Strategic Marketing

Strategic Marketing – The Complete Guide

By: Frank DePino | November 21, 2022

Strategic marketing is not just any form of marketing. If your past marketing campaigns have not produced the outcomes you were hoping for, you might look into a more strategic form of planning those campaigns moving forward. 

What exactly is strategic marketing?

Strategic marketing entails determining through research your objectives and goals so you can plan more effective marketing campaigns. You’ll ensure you’re targeting the most receptive audience segments, marketing using the proper channels, and promoting the right products and/or services.

In this guide to strategic marketing, we’ll expound further on how this form of marketing works with an in-depth definition. We’ll also explain how it differs from marketing, what should go into a strategic plan, and how to deploy that plan.

What Is Strategic Marketing: A Definition

As promised, let’s begin by expanding upon our definition of strategic marketing from the intro.

When you do something strategically, it’s with the purpose to achieve an intended outcome. A marketing strategy works in a similar fashion.

You and your team would start by conducting in-depth research into your products and services, pricing, target audience, current audience, and past marketing campaign success.

Using this information, you would then determine what your goals are with this upcoming more strategic campaign. Perhaps you want to increase your brand awareness, boost lead gen numbers, convert more customers, or generate more sales. 

Once you determine what your goal is, you can then create the steps needed to achieve that goal. 

Strategic marketing, since it does involve long-term strategizing, means that every marketing move you make feels more intentional and well-planned. 

This translates to more thoughtful efforts to reach your target audience through tailored, personalized means. Your marketing campaigns, even if they didn’t before, may begin resonating more with your audience.

You will follow a three-pronged strategic marketing approach that we’ll discuss more later. The first phase is planning, the second phase is implementation, and the third phase is evaluating your successes and failures.

Even if you do switch to a more strategic approach, you will still have some bumps in the road from campaign to campaign. These bumps will become fewer and further between, though.

Additionally, you can more easily identify pitfalls or roadblocks and work to prevent or avoid them for future campaigns.

Differences between marketing and strategic marketing

The Difference Between Marketing and Strategic Marketing

What separates marketing and strategic marketing? In a word, intention

Having a marketing strategy is about more than hoping the chips will fall where they may but planning for outcomes and using research to determine how successful your campaigns will be.  

That’s not to say that a marketing campaign is always so haphazard, but as SaaS marketing firm Insivia puts it, marketing can be “activity without purpose.”

In doing a series of activities, it can feel like a company is moving towards something. 

However, whether through an absence of research or even an absence of time to do research, goals are murky, target audiences are undefined, and outcomes are harder to track.

It’s activity for the sake of activity; busywork if you will. It feels like getting something done, and marketing campaigns in these states can even reach a portion of a target audience, but not down to the tailored, nuanced degree of a strategic marketing campaign.

Due to the additional foresight, time, and research put into the marketing strategy, the marketing team has plenty of valuable information. 

That includes precisely which target audience to pursue, which products or services to present to that target audience, and which mediums to use to promote the products and services successfully.

It’s not activity for the sake of activity at all. It’s activity for the sake of fulfilling predetermined goals.

The Three Phases of the Strategic Marketing Process

In the first section, we briefly touched on the three phases of the digital marketing process, which are planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

In this section, we’ll go through these processes in-depth so you can begin mentally formulating what your own strategic marketing plan will look like. 

The phases of a strategic marketing process

Planning

The first phase is the backbone of strategic marketing, and it’s the planning phase. 

During the planning phase, your company should do two types of analyses. One is the more common SWOT analysis and the other is known as the PEST analysis.  

You’ll then follow this up by determining what your marketing program will look like and selecting marketing and product goals.

Let’s go over all the elements to plan your strategic approach.

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is intended to identify a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats; the first letter of each of the four words spells SWOT.

This fundamental glimpse into your company is not a one-and-done type of thing. Ideally, before your company takes any major action moving forward, you should do a SWOT analysis.

Both your company’s strengths and weaknesses are comprised of what are known as internal factors, being factors you have control over.

For example, the processes and technologies you use, the access to human resources, your facilities and the resources therein, and your financial resources all count as internal factors. 

You must also consider external factors when doing a SWOT analysis, which are factors that your company has little to no control over. 

