Three Phases of a Strategic Marketing Plan

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There are three phases to a strategic marketing plan.
There are three phases to a strategic marketing plan. (Image: marketing image by dead_account from Fotolia.com)

A strategic marketing plan is a key tool for any organization, whether it is providing a product or a service. Without a marketing plan, companies tend to be reactive, simply attempting to adjust its marketing efforts to the environment around them. With a strategic marketing plan, it's possible to look forward and to develop a pre-emptive plan for a product or service. The process involved in a strategic marketing plan can be divided into three phases: planning, implementation, and post mortem.

Planning

The planning phase begins by developing a goal for marketing your product or service. You must consider what you want to achieve through the strategy; for instance, market leadership, filling a niche, or simply greater brand awareness. Next you should brainstorm and think of ways to meet your goals. These ideas should be narrowed down and further developed into real and tangible plans. The plans should be carefully laid out and budgeted for. Your budget should consider all resources required, including financial resources and human resources. This should provide you with a good plan that you can implement.

Implementation

The implementation phase of a strategic marketing plan is the phase in which ideas come to life. It is important to stick with your plan as best as possible, unless it becomes evident that there were clear errors in the plan or certain realities prevent the plan from being properly implemented. This phase requires careful management as it will involve working with numerous people who are working on the plan for the first time. Proper communication is a must in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the plan is followed accordingly.

Post Mortem

The final phase of a strategic marketing plan is the post mortem. The post mortem takes place at the end of the marketing campaign. The purpose of this phase is to assess the success and failures of the marketing effort. What you want to determine is if the plan worked, and if not, why not? This should be done using both quantitative data, such as sales figures, and qualitative data, such as consumer research. It is usually effective to discuss the successes and failures with a group of people who can offer diverse inputs. In the end you should write a report highlighting the successes and failures of the marketing effort, with recommendations for the future.

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