

Basic (yet essential) marketing best practices and disciplines are important in order to achieve sales goals. Below are common questions and conversation topics with responses that can help you set a good foundation.

What’s the first thing I should do to develop a marketing strategy?

1. Collect and organize key strategic business insights. For example:

• Business and sales goals
• Customer pain points, motivations, barriers and buying process
• Customer feedback on your product, offer or service
• Profile/persona of the ideal client
• Workflow and timeline of a typical sales scenario
• Success stories and barriers from the sales team and other front-line employees
• Competitive landscape and gap analysis
• Industry landscape; e.g. analyst reports, and third-party research and data
• SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

Then what?

2. Discuss them in aggregate (in the context of marketing and sales planning). By doing this you may draw different or new conclusions, and get new ideas for attracting buyers and influencers to your brand. This exercise can help you look from the outside in and center your decisions on the customer and their problems, as well as validate ideas or plans you already have.

Helpful tip: Don’t think of your marketing and sales strategies as two different things; they should be one (particularly in B2B) if you want stellar results.

3. Use strategic insights to confirm your brand position and message.

• What do your most profitable clients love about you? What can you hang your hat on? Do you have a great story?

• How should you talk about your value proposition so that you stand out? What is the best way to ensure people will want to know more and engage with your brand?

4. Develop a point-of-view on marketing’s role to drive sales goals, as well as an estimated budget. Examples of what to think through:

• What are your marketing efforts supposed to do? For example, should they drive new leads, build general brand awareness, promote thought leadership, upsell existing customers, move prospects down the sales funnel?

• How should the marketing budget be allocated? For example, how much should be spent on inbound/online marketing infrastructure vs. sales support tools and training vs. collateral design vs. events vs. analytics/data management?  And why?

5. Lastly, make sure you invest well in execution of the areas you’ve decided to spend money on. In order to see results, the devil will be in the details.

~Lydia Vogtner~

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