Ayoa’s Strategic Marketing Planning template will enable you to transform your SWOT Analysis into an effective long-term marketing strategy that you can put into action. Once you’ve identified your upcoming challenges, follow this framework to identify how to capitalize on your opportunities and mitigate your threats.
A marketing strategy is vital for any marketing team to outline their goals and objectives and assess their available resources, so they can reach their ideal audiences and convert them into loyal customers. Although the two are often confused as being the same thing, there are many differences between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan and both tools should be used in tandem with each other.
In simple terms, a marketing strategy is the why, while a marketing plan is the how. A marketing strategy is an overall game plan that focuses on how you can develop a long-term competitive advantage (such as through product positioning and brand identity), whereas a marketing plan focuses on the individual tactics you will undertake to capitalize on this advantage (for example, by running social media social media campaigns and pay-per-click adverts).
It is not a question of whether you need a strategy or a plan; any seasoned marketer knows that to reach your goals, you should have both. A marketing strategy without a plan will be difficult to put into action, while a marketing plan without a strategy lacks direction and purpose.
Remember, creating a marketing plan should be the last step in your strategic planning process.
An effective marketing strategy should focus on the big picture and accurately identify what it will take to achieve your overall business goals. Ayoa’s Five Step Strategic Marketing Planning Process will help you identify what it is you want to achieve and plan exactly how to get there.
Here at Ayoa, we believe time invested in the planning stage is returned tenfold in the doing stage. Following our five step process will help you to make better decisions and ensure you use your resources most effectively.
Ayoa’s Five Step Strategic Marketing Planning Process includes:
Ready to create a strategic marketing plan to help you reach your goals? Discover how to use our template below.
To access the template, sign up to Ayoa for free. Once you've signed up, navigate to the homepage to create a new whiteboard, mind map or task board and choose this template from the library.
Begin by clarifying your situation and the challenges you are facing. Try to keep it as flexible as possible. This could be a problem you need to solve, or an opportunity that’s in your favor.
Tip: If you need help identifying relevant factors, Ayoa is your complete toolkit. Our templates are designed to complement each other, so why not try conducting a SWOT analysis or a PEST analysis and dropping the factors you identify straight into this template?
Tip: To add more days of the week as categories, simply click and drag the ‘category’ icon onto the template where you wish it to sit.
Brainstorm potential solutions to the challenges you have identified. Focus on what you need to do to resolve your situation, rather than how you will do it. Avoid focusing on tactical actions; we need a clear view of where we are going before we can decide how to get there. For example, if you’ve identified a need to grow your market share, you have two potential strategic solutions; win existing customers from competitors, or earn a larger share of new to market customers.
Tip: Again Ayoa has a number of tried and tested templates to help you work out which option is better for you, or help you to think outside the box to come up with an innovative third option.
Now it’s time for an often overlooked step in the marketing planning process; setting your success criteria. You can’t know if your strategy is proving successful if you haven’t set goals and expectations to measure against. Unsure of how to set realistic and measurable aims? Use Ayoa’s SMART Goals template to help you set smarter goals.
This is where a lot of marketing planning starts; deciding on tactics. Tactics are often mistaken for strategy, but tactical thinking focuses on short term deliverables. Think of a tactic as a building block or single step toward your solution. Due to the actionable nature of marketing tactics, they are often the first ideas in a brainstorming session. Try to avoid discussing tactics until you have a clear solution and success criteria; then ask yourself; how does this help us achieve the success criteria?. A marketing tactic that doesn’t contribute towards your goals should not be part of your strategy.
As an example, an advert in a popular magazine may sound like a great way to reach potential customers, but how specifically is it helping you win market share from your competitors? Targeting your competitors’ disgruntled customers directly may be a more effective tactic.
Finally it’s time to plan your resource. It’s important to set realistic expectations for launching and delivering initiatives. A Gantt chart is a great way to display your marketing plan and identify which tasks are dependent on others. Try to plan your deliverables to build upon each other. For example, it makes sense to implement your tracking solution before launching a new channel – otherwise, how will you know if it has been successful?
Once you have planned your tasks, Ayoa provides unrivaled flexibility to manage them. Easily create a task board straight from the template using Ayoa’s unique taskbar, then add tasks with dedicated start dates, due dates, assignees, progress indicators, and more.