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Easy Step-by-Step Guide to the Marketing Planning Process


An effective marketing planning process ensures your efforts are focused, your objectives are clear, and your campaigns are both creative and results-driven. It acts as a roadmap that keeps your marketing activities on track.

In this guide, we will walk you through the marketing planning process, breaking down its steps, highlighting its benefits with templates for practical use and showing you how to create a well-coordinated, strategic marketing plan.

What is a Marketing Planning Process?

Marketing planning process steps, benefits of a marketing planning process, who are involved in the marketing planning process, when to use the marketing planning process, how to improve your marketing planning process using creately.

The marketing planning process is a systematic series of steps that businesses and marketing teams follow to create a strategic plan for their marketing activities.

This process involves setting clear objectives, analyzing the market and competition, defining target audiences, selecting marketing strategies and tactics, creating a budget, and establishing timelines for execution. It makes sure that marketing efforts are well-organized, goal-oriented, and aligned with the company’s overall business objectives.

Regular assessment and adjustments are also part of the process to maximize the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

What is a Marketing Plan

Here’s how to create a marketing plan with 6 effective steps .

Marketing planning toolkit

The marketing planning toolkit is a complete collection of tools, templates, and resources that you can use to streamline and improve your marketing planning processes. It serves as a centralized hub for essential materials that help with the development, execution, and evaluation of marketing strategies. This toolkit is designed to simplify planning, collaboration, and analysis, catering to the diverse needs of marketing teams.

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The marketing planning process typically involves several key steps, which are as follows:

Set clear objectives

Start by defining specific and measurable marketing objectives. These objectives should align with the broader business goals and provide a clear direction for your marketing efforts.

Know your Market

Conduct a thorough analysis of the market, including an analysis of your competition , industry trends, and customer behavior. Understanding the market landscape is essential for crafting effective strategies.

Identify your target audience

Define your ideal customers or target audience segments. Understand their demographics, preferences, and pain points to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

Learn how to find your idea customer with our guide on target audience analysis .

Develop your strategy

Identify the overarching marketing strategies that will help you achieve your objectives. This may include product positioning, pricing strategies, distribution channels, and promotional tactics.

Create a detailed action plan that outlines the specific marketing activities and campaigns you’ll implement. This step should include timelines, budgets, and responsibilities for each task.

Allocate a budget

Allocate financial resources to various marketing activities in a way that ensures cost-effectiveness and supports the achievement of objectives.

Implement your plan

Execute the planned marketing activities, such as content creation, advertising, social media campaigns, and more. Make sure that these activities are aligned with the strategy and tactics outlined in the plan.

Monitor and measure results

Continuously track and measure the performance of your marketing efforts. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to evaluate the success of your campaigns.

Adjust and optimize

Based on the data and insights gathered from monitoring, be prepared to make necessary adjustments to your marketing strategies and tactics to improve performance and better achieve your objectives.

An effective marketing planning process offers several key benefits to businesses and marketing professionals, such as:

Clarity and focus : An effective marketing planning process gives a clear purpose and direction for marketing efforts making sure that everyone involved understands what is expected of them.

Alignment with business objectives : Marketing plans are designed to align closely with the broader business goals, making sure that marketing efforts contribute directly to the company’s success.

Efficient resource allocation : It helps in allocating resources, such as time and budget, more efficiently, reducing the risk of wasted efforts or overspending on ineffective strategies.

Risk mitigation : By conducting market research and careful planning, it minimizes the risk of investing in campaigns or strategies that may not resonate with the target audience or market conditions.

Measurable results : Marketing plans include clear objectives and metrics for success, making it easier to measure the impact of marketing activities and make data-driven decisions.

Consistency and coherence : It helps make sure that marketing efforts are consistent across various channels and messages, creating a unified brand image.

Increased collaboration : The planning process involves various team members and stakeholders, fostering collaboration and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Competitive advantage : A well-planned marketing strategy can give a business a competitive edge by identifying and capitalizing on unique selling points and market opportunities.

The marketing planning process typically involves various individuals and roles within an organization.

  • Marketing team : Responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies.
  • Senior management : Provides guidance and approval for the overall marketing strategy.
  • Sales team : Collaborates to ensure alignment with sales objectives.
  • Product managers : Offer insights into product positioning.
  • Market research analysts : Provide data-driven insights.
  • Creative teams : Contribute to content and materials.
  • Finance department : Manages budget and resource allocation.
  • External agencies : Collaborate on strategy and execution.
  • Legal and compliance teams : Ensure adherence to regulations.
  • IT and technology teams : Implement marketing technology.
  • Customer service and support : Offer customer feedback insights.
  • Suppliers and partners : Involved in collaborations or partnerships.

The marketing planning process is essential whenever a business wants to introduce a new product, expand its market reach, rebrand, or improve its competitive position. It’s also crucial during times of significant change, such as mergers, market shifts, or when there’s a need to address declining sales.

Moreover, it’s beneficial for startups looking to establish a market presence or for established companies aiming to refresh their strategies. Essentially, whenever there’s a need for a clear, structured approach to achieve marketing goals or when there’s uncertainty in the market, the marketing planning process becomes an invaluable tool for guiding successful marketing initiatives.

Creately serves as a versatile, collaborative space where marketing professionals can visually brainstorm, plan, and execute their marketing strategies efficiently, making the marketing planning process more dynamic and accessible.

Visual workspaces

Start by setting up a virtual workspace on Creately. Create boards that represent different aspects of your marketing plan, such as market analysis, user personas, objectives, strategies, and tactics.

Collaborative brainstorming

Invite your marketing team to the workspace and encourage them to brainstorm ideas visually . Use digital sticky notes, brainstorming templates from the in-app templates library, and text to capture insights, objectives, and strategies. This collaborative approach allows for a diverse range of ideas.

Market research

Embed market research findings, competitor analyses, and relevant data into your workspace. Or attach documents, reports, etc. under the notes section of relevant shapes. This provides a shared resource for the team to reference during planning.

Visual mapping

Use Creately’s visual mapping tools to outline the customer journey, sales funnel, or any visual representation that helps convey your strategies and tactics more effectively. Additionally you can also find templates for these from the in-app template library or the templates community on the site.

Task assignment

Assign tasks and responsibilities with shape data. You can use Kanban boards and task cards to create tasks and assign them to team members and track their progress.

Real-time collaboration

Creately allows real-time collaboration with real-time multi-user editing, comments, Microsoft Teams integration, etc. so team members can work together, even remotely. It’s perfect for cross-functional teams working on marketing planning.

Presentation and sharing

Once your marketing plan is ready, you can export it for presentations or sharing with stakeholders. Creately offers various export options to ensure your marketing plan reaches the right audience effectively.

An effective marketing planning process is your key to successful marketing strategies. By setting goals, understanding your market, and creating a well-structured plan, you’ve laid the groundwork for marketing success. With the right approach, your marketing efforts will not only be creative but also well-aimed at achieving your business goals.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

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Create a Detailed Marketing Plan With 6 Effective Templates

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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What Is a Marketing Strategy?

  • How It Works
  • Strategies vs. Plans

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

  • Marketing Strategy FAQs
  • Marketing Essentials

Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One

marketing strategy planning process model

Investopedia / Daniel Fishel

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition , key brand messaging, data on target customer  demographics, and other high-level elements.

A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

Key Takeaways

  • A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
  • Marketing strategies should revolve around a company’s value proposition.
  • The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.

Understanding Marketing Strategies

A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.

This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart ( WMT ) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.

Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans

The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan —a document that details the specific types of marketing activities that a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.

Marketing strategies should ideally have longer life spans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.

For example, a marketing strategy might say that a company aims to increase authority in niche circles where their clients visit. The marketing plan puts that in action by commissioning thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn.

Benefits of a Marketing Strategy

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization , or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.

Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.

Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.

  • Identify your goals: While sales are the ultimate goal for every company, you should have more short-term goals such as establishing authority, increasing customer engagement, or generating leads. These smaller goals offer measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan. Think of strategy as the high-level ideology and planning as how you accomplish your goals.
  • Know your clients: Every product or service has an ideal customer, and you should know who they are and where they hang out. If you sell power tools, you’ll choose marketing channels where general contractors may see your messaging. Establish who your client is and how your product will improve their lives.
  • Create your message: Now that you know your goals and who you’re pitching to, it’s time to create your messaging. This is your opportunity to show your potential clients how your product or service will benefit them and why you’re the only company that can provide it.
  • Define your budget: How you disperse your messaging may depend on how much you can afford. Will you be purchasing advertising? Hoping for a viral moment on social media organically? Sending out press releases to the media to try to gain coverage? Your budget will dictate what you can afford to do.
  • Determine your channels: Even the best message needs the appropriate venue. Some companies may find more value in creating blog posts for their website. Others may find success with paid ads on social media channels. Find the most appropriate venue for your content.
  • Measure your success: To target your marketing, you need to know whether it is reaching its audience. Determine your metrics and how you’ll judge the success of your marketing efforts.

Why does my company need a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.

What do the four Ps mean in a marketing strategy?

The four Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The four Ps can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It also can be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.

What does a marketing strategy look like?

A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and public relations campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the four Ps. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging  that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, and platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.

Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?

The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Walmart Corporate. “ About .”

HubSpot Blog. “ 7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2022 .”

i7 Marketing. “ 6 Steps to Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign .”

CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”

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  • The Strategic Marketing Process: A Complete Guide

marketing strategy planning process model

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A well defined and feasible marketing strategy makes meeting customer needs a likely and attainable goal. And while most companies do great marketing, only a few have created brand attachment and customer loyalty through their marketing practices and tactics.

The Strategic Marketing Process: A Complete Guide

© Shutterstock.com | PureSolution

In this article, we explore, 1) the definition and purpose of strategic marketing , 2) the three phases of the strategic marketing process , 3) guidelines for effective strategic marketing process , 4) problems to expect in the strategic marketing process , 5) p.e.s.t: trends to consider when implementing marketing strategy , 6) strategic marketing process simplified , and 7) why Apple’s strategic marketing process is genius .


Strategic Marketing is a process of planning, developing and implementing maneuvers to obtain a competitive edge in your chosen niche. This process is necessary to outline and simplify a direct map of the company’s objectives and how to achieve them. A company wanting to secure a certain share of the market, should ensure they clearly identify their mission, survey the industry situation, define specific objectives and develop, implement and evaluate a plan to guarantee they can provide their customers with the products they need, when they need them. Of course, the central objective of any company will be customer satisfaction so they may dominate the market and become leaders in their industry and thus providing substantial business satisfaction. In order to do that, three phases of marketing strategy must be perfected to create delight in their customers and beat out the competition.


1. planning phase.

The planning phase is the most important as it analyzes internal strengths and weaknesses, external competition, changes in technology, industry culture shifts and provides an overall picture of the state of the organization. This phase has four key components that will provide a clear diagram of where your company is and what it is doing.

  • Analyze competitors
  • Research company’s current and prospective customers
  • Assess company
  • Identifying trends in the company’s industry

Once this analysis is complete the results should be used as a basis for developing the company’s marketing plan, which should be measurable and attainable.

  • Marketing program – Once the needs of the customers have been determined, and the decisions have been made about which products will satisfy those needs, a marketing program or mix must be developed. This marketing program is the how aspect of the planning phase, which focuses on the 4Ps and the budget needed for each element of the mix.
  • Once the customer needs are understood, goals can be set to meet them, thus increasing the chances of success with new products.
  • Find points of difference: like your company’s unique selling point, each product should also have a certain set of traits or characteristics that makes it superior to the competitive substitute. For example, your product could be longer lasting, more accessible, more reliable or very user-friendly so the buyers will choose it over the competition each time.
  • Position the product: market so that in people’s minds your product is the “go to” for their problem. Through emotional and mental marketing customers will associate your brand with their solution and eliminate choice. For example, many mothers use “Pampers,” when referring to diapers, as this brand has been positioned as the go to in baby diapering needs.
  • Select target markets: based on the research and their commonalities, that way needs and goals are both met.
  • Price strategy : focuses on the list price, price allowances (reductions), discounts, payment periods, and credit contracts.
  • Place (Distribution) Strategy : the final ‘P’ in the marketing mix should focus on distribution channels, outlets and transportation to get the product to the customer when they need it.
  • Promotion Strategy : this element of the program should focus on direct marketing, advertising, public relations and sales promotions that create brand awareness.
  • Product Strategy : this element focuses on the features, packaging, branding and warranty of the product.

2. Implementation Phase

The implementation phase is the action portion of the process. If the firm cannot carry out the plan that was determined in the early stages, then the hours spent planning were wasted. However, if the planning was adequately and competently structured, then the program can be put into effect through a sales forecast and a budget, using the following four components.

  • Obtaining Resources – sums of cash to develop and market new products.
  • Designing marketing organization – there should be put in place a marketing hierarchy to properly see the plans to fruition.
  • Developing planning schedules – time needs to be allocated to specific tasks so they can be accomplished.
  • Executing the marketing plan – effectively executing the marketing plan will take attention to detail, and focus on the strategy and tactics defined in your marketing plan.

3. Evaluation or Control Phase

The evaluation phase is the checking phase. This process involves ensuring that the results of the program are in line with the goals set. The marketing team, especially the manager will need to observe any deviations in the plan and quickly correct negative deviations to get back on course; for example fluctuations of the dollar creates a lesser need for the product than in the past, then the production of said product should be repurposed for a new more desired item. And they should exploit the positive divergences as well, for example if sales are better than predicted for certain products then there could be more resources allocated to greater production or distribution of the same item.

A few ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy include paying attention to:

  • Strategy versus tactic – strategy defines goals and tactic defines actions to achieve goals.
  • Measurable versus vague – have milestones that define when you’ve achieved your goals.
  • Actionable versus Contingent – According to Inc.com : “ A strategic goal should be achievable through the tactics that support it, rather than dependent upon uncontrollable outside forces.”
  • Marketing strategy should be backed by a business plan with tactical moves to accomplish goals, or it is useless.


A well thought out plan for offering value and solutions to your target market allows the company to discover the needs of the targeted customers and fulfill those needs in a cost effective and timely fashion. This in turn allows for the marketing team to be able to measure a company’s value based on your ideal customer’s response to your product and strategy. Some guidelines to ensure this strategy is effective are:

  • Set measurable, achievable goals by ensuring they are clear, structured and measurable it will be easier to accomplish your purpose.
  • Base plans on facts and validated assumptions through market research .
  • Use simple, clear and precise plans to detail what benefits you will offer your clients and how. Customers are driven by needs and desires so a clear plan will target those to gain customer loyalty.
  • Have a feasible plan by using research to decide the best way to connect with and engage your ideal customers and then implement a plan your company can afford and carry to fulfillment to do so.
  • Ensure control and flexibility by customizing your business plans and goals to match the needs of the customers, as they determine the success or failure of your company.



While creating the perfect marketing plan for your company, there are certain issues that could arise to deter the process. Here are a few possible issues to be prepared to face:

  • Organizational Issues such as Poor Assumptions : – assuming customer needs without validation, lack of skilled workforce to implement the plans once they are arrived at, loss of sight of customer needs during the planning phase and changing demographic of consumers.
  • Issues in the Marketing Department such as : inflexibility, performance assessment problems, coordination problems, poor information management and human relations issues.
  • General problems such as : trouble obtaining marketing feedback, issues related to cost of marketing and problems integrating collected information into plans.


According to Business news daily , while industry related factors could affect a company’s performance, outside factors can also play a major role in the outcome of a business’s plans. To determine the role of the external factors, it is recommended that companies perform a PEST analysis. Below is a break-down of what the four factors analyze.

  • Political – this analyzes how legal issues and government regulations affect profit and consumer behavior. The major considerations of the political aspect are tax guidelines, political stability, trade regulations and embargos, employment laws and safety regulations. An example of this analysis and how it works is looking at the effects of political instability in a foreign market and how it affects your company’s plans.
  • Economic – this factor looks at the outside economic issues that affect a firm’s success. Companies should pay attention to economic growth, inflation rates, exchange, interest rates and local business cycles. Changes in interest rate could improve or decrease the company’s bottom line.
  • Social – demographic and cultural aspects affect whether a company can compete in the market or not. The social factor helps businesses to examine why customers purchase and what exactly their needs are. Issues to consider include lifestyle changes, health consciousness, environmental responsibility awareness, and attitudes toward work, education levels, population growth rates and country demographics. A certain shift in educational requirements may result in career changes that could reflect in changing needs of the customers.
  • Technical – this aspect considers how technology impacts product placement and marketing. Technology can bring advantages and challenges that will increase or decrease production level. Specific areas to consider are new technological advancements, the use of technology in marketing, the role of the Internet and the impact of the information technology changes. The introduction of the Internet has created an expectation of instant gratification in today’s consumer; so social media marketing has to be considered an option.


According to Center for Simplified Strategic Planning , “ Any strategic planning process involves digesting information and some fairly difficult analysis. Good strategic planning should be simplified, not simplistic. ” And it should also answer the questions: what are we selling, to whom and how do we beat the competition? The first two questions will determine the focus of your overall business while the third will help you specify your strategies to market. The following five steps are essential to accomplishing a simple, effective strategic plan.

  • Identify objectives and determine mission
  • Do business environmental scan-including trends and competition
  • Devise strategy including SWOT , budget, marketing, price and distribution
  • Implement strategy-put your plan into action
  • Evaluate and modify- measure how close or far you are from objectives, track what works and change what doesn’t.


Apple has a significant competitive advantage over it’s rival because of it’s strategic marketing process. This company was voted overall winner of the 2012 CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence and before that it was listed in the top marketers group for five years in a row, as reported in Forbes.com . This competitive advantage is due to a thirty-five year old, 3-point philosophy employed by the Apple brand. The three points that constitute this philosophy include

  • empathy -authentic understanding of customer need,
  • focus- eliminate all unimportant opportunities and
  • impute – ensuring creative, professional presentation of products.

Listed below are some of the main strategies used by Apple to ensure they beat the competition in marketing, placement and brand awareness and loyalty.