Economic regulations, supplier relationships, donations or lack thereof, sudden economic shifts, and market trends will come and go all the time. These factors absolutely affect your company’s strengths and weaknesses, but you can do little about it.

SWOT analyses are only effective if you’re honest. If you stack up the strengths and opportunities but downplay weaknesses and threats, you’ll have what looks like an impressive SWOT analysis, but it won’t be accurate.

Since the SWOT analysis can inform your strategic marketing plan, you’re not only doing your company a disservice by embellishing the analysis but your leads and customers as well.

A SWOT analysis is an internal document, so be as honest on both sides of the coin as the situation warrants. 

PEST Analysis

The next analysis that your company will do in this first stage of strategic planning is called the PEST analysis. That’s short for political, economic, social, and technological factors. 

When evaluating political factors, you want to review the following within your company:

  • The likelihood of trade restrictions being enforced on a partner country outside of your own country
  • The stability of the tax policy in your country
  • What role, if any, that tariffs play in your business 
  • If you have intellectual property protection
  • How changing government policy could affect your company 

Here are the economic factors to weigh:

  • Current vs. potentially increasing tax levels
  • Company spending rates
  • Changes in market conditions
  • Labor costs
  • Inflation
  • Globalization
  • Interest rates and exchange rates
  • Cost of living
  • Credit access

These social factors must be accounted for in your PEST analysis as well:

  • Unionization
  • Population growth
  • Job market trends
  • Consumer trends
  • Productivity levels

Finally, your company should look at technology use in these areas:

  • Social networking
  • Remote work
  • Potentially disruptive technologies
  • Data protection and cybersecurity 
  • Robotics and automation
  • Artificial intelligence

The goal of a PEST analysis is to gauge how these factors affect your company at current and could in the future. 

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

10 Website Must Haves to Drive Traffic & Generate New Leads

Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Creating a Marketing Program

Once you’ve got a full understanding of your company, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, you can sit down and develop a marketing program as part of your strategic marketing plan. 

This will entail you establishing which goals your company would like to achieve with your next marketing campaign. Then you should break those goals down into manageable steps to determine what you need to do to achieve each one. 

Implementation

The second phase of a strategic marketing plan is implementation.

You’ve sat down with key stakeholders within your company to determine what your marketing management plan entails. With the implementation phase, it’s time to bring that plan to life. 

This will involve answering critical questions, such as how much can the company afford to spend on marketing at current? Who will be needed among your staff to deploy the marketing plan?

What are the steps of the plan, and who will oversee that each step is being completed? What is the projected timeline for completion of each step as well as the strategic marketing campaign as a whole?

Once you have answers to these questions, it’s time to put your plan out into the world. 

Evaluation

It’s been a week or several since your marketing management plan went live. How effective was the campaign as a whole? The evaluation phase will tell you.

This is where your company assesses the successes and failures of the campaign. Did the campaign achieve all the projected milestones? If not, then what happened that caused the campaign to fall short?

Did you achieve the goals you set out to do? How many of them? If not, then why not?

As we mentioned before, even strategic marketing campaigns aren’t perfect 100 percent of the time. Evaluating and analyzing where you went wrong makes it easier to prepare for shortcomings in the future and even avoid them altogether. 

Businesswoman creating a strategic marketing plan

What Is a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Remember that SWOT analysis and PEST analysis you did? Those serve as the basis of your strategic marketing plan. 

What exactly is this? A strategic marketing plan accommodates for trends, current and potentially future economic status, and your financial standing to determine what your short-term and long-term company goals will be. 

You would create a strategic marketing plan as a document that you can refer back to as you begin implementing marketing campaigns in the future. We’ll talk in the next section about how to create such a marketing plan.

The document is not static but always changing and evolving as your company deploys more campaigns and conditions continue to change and evolve.

You’ll recall that the SWOT and PEST analyses both accommodate for internal factors within your control as well as external factors mostly outside of your control. 

That’s why the conditions will continue to evolve over time and the marketing plan must be updated to accommodate that.

Further, your company’s target market will also continue to change and evolve over time as your company introduces new products and services. That’s yet another reason to keep the strategic marketing plan current.

