How a Marketing plan and a Strategic Plan fit Together

How a Marketing plan and a Strategic Plan fit Together
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The discipline of Marketing is concerned with four main areas of business:  Product, Price, Distribution, and Promotion. Within any of those four areas of marketing, a Strategic Plan may need to be developed if necessary.

Company Needs Dictate Strategy

The basic product of most companies rarely if ever changes.  Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, for example, has gone unchanged for over a hundred years.  Thus, no strategic plan would be needed for Arm & Hammer, the Product.

The company might, however, want to raise its price the coming year due to an increase in its cost of goods to make the product.  Thus, a Strategic Plan would need to be developed in the Pricing area.  The plan would need to ascertain how much to increase the price, provide a rationale for the increase, and anticipate marketplace reaction from stores and consumers. New pricing might warrant new advertising messages and so a promotion strategic plan would require development.

Annual Marketing Plan

Every company should develop an annual Marketing Plan to map out challenges and opportunities that the business will undertake during the upcoming year.  To be complete, the Marketing Plan should cover the four main areas even if no substantive changes will be undertaken.  Within certain areas depending on company needs, a detailed Strategic Plan would need to be developed.

Sales Objective

The overarching goal of for-profit enterprises is Sales.  Thus, a sales goal is established and a Marketing Plan is developed to accomplish the Sales goal.  The Marketing Plan would identify broad objectives and goals usually quantified if possible.  To sell 10% more widgets might be a company’s sales goal.  In order to achieve that sales goal, strategic plan decisions would need to be made that might touch all areas of marketing.

The detailed plans of action to accomplish the overarching sales goal in each of the marketing areas would constitute the company’s strategic plan.  The Strategic Plan would first outline individual Objectives for the product, pricing, distribution, and promotion areas of Marketing.  The Strategic Plan would also detail the exact tactical programs that will be employed to accomplish those objectives.

Plan Strategies and Tactics

The product may need to be improved in some way.   Improvements made to the product might mitigate new pricing which would need to be evaluated against competitor’s pricing or marketplace demand.  The product’s distribution may need to be expanded to get more outlets for making those higher sales.  The Promotional plan may require new ads to be created, new media outlets evaluated, more dollars spent to deliver on planned strategies.

Tactical Implementation of Strategies

The Strategic Plan is then mapped to a calendar so a manager can see the flow of tactical activities designed to achieve the various marketing objectives, noting any gaps in the plan that should be filled with activity.  This calendar guides the work of the manager for the next year.

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