  • Identify and respond to trends – though an innovative visionary, (the Apple Tablets ignited a market and were an industry leader) Apple’s team saw the digital trend shifting and responded with the iPad mini, despite Steve Jobs showing his disdain for smaller tablets in the past.
  • Analyze competition and adjust – Though Apple and Microsoft have always been in competition, the two technology giants have not passed up opportunities to collaborate. And while Apple worked with Microsoft to accumulate a very big share of the market, the company went ahead and added Intel chips into their computers to ensure they were a step ahead of the competition including Microsoft.
  • Innovation – Apple is usually first to market with products and visions customers love, and though it does not strive to be an innovator, usually focusing on specific strategy and enthusiasm, Apple is usually a leader in the market segment they occupy.
  • Emotional branding – Companies like Apple tend to have very specific strategic aims and work hard to ensure they are met. One such strategy can be seen as forming an emotional attachment to the products sold to ideal customers. By effectively integrating emotions into the marketing strategy, the brand recognizes positive results, such as customers spending nights lined up to be the first to own the newest product.
  • Enhanced distribution systems – Apple opened international retail stores and improved sales drastically. Now Apple representatives can be found in local malls and plazas to help solve customers’ issues and offer upsells and upgrades. This accessibility helps to build customer trust and helps make the decision process much easier when choosing a brand.
  • Excellent customer service – Apple brand is synonymous with excellence customer service, friendly environments, and great customer experiences. The secret lies in the acronym APPLE, which, according to Social media today spells out:
“ A pproach customers with a personalized warm welcome P robe politely to understand all the customer’s needs P resent a solution for the customer to take home today L isten for and resolve any issues or concerns E nd with a fond farewell and an invitation to return ”
  • Product placement – The Apple App store and iTunes compliment and extend the customer experience and the personality and reputation of the brand lead to loyalty and evangelism.

By incorporating these practices into your company’s marketing program and ensuring to follow through consistently, your company will be rewarded and recognized for its efforts.

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What Is a Marketing Plan? And How to Create One

Learn what a marketing plan is, how they help businesses, and the steps for building yours.

[Featured image] A woman in a blue shirt shows a marketing plan on a whiteboard to a group.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a document that a business uses to execute a marketing strategy. It is tactical in nature, and, as later sections of this article explore, it typically includes campaign objectives, buyer personas, competitive analysis, key performance indicators, an action plan, and a method for analyzing campaign  results.  

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

In general, a marketing plan serves several purposes: 

Streamline and organize marketing efforts 

Guide businesses and their marketing teams through a sequence of marketing activities 

Determine how to measure a campaign’s success  

Effectively allocate the marketing campaign budget  

A business might develop a marketing plan for a specific need, campaign, or goal within its larger mission. Here are some examples: 

Launching a new product or service

Carrying out campaigns through different marketing channels, including social media , email marketing, print media, TV, or offline events  

Implementing paid advertising 

Measuring marketing efforts over specific periods of time, such as every quarter, six months, or year

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy vs. business plan

In researching what a marketing plan is, you may come across the related concepts of marketing strategy and business plan. Think of all three as written roadmaps for developing your business. You’ll find similarities among them, including your business objectives and information on your target market, but there are some important differences to know as you build these roadmaps, as we’ve laid out in the chart below. 

Review these roadmaps periodically to measure the success of your marketing and business efforts. 

How to create a marketing plan 

The following sections describe the components of a solid marketing plan and the steps to building each one. Develop each section in the order listed, and use insights from each section to guide your process in the ones that follow. Once you complete all of the sections, review your entire plan for areas that need refining. 

1. Executive summary

Here, you will write a short summary, usually no longer than a few paragraphs, to introduce the sections that follow. In a few paragraphs, orient readers to the following:

General information about the business, such as its mission, past accomplishments and setbacks, and brand identity

Information specific to the marketing campaign driving this plan and how it will advance or improve upon past marketing efforts 

You might choose to compose this section last, after you’ve written and refined the marketing plan as a whole. 

2. Marketing campaign goals 

Borrowing from your marketing strategy and business plan, state the marketing campaign's goals with specificity and data-driven metrics. For example:

 Specify “get more email subscribers” as “increase email subscribers by 50 percent by next quarter.” 

“Generate more online purchases” could be specified as “Drive traffic from paid Facebook ads to a sales page and increase the site’s conversion rate from 2 percent to 5 percent.”

3. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are the specific metrics you’ll monitor to measure the success of your marketing efforts. It’s important to determine KPIs so that you can continually optimize your tactics, reduce inefficiencies, and steer your marketing campaign toward success.  

KPI examples include:

 The number of website visitors

The number of new email subscribers

The number of event registrants 

The rate of converting leads into customers

Sales revenue figures

4. Buyer personas 

Refer to your marketing strategy and business plan to crystalize target market insights into detailed buyer personas. You can think of a buyer persona as a fictional character that you create based on your existing customers and extensive market research. Building clear buyer personas helps to focus your marketing efforts and drive campaign results. 

Answer these questions to get started:

What is this persona’s demographic profile, including age, income, location, occupation, etc? 

Where do they go to find information? 

What keywords do they use to search?

How do they prefer to purchase products and services?

At what times of the day are they most likely active on social media or other marketing channels, online or offline?

What words, phrases, and questions do they use to describe their challenges and goals?

Use answers to tailor every detail of your marketing campaign to your buyer persona and guide potential customers toward an action, such as subscribing to your email list or making a purchase.

5. Competitor analysis 

Refer again to your marketing strategy and business plan to extract key information about how competing brands are reaching customers in your target market. Then, examine competitors’ marketing strategies in more detail.

Here are three ways to generate marketing-specific information about competitors:

Use SEO tools like SEMRush to discover how your competitors are leveraging popular keywords, content, and ad copy to attract an audience.

Study competitors’ social media accounts and note the content they post to engage followers. 

Subscribe to competitors’ email lists to learn how they market and sell to potential leads right in their inboxes. 

6. Action plan 

Your campaign’s action plan should include the specific tactics and methods you’ll use to market your products and services to potential customers. 

Include the following information in your action plan:  

The campaign budget and target date of completion

Key milestones you need to pass on your way to achieving the goals 

The marketing channels you will use, offline and online 

The kinds of content you will create and your schedule for delivering it

Organic and paid marketing activities

7. Method of analyzing results 

Your marketing plan should describe how you will monitor KPIs and analyze your campaign results at each milestone. That way, you can find out what’s working and what’s not and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Be sure to set up analytic tools for each of your marketing channels, including your social media accounts, email system, website and landing pages, and event registration pages. Set calendar alerts based on your action plan for reviewing KPIs.

Which channels see the most traffic?

Which channels are converting at the highest rates? 

How are individual pieces of content performing?

How efficiently is your budget performing?

Which metrics are improving, staying the same, or declining over time? 

Marketing plan key takeaways

Remember: Having a solid marketing plan can make it possible to allocate your marketing budget effectively and streamline your marketing activities. By following the seven steps above, you may be able to see improvements in your marketing efforts, from attracting more ideal customers to inspiring them to take action. 

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2.2 Components of the Strategic Planning Process

Learning objectives.

  • Explain how a mission statement helps a company with its strategic planning.
  • Describe how a firm analyzes its internal environment.
  • Describe the external environment a firm may face and how it is analyzed.

Strategic planning is a process that helps an organization allocate its resources to capitalize on opportunities in the marketplace. Typically, it is a long-term process. The strategic planning process includes conducting a situation analysis and developing the organization’s mission statement, objectives, value proposition, and strategies. Figure 2.2 “The Strategic Planning Process” shows the components of the strategic planning process. Let’s now look at each of these components.

Figure 2.2 The Strategic Planning Process

The Strategic Planning Process

Conducting a Situation Analysis

As part of the strategic planning process, a situation analysis must be conducted before a company can decide on specific actions. A situation analysis involves analyzing both the external (macro and micro factors outside the organization) and the internal (company) environments. Figure 2.2 “The Strategic Planning Process” and Figure 2.3 “Elements of a SWOT Analysis” show examples of internal and external factors and in a SWOT analysis. The firm’s internal environment—such as its financial resources, technological resources, and the capabilities of its personnel and their performance—has to be examined. It is also critical to examine the external macro and micro environments the firm faces, such as the economy and its competitors. The external environment significantly affects the decisions a firm makes, and thus must be continuously evaluated. For example, during the economic downturn in 2008–2009, businesses found that many competitors cut the prices of their products drastically. Other companies reduced package sizes or the amount of product in packages. Firms also offered customers incentives (free shipping, free gift cards with purchase, rebates, etc.) to purchase their goods and services online, which allowed businesses to cut back on the personnel needed to staff their brick-and-mortar stores. While a business cannot control things such as the economy, changes in demographic trends, or what competitors do, it must decide what actions to take to remain competitive—actions that depend in part on their internal environment.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

Based on the situation analysis, organizations analyze their s trengths, w eaknesses, o pportunities, and t hreats, or conduct what’s called a SWOT analysis . Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors and are somewhat controllable. For example, an organization’s strengths might include its brand name, efficient distribution network, reputation for great service, and strong financial position. A firm’s weaknesses might include lack of awareness of its products in the marketplace, a lack of human resources talent, and a poor location. Opportunities and threats are factors that are external to the firm and largely uncontrollable. Opportunities might entail the international demand for the type of products the firm makes, few competitors, and favorable social trends such as people living longer. Threats might include a bad economy, high interest rates that increase a firm’s borrowing costs, and an aging population that makes it hard for the business to find workers.

You can conduct a SWOT analysis of yourself to help determine your competitive advantage. Perhaps your strengths include strong leadership abilities and communication skills, whereas your weaknesses include a lack of organization. Opportunities for you might exist in specific careers and industries; however, the economy and other people competing for the same position might be threats. Moreover, a factor that is a strength for one person (say, strong accounting skills) might be a weakness for another person (poor accounting skills). The same is true for businesses. See Figure 2.3 “Elements of a SWOT Analysis” for an illustration of some of the factors examined in a SWOT analysis.

Figure 2.3 Elements of a SWOT Analysis

Elements of SWOT analysis

The easiest way to determine if a factor is external or internal is to take away the company, organization, or individual and see if the factor still exists. Internal factors such as strengths and weaknesses are specific to a company or individual, whereas external factors such as opportunities and threats affect multiple individuals and organizations in the marketplace. For example, if you are doing a situation analysis on PepsiCo and are looking at the weak economy, take PepsiCo out of the picture and see what factors remain. If the factor—the weak economy—is still there, it is an external factor. Even if PepsiCo hadn’t been around in 2008–2009, the weak economy reduced consumer spending and affected a lot of companies.

Assessing the Internal Environment

As we have indicated, when an organization evaluates which factors are its strengths and weaknesses, it is assessing its internal environment. Once companies determine their strengths, they can use those strengths to capitalize on opportunities and develop their competitive advantage. For example, strengths for PepsiCo are what are called “mega” brands, or brands that individually generate over $1 billion in sales 1 . These brands are also designed to contribute to PepsiCo’s environmental and social responsibilities.

PepsiCo’s brand awareness, profitability, and strong presence in global markets are also strengths. Especially in foreign markets, the loyalty of a firm’s employees can be a major strength, which can provide it with a competitive advantage. Loyal and knowledgeable employees are easier to train and tend to develop better relationships with customers. This helps organizations pursue more opportunities.

Although the brand awareness for PepsiCo’s products is strong, smaller companies often struggle with weaknesses such as low brand awareness, low financial reserves, and poor locations. When organizations assess their internal environments, they must look at factors such as performance and costs as well as brand awareness and location. Managers need to examine both the past and current strategies of their firms and determine what strategies succeeded and which ones failed. This helps a company plan its future actions and improves the odds they will be successful. For example, a company might look at packaging that worked very well for a product and use the same type of packaging for new products. Firms may also look at customers’ reactions to changes in products, including packaging, to see what works and doesn’t work. When PepsiCo changed the packaging of major brands in 2008, customers had mixed responses. Tropicana switched from the familiar orange with the straw in it to a new package and customers did not like it. As a result, Tropicana changed back to their familiar orange with a straw after spending $35 million for the new package design.

Tropicana’s Recent Ad

(click to see video)

Tropicana’s recent ad left out the familiar orange with a straw.

Individuals are also wise to look at the strategies they have tried in the past to see which ones failed and which ones succeeded. Have you ever done poorly on an exam? Was it the instructor’s fault, the strategy you used to study, or did you decide not to study? See which strategies work best for you and perhaps try the same type of strategies for future exams. If a strategy did not work, see what went wrong and change it. Doing so is similar to what organizations do when they analyze their internal environments.

Assessing the External Environment

Analyzing the external environment involves tracking conditions in the macro and micro marketplace that, although largely uncontrollable, affect the way an organization does business. The macro environment includes economic factors, demographic trends, cultural and social trends, political and legal regulations, technological changes, and the price and availability of natural resources. Each factor in the macro environment is discussed separately in the next section. The micro environment includes competition, suppliers, marketing intermediaries (retailers, wholesalers), the public, the company, and customers. We focus on competition in our discussion of the external environment in the chapter. Customers, including the public will be the focus of Chapter 3 “Consumer Behavior: How People Make Buying Decisions” and marketing intermediaries and suppliers will be discussed in Chapter 8 “Using Marketing Channels to Create Value for Customers” and Chapter 9 “Using Supply Chains to Create Value for Customers” .

When firms globalize, analyzing the environment becomes more complex because they must examine the external environment in each country in which they do business. Regulations, competitors, technological development, and the economy may be different in each country and will affect how firms do business. To see how factors in the external environment such as technology may change education and lives of people around the world, watch the videos “Did You Know 2.0?” and “Did You Know 3.0?” which provide information on social media sites compared to populations in the world. Originally created in 2006 and revised in 2007, the video has been updated and translated into other languages. Another edition of “Did You Know?” (4.0) focused on changing media and technology and showed how information may change the world as well as the way people communicate and conduct business.

Did You Know 2.0?

To see how the external environment and world are changing and in turn affecting marketing strategies, check out “Did You Know 2.0?”

Did You Know 4.0?

To see how fast things change and the impact of technology and social media, visit “Did You Know 4.0?”

Although the external environment affects all organizations, companies must focus on factors that are relevant for their operations. For example, government regulations on food packaging will affect PepsiCo but not Goodyear. Similarly, students getting a business degree don’t need to focus on job opportunities for registered nurses.

The Competitive Environment

All organizations must consider their competition, whether it is direct or indirect competition vying for the consumer’s dollar. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations compete for customers’ resources. Coke and Pepsi are direct competitors in the soft drink industry, Hilton and Sheraton are competitors in the hospitality industry, and organizations such as United Way and the American Cancer Society compete for resources in the nonprofit sector. However, hotels must also consider other options that people have when selecting a place to stay, such as hostels, dorms, bed and breakfasts, or rental homes.

A group of competitors that provide similar products or services form an industry. Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard University and a leading authority on competitive strategy, developed an approach for analyzing industries. Called the five forces model (Porter, 1980) and shown in Figure 2.5 “Five Forces Model” , the framework helps organizations understand their current competitors as well as organizations that could become competitors in the future. As such, firms can find the best way to defend their position in the industry.

Figure 2.5 Five Forces Model (Porter, 1980)

Five Forces Model

Competitive Analysis

When a firm conducts a competitive analysis, they tend to focus on direct competitors and try to determine a firm’s strengths and weaknesses, its image, and its resources. Doing so helps the firm figure out how much money a competitor may be able to spend on things such as research, new product development, promotion, and new locations. Competitive analysis involves looking at any information (annual reports, financial statements, news stories, observation details obtained on visits, etc.) available on competitors. Another means of collecting competitive information utilizes mystery shoppers , or people who act like customers. Mystery shoppers might visit competitors to learn about their customer service and their products. Imagine going to a competitor’s restaurant and studying the menu and the prices and watching customers to see what items are popular and then changing your menu to better compete. Competitors battle for the customer’s dollar and they must know what other firms are doing. Individuals and teams also compete for jobs, titles, and prizes and must figure out the competitors’ weaknesses and plans in order to take advantage of their strengths and have a better chance of winning.

According to Porter, in addition to their direct competitors (competitive rivals), organizations must consider the strength and impact the following could have (Porter, 1980):

  • Substitute products
  • Potential entrants (new competitors) in the marketplace
  • The bargaining power of suppliers
  • The bargaining power of buyers

When any of these factors change, companies may have to respond by changing their strategies. For example, because buyers are consuming fewer soft drinks these days, companies such as Coke and Pepsi have had to develop new, substitute offerings such as vitamin water and sports drinks. However, other companies such as Dannon or Nestlé may also be potential entrants in the flavored water market. When you select a hamburger fast-food chain, you also had the option of substitutes such as getting food at the grocery or going to a pizza place. When computers entered the market, they were a substitute for typewriters. Most students may not have ever used a typewriter, but some consumers still use typewriters for forms and letters.

Smith Corona Classic 12 typewriter

When personal computers were first invented, they were a serious threat to typewriter makers such as Smith Corona.

mpclemens – Smith-Corona Classic 12 – CC BY 2.0.

Suppliers, the companies that supply ingredients as well as packaging materials to other companies, must also be considered. If a company cannot get the supplies it needs, it’s in trouble. Also, sometimes suppliers see how lucrative their customers’ markets are and decide to enter them. Buyers, who are the focus of marketing and strategic plans, must also be considered because they have bargaining power and must be satisfied. If a buyer is large enough, and doesn’t purchase a product or service, it can affect a selling company’s performance. Walmart, for instance, is a buyer with a great deal of bargaining power. Firms that do business with Walmart must be prepared to make concessions to them if they want their products on the company’s store shelves.

Lastly, the world is becoming “smaller” and a more of a global marketplace. Companies everywhere are finding that no matter what they make, numerous firms around the world are producing the same “widget” or a similar offering (substitute) and are eager to compete with them. Employees are in the same position. The Internet has made it easier than ever for customers to find products and services and for workers to find the best jobs available, even if they are abroad. Companies are also acquiring foreign firms. These factors all have an effect on the strategic decisions companies make.