How to Build a Strategic Marketing Plan

How do you get started building an effective strategic marketing plan for your business? Without further ado, here are 7 steps for formulating your plan.

Step 1 – Determine Your Marketing Goals

Set a timeframe, such as 18 or 24 months, and then brainstorm among your company how many of your company’s goals big and small are realistically achievable in that time. 

The keyword there is realistically, by the way. If you say your company can achieve 100 of its goals in a little over a year, that may sound great on paper but fail in practice. The whole point of a marketing plan is to not set yourself up for failure.

The goals should be measurable as well. For instance, saying you want to increase your lead generation is itself not a measurable goal. However, saying that you want to increase your lead generation by 40 percent is. 

Step 2 – Do a Marketing Audit

A marketing audit is not the same as a SWOT or PEST analysis. Instead, what comprises a marketing audit is all the marketing activities that have taken place within your company within the last several years.

Look three years back to start. How many campaigns have you run? What was the nature of those campaigns?

Every seminar, every online ad, every billboard, every Facebook Ad, you want a record of it over the last three years.

Step 3 – Perform and Assess Market Research

Your marketing research will include the aforementioned SWOT and PEST analyses. 

These are time-consuming parts of the process but integral, so don’t rush. As we mentioned earlier, being honest in the SWOT analysis especially is critical (the PEST analysis leaves less room for error).

Feel free to broaden your research into what your competitors are doing as well as the service area in your community so you can begin to build your target audience data. 

Find your target market

Step 4 – Find Your Target Market

All the information is in front of you, so from this point onward, determining who your target market is should be simple.

Thanks to the information in your strategic marketing plan, you can identify your target audience by demographic, geographic, and even psychographic factors such as age, location, gender, occupation, income, marital status, number of children, buying preferences, and plenty more. 

Once you have your target market, you can use the above demographics, geographics, and psychographics to segment your audience into smaller groups. You’ll target each of these groups specifically with your strategic marketing plan.

Step 5 – Set Your Budget

Well, before you do any of that, your company needs a marketing budget. 

You can use the information on your past marketing campaigns as part of your strategic marketing plan to gauge how much you usually spend on campaigns.

Do some market research as well to determine how much your campaign would cost compared to your campaigns of the past.

Step 6 – Plan and Deploy Your Strategic Marketing Campaign 

Based on what you know about your audience and what your current marketing budget is, you can begin formulating what your strategic marketing campaign will look like. The campaign should be based around at least one of your goals.

For example, using the goal of increasing lead gen by 40 percent, you might double-down on your SEO, focusing on backlinks and producing content that ranks well. 

After all, according to 2022 stats from Hook Agency, 28 percent of marketing companies say this is the year they’re focusing all-in on SEO. Another 84 percent plan to pursue the same continued focus on SEO. 

Once you know what the basis of your marketing campaign will be, you can finally put your plan into action. 

Step 7 – Evaluate for More Success Next Time

The final step of your strategic marketing plan is evaluating what went right and what went wrong. We discussed this evaluation stage earlier, so we won’t go into much more detail here except to say that this is a critical final stage of the plan. 

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

10 Website Must Haves to Drive Traffic & Generate New Leads

Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Hiring a Strategic Marketing Agency

If the steps outlined above to create a working strategic marketing plan sound like they’re too far outside of your wheelhouse, you can always hire the services of a strategic marketing agency instead. 

The staff at the agency are experts in all things digital marketing. Whether you need assistance conducting a SWOT analysis, segmenting your audience, budgeting for a marketing campaign, or reaching the right groups, with a professional agency by your side, your campaigns would run more smoothly. 

Your company will have to decide what they have more bountifully to invest into strategic marketing, time or money. If it’s time, then you can always attempt to do the marketing yourself.

Should you have the money but not the time, then why not hire an agency? You can still achieve your marketing goals just without your direct involvement at all times. 

Conclusion

Strategic marketing is a more focused, well-planned foray into marketing that produces tailored, specific, and often successful results. If you’re considering an agency for your strategic marketing, call Mediaboom today. We’re your digital marketing experts!

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

READY TO IGNITE YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY?

Let's discuss how we can help your brand get results.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Copyright 2020 Mediaboom. All Rights Reserved.