Strategic marketing is a broad term that would define any advertising approach that allows a business owner to focus his or her limited resources in a single area, to increase the customer base or to obtain a sustained competitive edge. The focus of the business may be on increasing sales or it may be more specific, such as promoting a new product line. Whatever the focus, strategic marketing takes into account the fact that businesses have competing needs and wants, and it attempts to satisfy those needs and wants by identifying a short-term opportunity to generate a long-term value. Strategic marketing also recognizes that different businesses face different barriers to entry and different potential sources of competition. By addressing these barriers, a business increases its ability to achieve its long-term strategic objectives.
In terms of defining a strategy, strategic planning involves defining the overall strategic goals of the company, identifying the resources required to realize those goals, and organizing the company to work effectively towards those goals. Often, strategic planning is organized around a central business objective, which is the achievement of which is the ultimate goal. Other objectives are usually referred to as medium-term or long-term goals. These may take the form of achieving certain market, geographic, or performance outcomes over a designated time period. Some strategies may be oriented toward meeting the most critical goals within a defined time frame. A company’s strategy could also include specific goals that are not directly related to market share or profitability, but which are designed to drive the company into a position of relative competitive superiority.
The planning process is structured to identify what each element of the strategic marketing strategy will contribute to achieving those objectives. Each action is then analyzed to determine whether it is likely to meet the target, taking into account the costs, results, time needed, and other factors that are relevant to the success of the strategy. Analysis then occurs around the elements of the strategy, with priorities given to the highest impact element, the one with the greatest potential for achieving the target. Once this is determined, a strategy for attaining or exceeding the target is developed.
Strategic planning often involves establishing what the organisational culture is and how it will operate. This will involve identifying the role of key personnel, reviewing organisational values and beliefs, aligning the organisational process with the strategic marketing goals, aligning communications between staff, defining appropriate goals and reporting on the status of these targets at regular intervals. Strategic planning also involves defining management’s expectations in relation to its business and identifying what actions are necessary to meet them. This is done through a process of defining what the company does, what it delivers, and how it delivers it. It may also involve defining management’s plan and determining its implementation. Finally, the effectiveness of the company and its position in the industry is examined through assessments of the company’s market position, its competition, and other external factors.
Once the above activities are complete, it is important to identify the effects of the strategic marketing decisions, both short term and long term. These include how achieving the short term targets will affect performance and the ability of the organisation to achieve long term targets and objectives. In addition, a description of the success and failure of the strategic marketing decision is reported. This includes an assessment of the marketing mix and whether it was based on tactical marketing or a mix of strategic and tactical marketing.
Strategic marketing is a growing discipline and has been identified as an essential component of many organisations’ success stories. Its key value proposition is that an organisation needs to have a plan, know its strategy, execute the strategy and monitor the results to ensure it is being successful. There is therefore an importance placed upon the leadership role in strategic marketing. A key factor in this is that it requires a clear understanding of the customer, one that is communicated clearly and effectively through advertising and other available channels. Achieving this requires that the customer is identified and understood. The purpose of this article is to provide an explanation of strategic marketing, providing an insight into why it is so critical for organisations today.