Strategy is a plan to achieve a goal. Strategic planning is the process of creating the plan or process that will become the strategy to achieve that goal. If your business is going to succeed, it needs a goal to succeed at. Even more critical is the strategy behind the goal, because without strategies goals tend to be illusory. It’s easy to come up with a goal. The strategy is what makes it realistic, as it outlines how to bring that goal into reality.
Strategic marketing planning focuses on determining the ideal market position a business could be at a certain point in the future to reach its goals given the current market environment. It seeks to identify both risks and opportunities. It then analyzes the current position and ability of the business to leverage existing resources to reach that ideal position. This sort of planning gives your business the critical information it needs to identify opportunities and then develop marketing strategies to take advantage of them.
Defining what you are trying to create a strategy for is the first step in strategic planning. Does your business have any goals defined? If not, you need figure out at least one clear goal. Consider what sort of business you are running and why you are in business.
Your goal can be based around the size and scope of the business you’d like to develop. For example, maybe you want to be the largest marketing agency in your region. Or your goal can arise from a lifestyle you want to achieve personally. For example, you may want to run a business that can pay for your child to go to college in 10 years.
Now that you have a goal in mind, you can start to develop your strategy. Creating a competitive strategy requires that you have a deep understanding of your business, its resources, and the competitive landscape it operates within.
You then use this information to formulate a plan that acts as a path from where the business is to where it wants to go. This is difficult for many business owners, because this sort of planning requires an element of creativity and cannot always be systematized into an exact plan. It’s not like financial planning, where you might just forecast future revenue based on past data. This makes it especially difficult if you are running your first business or you are entering a new industry or geographic region.
One of the early steps in strategic planning is taking an inventory of the resources you have at your disposal. Understanding the resources your business has is like understanding a game of chess. You need to know what pieces you have and what moves they can make. Your resources as a business include working capital, assets like inventory, skills and talents of key team members, and anything else the business has that can be used to reach your goal.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what your business has to work with, you can move onto analyzing the environment in which your business operates. Look at the general landscape of the industry you are in. Is the industry you’re in being commoditized or dying even? Or are you in a nascent industry that is just starting to come into existence? How many competitors do you have? What about other similar businesses that could easily move into your industry? If you are not intimately familiar with the market, get your hands on whatever market research you can and think. Think of as many relevant questions you can and try to find the best answers you can. If you can’t find the answers, consider doing your own research even if it’s anecdotal like visiting a similar business in another region.
Develop a Strategy
You’ve done all your research and analysis. Now all that’s left is to create your strategy. Your strategic marketing plan should be the best path you can envision given the landscape your find your business in. If you operating in a vertical or geographic area that you’ve done business in before be extra careful. As they say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and unknown unknowns can be some of the most dangerous pitfalls for a new business.
Kapok Marketing Can Help With Strategic Planning
Kapok Marketing is here to help with your strategic planning needs. Our team has helped with strategy for a variety of diverse business ventures. We’ve helped plan the growth of small local boutiques. We’ve strategized and helped execute the plan for online stores to go from zero to millions of dollars in revenue. We’ve assisted brands build social media followings into the upper hundreds of thousands. If you help building or leveraging a strategic marketing plan, we’d be happy to help!