A marketing strategy serves as the foundation of a marketing plan. It’s the bigger picture for success which should always come first. How you’re going to achieve this and deliver is then where your plan comes in.
All great adventures begin with the first step. To deliver a strategic plan, we’ve though of just seven. But it won’t be any less an adventure.
Step One: The Vision
It doesn’t matter where you are now. What’s important is where you want to be. Here’s your chance to be king of the world, top dog.
But hold on, better to have a more realistic vision. Jot down how you see your business in three or more years time – brand values, size, activities etc. Consider future processes, markets, customers, products, even location and staffing.
Step Two: The Mission
Here’s the opportunity to spell out the purpose of the business:
- What are the services and products we intend to supply?
- Who are they targeted at? (demographics/geographics)
- Whose needs are being met?
- Why are we doing this?
- Where do we intend to deliver/offer our services to (geographical limitations vs the global opportunities provided by the internet)?
- When do we expect to start or deliver?
- Don’t confuse a mission statement (the hard line of what the business is about) with a value statement (softer issues surrounding the business).
Step Three: The Values
The next element is to address the values of the business and its relationships with society, customers, suppliers, employees, local community and other stakeholders.
Step Four: The Objectives
A business's objectives are the results it needs or wants to achieve in the medium or long term.
These should relate to the expectations and requirements of all the major stakeholders, including employees, and should tie in to the reasons for running the business - growth, profitability, technology, offerings and markets.
Step Five: The Strategies
So you know where you ought to be going. But how to get there? That’s where the strategies - or rules and guidelines to achieve the objectives come in. They can cover the business as a whole or relate matters in key functional areas.
Use SWOTs to help identify possible strategies by building on strengths, resolving weaknesses, exploiting opportunities and avoiding threats.
Step Six: The Goals
Goals are specific interim or ultimate timed measurements that are to be achieved through the implementation of the strategies to meet the objectives.
They can relate to factors like market (sizes and shares), products, finances, profitability, and efficiency.
Step Seven: The Programmes
Phew, almost there. The final elements of the strategic plan are the Programmes which set out the implementation plans for the key strategies.
These should cover resources, objectives, time-scales, deadlines, budgets and performance targets. Without these concrete next steps, your strategy will be un-actionable.
One final word of advice. The mission, objectives, values, strategies and goals must be consistent with each other. Strategies, realistic goals and focused missions are vital for a successful business… rather than selfish objectives of just making money.
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