The Political and Legal Environment

All organizations must comply with government regulations and understand the political and legal environments in which they do business. Different government agencies enforce the numerous regulations that have been established to protect both consumers and businesses. For example, the Sherman Act (1890) prohibits U.S. firms from restraining trade by creating monopolies and cartels. The regulations related to the act are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which also regulates deceptive advertising. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the labeling of consumable products, such as food and medicine. One organization that has been extremely busy is the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the group that sets safety standards for consumer products. Unsafe baby formula and toys with lead paint caused a big scare among consumers in 2008 and 2009.

Sarge car toy (made with lead paint)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits companies from using unacceptable levels of lead in toys and other household objects, such as utensils and furniture. Mattel voluntarily recalled Sarge cars made in mid-2000.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – public domain.

As we have explained, when organizations conduct business in multiple markets, they must understand that regulations vary across countries and across states. Many states and countries have different laws that affect strategy. For example, suppose you are opening up a new factory because you cannot keep up with the demand for your products. If you are considering opening the factory in France (perhaps because the demand in Europe for your product is strong), you need to know that it is illegal for employees in that country to work more than thirty-five hours per week.

The Economic Environment

The economy has a major impact on spending by both consumers and businesses, which, in turn, affects the goals and strategies of organizations. Economic factors include variables such as inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and whether the economy is in a growth period or a recession. Inflation occurs when the cost of living continues to rise, eroding the purchasing power of money. When this happens, you and other consumers and businesses need more money to purchase goods and services. Interest rates often rise when inflation rises. Recessions can also occur when inflation rises because higher prices sometimes cause low or negative growth in the economy.

During a recessionary period, it is possible for both high-end and low-end products to sell well. Consumers who can afford luxury goods may continue to buy them, while consumers with lower incomes tend to become more value conscious. Other goods and services, such as products sold in traditional department stores, may suffer. In the face of a severe economic downturn, even the sales of luxury goods can suffer. The economic downturn that began in 2008 affected consumers and businesses at all levels worldwide. Consumers reduced their spending, holiday sales dropped, financial institutions went bankrupt, the mortgage industry collapsed, and the “Big Three” U.S. auto manufacturers (Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors) asked for emergency loans.

The demographic and social and cultural environments—including social trends, such as people’s attitudes toward fitness and nutrition; demographic characteristics, such as people’s age, income, marital status, education, and occupation; and culture, which relates to people’s beliefs and values—are constantly changing in the global marketplace. Fitness, nutrition, and health trends affect the product offerings of many firms. For example, PepsiCo produces vitamin water and sports drinks. More women are working, which has led to a rise in the demand for services such as house cleaning and daycare. U.S. baby boomers are reaching retirement age, sending their children to college, and trying to care of their elderly parents all at the same time. Firms are responding to the time constraints their buyers face by creating products that are more convenient, such as frozen meals and nutritious snacks.

The composition of the population is also constantly changing. Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority in the United States. Consumers in this group and other diverse groups prefer different types of products and brands. In many cities, stores cater specifically to Hispanic customers.

The technology available in the world is changing the way people communicate and the way firms do business. Everyone is affected by technological changes. Self-scanners and video displays at stores, ATMs, the Internet, and mobile phones are a few examples of how technology is affecting businesses and consumers. Many consumers get information, read the news, use text messaging, and shop online. As a result, marketers have begun allocating more of their promotion budgets to online ads and mobile marketing and not just to traditional print media such as newspapers and magazines. Applications for telephones and electronic devices are changing the way people obtain information and shop, allowing customers to comparison shop without having to visit multiple stores. As you saw in “Did You Know 4.0?” technology and social media are changing people’s lives. Many young people may rely more on electronic books, magazines, and newspapers and depend on mobile devices for most of their information needs. Organizations must adapt to new technologies in order to succeed.

iPhone banking app, and a laser id bar code

Technology changes the way we do business. Banking on a cell phone adds convenience for customers. Bar codes on merchandise speed the checkout process.

first direct – first direct Banking ‘on the go’ iPhone App – front – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0; Paul Domenick – Lasered – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Natural Resources

Natural resources are scarce commodities, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of this fact. Today, many firms are doing more to engage in “sustainable” practices that help protect the environment and conserve natural resources. Green marketing involves marketing environmentally safe products and services in a way that is good for the environment. Water shortages often occur in the summer months, so many restaurants now only serve patrons water upon request. Hotels voluntarily conserve water by not washing guests’ sheets and towels every day unless they request it. Reusing packages (refillable containers) and reducing the amount of packaging, paper, energy, and water in the production of goods and services are becoming key considerations for many organizations, whether they sell their products to other businesses or to final users (consumers). Construction companies are using more energy efficient materials and often have to comply with green building solutions. Green marketing not only helps the environment but also saves the company, and ultimately the consumer, money. Sustainability, ethics (doing the right things), and social responsibility (helping society, communities, and other people) influence an organization’s planning process and the strategies they implement.

Although environmental conditions change and must be monitored continuously, the situation analysis is a critical input to an organization’s or an individual’s strategic plan. Let’s look at the other components of the strategic planning process.

The Mission Statement

The firm’s mission statement states the purpose of the organization and why it exists. Both profit and nonprofit organizations have mission statements, which they often publicize. The following are examples of mission statements:

PepsiCo’s Mission Statement “Our mission is to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages. We seek to produce financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners and the communities in which we operate. And in everything we do, we strive for honesty, fairness and integrity 2 .” The United Way’s Mission Statement “To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities 3 .”

Sometimes SBUs develop separate mission statements. For example, PepsiCo Americas Beverages, PepsiCo Americas Foods, and PepsiCo International might each develop a different mission statement.

Key Takeaway

A firm must analyze factors in the external and internal environments it faces throughout the strategic planning process. These factors are inputs to the planning process. As they change, the company must be prepared to adjust its plans. Different factors are relevant for different companies. Once a company has analyzed its internal and external environments, managers can begin to decide which strategies are best, given the firm’s mission statement.

Review Questions

  • What factors in the external environment are affecting the “Big Three” U.S. automobile manufacturers?
  • What are some examples of Walmart’s strengths?
  • Suppose you work for a major hotel chain. Using Porter’s five forces model, explain what you need to consider with regard to each force.

1 PepsiCo, Inc., “PepsiCo Brands,” http://www.pepsico.com/Company/Our-Brands.html (accessed December 7, 2009).

2 PepsiCo, Inc., “Our Mission and Vision,” http://www.pepsico.com/Company/Our-Mission-and-Vision.html (accessed December 7, 2009).

3 United Way Worldwide, “Mission and Vision,” http://www.liveunited.org/about/missvis.cfm (accessed December 7, 2009).

Principles of Marketing Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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marketing strategy

How to Create a Winning Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps (with Examples)


  • 137 Organic traffic
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The number of websites linking to this post.

This post's estimated monthly organic search traffic.

Having a marketing strategy is more crucial than ever. We’re swamped with new technologies, growth hacks, and “must-try” marketing tactics . A solid marketing strategy will help you to focus on things that really matter and execute them properly.

Let me repeat that in other words.

A marketing strategy helps you choose the right marketing tactics, like promoting your blog posts or creating an affiliate program. I need to make the distinction between strategy and tactics clear because you’ll often see people using these interchangeably.

marketing strategy planning process model

In this article, you’ll learn how to develop a winning marketing strategy in five steps:

  • Have your market research data ready
  • Decide which segments you’ll target
  • Appeal to your target market with proper positioning
  • Choose a few brand codes to become distinctive
  • Set strategic objectives for the year ahead

Let’s dive into it.

1. Have your market research data ready

It’s crucial to build your marketing strategy on data, not assumptions. You’re probably not developing and launching a product into the marketplace without market research —or at least you shouldn’t be.

Market research is an essential part of marketing and a topic on its own. I won’t go too deep into this, but I’ll provide options to get the needed data. Remember that even cheap, quick, and imperfect market research is better than no research at all.

Here’s what you should have before developing a marketing strategy:

  • Qualitative market data
  • Quantitative market data
  • Market segmentation
  • Competitive analysis

Feel free to go with what you deem enough at the moment. You can always come back to the research if you lack data for setting up the strategy. I’m aware that getting all the data right away is off-the-table for many new businesses.

a) Qualitative market data

Qualitative data tells you the “why” behind all your market research numbers. It’s essential for understanding your consumers as it digs into their views, experiences, motivations, and feelings.

Traditionally, the best way to get such data would be via focus groups and interviews.

Focus groups typically consist of five to ten people that represent your potential customers. The group should be moderated by a professional who knows which questions to ask and how to get reliable and in-depth insights. It’s a great option to get the data but not the cheapest in terms of money and time.

On the other hand, I would suggest you go out and interview your (potential) customers in any situation. Even better, observe them in places your product is purchased, consumed, or discussed. Take notes on this unfiltered and unbiased information. If you have a SaaS product, you can also record and analyze sessions  of your users.

Here’s an example excerpt from an interview-style survey we did with our customers a while back:

marketing strategy planning process model

If you want to get some free and solid qualitative data quickly, look into how people talk about yours and competing products on social media, forums, Slack channels, and other online communities . It’s less reliable than conducting in-person interviews, but it’s still a fantastic qualitative data source.

Here’s an example of a quick search on Reddit for SEO tool discussions where our product almost always gets discussed:

marketing strategy planning process model

b) Quantitative market data

Quantitative market data provides measurable information about your market. It answers “what, who, how much, and how many” questions to complement the “why” questions from qualitative data. The best and most used method for getting such data is conducting surveys.

You’ve likely filled customer surveys in various forms in the past. With the ability to conduct easy and scalable online surveys  these days, there’s really no excuse not to do them.

If you already have a solid customer base, email list, or social media following, distributing surveys is easy.

There are three things you need to pay attention to when creating a survey:

  • Make sure that you either distribute it to people who qualify as your potential customers or add survey questions to qualify them as such.

marketing strategy planning process model

  • Ask the right questions. I’ll expand on this.

You should always know why you’re asking a specific question in the survey. Generally speaking, you’ll want to know this about the market:

  • Demographic data like age or income.
  • Attitudinal data, like if they agree/disagree with certain statements relevant to your niche. An example of this would be the following question using the Likert scale:

marketing strategy planning process model

  • Behavioral data about consumers’ preferences and satisfaction.

If you have the budget, you can hire an agency to conduct a survey on your behalf or buy consumer reports from research and advisory companies like Forrester. If not, it’s worth spending a little time Googling marketing research reports because some might be available for free.

c) Market segmentation

Your goal here is to create a grid that divides the whole market into customer segments that share behavioral traits like product needs. If those segments also share demographic data like age or income brackets, even better, but that doesn’t happen too often.

This is already an application of the data gathered in the previous steps.

Here’s what proper market segmentation might look like for an email marketing service provider:

marketing strategy planning process model

Note that this example isn’t based on any proper research or actual numbers. It’s here for you to understand the logic behind it.

As you can see, each segment should be described by:

  • A fitting name describing their common behavioral trait and/or product needs
  • Size of the segment (people or companies)
  • Annual value of the segment
  • Your current market share in the segment

The most challenging part of segmentation is coming up with the grid itself. In other words, by which behavioral traits do you divide the market? You should get the best answers for this in your previous data research.

Don’t worry about data accuracy here. Use the data you have about the market, extrapolate from your representative samples in your quantitative research, and make a few guesses. These estimations are good enough for you to decide which segments you’ll want to target.

We’ll come back to your segments in the targeting part.

d) Competitive analysis

You’ll use competitive analysis in every step of developing your marketing strategy. While you’ll inevitably learn about competitors in your data research, it’s crucial to create a standalone overview of the competitor landscape.

A competitive analysis consists of these eight steps:

  • Find your competitors
  • Get background information
  • Analyze competitors’ products and services
  • Get familiar with their targeting and positioning
  • Discover competitors’ distribution channels
  • Dive into communication strategies
  • Do some ghost shopping
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis

Here’s a mockup of the SWOT analysis outcome for a fictional email marketing service provider:

marketing strategy planning process model

This is from my competitive analysis guide , which includes a template to help you get this done efficiently. Go check it out if you haven’t done this analysis yet.

2. Decide which segments you’ll target

The second step in developing a marketing strategy is to decide which segments of the market you’ll go after. Or perhaps I should say which segments you’ll ignore as deciding what not to do is often the more important choice.

But first, let me explain the difference between terms that we marketers tend to use interchangeably:

  • Target segment  - a specific market segment you decide to go after.
  • Target market - all your target segments combined, they buy and use the products in the category.
  • Target audience  - everyone who resonates with your marketing communications regardless of whether they buy the products. For example, technology fans likely belong to the target audience of Tesla, but only a few of them will ever buy the car.

marketing strategy planning process model

If you’ve done a good job with your segmentation, your target segments tend to be pretty obvious and easy to choose.

To choose your target segments, ask yourself these six questions:

  • Does your product align with what the segment wants?
  • Does it bring you the most value if you increase your market share there?
  • Do you have the sales and marketing resources to increase your market share there?
  • How difficult is it going to be to increase your market share there?
  • Does this segment influence any other segments? If so, how?
  • What are the trade-offs if you shift your focus on new segments?

Your ideal target segments are those where you can make the most money given the resources available.

Keep in mind that some segments might influence the buying behavior of other segments. Those can be influential people in B2C or leading companies in your industry in B2B. Consider this spill-over value as well:

marketing strategy planning process model

As you can see from my market segmentation example, two relatively small segments influence the buying behavior of a much larger segment. If you decided to go after the “pro small senders” and “pro big senders” segments, you’d get new customers from the “influenced small senders” segment without ever targeting it.

Regarding the last question about trade-offs, you also have to consider that some of your current customers will inevitably leave for competitors. If you decide to shift your focus and resources elsewhere, it will be easier for your competitors to poach those customers from you.

Most importantly, keep in mind that targeting everyone is rarely the best strategy. Answering those six questions should make it obvious.

3. Appeal to your target market with proper positioning

Positioning is how your target market should perceive your brand. It’s the intended brand image that consists of associations people have with your brand and products. Positioning allows you to differentiate from your competitors, and in some cases, even influence how the target market perceives your competitors.

For example, there’s a lot in this message:

marketing strategy planning process model

‘Burger King vs. McDonalds’ and ‘Apple vs. Microsoft’ are just famous examples of using the “versus” positioning type. You can easily do this from the position of the smaller player too:

marketing strategy planning process model

But you don’t always need to pick a fight. First, it’s not necessary to succeed, and second, you’ll sometimes be walking on thin ice that may lead to bad publicity:

marketing strategy planning process model

This is from Techradar’s reaction  to Wix’s campaign where they positioned themselves against WordPress. A lot of marketing and web development influencers were not impressed either:

So wix sent dozens of people super expensive headphones, pretending they are from WordPress, with a personalized video warning me about their new anti-WP campaign. I still like WordPress though and it seems most of the WP community is having a good laugh. Thanks @WordPress 😆 pic.twitter.com/llpH7gNfvC — Wes Bos (@wesbos) April 6, 2021

The thing is that you can succeed by focusing on your brand and products only.

The power of positioning lies in consistently communicating the few associations throughout all of your marketing channels. If you fail to do this, the market will do the positioning job for you. That will seldom align with your desired brand image.

So how do you come up with the key attributes that define your communication?

Dive into three Cs of positioning to come up with the right message

When you think about positioning, you need to take into account these three aspects of it, also known as 3 Cs of positioning:

  • Competitors

Well, you should know your own company. The rest lies in your market research data again.

Put all the data together and come up with messages that are:

  • Relevant - does the target segment care?
  • Clear - will they get it?
  • Authentic - will they believe it?
  • Unique - does it stand out from your competitors?
  • Achievable - can you deliver what you claim?
  • Sustainable - can you maintain that position indefinitely?

While this process seems easy on paper, it requires a lot of thinking and vetting of ideas.

For example, we don’t have a slogan, but we make sure to highlight these attributes throughout our communications:

  • Being the best all-in-one SEO product
  • Ease of use
  • Makes you better at marketing and SEO

Our homepage  immediately tells you what we do and how you can benefit from that:

marketing strategy planning process model

The SEO industry knows us for being a product-led company that continues to grow fast without a sales team, and we don’t shy away from emphasizing this position—often in somewhat unique ways:

marketing strategy planning process model

You need to come up with something impactful and not some over-glorified brand purposes or missions that mean nothing to the brand or its customers. Starbucks is a bad example of this, in my opinion:

marketing strategy planning process model

I’m sure that everyone buying an overpriced, average coffee thinks about how it inspires and nurtures their spirit…

You can tell I’m not a Starbucks fan, but even I can think of two better attributes that they could focus on instead—their availability and convenience. It’s somehow implied in the mission statement, but the focus lies elsewhere.

Have a position for each target segment

If you target multiple segments with different behaviors and needs, you’ll need to make sure that you communicate what they care about.

For example, SEO professionals, marketers, and even ‘regular’ website owners all use our product. But their needs are very different. Our positioning attributes work regardless of target segments, but we certainly need to adjust the nitty-gritty separately.

We reflect that on pages where different segments are likely to land.

We target the biggest segment, website owners, on our freemium product page . The copy is written for SEO beginners:

marketing strategy planning process model

It also utilizes the “versus” positioning type:

marketing strategy planning process model

On the other hand, our product page for Site Audit  targets more seasoned marketers and SEOs:

marketing strategy planning process model

Here’s the interesting thing about this: Site Audit is a core tool in the freemium product. We’re simply addressing the same thing from two very different angles.

4. Choose a few brand codes to become distinctive

A brand code, aka distinctive asset, is anything that you use consistently in your communications. You can think about it as your sidekick to positioning.

The most common brand code is your logo and visual style. But that’s about it for most brands. It’s not enough to stand out and be distinctive in the mind of your target audience.

Your ultimate goal should be that your target audience recognizes your brand even without showing any logos:

Your brand codes should be unique, which makes you distinctive, and ideally famous, which enables your existing audience to connect the dots easily.

