Marketing contains more than just advertising, public relations, internet marketing, or promotion. It requires planning, a lot of time and research, and constant testing.
When it comes to marketing, entrepreneurs and small business owners use the terms strategic and tactical marketing synonymously, but fail to realize how different each one really is.
Strategic marketing plans are comprehensive and usually span over three to five years. Strategic marketing plans cover organizational messages, pricing, client/customer acquisition and retention strategies, product/service/brand positioning, and market segmentation. A strategic marketing plan provides a macro overview of your business or brand.
Tactical marketing is slightly different from strategic marketing. Tactical plans involve how the message is distributed and where it is placed. Tactical marketing plans are short term, usually span over three to twelve months. A tactical marketing plan provides a micro overview of your brand or business.
Strategic marketing plans include the following elements:
- Executive Summary: Executive summary is the most important section of a marketing plan. It is a one page summary, briefly outlining the business (I tell my clients to complete this section last).
- Situational Analysis: Situational analysis section is a detailed outline of the market including competitors, opportunities, threats, and challenges. The situational analysis provides an in-depth overview of market size, projected growth, market share, and competition.
- Marketing Strategies: Marketing strategy section includes: revenue goals; market entry and market penetration strategies. For instance, "XYZ company plans to attain X amount of dollars in revenue by the end of the year". This section also includes four P's of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion.
- Timeline: The timeline section is used to meet annual goals.
- Budget: An established budget is crucial to determine where marketing funds should be allocated.
Tactical marketing plans include the following activities:
- Create and organize a blog or company newsletter to sell advertising space.
- If you can't beat them, join them. Joint venture or cross market with non-competing and competing companies.
- Write bylined articles for industry publications, websites, and newspapers. The more visibility you get in print and electronic publications, the more credibility you will build.
- Be smart when planning media placements. Write compelling advertisements with irresistible offers that make prospects respond to your message immediately.
- Get involved in the community and sponsor a local charity event.
- Distribute press releases to appropriate media if your company expands a product line, offers a new service, or recently merged with another company.
- Get involved with social media marketing. Twitter and Facebook are the two largest and well known platforms businesses use. Social book marking and content sharing sites such as Reddit and Digg should be supplementary social media platforms. All of these resources are free and are great ways to increase your online presence.
- Publish case studies, white papers and articles on your website and blog
- Attend industry events to expand your professional network.