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Winning the Game: Your Strategic Marketing Plan

Posted on October 27, 2000

by Merle

If you want your small business to compete with the "big boys" you should have a "strategic marketing plan." A strategic marketing plan basically spells out how you will use your available resources to meet your company's stated goals and objectives. (You do have goals right? If not that's a topic for another article.) Here's what you need:


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1) State your Objectives:

Companies usually set objectives in terms of desired profit, total sales, or market share. Profit tends to be the most popular company focus. Market share refers to how much of the market you snag compared to your competitors. Other objectives can be your total sales, number of loyal customers, or customer satisfaction. Company objectives always provide a time frame and are verifiable which is why objectives are usually stated in percentages and dollar signs.

2) Situation Analysis:

Looks at the current business environment and can be elaborate or very simple. The components examined are competition, the size of the market, types of customers, channels of distribution, and economic conditions. By taking an overview of the whole picture and stating your strengths and weaknesses, you'll have a clearer understanding of how well your company will compete.

3) Target Market:

Who are your customers? Your company can't sell to everyone, so you need to decide what part of the market segment you're going to serve. A thorough understanding of who your customers are and how to find them are imperative to your company's success. Look at demographics such as how much money they make, where they live, how much education they have, etc.

4) Positioning:

The picture created in your customer's eyes about your company's products/services. When you think of positioning, think of "image." Positioning is very important in today's competitive world. Corporate marketing teams will often use positioning strategies when trying to target different target markets.

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5) Marketing Mix:

The final step is to develop plans for each aspect of the marketing mix and integrate them into your company's overall strategy. So, what's in the marketing mix you ask? They consist of the "Four P's":


You must use all four elements of the mix in your strategic plan and devise a plan needed for each. When you're developing plans for each element, ask yourself the following types of questions:

A) Product/ What new products can we introduce? What type of service do our customers expect? What should our return policy be?

B) Place/ What types of places should carry our products? How will we get our products to our customers? How will we handle complaints?

C) Promotion/ What am I trying to accomplish through my promotion objectives? Branding? More sales? something else? What types of media should we use to advertise radio, TV, print, ect.

D) Price/ How will my product/service be priced in comparison to my competitors? Can I make a profit at this price level?

By keeping all of the above in mind you'll design a strategic marketing plan that allows you to win the game and compete with your competitors.

Running a business, just like a game, relies on good strategy........It's your move....


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