At Ahrefs, besides our logo and the color blue, we also have two more brand codes. The first is our custom font:

marketing strategy planning process model

The second is our bearded guy mascot, often accompanied by a corgi:

marketing strategy planning process model

There are no limits to your creativity. All that matters is that you choose something you want your brand to be associated with and use it consistently.

More examples of brand codes include your own emojis, gifs, unique words, taglines, or even the style you advertise. Just think about Mastercard’s “priceless” campaigns.

You can stand out by focusing on non-visual things too. We all know McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it jingle  as an example of an auditory brand code. But you can even have your own smell, as is the case for some hotels and luxury brands.

5. Set strategic objectives for the year ahead

You need clearly defined marketing objectives  to guide your marketing efforts and provide benchmarks for evaluation. It’s all that’s left to do for your strategy now.

Your marketing objectives should align with the widely-used SMART criteria:

  • Specific  - clearly stating the desirable outcome, answers “who, what, when, how much, …”
  • Measurable  - you must be able to track progress with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Achievable  - be bold with your goals, but also realistic; use current growth as a benchmark.
  • Relevant - does the objective align with your overall marketing and business strategy?
  • Timely  - set up a time frame for achieving the goal.

An example of such objective could be:

Grow Ahrefs Webmaster Tools’ verified global user base from 100,000 to 500,000 by the end of 2021.

You should have one or two marketing objectives for each of your target segments for the year ahead. That would be a part of your marketing plan .

Strive for a combination of short and long-term objectives. In other words, have objectives that directly translate into more profit and others that help with brand building.

As a general rule, the ideal balance between marketing spend on sales uplift, and brand building is roughly 40:60. It’s one of the most important marketing concepts to keep in mind.

marketing strategy planning process model

There’s an entire publication  dedicated to this concept. The key takeaway is that brand building is proven to be the primary driver of long-term growth and success.

Here’s an example of a marketing objective with a brand-building KPI :

Increase brand awareness among webmasters in the US from 25% to 40% by the end of 2021.
  • Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them Right (with Examples)
  • 7 Marketing KPIs Actually Worth Tracking
  • Planning for marketing planning: 14 steps to an effective presentation

Final thoughts

If you even remotely follow these steps to develop a viable marketing strategy, you’ll be better off than most marketers. Our industry seems somewhat fixated on pushing enticing “must-try” tactics as strategies. We can do better than that.

Look, if you come across a new cool marketing tactic  and it aligns with your strategy, sure, go ahead, give it a shot. But you’ll often find that it’s better to stick with your guns.

Even though creating a marketing strategy is around a third of what marketing entails—along with research and tactics— its output should be brief and easy to understand. It might take you weeks or even months to develop a great strategy, but you can distill that into a shortlist of target segments, positions, brand codes, and objectives.

Put simply: doing the research and strategy work sets you up for long-term success. Just revisit it once a year because your business, segments, competitors, and market dynamics evolve. Planning your marketing for the year ahead is also better with fresh data.

I need to give credit where credit is due.

Even though I studied marketing and have experience from strategic marketing positions, it was these four marketing masterminds who shaped my current marketing views the most:

Mark Ritson  - marketing professor, brand consultant, columnist, Mini MBA in Marketing  lecturer

Byron Sharp  - marketing professor and researcher, author of How Brands Grow

Peter Field  & Les Binet  - marketing effectiveness experts, authors of The Long and the Short of it: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies

This guide hugely drew inspiration from their articles, books, lectures, and talks I’ve studied over the years. If you want to become a better marketer who uses practices based on actual research, follow them and study their work.

Do you have any questions or remarks? Ping me on Twitter .

marketing strategy planning process model

  • 1.1 Marketing and the Marketing Process
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • In the Spotlight
  • 1.2 The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing
  • 1.3 Factors Comprising and Affecting the Marketing Environment
  • 1.4 Evolution of the Marketing Concept
  • 1.5 Determining Consumer Needs and Wants
  • 1.6 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • 1.7 Ethical Marketing
  • Chapter Summary
  • Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
  • Critical Thinking Exercises
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • What Do Marketers Do?
  • Marketing Plan Exercise
  • Closing Company Case
  • 2.1 Developing a Strategic Plan
  • 2.2 The Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process
  • 2.3 Purpose and Structure of the Marketing Plan
  • 2.4 Marketing Plan Progress Using Metrics
  • 2.5 Ethical Issues in Developing a Marketing Strategy
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 3.1 Understanding Consumer Markets and Buying Behavior
  • 3.2 Factors That Influence Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 3.3 The Consumer Purchasing Decision Process
  • 3.4 Ethical Issues in Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 4.1 The Business-to-Business (B2B) Market
  • 4.2 Buyers and Buying Situations in a B2B Market
  • 4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior
  • 4.4 Stages in the B2B Buying Process
  • 4.5 Ethical Issues in B2B Marketing
  • 5.1 Market Segmentation and Consumer Markets
  • 5.2 Segmentation of B2B Markets
  • 5.3 Segmentation of International Markets
  • 5.4 Essential Factors in Effective Market Segmentation
  • 5.5 Selecting Target Markets
  • 5.6 Product Positioning
  • 5.7 Ethical Concerns and Target Marketing
  • 6.1 Marketing Research and Big Data
  • 6.2 Sources of Marketing Information
  • 6.3 Steps in a Successful Marketing Research Plan
  • 6.4 Ethical Issues in Marketing Research
  • 7.1 The Global Market and Advantages of International Trade
  • 7.2 Assessment of Global Markets for Opportunities
  • 7.3 Entering the Global Arena
  • 7.4 Marketing in a Global Environment
  • 7.5 Ethical Issues in the Global Marketplace
  • 8.1 Strategic Marketing: Standardization versus Adaptation
  • 8.2 Diversity and Inclusion Marketing
  • 8.3 Multicultural Marketing
  • 8.4 Marketing to Hispanic, Black, and Asian Consumers
  • 8.5 Marketing to Sociodemographic Groups
  • 8.6 Ethical Issues in Diversity Marketing
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 9.1 Products, Services, and Experiences
  • 9.2 Product Items, Product Lines, and Product Mixes
  • 9.3 The Product Life Cycle
  • 9.4 Marketing Strategies at Each Stage of the Product Life Cycle
  • 9.5 Branding and Brand Development
  • 9.6 Forms of Brand Development, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Metrics
  • 9.7 Creating Value through Packaging and Labeling
  • 9.8 Environmental Concerns Regarding Packaging
  • 9.9 Ethical Issues in Packaging
  • 10.1 New Products from a Customer’s Perspective
  • 10.2 Stages of the New Product Development Process
  • 10.3 The Use of Metrics in Evaluating New Products
  • 10.4 Factors Contributing to the Success or Failure of New Products
  • 10.5 Stages in the Consumer Adoption Process for New Products
  • 10.6 Ethical Considerations in New Product Development
  • 11.1 Classification of Services
  • 11.2 The Service-Profit Chain Model and the Service Marketing Triangle
  • 11.3 The Gap Model of Service Quality
  • 11.4 Ethical Considerations in Providing Services
  • 12.1 Pricing and Its Role in the Marketing Mix
  • 12.2 The Five Critical Cs of Pricing
  • 12.3 The Five-Step Procedure for Establishing Pricing Policy
  • 12.4 Pricing Strategies for New Products
  • 12.5 Pricing Strategies and Tactics for Existing Products
  • 12.6 Ethical Considerations in Pricing
  • 13.1 The Promotion Mix and Its Elements
  • 13.2 The Communication Process
  • 13.3 Integrated Marketing Communications
  • 13.4 Steps in the IMC Planning Process
  • 13.5 Ethical Issues in Marketing Communication
  • 14.1 Advertising in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.2 Major Decisions in Developing an Advertising Plan
  • 14.3 The Use of Metrics to Measure Advertising Campaign Effectiveness
  • 14.4 Public Relations and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.5 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Relations
  • 14.6 Ethical Concerns in Advertising and Public Relations
  • 15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.2 Classifications of Salespeople Involved in Personal Selling
  • 15.3 Steps in the Personal Selling Process
  • 15.4 Management of the Sales Force
  • 15.5 Sales Promotion and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.6 Main Types of Sales Promotion
  • 15.7 Ethical Issues in Personal Selling and Sales Promotion
  • 16.1 Traditional Direct Marketing
  • 16.2 Social Media and Mobile Marketing
  • 16.3 Metrics Used to Evaluate the Success of Online Marketing
  • 16.4 Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing and Social Media
  • 17.1 The Use and Value of Marketing Channels
  • 17.2 Types of Marketing Channels
  • 17.3 Factors Influencing Channel Choice
  • 17.4 Managing the Distribution Channel
  • 17.5 The Supply Chain and Its Functions
  • 17.6 Logistics and Its Functions
  • 17.7 Ethical Issues in Supply Chain Management
  • 18.1 Retailing and the Role of Retailers in the Distribution Channel
  • 18.2 Major Types of Retailers
  • 18.3 Retailing Strategy Decisions
  • 18.4 Recent Trends in Retailing
  • 18.5 Wholesaling
  • 18.6 Recent Trends in Wholesaling
  • 18.7 Ethical Issues in Retailing and Wholesaling
  • 19.1 Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.2 Traditional Marketing versus Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.3 The Benefits of Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.4 Sustainable Marketing Principles
  • 19.5 Purpose-Driven Marketing

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • 1 Define and describe marketing.
  • 2 Describe the benefits of marketing to the organization, its interested parties, and society.
  • 3 Explain the marketing process.

Marketing Defined

When you ask a group of people, “What’s marketing?” most people will answer “advertising” or “selling.” It’s true that both of these functions are part of marketing, but marketing is also so much more. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” 6 That’s kind of a mouthful, so let’s see if we can simplify it a bit.

At its most basic level, marketing is made up of every process involved in moving a product or service from the organization to the consumer. It includes discerning the needs of customers, developing products or services to meet those needs, identifying who is likely to purchase the products or services, promoting them, and moving them through the appropriate distribution channels to reach those customers. Marketing, quite simply, is about understanding what your customers want and using that understanding to drive the business.

Marketing can also be defined as the set of activities involved in identifying and anticipating customer needs and then attempting to satisfy those needs profitably. 7 But what does that really mean? Let’s break down that definition:

  • Identifying customer needs . This is typically where marketing research comes in. Methods of marketing research will be covered in a later chapter, but market research helps a company develop a detailed picture of its customers, including a clear understanding of their wants and needs.
  • Anticipating customer needs . After analyzing the data collected, marketers can predict how products might be changed, adapted, or updated.
  • Satisfying customer needs . If marketers have done their homework correctly and clearly understand their customers’ needs, consumers will be pleased with their product purchase and will be more likely to make additional purchases.
  • Profitably . Profitability is a relatively simple term; it’s when a company’s revenue is greater than its expenses. In terms of marketing, the road to profitability means adding value to a product so that the price customers pay is greater than the cost of making the product. 8

Marketing in Practice

Reconciling segmentation and diversity.

We live in a multicultural world where diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is no longer the “right” thing to do; rather, it’s imperative. This is particularly true in marketing, because as the consumer population diversifies, brands have to authentically reflect a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences in order to effectively connect with consumers. Therefore, marketers must increasingly respect individual preferences, celebrate differences, and promote customization of products and services to meet customers’ needs, wants, and preferences.

At the same time, to profitably produce and sell a viable product or service, marketers must identify potential customer groups and types with certain characteristics in common—i.e., market segmentation. Segmentation requires assigning individuals to predefined categories with predictable behaviors, based on standardized assumptions.

How does segmentation differ from stereotyping? How can segmentation support diversity?

Read the following articles to further explore these nuances:

  • Chron: “ Difference Between Stereotyping & Market Segmentation ”
  • Retail Dive: “ Segmentation is dead !”
  • Spectrem Group Blog: “ Why Segmentation Is OK in Market Research Not Life ”

Keep these questions in mind as you explore Unit 2 of this book, where you will learn more about Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning before exploring the considerations of Marketing in a Diverse Marketplace .

How Marketing Benefits the Organization, Its Interested Parties, and Society

Before we go on, let’s consider all the people and groups that an organization needs to consider and serve. Interested parties are those persons or entities that have an interest in the success or failure of a company. These parties can be categorized into two types: internal and external, as shown in Figure 1.2 . You may see these people and groups referred to as “stakeholders” in business writing and other media.

Internal interested parties are entities that reside within the organization and that affect—or are affected by—the actions of the company. These entities include employees, owners, managers, and investors (shareholders). When we think about marketing, marketers often tend to look outward. They build strategies to engage customers and show them what the company has to offer.

You might think that marketing would be primarily directed toward those outside the company, like customers, but marketing is also directed toward internal groups. Internal marketing involves promoting the objectives, products, and services of a company to its internal constituents—particularly employees. 9

Think about a recent interaction you have had with a business employee. It could be the server who took your order at lunch or the sales associate at a big box store who showed you the features of the new laptop you were looking to purchase. Which interactions left you with a positive experience? Chances are that your evaluation of the experience is based on the interaction you had with the server or sales associate. That’s a function and benefit of good internal marketing, employees who are motivated and empowered to deliver a satisfying customer experience.

External interested parties include those outside the company, such as customers, creditors, suppliers, distributors, and even society at large. External groups don’t have a direct say in the company’s decision-making process. However they are vital to the success of the company because companies can only succeed with the support of others.

How does marketing benefit external parties? First, consider what marketing does for consumers. It draws out their needs, creates new demand, locates untapped opportunities, and determines the possibilities of selling new products. Second, marketing creates form, time, place, and possession utilities for the company’s goods and services. Utility refers to a product’s usefulness to customers so that they are convinced enough to make a purchase. In other words, when you hear “utility” in marketing, think “usefulness to customers.”

Marketing creates several different types of utility:

  • Form utility . Form utility refers to how well an organization can increase the value of its product in the customer’s eyes by making changes and altering its physical appearance. 10 For example, when you want a donut or a pastry, you don’t want to buy the ingredients to make it; you want a donut in its final form so you can eat it. That’s where the bakery and form utility come into play. The bakery combines flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients to make the cakes, donuts, and pastries that you purchase.
  • Time utility . Marketing creates time utility when it makes products and services available to customers so that they can buy it when it is most convenient for them. Consider how many stores are open evenings, weekends, or even 24/7 to make it convenient for customers to shop there!
  • Place utility . Marketing creates place utility when it makes goods or services physically available, convenient, and accessible to customers. Consider the ease a company like Uber Eats adds to your life when you’re craving tacos in the middle of the night and you don’t feel like getting dressed and driving to go get them. You can have your food delivered to you!
  • Possession utility . Marketers facilitate possession utility by ensuring that a product is relatively easy to acquire. For example, many automobile manufacturers offer low (or sometimes no) interest rates on car loans to make it easy for you to walk out the door with a new set of car keys. Possession utility also encompasses the pride or satisfaction you get from owning a new product, such as a great-fitting pair of running shoes or a smartphone with all of the features you’ve been wanting.

Marketing’s primary benefit to society is that it drives the consumer economy. Marketing leads to increased sales and revenue for a business which enables them to expand operations, create more internal jobs and external jobs for partners like suppliers. Marketing also contributes tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments, ultimately leading to overall economic growth.

The Marketing Process Defined

The marketing process refers to the series of steps that assist businesses in planning, analyzing, implementing, and adjusting their marketing strategy. Do an internet search for “steps in the marketing process,” and you’ll immediately see that some websites outline a 10-step process, whereas others propose a 4-step or 6-step process. For our purposes, we’re going to use a 5-step process.

Steps in the Marketing Process

The 5-step process (see Figure 1.3 ) involves understanding the marketplace and customers, developing a marketing strategy, delivering value, growing customer relations, and capturing value from customers. 11

Step 1: Understand Both the Marketplace and Customers

Before you can start the marketing process, you need to have a good idea of what your marketplace looks like. This means answering some basic questions about your customers, like who they are, their income and purchasing power, and how much they’re likely to spend (particularly on your products or services). If you decide to sell at lower prices in order to attain higher unit sales volume, your marketing strategy would look very different than if you decided to sell fewer products at a higher price.

Another way to approach this is to create separate brands and compete in both arenas. Consider Volkswagen . You might immediately think of the VW Beetle or the Jetta, but the company’s brand portfolio extends beyond VW passenger cars and SUVs. It’s also the parent company for Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, and others, and these vehicles sell at very different price points than VW passenger cars. 12

Step 2: Develop a Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall “game plan” to focus its limited resources in order to reach prospective customers and turn them into paying customers, hopefully for the long run.

It’s said that there are two basic types of marketing strategy: a product-driven, “build-it-and-they-will-come” strategy and a customer-driven strategy, in which you analyze prospective consumers and then—and only then—create something that they want or need. We’re going to focus on the latter strategy. What happens in a customer-driven marketing strategy is that the company shifts the focus from the product or service itself to its users. Customers’ needs are the central focus and the point of beginning, not an afterthought. Your primary goal in a customer-driven marketing strategy is to determine what users want and/or need and then satisfy those users. Instead of being product-centric, it’s about being customer-centric and developing a mutually beneficial relationship with customers. 13

In a nutshell, it’s about establishing a connection and a relationship. It’s about understanding who your customers are, what their needs and wants are, and how you can best meet those needs and wants. It’s about knowing your target market better than your competitors do and creating a strong value proposition for those users—a promise of value that communicates the benefits of your company’s products or services. In short, it’s what makes your product or service desirable to potential customers, helps them understand why they should buy it, how your company’s product or service differs from those of its competitors, and how your offerings are superior to similar offerings from your competitors. 14

Step 3: Deliver High Customer Value

Customers have myriad buying options and alternatives today. Given that, how can a company attract and—even more importantly—retain its customers? The answer is relatively simple: you give them value for their money. By definition, customer value is the ratio between the perceived benefits and costs incurred by the customer in acquiring your products or services.

The mathematical formula is simple:

But “value” from the customer’s perspective is a complex term, because we’re really considering four different values types:

  • Functional value: what the product “does” for the customer in terms of solving a particular want or need
  • Monetary value: what the product actually costs relative to its perceived worth
  • Social value: how much owning the product allows the customer to connect with others
  • Psychological value: how much that product allows the customer to “feel better” 15

Value is increased by boosting the benefits (in the form of product, place, or promotion) or minimizing the price.

