Strategic marketing is a consumer-based approach to product promotion that identifies market segments and attempts to make them more profitable by providing superior value. It uses many of the same theories and approaches as strategic management. This type of marketing often results in a written strategic marketing plan that is developed from extensive market analysis.
The concept of strategic marketing is a direct time value approach to planning. Marketing in the corporate context was traditionally tactical. Resources were rallied in response to changes in the sales landscape on a current, even day-to-day, basis. Tactical marketing was competitor-driven, and promotional strategies and advertising campaigns were designed to capitalize on perceived weaknesses of the competition in a certain market or to emphasize a product’s comparative strengths.
Marketing from a strategic perspective takes a long view and extends the marketing process beyond what was traditionally viewed as the engagement window. It is planning from the customer perspective by analyzing what drives the purchase decision. The analysis of the decision-making process starts well in advance of the actual buy. Strategic marketing takes the process back to the initial market segmentation, looking for consumer clusters that not only have a need but can also drive the company’s overall direction.
Long term planning often results in a written plan, and this is likewise true with the strategic marketing plan. The strategic mindset usually includes segmenting the market, defining the market’s potential, and developing a targeted, consumer-based strategy. This way of approaching marketing takes many of its underlying theories from the study of strategic management, which analyzes management structure and decision-making from the perspective of the employee rather than that of the corporation.
The process of creating a strategic marketing plan starts with a working team that goes through a thorough analysis. This team does the research and completes a situational analysis that allows it to create the parts of the plan. It identifies marketing objectives that match customer needs and brainstorms strategies to meet those objectives.
Typically, the strategic marketing plan that results from the working team’s efforts will include product development, marketing communications, sales development, and customer service. In fact, each of these section should be treated as a mini plan-within-a-plan, and will have a sub-list of sections that are ordinarily expected in this type of document. Developing a long term, strategy-based plan will help a company avoid wasting marketing resources or missing valuable opportunities.