What is the Strategic Marketing Process?
The marketing process of any company can make or break its brand positioning as well as customer loyalty. It is the strategic process which provides guidelines for the overall marketing process and assures that the right audiences are being targeted along with monitoring the objectives and goals of the business. The process provides an actionable way for measuring the status as well as the success of initiatives.
Strategic marketing can be explained as a process of planning to develop and to implement operations so as to attain a competitive edge in a particular niche. This process is very important for outlining and simplifying the goals and objectives of a company and how they can be achieved. Businesses which want to secure a particular share in the market should assure that their mission is clearly identified, should survey the situation of the industry, define specific objectives and develop, implement as well as evaluate the plan which guarantees that customers are provided with products that they need and when they need it.
Basically, the marketing process should include:
- Mission, goals, and objectives of the company.
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that are affecting brand marketing.
- Distributing channels and required resources that will be used to extend support to marketing initiatives.
- Identifying the target audience as well as the specific need of the group.
- Measurable and actionable metrics that presents a clear picture of where efforts are standing in the process and how successful customer interactions and outreach has become.
3 Phases of Strategic Marketing Process
Strategic marketing planning phase is very important as it assesses internal strengths and weaknesses, technological shift, external competition, industry culture shift along with the current position of the company. This planning phase involves four key components which include:
SWOT Analysis: Swot analysis is a strategic analysis tool for identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business and determining the company’s position in the market. In order to maximize strength and minimize weaknesses, business should evaluate its competitors’ strategy in the market, asses the company’s strategy, research the current and prospective customers along with identifying the industry. Results obtained from this analysis should be the basis of devising a marketing plan which should be attainable and measurable.
Besides swot analysis, there are other situational analysis tools like 5cs and PESTEL Analysis. 5Cs analysis is a marketing tool that analyze the internal and external environment where company operates. There are five key areas that are used in marketing decisions for a company i.e. company, competitors, customers, collaborators and climate.
Pestle Analysis also known as PEST Analysis is a marketing concept and tool to analyze external environment of a company where they are operating or planning to launch a product or service. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors that give a complete overview of the environment from various angles.
Marketing Program: When the needs of the customers have been identified and the products which will satisfy those needs have been determined, the next step is to develop a marketing mix program. This is the ‘how’ aspect of the planning phases and focuses on the 4Ps and the budget required for every element in the mix.
Setting product and marketing goals: Goals should be set to meet customer demand. This can be done by identifying the unique selling point of the business along with the particular characteristics or traits of the products which distinguish it from others.
Goal setting and market-product focus: After determining the position of the company and what it wants to achieve, the next step is to determine where the resources will be allocated and how plans will be transformed into actions. This involves utilizing different strategies which include pricing strategy, place or distribution strategy, product strategy, and promotion strategy.
This is basically the course of action in the strategic marketing process. It is important to determine whether the company is able to attain what was planned in the planning phase. When the plan is competently structured, it can be put into effect through a sales forecast and budget by using the following four components:
- Obtaining resources: Cash for developing and marketing new products.
- Developing of planning schedules: Time allocated to particular tasks to accomplish them.
- Designing marketing organization: A marketing hierarchy should be placed to monitor plans to fruition.
- Executing the marketing plan: This involves paying attention over details and focus upon the strategy defined in the marketing plan.
Evaluation or Control Phase
This is the checking phase and ensures that the results obtained from the plan are in accordance with the set goals. Any deviations in the plan should be observed and rectified immediately. Evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing strategy includes focusing on:
- Measurable as against vague: milestones define achieved goals
- Strategy as against tactic: strategy explains goals and tactic explains actions that will achieve goals
- Actionable as against contingent: should be attained through tactics rather than dependent upon external uncontrollable forces.
- Marketing strategy: supported by a business plan involving tactics for accomplishing goals.
Problems Keep in Mind during Strategic Marketing Process
There can be certain problems that can arise in the marketing process to deter it. Problems that businesses should be ready to face are:
Issues in marketing department such as performance assessment problems, inflexibility, poor information management, human relation issues or coordination problems.
Organizational problems like poor assumptions. Make invalid Assumptions of the customer’s requirements without any validation. Lose sight of customer needs in the planning phase and lack of skilled workforce for implementing plans.
Other general problems like issues related to the cost of marketing, problems in obtaining marketing feedback or integrated gathered information in plans.