Step 4: Grow Profitable Customer Relations

The bottom line is that profitable customer relationships are the “secret sauce” of any business. This step in the marketing process is where marketers acquire, keep, and grow customer relationships. Successful marketers know that acquiring customers is one of the hardest (not to mention one of the most expensive) elements of marketing. However, when you know clearly who those potential customers are, you can more effectively determine how to reach them, thus maximizing your marketing dollars.

It isn’t enough to have a one-and-done sale. You want repeat buyers, so marketers need to remind customers about the company’s products and/or services and how those products and services have met their needs and improved their lives so they make repeat purchases. Marketers need to consider how to reach customers about their offerings and make it easy and convenient for those customers to make continued purchases.

When customers have a positive relationship with a company or its products or services, they’re more likely to become repeat buyers. Satisfied customers are also more likely to be interested in buying additional products or services from your company, and they tend to recommend products to others, further reducing the company’s costs of getting new customers. 16

Step 5: Capture Customer Value in the Form of Profits

The goal of successful customer relationship management (CRM) is creating high customer equity —the potential profits a company earns from its current and potential customers. It’s a relatively simple concept: increasing customer loyalty results in higher customer equity.

Increasing customer equity is the goal of marketers because it’s a bellwether for financial success. Think about it in simple terms: the higher a company’s customer equity, the more profit the company generates, and the more valuable that company (and its products or services) becomes on the market. 17

Careers In Marketing

Marketing jobs.

In every chapter of this book, you’ll find this Careers in Marketing section. It’s meant to outline various jobs so you can be well informed of all the things marketers do. These sections will outline various job roles, what you do day-to-day, qualifications needed, and sometimes even salary information.

If you’ve decided you want a job in marketing, it’s important to know what kinds of jobs exist and what’s expected in each role. Google and YouTube searches will bring you all kinds of information. It’s recommended that you check out the insights from people in these roles and maybe even connect with them to ask them questions. Please do your homework, and determine what you like to do with your day, what you’re good at, and how to build a network to find the right job for you.

Here are a handful of resources to get your thinking started:

  • HubSpot: “ How to Start Your Marketing Career When You Know Nothing About Marketing ”
  • Setup: “ The Marketing Career Path: From Entry-Level to Chief Marketing Officer ”
  • Coursera: “ Your Guide to Landing an Entry-Level Marketing Job ”
  • Skillshare: “ 12 Entry-Level Marketing Jobs You Can Pursue Right Now ”
  • Indeed: “ Entry Level Marketing Salary in the United States ”

Whatever job role you choose, marketing is a creative, interesting, and at times exciting role where you can make a real impact on people’s lives. Enjoy!

Knowledge Check

It’s time to check your knowledge on the concepts presented in this section. Refer to the Answer Key at the end of the book for feedback.

  • Form utility
  • Time utility
  • Place utility
  • Possession utility
  • Marketing creates value.
  • Marketing is made up of every process involved in moving a product or service from your organization to the consumer.
  • Marketing includes distribution decisions.
  • Marketing is about building relationships.
  • customer equity
  • the value proposition
  • customer value
  • the marketing process
  • Developing a customer-driven marketing strategy
  • Delivering high customer value
  • Growing profitable customer relations
  • Capturing value from customers

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Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-marketing/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Authors: Dr. Maria Gomez Albrecht, Dr. Mark Green, Linda Hoffman
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Principles of Marketing
  • Publication date: Jan 25, 2023
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL: https://openstax.org/books/principles-marketing/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Section URL: https://openstax.org/books/principles-marketing/pages/1-1-marketing-and-the-marketing-process

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How To Create a Strategic Marketing Process: 5 Steps for Success (Video + Infographic)

A strategic marketing process is a framework by which brands identify a target audience, capitalize on competitive differentiators, create content and disseminate their message to the market. The process is an end-to-end operating model for achieving marketing goals and business objectives.

Strategic Marketing Planning in 5 Steps: Watch the Video

The strategic marketing planning process gives marketers the opportunity to evaluate their industry positioning and that of their competitors. It also helps the whole marketing team identify tactics that can help them reach their target audience, expand brand awareness, create customer satisfaction and achieve other business goals.

Here are the 5 steps to get you started:

what is a strategic marketing process

1. Plan Your Mission, Goals and Objectives

Before doing anything else, your marketing leaders and stakeholders must sit down and define your business’s mission, including the goals and objectives that will propel your strategic marketing.

If your company already has an established mission statement, congrats! You’re ahead of the game.

A mission statement should explain why your organization exists, why it does business and how it supports and benefits its customers. Some mission statements are aspirational and motivating; some are more formal in their approach. Just ensure your mission statement matches the intent and culture of your company.

Next, you should map out the goals and objectives that will drive every effective marketing effort. Remember, be SMART about it. That is to say, your goals should be:

  • Measurable.
  • Aspirational.
  • Time-bound.

The digital marketing landscape changes daily , so you should expect your tactics to evolve regularly. But your underlying goals and core mission should be more evergreen. Marketing processes need to be rigid enough to work well over time but flexible enough to adapt to quick pivots as needed.

2. Analyze Industry Positioning

With your mission statement, goals and objectives mapped out, it’s time to turn an eye outward. See where your company lies in terms of the overall industry and how it’s positioned in current customer relationships.

This step includes two essential strategies: SWOT analysis and positioning research.

SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths, or the things your company does well in comparison to its competitors.
  • Weaknesses, or the factors that may hold your organization back from market success.
  • Opportunities, including external elements like trends that could create the potential for new business or revenue streams.
  • Threats, or external factors (economical, political, technological, etc.) that might create obstacles for your company.

Where SWOT focuses on internal factors and external market elements, positioning seeks to better define the ways in which the brand is perceived in comparison to its competitors through the lens of the customer.

As Brafton’s own Dominick Sorrentino explained, brand positioning focuses on creating a compelling brand identity that establishes a memorable impression for customers in your target demographics.

A high-end car dealership that wants to position itself as a seller of luxury vehicles, for example, will look to use certain words and imagery in its marketing to craft a specific value proposition for its target audience.

It’s important to consider how your current and potential customers perceive your company and if there are any changes you should make to create your ideal brand image. Where you fit in the marketplace should influence tactical decisions, from why a certain keyword is included in your inbound marketing strategy to which buyer personas you intend to target.

3. Establish Marketing Tactics

During this stage, consider your marketing mix, based on the 4 Ps of marketing from E. J. McCarthy. While these were first created back in 1960, they’re still very relevant today. They include:

  • Product: The items or services your brand offers in response to customer wants and needs.
  • Price: The cost of the product and the value provided to the customer.
  • Promotion: The marketing efforts you use to support the product, including messaging specific to your target market.
  • Place: The physical and digital distribution channels you use to enable sales.

The right mix will depend on your market segments.

Through the prism of your marketing mix, you can more clearly define how your content strategy will map to your overall marketing strategy. In other words, you can set baselines for:

  • How much more market research you need to do.
  • The type of marketing assets needed and how many.
  • The marketing campaigns that take priority.
  • The marketing opportunities to exploit and on what timeline.
  • The investment required to execute successful inbound or outbound marketing programs.

This is the time when your marketing processes are codified and resources are put into place for a full-scale campaign launch.

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4. Put Your Process To Work

This step entails execution.

With your marketing mix defined, investments supplied and plans agreed upon, the content creation process is now in motion. In addition to creating content, you’ll also need to collect and validate all the data pertaining to your marketing activities, including:

  • Channel performance metrics.
  • Marketing- or sales-qualified leads (MQLs and SQLs).
  • Brand reach.

5. Evaluate, Modify, Repeat

This phase is where many organizations misstep. It’s important to keep in mind that your strategic marketing process will be an ongoing effort — you should continually look for places to improve and enhance the plan.

Once you’ve executed your marketing strategies and tactics, it’s time to take a look back at your defined goals and objectives, and the metrics you created along with those according to your SMART planning. These will be crucial in helping you gauge the overall success of your efforts according to your mission statement and goals.

Mine Google Analytics and all data from your marketing automation platforms, then compile everything into a report for greater analysis. Most tools provide real-time data, so you can check in daily to measure your marketing progress. (Tip: Look into artificial intelligence tools , too!)

Monthly or quarterly, do a more in-depth audit and investigation of your marketing performance down to the last dollar. Is total return on investment anywhere in sight? Are certain types of content underperforming? Is your audience engaging and is this leading to any measurable increase in customer satisfaction?

At periodic intervals, adapt your marketing processes to keep your company accountable and effective.

marketing strategy planning process model

Get Ahead of Marketing Program Issues

There are quite a few moving parts involved with any strategic marketing plan, and it’s often a somewhat complex and involved process that will include a variety of company stakeholders.

To avoid undue confusion or waning investment in your marketing plan, avoid these common issues:

  • Assumptions without data: Don’t assume anything without tangible data insights. Marketing can too often become subjective or based on a hunch. Validate all of your strategy decisions with customer and marketing research to remain effective.
  • Opaque strategy: Those spearheading the creation of the strategic marketing process should be sure that all components are free of ambiguity. This goes for timelines, benchmarks, goals, tactics — everything.
  • Lack of resources: Realizing you don’t have the resources to execute — due to turnover, underfunding, etc. — can derail a marketing plan immediately. While you want to go big, be realistic. Don’t set goals that are too lofty, only to be left pointing fingers when things go off the rails. Define whether internal or external resources are required for each step and carefully juggle your content marketing management efforts.

Process drives your marketing’s success or failure — so plan accordingly.

marketing strategy planning process model

Editor’s note: Updated May 2023.

marketing strategy planning process model

By Michael O'Neill

marketing strategy planning process model

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Strategic Planning Models: The 5 Best Strategy Models

Download our free Strategic Planning Template Download this template

New business models, global disruptions, and a need for rapid changes inspired various approaches to strategic planning, also known as strategic planning models. 

What all planning models have in common is that they help you translate strategies into action and aim to provide you with structure in the process of creating a strategic plan. But there are now countless frameworks, each with its own approach.

We summarized the 5 most popular strategic planning models in one place so you can start building your own strategic plan in no time.

To get there, let’s explore: 

  • What is a Strategic Planning Model?
  • Planning or strategy: Where to start?

The Cascade Model

The hoshin kanri model, balanced scorecard, strategic planning process model vs strategic frameworks.

  • Strategy Model: Which One Is Right For You?

Free Download Download our Strategic Planning Template Download this template

What is a Strategic Planning Model? 

A strategic planning model is a collective term for several elements contributing to the strategic planning process . The core components of a strategic planning model include:

  • A templated structure for creating strategic goals.
  • A loose structure of governance to help you manage and track your strategy.

You can think of strategic planning models as “templates” into which you can drop your own ideas. In the end, you'll come out with a strategic plan which is sensibly structured and gives you a clear strategic roadmap to hit your business goals. 

Now that we've defined what a strategic planning model actually is, let's look a bit deeper into each element that one should contain.

2 essential elements of any effective strategic planning model

  • Structure refers to the different elements of your strategic plan and how they all fit together. For example, your structure may start with a Vision and Mission Statement, then flow into Values, Focus Areas, and any number of Goal levels.
  • Governance refers to how you'll go about actually tracking and reporting on the execution of your strategy.

Planning or strategy: Where to start? 

Before we move into the planning section of this article, let’s clarify a common confusion around strategy and strategic planning. What’s the difference and what comes first?  

First, do not mistake strategy for a plan. In short, strategy is the act of making strategic choices, while a plan is a roadmap with timelines, owners, and deliverables. 

Before laying out your plan, you should get a better understanding of your internal and external business environment so you can make strategic choices and prioritize initiatives. 

“ The heart of the strategy is the matched pair of Where-to-Play and How-to-Win. ” - Roger Martin , Bestselling Author and Strategy Advisor

You should always start with strategic analysis. Through this process, you will be able to identify competitive advantage, assess organizational capacity, analyze external factors that might impact your strategy, and find other opportunities you could exploit.  

Feel free to use multiple strategic analysis tools since each has its own purpose. 

📚Here’s a list of the most popular strategic tools and frameworks that can help you brainstorm your strategy:  

  • VRIO Framework 
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces  
  • Ansoff Matrix
  • McKinsey 7S Model
  • Blue Ocean Strategy 

Once you have a clear picture of where you want your organization to be in the short-term and long-term future (and where you do NOT want it to be), you can start building a strategic plan that will take you to your destination. And this is where strategic planning models come into play.  

Note: Every organization is unique and has different stakeholder needs. Thus, every strategic plan is unique. The goal here is to give you perspective on how you can approach your planning before you dive into the details.

Below, you’ll find examples of strategic planning models that include both Structure & Governance since both are critical to implementing your strategic plan. Because, what's the point in having an awesome strategy on paper if you have no effective way to actually execute it?

The Cascade model is hands-down the most effective example of a strategic planning model that you can find. 

It is simple to understand and easy to implement, facilitating the execution of your strategy. Its straightforward structure is suitable for organizations and teams of any size and industry. 

Here's a snippet of the structure:

the cascade strategic planning model

Let's dive into the key elements of the Cascade Strategic Planning Model, its structure and governance.

The structural elements of the Cascade strategic model:

  • Identify your vision statement . This statement(s) describes why the organization exists, i.e., its basic purpose.
  • Define your company’s values . Describe how you want your organization to behave as it strives towards its Vision.
  • Craft your focus areas . They articulate the key areas on which you'll be focusing your efforts to help deliver your Vision.
  • Create your objectives . Your strategic objectives define more specifically the outcomes you want to achieve under each of your Focus Areas.
  • Define your KPIs . Each of your Objectives should contain at least one or two KPIs to help you measure whether or not you're close to reaching your desired outcomes (Objectives).
  • Create your projects . These are one of the most critical elements in your strategic planning model, as they state exactly what actions you will take to deliver against your Objectives.

The governance elements of the Cascade strategic model:

  • Monthly Strategic Reports . Team members can create reports at the objective, team, individual, KPI, and action levels. Using Cascade, users can add text, charts, and tables to their reports to provide more context for the reader.
  • Project Updates. These are ad hoc updates made against the Project level of the plan and include general project management updates and progress.
  • KPI Dashboards. In addition to providing real-time data, they allow users to look back and understand what happened over time using data sources that are available. Live dashboards are essential for identifying deviations from KPI tolerance levels, explaining the difference, and setting an action plan to resolve the issue.

dashboard cascade (1)-1

When you combine the goal and the governance elements of this strategic planning model, you get a comprehensive set of tools that you can use not just for creating your plan but also for executing it.

📚 Recommened reading: 

  • How To Write A Strategic Plan + Example
  • 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade) 2023

The Hoshin Kanri model is a strategic planning model that organizations use to drive a consistent focus throughout many levels of their structure.

This makes it ideal for large organizations with different layers of management, including “top-level” executive management, “middle managers,” and “front-line” staff.

Much of the work we did to create the Cascade Strategic Model was inspired by Hoshin Kanri.

So it's certainly a strategic planning model that we respect and admire here at Cascade. Let's dive into the detail of the Hoshin strategic planning model with a quick visual:

Strategic Planning Models_Hoshin Kanri (1)

The structural elements of the Hoshin Kanri strategic model:

  • The first level of the Hoshin Kanri strategic planning model refers to your vision . A distant horizon that will guide everything that sits beneath.
  • Then you move on to your 3-5 Year Strategies . These are high-level summaries of what you want to achieve (qualitatively and quantitatively).
  • Beneath that, you define Annual Objectives , which will be split between different departments.
  • Finally, you determine your Action Items . They are specific things you are going to do to reach your Annual Objectives.

The governance elements of the Hoshin Kanri strategic model:

  • Monthly Reviews . These are done against the Annual Objectives and require the goals' owners to provide descriptive progress updates.
  • Annual Reviews . These are also done against the Annual Objectives. However, they happen at the end of the time period and encompass a decision point on whether to mark the Annual Objective as complete or roll it over into another year.

There are many different ways to implement the Hoshin Kanri strategic planning model. Above is a simplified explanation that covers most of the core elements.

  • Hoshin Kanri: Close Strategy Execution Gap In 7 Steps

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)

The OKR model is a goal-setting and planning framework that focuses on quarterly sets of OKRs and is reviewed by every management level in the organization. 

The basic structure of the OKR strategic planning model looks something like this:

Strategic Planning Models_OKR (1)

As with the Cascade Strategic Planning Model and Hoshin Kanri, the OKR strategy model has the following key elements.

The structural elements of the OKRs strategic model:

  • Objectives. These describe the outcome you are looking for in the current quarter.
  • Key Results. These are specific metrics that describe your progress toward your Objective in numerical terms.
  • Initiatives. These are tasks or projects that sit against each of your Key Results. Once completed, they should help you reach your Key Results.

The governance elements of the OKRs strategic model:

  • Weekly Check-Ins. Each Key Result should have a weekly check-in that covers your confidence level in achieving that OKR, action plan, and general progress updates.
  • Quarterly Review. For each Objective, a formal quarterly review should be undertaken where that OKR is given a “score” (usually from 0 to 1) and a decision is made on what to do with that OKR in the next quarter.
  • OKRs: How To Avoid The Trap That Kills Performance
  • The OKR Framework: How To Implement It & Mistakes To Avoid
  • Using Cascade as your OKR Software

Balanced scorecard (also known as BSC) helps organizations drive and assess business performance by organizing key performance indicators (KPIs) into four focus areas: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes, and Learning & Growth.  

Here is an example of a basic Balanced Scorecard structure:

Strategic Planning Models_The Balanced Scorecard

The structural elements of the Balanced Scorecard:

  • Four perspectives that act as your focus areas.
  • Strategic objectives where you define your desired outcomes.
  • Projects that outline specific initiatives, timelines, and resources.
  • KPIs that measure progress and success.

The governance elements of Balanced Scorecard: 

  • Strategy dashboards where you should see the real-time status of each perspective and a summary of your key objectives, projects, and KPIs. 
  • Weekly or Monthly reports where each owner provides progress updates and short-term action plans.  
  • The strategy map shows how are four perspectives layered and cause-and-effect connections between strategic objectives.

📚Recommended reading: 

  • How To Implement The Balanced Scorecard Framework (With Examples)
  • Balanced Scorecard Template (Free)

V2MOM is one of the most simple strategic planning and alignment models out there. Developed by Salesforce's cofounder, Marc Benioff, it helps you implement and drive alignment across your organization. 

The model can be used in a variety of organizations, including small businesses, startups, and nonprofits.

As a top-down approach, V2MOM scales across your organization at all levels, including the business unit, department, team, or individual. However, this model won't work if your organization is siloed, as each V2MOM document should be aligned with the top-level V2MOM plan.

An example of a basic V2MOM structure would look like this:

Strategic Planning Models_V2MOM

The structural elements of the V2MOM:

  • Vision. Like with the Cascade Model, this is where you define your vision of the future. 
  • Values. A set of values that drive your company’s culture.
  • Methods . Strategic objectives, projects, or other strategic initiatives that will help your organization get one step closer to its vision. 
  • Obstacles. Compared to other models, this is a unique element. It should identify all possible obstacles and risks that can prevent you execute the plan. 
  • Measures. A set of KPIs that will measure your performance and progress. 

The governance elements of V2MOM: 

The original V2MOM approach only outlines the structure, but it does not offer a solution to track and measure performance. To meet the needs of our clients, we leveled up V2MOM to help teams measure their performance against set goals in a strategy execution platform : 

  • Customizable strategy dashboards where leadership teams and team members can get insight into what’s happening across the organization or with specific initiatives.  
  • Reports that analyze in-depth raw data of the past, and turns it into actionable narratives for regular review meetings and faster decision-making.

📚 Recommended reading: 

  • The V2MOM: Overview, How To Use It, Examples (2022)

It's important to distinguish between strategy frameworks and strategic planning models before you jump into the strategic planning process. Online resources use these terms interchangeably, but they are in fact quite different.

Strategic planning models provide a way to structure the information of your strategy and the content of your strategic plan. 

Strategic frameworks , including analysis tools, provide the context that surrounds your strategic plan, and the information that helps you define your strategy. 

There are a few different views on this subject, but here is what we think makes the most sense:

  • A strategic framework is a general term that covers different types of frameworks, including strategic analysis frameworks, goal-based frameworks, and strategic planning frameworks (in this case, also called strategic planning models). 
  • A strategic planning model refers to the overall structure you apply to your strategic planning process. It roughly describes the various components and how they interact with one another. For example, imagine an architect building an airport.

A model of the airport would show you at a high level how the approach roads connect to the departure hall and how the departure hall connects to immigration, which then connects to the terminals, the runways, etc.

A strategic planning model functions much the same way in that it describes each of the elements of a coherent strategy: what they do, how they fit together, and in what order.

Strategy Model: Which One Is Right For You? 👀

The examples of strategic planning models we've picked have a lot in common. There's a good reason for it.

The best strategic planning models are simple, contain all the right elements, and combine goal setting with governance. 

As a result, they serve you well when it comes to building a highly effective strategic management process and executing your strategy.

You can't really go wrong with any of the strategic planning model examples we've outlined above: Cascade Model, Balanced Scorecard,  V2MOM, Hoshin Kanri, or OKRs. 

In the Cascade strategy execution platform , you can import or create a strategic plan no matter the model you use since our strategic planning tool is sophisticated enough to customize it to your way of doing strategy.  

Interested in seeing Cascade in action? Start building your strategic plan for free or book a demo with a Cascade expert.

What is the difference between strategic planning and strategic management?

The main difference between strategic planning and strategic management is that strategic planning is just a stage within the strategic management process. 

What are the 5 models of strategic management? 

There are more than five models of strategic management. A strategic management process involves multiple stages, including strategic analysis, strategy formulation, strategy execution, and strategy evaluation. There are multiple models and frameworks suitable for each stage of the strategic process.  

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  • Business strategy |
  • 7 strategic planning models, plus 8 fra ...

7 strategic planning models, plus 8 frameworks to help you get started

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Strategic planning is vital in defining where your business is going in the next three to five years. With the right strategic planning models and frameworks, you can uncover opportunities, identify risks, and create a strategic plan to fuel your organization’s success. We list the most popular models and frameworks and explain how you can combine them to create a strategic plan that fits your business.

A strategic plan is a great tool to help you hit your business goals . But sometimes, this tool needs to be updated to reflect new business priorities or changing market conditions. If you decide to use a model that already exists, you can benefit from a roadmap that’s already created. The model you choose can improve your knowledge of what works best in your organization, uncover unknown strengths and weaknesses, or help you find out how you can outpace your competitors.

In this article, we cover the most common strategic planning models and frameworks and explain when to use which one. Plus, get tips on how to apply them and which models and frameworks work well together. 

Strategic planning models vs. frameworks

First off: This is not a one-or-nothing scenario. You can use as many or as few strategic planning models and frameworks as you like. 

When your organization undergoes a strategic planning phase, you should first pick a model or two that you want to apply. This will provide you with a basic outline of the steps to take during the strategic planning process.

[Inline illustration] Strategic planning models vs. frameworks (Infographic)

During that process, think of strategic planning frameworks as the tools in your toolbox. Many models suggest starting with a SWOT analysis or defining your vision and mission statements first. Depending on your goals, though, you may want to apply several different frameworks throughout the strategic planning process.

For example, if you’re applying a scenario-based strategic plan, you could start with a SWOT and PEST(LE) analysis to get a better overview of your current standing. If one of the weaknesses you identify has to do with your manufacturing process, you could apply the theory of constraints to improve bottlenecks and mitigate risks. 

Now that you know the difference between the two, learn more about the seven strategic planning models, as well as the eight most commonly used frameworks that go along with them.

[Inline illustration] The seven strategic planning models (Infographic)

1. Basic model

The basic strategic planning model is ideal for establishing your company’s vision, mission, business objectives, and values. This model helps you outline the specific steps you need to take to reach your goals, monitor progress to keep everyone on target, and address issues as they arise.

If it’s your first strategic planning session, the basic model is the way to go. Later on, you can embellish it with other models to adjust or rewrite your business strategy as needed. Let’s take a look at what kinds of businesses can benefit from this strategic planning model and how to apply it.

Small businesses or organizations

Companies with little to no strategic planning experience

Organizations with few resources 

Write your mission statement. Gather your planning team and have a brainstorming session. The more ideas you can collect early in this step, the more fun and rewarding the analysis phase will feel.

Identify your organization’s goals . Setting clear business goals will increase your team’s performance and positively impact their motivation.

Outline strategies that will help you reach your goals. Ask yourself what steps you have to take in order to reach these goals and break them down into long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals .

Create action plans to implement each of the strategies above. Action plans will keep teams motivated and your organization on target.

Monitor and revise the plan as you go . As with any strategic plan, it’s important to closely monitor if your company is implementing it successfully and how you can adjust it for a better outcome.

2. Issue-based model

Also called goal-based planning model, this is essentially an extension of the basic strategic planning model. It’s a bit more dynamic and very popular for companies that want to create a more comprehensive plan.

Organizations with basic strategic planning experience

Businesses that are looking for a more comprehensive plan

Conduct a SWOT analysis . Assess your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with a SWOT analysis to get a better overview of what your strategic plan should focus on. We’ll give into how to conduct a SWOT analysis when we get into the strategic planning frameworks below.

Identify and prioritize major issues and/or goals. Based on your SWOT analysis, identify and prioritize what your strategic plan should focus on this time around.

Develop your main strategies that address these issues and/or goals. Aim to develop one overarching strategy that addresses your highest-priority goal and/or issue to keep this process as simple as possible.

Update or create a mission and vision statement . Make sure that your business’s statements align with your new or updated strategy. If you haven’t already, this is also a chance for you to define your organization’s values.

Create action plans. These will help you address your organization’s goals, resource needs, roles, and responsibilities. 

Develop a yearly operational plan document. This model works best if your business repeats the strategic plan implementation process on an annual basis, so use a yearly operational plan to capture your goals, progress, and opportunities for next time.

Allocate resources for your year-one operational plan. Whether you need funding or dedicated team members to implement your first strategic plan, now is the time to allocate all the resources you’ll need.

Monitor and revise the strategic plan. Record your lessons learned in the operational plan so you can revisit and improve it for the next strategic planning phase.

The issue-based plan can repeat on an annual basis (or less often once you resolve the issues). It’s important to update the plan every time it’s in action to ensure it’s still doing the best it can for your organization.

You don’t have to repeat the full process every year—rather, focus on what’s a priority during this run.

3. Alignment model

This model is also called strategic alignment model (SAM) and is one of the most popular strategic planning models. It helps you align your business and IT strategies with your organization’s strategic goals. 

You’ll have to consider four equally important, yet different perspectives when applying the alignment strategic planning model:

Strategy execution: The business strategy driving the model

Technology potential: The IT strategy supporting the business strategy

Competitive potential: Emerging IT capabilities that can create new products and services

Service level: Team members dedicated to creating the best IT system in the organization

Ideally, your strategy will check off all the criteria above—however, it’s more likely you’ll have to find a compromise. 

Here’s how to create a strategic plan using the alignment model and what kinds of companies can benefit from it.

Organizations that need to fine-tune their strategies

Businesses that want to uncover issues that prevent them from aligning with their mission

Companies that want to reassess objectives or correct problem areas that prevent them from growing

Outline your organization’s mission, programs, resources, and where support is needed. Before you can improve your statements and approaches, you need to define what exactly they are.

Identify what internal processes are working and which ones aren’t. Pinpoint which processes are causing problems, creating bottlenecks , or could otherwise use improving. Then prioritize which internal processes will have the biggest positive impact on your business.

Identify solutions. Work with the respective teams when you’re creating a new strategy to benefit from their experience and perspective on the current situation.

Update your strategic plan with the solutions. Update your strategic plan and monitor if implementing it is setting your business up for improvement or growth. If not, you may have to return to the drawing board and update your strategic plan with new solutions.

4. Scenario model

The scenario model works great if you combine it with other models like the basic or issue-based model. This model is particularly helpful if you need to consider external factors as well. These can be government regulations, technical, or demographic changes that may impact your business.

Organizations trying to identify strategic issues and goals caused by external factors

Identify external factors that influence your organization. For example, you should consider demographic, regulation, or environmental factors.

Review the worst case scenario the above factors could have on your organization. If you know what the worst case scenario for your business looks like, it’ll be much easier to prepare for it. Besides, it’ll take some of the pressure and surprise out of the mix, should a scenario similar to the one you create actually occur.

Identify and discuss two additional hypothetical organizational scenarios. On top of your worst case scenario, you’ll also want to define the best case and average case scenarios. Keep in mind that the worst case scenario from the previous step can often provoke strong motivation to change your organization for the better. However, discussing the other two will allow you to focus on the positive—the opportunities your business may have ahead.

Identify and suggest potential strategies or solutions. Everyone on the team should now brainstorm different ways your business could potentially respond to each of the three scenarios. Discuss the proposed strategies as a team afterward.

Uncover common considerations or strategies for your organization. There’s a good chance that your teammates come up with similar solutions. Decide which ones you like best as a team or create a new one together.

Identify the most likely scenario and the most reasonable strategy. Finally, examine which of the three scenarios is most likely to occur in the next three to five years and how your business should respond to potential changes.

5. Self-organizing model

Also called the organic planning model, the self-organizing model is a bit different from the linear approaches of the other models. You’ll have to be very patient with this method. 

This strategic planning model is all about focusing on the learning and growing process rather than achieving a specific goal. Since the organic model concentrates on continuous improvement , the process is never really over.

Large organizations that can afford to take their time

Businesses that prefer a more naturalistic, organic planning approach that revolves around common values, communication, and shared reflection

Companies that have a clear understanding of their vision

Define and communicate your organization’s cultural values . Your team can only think clearly and with solutions in mind when they have a clear understanding of your organization's values.

Communicate the planning group’s vision for the organization. Define and communicate the vision with everyone involved in the strategic planning process. This will align everyone’s ideas with your company’s vision.

Discuss what processes will help realize the organization’s vision on a regular basis. Meet every quarter to discuss strategies or tactics that will move your organization closer to realizing your vision.

6. Real-time model

This fluid model can help organizations that deal with rapid changes to their work environment. There are three levels of success in the real-time model: 

Organizational: At the organizational level, you’re forming strategies in response to opportunities or trends.

Programmatic: At the programmatic level, you have to decide how to respond to specific outcomes or environmental changes.

Operational: On the operational level, you will study internal systems, policies, and people to develop a strategy for your company.

Figuring out your competitive advantage can be difficult, but this is absolutely crucial to ensure success. Whether it’s a unique asset or strength your organization has or an outstanding execution of services or programs—it’s important that you can set yourself apart from others in the industry to succeed.

Companies that need to react quickly to changing environments

Businesses that are seeking new tools to help them align with their organizational strategy

Define your mission and vision statement. If you ever feel stuck formulating your company’s mission or vision statement, take a look at those of others. Maybe Asana’s vision statement sparks some inspiration.

Research, understand, and learn from competitor strategy and market trends. Pick a handful of competitors in your industry and find out how they’ve created success for themselves. How did they handle setbacks or challenges? What kinds of challenges did they even encounter? Are these common scenarios in the market? Learn from your competitors by finding out as much as you can about them.

Study external environments. At this point, you can combine the real-time model with the scenario model to find solutions to threats and opportunities outside of your control.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your internal processes, systems, and resources. Besides the external factors your team has to consider, it’s also important to look at your company’s internal environment and how well you’re prepared for different scenarios.

Develop a strategy. Discuss the results of your SWOT analysis to develop a business strategy that builds toward organizational, programmatic, and operational success.

Rinse and repeat. Monitor how well the new strategy is working for your organization and repeat the planning process as needed to ensure you’re on top or, perhaps, ahead of the game. 

7. Inspirational model

This last strategic planning model is perfect to inspire and energize your team as they work toward your organization’s goals. It’s also a great way to introduce or reconnect your employees to your business strategy after a merger or acquisition.

Businesses with a dynamic and inspired start-up culture

Organizations looking for inspiration to reinvigorate the creative process

Companies looking for quick solutions and strategy shifts

Gather your team to discuss an inspirational vision for your organization. The more people you can gather for this process, the more input you will receive.

Brainstorm big, hairy audacious goals and ideas. Encouraging your team not to hold back with ideas that may seem ridiculous will do two things: for one, it will mitigate the fear of contributing bad ideas. But more importantly, it may lead to a genius idea or suggestion that your team wouldn’t have thought of if they felt like they had to think inside of the box.

Assess your organization’s resources. Find out if your company has the resources to implement your new ideas. If they don’t, you’ll have to either adjust your strategy or allocate more resources.

Develop a strategy balancing your resources and brainstorming ideas. Far-fetched ideas can grow into amazing opportunities but they can also bear great risk. Make sure to balance ideas with your strategic direction. 

Now, let’s dive into the most commonly used strategic frameworks.

8. SWOT analysis framework

One of the most popular strategic planning frameworks is the SWOT analysis . A SWOT analysis is a great first step in identifying areas of opportunity and risk—which can help you create a strategic plan that accounts for growth and prepares for threats.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example:

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

9. OKRs framework

A big part of strategic planning is setting goals for your company. That’s where OKRs come into play. 

OKRs stand for objective and key results—this goal-setting framework helps your organization set and achieve goals. It provides a somewhat holistic approach that you can use to connect your team’s work to your organization’s big-picture goals.  When team members understand how their individual work contributes to the organization’s success, they tend to be more motivated and produce better results

10. Balanced scorecard (BSC) framework

The balanced scorecard is a popular strategic framework for businesses that want to take a more holistic approach rather than just focus on their financial performance. It was designed by David Norton and Robert Kaplan in the 1990s, it’s used by companies around the globe to: 

Communicate goals

Align their team’s daily work with their company’s strategy

Prioritize products, services, and projects

Monitor their progress toward their strategic goals

Your balanced scorecard will outline four main business perspectives:

Customers or clients , meaning their value, satisfaction, and/or retention

Financial , meaning your effectiveness in using resources and your financial performance

Internal process , meaning your business’s quality and efficiency

Organizational capacity , meaning your organizational culture, infrastructure and technology, and human resources

With the help of a strategy map, you can visualize and communicate how your company is creating value. A strategy map is a simple graphic that shows cause-and-effect connections between strategic objectives. 

The balanced scorecard framework is an amazing tool to use from outlining your mission, vision, and values all the way to implementing your strategic plan .

You can use an integration like Lucidchart to create strategy maps for your business in Asana.

11. Porter’s Five Forces framework

If you’re using the real-time strategic planning model, Porter’s Five Forces are a great framework to apply. You can use it to find out what your product’s or service’s competitive advantage is before entering the market.

Developed by Michael E. Porter , the framework outlines five forces you have to be aware of and monitor:

[Inline illustration] Porter’s Five Forces framework (Infographic)

Threat of new industry entrants: Any new entry into the market results in increased pressure on prices and costs. 

Competition in the industry: The more competitors that exist, the more difficult it will be for you to create value in the market with your product or service.

Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers can wield more power if there are less alternatives for buyers or it’s expensive, time consuming, or difficult to switch to a different supplier.

Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers can wield more power if the same product or service is available elsewhere with little to no difference in quality.

Threat of substitutes: If another company already covers the market’s needs, you’ll have to create a better product or service or make it available for a lower price at the same quality in order to compete.

Remember, industry structures aren’t static. The more dynamic your strategic plan is, the better you’ll be able to compete in a market.

12. VRIO framework

The VRIO framework is another strategic planning tool designed to help you evaluate your competitive advantage. VRIO stands for value, rarity, imitability, and organization.

It’s a resource-based theory developed by Jay Barney. With this framework, you can study your firmed resources and find out whether or not your company can transform them into sustained competitive advantages. 

Firmed resources can be tangible (e.g., cash, tools, inventory, etc.) or intangible (e.g., copyrights, trademarks, organizational culture, etc.). Whether these resources will actually help your business once you enter the market depends on four qualities:

Valuable : Will this resource either increase your revenue or decrease your costs and thereby create value for your business?

Rare : Are the resources you’re using rare or can others use your resources as well and therefore easily provide the same product or service?

Inimitable : Are your resources either inimitable or non-substitutable? In other words, how unique and complex are your resources?

Organizational: Are you organized enough to use your resources in a way that captures their value, rarity, and inimitability?

It’s important that your resources check all the boxes above so you can ensure that you have sustained competitive advantage over others in the industry.

13. Theory of Constraints (TOC) framework

If the reason you’re currently in a strategic planning process is because you’re trying to mitigate risks or uncover issues that could hurt your business—this framework should be in your toolkit.

The theory of constraints (TOC) is a problem-solving framework that can help you identify limiting factors or bottlenecks preventing your organization from hitting OKRs or KPIs . 

Whether it’s a policy, market, or recourse constraint—you can apply the theory of constraints to solve potential problems, respond to issues, and empower your team to improve their work with the resources they have.

14. PEST/PESTLE analysis framework

The idea of the PEST analysis is similar to that of the SWOT analysis except that you’re focusing on external factors and solutions. It’s a great framework to combine with the scenario-based strategic planning model as it helps you define external factors connected to your business’s success.

PEST stands for political, economic, sociological, and technological factors. Depending on your business model, you may want to expand this framework to include legal and environmental factors as well (PESTLE). These are the most common factors you can include in a PESTLE analysis:

Political: Taxes, trade tariffs, conflicts

Economic: Interest and inflation rate, economic growth patterns, unemployment rate

Social: Demographics, education, media, health

Technological: Communication, information technology, research and development, patents

Legal: Regulatory bodies, environmental regulations, consumer protection

Environmental: Climate, geographical location, environmental offsets

15. Hoshin Kanri framework

Hoshin Kanri is a great tool to communicate and implement strategic goals. It’s a planning system that involves the entire organization in the strategic planning process. The term is Japanese and stands for “compass management” and is also known as policy management. 

This strategic planning framework is a top-down approach that starts with your leadership team defining long-term goals which are then aligned and communicated with every team member in the company. 

You should hold regular meetings to monitor progress and update the timeline to ensure that every teammate’s contributions are aligned with the overarching company goals.

Stick to your strategic goals

Whether you’re a small business just starting out or a nonprofit organization with decades of experience, strategic planning is a crucial step in your journey to success. 

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you and your team define, organize, and implement your strategic goals, Asana is here to help. Our goal-setting software allows you to connect all of your team members in one place, visualize progress, and stay on target.

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What is Strategic Marketing Planning?

strategic marketing planning process

The strategic marketing planning process involves creating a marketing strategy that outlines what your objectives are, what programs you’ll use to achieve those objectives, who is responsible for those metrics, and by when you’ll be achieving those goals. In short, developing and managing a strategic marketing plan is crucial in reaching business objectives.

What is the strategic marketing planning process?

Step 1: liaise with other departments.

While marketing does proactively drive demand and new business, they need to do so in the framework of supporting the larger business objectives. That’s why when it comes to the planning process, start by looking at other departments. Here’s what to ask yourself before developing and managing a strategic marketing plan: 

  • What are the executive team’s top priorities for this year and long term?
  • Who is our target market?
  • What pipeline and revenue numbers are we aiming for this fiscal year?
  • Are any adoption rates or implementation goals being set for our products and services? 

Step 2: Create marketing goals that align with the business

Now that you’ve understood the business goals, you’re more informed on  how to plan marketing strategy.

For example, if the business has a goal to generate $5 million in new business from Jan. 1 to June 1, you have to ask yourself how marketing can drive new business. For instance, let’s say in your business, each new client would be purchasing an average of $500,000. That means sales needs to close 10 new clients in order to meet their $5 million goal. 

Then you need to figure out how many qualified accounts you need to tee up for sales, in order to close 10 new clients. For example, a good way to start is: how many accounts today engage with our marketing content, get passed to sales, are qualified, have a demo, and then book? If the percentage is 10%, then you need 100 contacts to get transferred to sales in order to close about 10 new clients. 

That is to say, starting with a focus on your goals, you ensure that you are actually building a marketing strategy vs. plan (a list of marketing tactics). 

Step 3: Determine which campaign planning will achieve that marketing goal 

In order to generate 100 engaged contacts for sales, you want to look at your existing programs and determine the success of each at driving engagement. For example, let’s say you ran four webinars last quarter. Each had 100 registrants, and 30 people attended. Of those 30 people, 10 requested a demo and five were from qualified accounts. Once passed over, sales closed one lead. 

If that’s the average data, then you now know that you can expect a webinar to result in five contacts and one deal.

After that, replicate the process across your campaigns to plan out which activities will actually support your company growth goals.

Step 4: Create a marketing campaign calendar that aligns with your goals 

Now that you have focused goals that are strategically aligned with business objectives, you can create a calendar of activities, from content marketing to events. The best part? You won’t have someone asking “why is marketing running that webinar again” because you’d know the answer—it’s to drive X number of leads to sales.

Then, in your marketing campaign planning calendar, you’d want to include this information:

Period: Q1 Goal: Support sales in generating $5 million in new business, from Jan. 1 to June 1, by generating 100 engaged contacts.

Step 5: Establish your investments

After that, it’s time to align investments to your planned campaigns. The good news is that marketers who conduct the marketing strategy process from the get go can easily justify and secure budget for their activities—because they can directly tie that dollar into how it will impact the business goal. That’s one of the reasons why Uptempo’s process of marketing strategy planning encourages marketers to directly tie their spend to specific company goals.

Step 6: Let it run!

Finally, it’s time to execute on your plan—and start achieving business impact. While you execute on your strategic marketing plan, keep in mind that you should revisit the business goals quarterly. That keeps you on the right track to ensure the marketing organization continues to drive toward overarching corporate goals.

Knowing how to strategize marketing plans is a critical part of the marketing process. Now that you’ve completed the six steps of strategic marketing planning, you’ve set yourself and your team up for success. 

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What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

Clifford Chi

Published: July 27, 2023

For a while now, you‘ve been spearheading your organization’s content marketing efforts. Your team's performance has convinced management to adopt the content marketing strategies you’ve suggested.

marketing plan and how to write one

Now, your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan, but you‘ve never done something like that before. You don’t even know where to start.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

Fortunately, we‘ve curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete plan that’s rooted in data and produces results. But first, we'll discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans include strategies that serve their respective businesses.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working toward the same business goals.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down strategies in an organized manner. This will help keep you on track and measure the success of your campaigns.

Writing a marketing plan will help you think of each campaign‘s mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and deliverables. With all this information in one place, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with a campaign. You’ll also discover what works and what doesn't. Thus, measuring the success of your strategy.

Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

Looking to develop a marketing plan for your business? Click here to download HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template to get started .

To learn more about how to create your marketing plan, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for:

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Types of marketing plans, marketing plan examples, marketing plan faqs, sample marketing plan.

Marketing plan definition graphic

If you're pressed for time or resources, you might not be thinking about a marketing plan. But a marketing plan is an important part of your business plan.

Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan

A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics.

A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your business grows.

A marketing plan is an important subset of a business plan that shows how marketing strategies and objectives can support overall business goals.

Keep in mind that there's a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal or mission. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute that mission and track its success.

For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.

A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It’s the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.

For example, your company is launching a new software product, and it wants customers to sign up. This calls for the marketing department to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired signups.

The department decides to launch a blog dedicated to this industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an account on Twitter to join the conversation around this subject. All this serves to attract an audience and convert this audience into software users.

To summarize, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups for that product. The business will execute that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.

Of course, the business might consider these three things one giant marketing strategy, each with its specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, every marketing plan goes through a particular set of steps in its creation.

Learn what they are below.

  • State your business's mission.
  • Determine the KPIs for this mission.
  • Identify your buyer personas.
  • Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
  • Clearly define your plan's omissions.
  • Define your marketing budget.
  • Identify your competition.
  • Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

1. State your business's mission.

Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business‘s main mission statement. Be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you’ll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.


Need help building your mission statement? Download this guide for examples and templates and write the ideal mission statement.

2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.

Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission‘s progress. To do so, you’ll need to decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) . KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.

Let's take our example of a marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is “to attract an audience of travelers,” we might track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic page views” is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time.

These KPIs will come into the conversation again in step 4.

3. Identify your buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, and job title. Each buyer persona should directly reflect your business's current and potential customers. So, all business leaders must agree on your buyer personas.


Create your buyer personas with this free guide and set of buyer persona templates.

4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.

Here‘s where you’ll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there is a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, you must choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.

A content strategy should stipulate:

  • Which types of content you'll create. These can include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and ebooks.
  • How much of it you'll create. You can describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on your workflow and the short-term goals you set for your content.
  • The goals (and KPIs) you'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
  • The channels on which you'll distribute this content. Popular channels at your disposal include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
  • Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.

marketing strategy planning process model

Free Marketing Plan Template

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

  • Pre-Sectioned Template
  • Completely Customizable
  • Example Prompts
  • Professionally Designed

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Build out your marketing plan with this free template.

Fill out this form to access the template., 5. clearly define your plan's omissions..

A marketing plan explains the marketing team’s focus. It also explains what the marketing team will not focus on.

If there are other aspects of your business that you aren‘t serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.

6. Define your marketing budget.

Your content strategy might use many free channels and platforms, but there are several hidden expenses a marketing team needs to account for.

Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.


You can establish your marketing budget with this kit of 8 free marketing budget templates .

7. Identify your competition.

Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one.

Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.


Easily track and analyze your competitors with t his collection of ten free competitive analysis templates .

8. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it‘s time to explain who’s doing what. You don‘t have to delve too deeply into your employees’ day-to-day projects, but it should be known which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.

Now that you know why you need to build an effective marketing plan, it’s time to get to work. Starting a plan from scratch can be overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. That’s why there are many helpful resources that can support your first steps. We’ll share some of the best guides and templates that can help you build effective results-driven plans for your marketing strategies.

Ready to make your own marketing plan? Get started using this free template.

Depending on the company you work with, you might want to create various marketing plans. We compiled different samples to suit your needs:

1. Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans

These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns you'll take on in a certain period.

marketing plan examples: forbes

Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost 4 million views. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template will teach you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:

  • Executive Summary
  • Target Customers
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Pricing & Positioning Strategy
  • Distribution Plan
  • Your Offers
  • Marketing Materials
  • Promotions Strategy
  • Online Marketing Strategy
  • Conversion Strategy
  • Joint Ventures & Partnerships
  • Referral Strategy
  • Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
  • Retention Strategy
  • Financial Projections

If you're truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, this guide can help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.

2. Social Media Marketing Plan

This type of plan highlights the channels, tactics, and campaigns you intend to accomplish specifically on social media. A specific subtype is a paid marketing plan, which highlights paid strategies, such as native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.

Shane Snow's Marketing Plan for His Book Dream Team is a great example of a social media marketing plan

A successful book launch is a prime example of data-driven content and social marketing. Using data to optimize your social strategy spreads more awareness for your book, gets more people to subscribe to your content, converts more subscribers into buyers, and encourages more buyers to recommend your book to their friends.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

When Shane Snow started promoting his new book, "Dream Team," he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So, he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall. The content strategy waterfall is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach. To get a better idea of what this means, take a look at the diagram below:

Contently's content strategy waterfall.

Snow wrote a blog post about how the waterfall‘s content strategy helped him launch his new book successfully. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:

  • Applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metrics to track.
  • Used his ultimate business goal of earning $200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
  • Created buyer personas to figure out which channels his audience would prefer to consume his content.
  • Used his average post view on each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
  • Calculated how much earned and paid media could cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
  • Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
  • Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy.

You can use Snow's marketing plan to cultivate a better content strategy plan, know your audience better, and think creatively about content promotion and distribution.

3. Content Marketing Plan

This plan could highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you'll use content to promote your business or product.

HubSpot's Comprehensive Guide for Content Marketing Strategy is a strong example of a content marketing plan:

marketing plan examples: hubspot content marketing plan

At HubSpot, we‘ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that shaped our current content marketing strategy. So, we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team's size.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Planning Templates

In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you'll learn:

  • What exactly content marketing is.
  • Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
  • Who should lead your content marketing efforts?
  • How to structure your content marketing team based on your company's size.
  • How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
  • What marketing tools and technology you'll need to succeed.
  • What type of content your team should create, and which employees should be responsible for creating them.
  • The importance of distributing your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
  • And finally, the recommended metrics each of your teams should measure and report to optimize your content marketing program.

4. New Product Launch Marketing Plan

This will be a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you‘ll implement to promote a new product. And if you’re searching for an example, look no further than Chief Outsiders' Go-To-Market Plan for a New Product :

marketing plan examples: chief outsiders

When you're looking for a marketing plan for a new product, the Chief Outsiders template is a great place to start. Marketing plans for a new product will be more specific because they target one product versus its entire marketing strategy.

→ Download Now: Free Product Marketing Kit [Free Templates]

After reading this plan, you'll learn how to:

  • Validate a product
  • Write strategic objectives
  • Identify your market
  • Compile a competitive landscape
  • Create a value proposition for a new product
  • Consider sales and service in your marketing plan

5. Growth Marketing Plan

Growth marketing plans use experimentation and data to drive results, like we see in Venture Harbour’s Growth Marketing Plan Template :

marketing plan examples: venture harbour

Venture Harbour's growth marketing plan is a data-driven and experiment-led alternative to the more traditional marketing plan. Their template has five steps intended for refinement with every test-measure-learn cycle. The five steps are:

  • Experiments

Download Now: Free Growth Strategy Template

This is a great option if you want to experiment with different platforms and campaigns.

  • Visit Oxnard
  • Safe Haven Family Shelter
  • Wright County Economic Development
  • The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
  • Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Visit Billings

1. Visit Oxnard

This marketing plan by Visit Oxnard, a convention and visitors bureau, is packed with all the information one needs in a marketing plan: target markets, key performance indicators, selling points, personas, marketing tactics by channel, and much more.

It also articulates the organization’s strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, especially as it grapples with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Lastly, it has impeccable visual appeal, with color-coded sections and strong branding elements.

Why This Marketing Plan Works

  • States clear and actionable goals for the coming year
  • Includes data and other research that shows how their team made their decisions
  • Outlines how the team will measure the success of their plan

2. Safe Haven Family Shelter

marketing plan examples: safe haven family shelter

This marketing plan by a nonprofit organization is an excellent example to follow if your plan will be presented to internal stakeholders at all levels of your organization. It includes SMART marketing goals , deadlines, action steps, long-term objectives, target audiences, core marketing messages , and metrics.

The plan is detailed, yet scannable. By the end of it, one can walk away with a strong understanding of the organization’s strategic direction for its upcoming marketing efforts.

  • Confirms ongoing marketing strategies and objectives while introducing new initiatives
  • Uses colors, fonts, and formatting to emphasize key parts of the plan
  • Closes with long-term goals, key themes, and other overarching topics to set the stage for the future

3. Wright County Economic Development

marketing plan examples: wright county

Wright County Economic Development’s plan drew our attention because of its simplicity, making it good inspiration for those who’d like to outline their plan in broad strokes without frills or filler.

It includes key information such as marketing partners, goals, initiatives, and costs. The sections are easy to scan and contain plenty of information for those who’d like to dig into the details. Most important, it includes a detailed breakdown of projected costs per marketing initiative — which is critical information to include for upper-level managers and other stakeholders.

  • Begins with a quick paragraph stating why the recommended changes are important
  • Uses clear graphics and bullet points to emphasize key points
  • Includes specific budget data to support decision-making

4. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

marketing plan examples: cultural council of palm beach county

This marketing plan presentation by a cultural council is a great example of how to effectively use data in your plan, address audiences who are new to the industry, and offer extensive detail into specific marketing strategies.

For instance, an entire slide is dedicated to the county’s cultural tourism trends, and at the beginning of the presentation, the organization explains what an arts and culture agency is in the first place.

That’s a critical piece of information to include for those who might not know. If you’re addressing audiences outside your industry, consider defining terms at the beginning, like this organization did.

  • Uses quality design and images to support the goals and priorities in the text
  • Separate pages for each big idea or new strategy
  • Includes sections for awards and accomplishments to show how the marketing plan supports wider business goals
  • Defines strategies and tactics for each channel for easy skimming

5. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau

marketing plan examples: carrabus county

Cabarrus County’s convention and visitors bureau takes a slightly different approach with its marketing plan, formatting it like a magazine for stakeholders to flip through. It offers information on the county’s target audience, channels, goals, KPIs, and public relations strategies and initiatives.

We especially love that the plan includes contact information for the bureau’s staff members, so that it’s easy for stakeholders to contact the appropriate person for a specific query.

  • Uses infographics to expand on specific concepts, like how visitors benefit a community
  • Highlights the team members responsible for each initiative with a photo to emphasize accountability and community
  • Closes with an event calendar for transparency into key dates for events

6. Visit Billings

marketing plan examples: visit billings

Visit Billing’s comprehensive marketing plan is like Cabarrus County’s in that it follows a magazine format. With sections for each planned strategy, it offers a wealth of information and depth for internal stakeholders and potential investors.

We especially love its content strategy section, where it details the organization’s prior efforts and current objectives for each content platform.

At the end, it includes strategic goals and budgets — a good move to imitate if your primary audience would not need this information highlighted at the forefront.

  • Includes a section on the buyer journey, which offers clarity on the reasoning for marketing plan decisions
  • Design includes call-outs for special topics that could impact the marketing audience, such as safety concerns or "staycations"
  • Clear headings make it easy to scan this comprehensive report and make note of sections a reader may want to return to for more detail

What is a typical marketing plan?

Most marketing plans are documents that outline the following aspects of a business's marketing:

  • Target audience

Each marketing plan should include one or more goals, the path your team will take to meet those goals, and how you plan to measure success.

For example, say a tech startup is launching a new mobile app. Its marketing plan would usually include:

  • Target audience or buyer personas for the app
  • Outline of how app features meet audience needs
  • Competitive analysis
  • Goals for conversion funnel and user acquisition
  • Marketing strategies and tactics for user acquisition

Featured resource : Free Marketing Plan Template

What should a good marketing plan include?

A good marketing plan will create a clear roadmap for your unique marketing team. This means that the best marketing plan for your business will be distinct to your team and business needs.

That said, most marketing plans will include sections for one or more of the following:

  • Clear analysis of the target market
  • A detailed description of the product or service
  • Strategic marketing mix details (such as product, price, place, promotion)
  • Measurable goals with defined timelines

This can help you build the best marketing plan for your business.

A good marketing plan should also include a product or service's unique value proposition, a comprehensive marketing strategy including online and offline channels, and a defined budget.

Featured resource : Value Proposition Templates

What are the most important parts of a marketing plan?

When you‘re planning a road trip, you need a map to help define your route, step-by-step directions, and an estimate of the time it will take to get to your destination. It’s literally how you get there that matters.

Like a road map, a marketing plan is only useful if it helps you get to where you want to go. So, no one part is more than the other.

That said, you can use the list below to make sure that you've added or at least considered each of the following in your marketing plan:

  • Marketing goals
  • Executive summary
  • Target market analysis
  • Marketing strategies

What questions should I ask when making a marketing plan?

Questions are a useful tool for when you‘re stuck or want to make sure you’ve included important details.

Try using one or more of these questions as a starting point when you create your marketing plan:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are their needs, motivations, and pain points?
  • How does our product or service solve their problems?
  • How will I reach and engage them?
  • Who are my competitors? Are they direct or indirect competitors?
  • What are the unique selling points of my product or service?
  • What marketing channels are best for the brand?
  • What is our budget and timeline?
  • How will I measure the success of marketing efforts?

How much does a marketing plan cost?

Creating a marketing plan is mostly free. But the cost of executing a marketing plan will depend on your specific plan.

Marketing plan costs vary by business, industry, and plan scope. Whether your team handles marketing in-house or hires external consultants can also make a difference. Total costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. This is why most marketing plans will include a budget.

Featured resource : Free Marketing Budget Templates

What is a marketing plan template?

A marketing plan template is a pre-designed structure or framework that helps you outline your marketing plan.

It offers a starting point that you can customize for your specific business needs and goals. For example, our template includes easy-to-edit sections for:

  • Business summary
  • Business initiatives
  • Target market
  • Market strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Marketing technology

Let’s create a sample plan together, step by step.

Follow along with HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template .

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

1. Create an overview or primary objective.

Our business mission is to provide [service, product, solution] to help [audience] reach their [financial, educational, business related] goals without compromising their [your audience’s valuable asset: free time, mental health, budget, etc.]. We want to improve our social media presence while nurturing our relationships with collaborators and clients.

For example, if you wanted to focus on social media growth, your KPIs might look like this.

We want to achieve a minimum of [followers] with an engagement rate of [X] on [social media platform].

The goal is to achieve an increase of [Y] on recurring clients and new meaningful connections outside the platform by the end of the year.

Use the following categories to create a target audience for your campaign.

  • Profession:
  • Background:
  • Pain points:
  • Social media platforms that they use:
  • Streaming platforms that they prefer:

For more useful strategies, consider creating a buyer persona in our Make My Persona tool .

Our content pillars will be: [X, Y, Z].

Content pillars should be based on topics your audience needs to know. If your ideal clients are female entrepreneurs, then your content pillars can be: marketing, being a woman in business, remote working, and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.

Then, determine your omissions.

This marketing plan won’t be focusing on the following areas of improvement: [A, B, C].

5. Define your marketing budget.

Our marketing strategy will use a total of [Y] monthly. This will include anything from freelance collaborations to advertising.

6. Identify your competitors.

Use the following questions to clearly indicate who your competitors are:

  • Which platforms do they use the most?
  • How does their branding differentiate?
  • How do they talk to their audiences?
  • What valuable assets do customers talk about? And if they are receiving any negative feedback, what is it about?

7. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

Create responsible parties for each portion of the plan.

Marketing will manage the content plan, implementation, and community interaction to reach the KPIs.

  • Social media manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Content strategist: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Community manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Sales will follow the line of the marketing work while creating and implementing an outreach strategy.

  • Sales strategists: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Sales executives: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Customer Service will nurture clients’ relationships to ensure that they have what they want. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Project Managers will track the progress and team communication during the project. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Get started on your marketing plan.

These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started. But, to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you'll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure t o learn more about how we use AI.

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Marketing Strategy Models: A Comprehensive Guide

Marketing Strategy Models: A Comprehensive Guide

Marketing strategy models are an essential tool for businesses to achieve their goals and objectives. These models provide a structured approach to developing and implementing marketing strategies that can help businesses grow, increase revenue, and improve customer engagement. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most popular marketing strategy models and how to use them effectively. Whether you are a business owner, marketer or student, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of marketing strategy models. So let’s dive in and explore the importance of these models in more detail.

What Is a Marketing Model?

A marketing model is a framework that helps businesses plan and execute their marketing strategies. It is a visual representation of the customer journey and the various touchpoints where a business can interact with its target audience. Marketing models provide a structured approach to marketing, allowing businesses to identify their goals, target audience, and the best channels to reach them.

A marketing model should not be confused with a marketing strategy. While a strategy outlines what a business wants to achieve through its marketing efforts, a model provides the roadmap for how to achieve those goals. A strategy might involve increasing brand awareness or generating more leads, while a model would specify which channels to use and how much budget to allocate towards each one.

Marketing models have been around for decades, but they gained prominence in the 1960s when academics began studying consumer behavior. The first widely recognized marketing model was the Four Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. This model was developed by Jerome McCarthy in 1960 and has since become an essential tool for marketers worldwide.

Over time, more sophisticated marketing models have emerged that take into account changes in technology and consumer behavior. These newer models are designed to help businesses stay ahead of the curve and adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

One of the benefits of using a marketing model is that it provides structure and clarity around your marketing efforts. With so many different channels available today—from social media to email campaigns—it can be challenging for businesses to know where to focus their resources. A good marketing model will help you identify which channels are most effective for reaching your target audience and which ones are not worth investing in.

Another benefit of using a marketing model is that it allows you to measure your results more accurately. By tracking metrics like conversion rates and customer acquisition costs across different channels, you can determine which ones are delivering the best ROI (return on investment) for your business.

In addition to helping you plan your marketing activities more effectively, using a marketing model also makes it easier to communicate your strategy with other stakeholders in your organization. Whether you’re presenting your plan to investors or discussing it with your team members, having a clear framework in place will make it easier for everyone involved to understand what needs to be done and why.

The Benefits of a Marketing Strategy Model

The Benefits of a Marketing Strategy Model

A marketing strategy model is a framework that helps businesses plan and implement their marketing strategies. It is a systematic approach to developing and executing marketing plans that align with the business’s goals and objectives. There are several benefits of using a marketing strategy model, which we will discuss in this section.

How a Marketing Strategy Model Can Help a Business

Firstly, using a marketing strategy model can help businesses identify their target audience and understand their needs and preferences. By doing so, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to meet the specific needs of their customers, resulting in higher customer satisfaction rates.

Secondly, a marketing strategy model can help businesses allocate their resources effectively. With limited resources, it is essential for businesses to prioritize their spending on the most effective channels. A marketing strategy model can provide insights into which channels are most likely to generate leads or sales, allowing businesses to allocate their resources accordingly.

Thirdly, a marketing strategy model can help businesses measure the success of their marketing campaigns. By setting clear goals and metrics, businesses can track the effectiveness of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions about future investments.

The Advantages of Using a Marketing Strategy Model

Using a marketing strategy model has several advantages over ad-hoc or improvised approaches to marketing planning. Firstly, it provides structure and discipline to the process of developing and executing a marketing plan. This ensures that all relevant factors are considered and addressed systematically.

Secondly, using a marketing strategy model can reduce the risk of failure by providing guidance on best practices and proven strategies. By following established models that have been tested in various contexts, businesses can avoid costly mistakes and increase their chances of success.

Thirdly, using a marketing strategy model promotes collaboration across different departments within an organization. By involving stakeholders from different areas such as sales, product development, or customer service in the planning process, organizations can ensure that everyone is aligned around common goals and objectives.

The Disadvantages of Not Using a Marketing Strategy Model

The Disadvantages of Not Using a Marketing Strategy Model

On the other hand, not using a marketing strategy model can have several disadvantages for businesses. Firstly, it increases the risk of wasted resources by investing in ineffective channels or campaigns that do not resonate with customers.

Secondly, not having a clear plan or framework for executing your marketing activities can lead to inconsistent messaging or branding across different channels. This can confuse customers or dilute your brand identity over time.

Finally, not using a marketing strategy model makes it difficult to measure the success of your efforts accurately. Without clear goals or metrics in place beforehand, it is challenging to determine whether your campaigns are generating ROI or delivering value for your business.

Popular Marketing Strategy Models

Marketing strategy models are frameworks that businesses use to develop and execute their marketing strategies. These models help businesses identify their target audience, understand their competition, and create a plan to achieve their goals. In this section, we will discuss some of the most popular marketing strategy models used by businesses today.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It helps businesses identify internal and external factors that can affect their success. By analyzing these factors, businesses can develop a plan to leverage their strengths, address their weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate threats.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, businesses need to identify their strengths and weaknesses by looking at internal factors such as resources, capabilities, and processes. They also need to identify opportunities and threats by looking at external factors such as market trends, competition, and regulatory changes.

Examples of successful SWOT analyses include Apple’s ability to leverage its strong brand image and innovative products while addressing its weakness in supply chain management. Another example is Coca-Cola’s ability to expand its product portfolio into new markets while mitigating threats from health concerns related to sugary drinks.

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is a framework developed by Michael Porter that helps businesses analyze the competitive forces in an industry. The five forces include the threat of new entrants, bargaining power of buyers and suppliers, threat of substitute products or services, and rivalry among existing competitors.

By analyzing these forces, businesses can assess the attractiveness of an industry and develop a strategy to compete effectively. For example, Amazon has been able to dominate the online retail industry by leveraging its scale economies while keeping prices low for customers.

Ansoff Matrix

The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses decide on product and market growth strategies. The matrix includes four options: market penetration (existing products in existing markets), product development (new products in existing markets), market development (existing products in new markets), and diversification (new products in new markets).

By using the Ansoff Matrix, businesses can determine which growth strategy aligns with their goals based on risk tolerance and available resources. For example, Netflix has been able to grow rapidly by expanding into new international markets while continuing to develop original content for its existing subscribers.

STP Marketing Model

The STP Marketing Model stands for segmentation, targeting, positioning. It helps businesses identify specific segments within a larger market based on characteristics such as demographics or psychographics. After identifying these segments, businesses can target them with tailored marketing messages that resonate with their needs or preferences.

Finally, positioning involves creating a unique value proposition that differentiates your business from competitors within your targeted segment. For example, Nike has been able to position itself as a premium athletic brand through targeted advertising campaigns aimed at athletes who value performance over price.

How to Use Marketing Strategy Models?

How to Use Marketing Strategy Models?

Marketing strategy models are an essential tool for any business looking to succeed in today’s competitive market. However, simply choosing a model is not enough. To get the most out of your marketing strategy model, you need to know how to use it effectively.

The steps to using a marketing strategy model

The first step in using a marketing strategy model is to understand its components and how they relate to each other. This involves analyzing the different elements of the model and identifying how they fit together to create a cohesive strategy. Once you have a clear understanding of the model, you can begin to develop your own plan based on its principles.

The next step is to implement your plan by taking action on each element of the model. This requires careful planning and execution, as well as ongoing monitoring and analysis to ensure that your strategy is working effectively.

Tips for effective implementation

To ensure that your marketing strategy model is being used effectively, there are several tips that you should keep in mind:

  • Start with a clear goal: Before implementing your plan, make sure that you have a clear goal in mind. This will help you stay focused and ensure that all elements of your plan are aligned with this objective.
  • Use data-driven insights: Data is key when it comes to developing an effective marketing strategy. Use analytics tools to gather insights about your target audience, competitors, and industry trends.
  • Be flexible: While it’s important to have a solid plan in place, it’s also important to be flexible and adaptable as circumstances change. Keep an eye on market trends and adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Communicate effectively: Communication is key when it comes to implementing a marketing strategy model. Make sure that everyone involved understands their role and responsibilities, and keep lines of communication open throughout the process.

The importance of flexibility and adaptation

One of the most important aspects of using a marketing strategy model is being able to adapt as circumstances change. In today’s fast-paced business environment, things can change quickly, so it’s essential that businesses remain agile and flexible.

By regularly reviewing and updating their marketing strategies based on changing market conditions or customer needs, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and continue growing over time.

How to Choose the Best Marketing Model for Your Business?

Choosing the right marketing strategy model is crucial for the success of your business. With so many models available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to use. In this section, we will discuss the factors you should consider when choosing a marketing strategy model, the importance of aligning the model with your business goals, and the benefits of customizing a marketing strategy model.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Marketing Strategy Model

When choosing a marketing strategy model, it’s important to consider several factors. First and foremost, you need to understand your target audience and what they are looking for in your product or service. This will help you choose a model that resonates with them and encourages them to take action.

Another factor to consider is your budget. Some marketing strategy models require more resources than others, so it’s important to choose one that fits within your budget. You also need to consider the size of your business and its growth potential. A model that works well for a small business may not be suitable for a larger enterprise.

Aligning Your Marketing Model with Your Business Goals

Once you have identified the factors that are important for your business, it’s time to align your marketing strategy model with your business goals. Your marketing goals should align with your overall business objectives, such as increasing sales or improving customer retention.

Your chosen marketing strategy model should also reflect the unique characteristics of your business. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you may want to focus on digital marketing channels such as social media advertising or email campaigns.

Customizing Your Marketing Strategy Model

While there are many popular marketing strategy models available, it’s important to remember that no two businesses are exactly alike. To get the most out of your chosen model, it’s often necessary to customize it based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Customization can involve tweaking certain aspects of the model or combining different elements from multiple models into something entirely new. By customizing a marketing strategy model, you can create something that is uniquely tailored to your business needs and goals.

Marketing Strategy Model Examples

Marketing strategy models are essential for businesses to achieve their goals and objectives. In this section, we will discuss some real-life examples of successful marketing strategies using models, their features and benefits, and how to apply them to your business.

The Ansoff Matrix

The Ansoff Matrix is a popular marketing model that helps businesses identify opportunities for growth. It consists of four strategies – market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. One example of a company that successfully used the Ansoff Matrix is Apple. The company initially focused on its existing products (market penetration) by improving its iPhone’s features and expanding into new markets (market development) such as China and India. Later on, Apple introduced new products (product development) such as Apple Watch and AirPods. Finally, the company diversified its product line (diversification) by introducing services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+. By using the Ansoff Matrix, Apple was able to grow its business in a sustainable way.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

The 4 Ps of Marketing model is one of the most widely used marketing models. It consists of four elements – product, price, promotion, and place. One example of a company that successfully used the 4 Ps model is Coca-Cola. The company has been able to maintain its position as the world’s leading soft drink manufacturer by focusing on each element of the 4 Ps model. Coca-Cola has a wide range of products (product), which it sells at different prices (price) depending on the market segment it targets. The company uses various promotional activities (promotion) such as advertising campaigns and sponsorships to create brand awareness among consumers. Finally, Coca-Cola distributes its products through various channels (place) such as supermarkets, vending machines, and restaurants.

The Blue Ocean Strategy

The Blue Ocean Strategy is a marketing model that helps businesses create uncontested market space by making competition irrelevant. One example of a company that successfully used this strategy is Cirque du Soleil. The circus industry was highly competitive when Cirque du Soleil entered it in the 1980s. However, instead of competing with traditional circuses like Ringling Bros., Cirque du Soleil created a new type of performance art that combined circus acts with theater arts like music and dance. This allowed Cirque du Soleil to attract a new audience that was not interested in traditional circuses while also charging higher ticket prices than its competitors.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a marketing model that focuses on building long-term relationships with customers by providing them with personalized experiences based on their preferences and behavior patterns. One example of a company that successfully used CRM is Amazon.com. Amazon uses customer data to provide personalized recommendations for products based on customers’ purchase history and browsing behavior patterns when they visit their website or mobile app.

After exploring the various marketing strategy models and their benefits, it’s clear that having a solid strategy in place is crucial for any business looking to succeed in today’s competitive market. However, it’s important to remember that marketing strategy models are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Each business is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to choose the right model for your specific needs.

In addition, while these models provide a great framework for planning and executing marketing strategies, they should not be seen as static or unchanging. The future of marketing is constantly evolving, and businesses must be willing to adapt and modify their strategies accordingly. This means continually monitoring results, analyzing data, and making adjustments as needed.

Ultimately, the success of any marketing strategy model depends on how well it is executed. It requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to take risks. But with the right approach and a solid understanding of these popular models, businesses can create effective campaigns that build brand awareness, increase sales, and drive growth.

In conclusion, choosing the right marketing strategy model can be challenging but is critical for achieving success in today’s market. By understanding the benefits of each model and how to use them effectively, businesses can create targeted campaigns that resonate with their audience and drive results. And by staying up-to-date with industry trends and embracing change when necessary, companies can ensure they remain competitive in an ever-evolving landscape. So whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out in business ownership, remember that a strong marketing strategy is key to achieving long-term success.

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marketing strategy planning process model


  1. Here’s How the Marketing Process Works

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  2. Technology Strategic Planning

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  4. Marketing Process: 5 Steps of Marketing Process

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  5. The Marketing Process: 5 Stages from Planning to Execution

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  6. 7.2 The Marketing Strategy Process

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  2. Strategic Marketing Management

  3. Strategic Marketing Planning and Marketing Mix


  5. Marketing plan part 4 !

  6. Marketing Plan


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  4. 2.2 The Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process

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