Strategic marketing is the way a business differentiates itself from their competitors. This means focusing on your strengths and providing better value to customers than your competitors.

Strategic marketing aims to maximize your brand image, compared to competitors in the eyes of its target market. It does this by fulfilling three key criteria; where, how and when the business should compete.

In other words, having a strategic marketing plan is all about knowing what makes your business special, who your customers are, and how you can combine these facts to gain a competitive advantage.

Let’s look at how this works in a little bit more detail.

What is Strategic Marketing?

Strategic marketing is the ability to create marketing plans based on identifying customers’ needs in order to satisfy these customers, improve the company’s performance and increase profit.

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This leads to a better image for the company, becoming more innovative and achieving a better stake in the market.

The most important step of strategic marketing is the construction of a marketing plan that considers the target audience your business is trying to cater to, the amount of resources available to the company and how you’re going to reach that audience.

A strategic marketing goal focused on creating a sustainable competitive advantage is an ambitious objective that seeks to establish a long-term edge over competitors within the market. This is achieved by building unique strengths and capabilities that are difficult for competitors to replicate or imitate.

What is a Marketing Campaign? Simplifying the Definition with Examples.


In a dynamic and ever-evolving market landscape, simply surviving is not enough. Businesses need to constantly strive for differentiation and dominance to achieve sustainable success. This is where a strategic marketing goal focused on creating a sustainable competitive advantage comes into play.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Identifying Core Competencies:
    • Analyzing internal strengths and capabilities to identify unique value propositions.
    • Focusing on areas where the business excels and possesses superior expertise.
  2. Developing a Differentiated Strategy:
    • Building a marketing strategy that leverages core competencies to create a unique market position.
    • Offering solutions and experiences that cater to unmet needs or address customer pain points in distinct ways.
  3. Building Brand Loyalty:
    • Cultivating strong customer relationships through exceptional service, personalized experiences, and consistent brand messaging.
    • Fostering emotional connections and brand advocacy to attract and retain loyal customers.
  4. Investing in Innovation and Growth:
    • Continuously seeking new opportunities to improve products, services, and processes.
    • Adapting to market trends and technological advancements to stay ahead of the curve.
  5. Creating a Strong Marketing Culture:
    • Empowering employees to embrace a customer-centric approach and actively contribute to achieving marketing goals.
    • Fostering a culture of collaboration, creativity, and data-driven decision making.

Benefits of Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage:

  • Increased market share and profitability: Standing out from the crowd attracts more customers and leads to higher sales and revenue.
  • Improved brand reputation and customer loyalty: Building trust and differentiation creates a loyal customer base that advocates for your brand.
  • Enhanced bargaining power and pricing flexibility: Strong brand positioning allows you to command premium prices and negotiate better terms with suppliers.
  • Greater resilience and adaptability: A sustainable advantage provides a buffer against economic downturns and competitive pressures.

Examples of Sustainable Competitive Advantages:

  • Apple’s design and user experience: Apple consistently sets the bar for user experience and design, making their products highly desirable and difficult to replicate.
  • Amazon’s logistics and e-commerce infrastructure: Amazon’s extensive network of fulfillment centers and efficient delivery systems create a logistical advantage that other retailers struggle to match.
  • Tesla’s commitment to electric vehicle technology: Tesla’s early investment in electric vehicles and its innovative technology have made them a leader in a rapidly growing market.

What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Understanding strategic marketing is not sufficient to ensure the success of your efforts. It is important to create a marketing plan that clearly conveys your purpose and goals in order to ensure that your team’s efforts are unified towards the same goal.

Your strategic marketing plan should determine the type of marketing program, and the time frame during which it will be implemented.

It should also include the approach used with the customers using the different marketing methods. Before we begin constructing a strategic marketing plan, let us first observe the benefits that it will provide your business.

Strategic marketing stats
A large number of businesses have no strategic marketing planning process in place. Image credit: Media Valet

Why Do You Need a Strategic Marketing Plan?

Regardless of the size of your business, having strategic marketing helps you maintain your current customers while also attracting new ones to your business.

Additionally, having a solid strategic marketing plan will make it much easier to pitch your business when you’re looking for funding. A plan will also provide you with an opportunity to better understand your business which ensures that you effectively manage your resources.

How to Create a Strategic Marketing Plan

Luckily, creating a strategic marketing plan isn’t so complicated. The key is to know what you should actually include. Here are the four steps to success.

Step 1: Business Research

Before you can create an effective plan, you need to understand the business it is being made for. You need to understand what makes this business work. You need to find out what products or services does the business have to offer that the customers need.

These products will be your main focus when addressing customers. You want them to be aware of these products in order to maximize your business’s sales.

Next, you need to look at what the business wants to achieve in the future, these goals are known as the business objectives. This will give you a rough outline of the future of the company which will help you pave the path to reaching that future.

Step 2: Marketing Research

Now that you have identified your business’s most popular products. It is now time to understand the target market that you’re selling these products to. This target market consists of an audience that will often share some common preferences.

As a marketer, it is your job to identify the current similarities to adapt the product to them.

It’s well known that a good marketer is able to identify these preferences while a great marketer will be able to predict future trend shifts through constant research of the target demographics.

After you’ve identified the audience of your target market, you should now have a good idea of which advertising mediums have the most influence on them which will allow you to appropriately allocate the company’s resources towards these mediums.

Step 3: Setting Marketing Goals and Strategies

How a social media content calendar can improve your marketing strategy 101

After you have identified the most essential channels, it is now time to determine what you aim to achieve through these.

Some of the most popular goals include strengthening the brand presence, creating a need by informing customers about the products, or informing existing customers of improvements or changes done to the product or service.

At this point, you should have some general goals that you aim to achieve through marketing which will help you move on to the next part of constructing the plan.

The next part involves considering the various marketing strategies in order to choose the most effective method for your business to achieve its goals.

Let’s quickly go through some of the most common marketing strategies.

  1. Social Media Marketing: The internet gives you access to a massive number of potential customers for relatively no cost. This is a great medium that every business should be utilizing in their marketing efforts.
  2. Viral Marketing: Creating a video that goes viral is one of the greatest ways for your business to gain exposure. Time has proven that the creation of viral videos is an art that requires mastering due to the many subtleties that may make or break it. Be sure to check our article on viral marketing to help you master this elusive tool.
  3. Content Marketing: This is another great way to create a need with customers for your service or product while also improving your brand image and exposure. By informing viewers about relevant topics, they become much more inclined to buy what your business has to offer since they now know the benefits.
  4. Search Engine Optimization: Another essential part of marketing that ensures that your websites are optimized for search engines in order to ensure that you achieve the highest ranking on search engine result pages you can possibly achieve. This is a great source of organic traffic for your business which can be later turned into customers.
  5. Affiliate marketing: This method uses influencers to direct their followers towards your business. This can be incredibly beneficial for both the business and the influencer as it’s a venture of mutual benefit. However, it is important to make sure that their following overlap with your target audience in order to ensure optimal results. You can check out our article about affiliate marketing.

Step 4: Putting Your Strategic Marketing Planning Into Action

By now, you should have a well-rounded plan for your business and it is now time to begin implementing this plan. It is now time to finalize your marketing budget and begin working on achieving these goals.

You might find it useful to share your strategic marketing plan with your subordinates in order to give them a better idea of the goals you’d like to achieve.

This will ensure that the whole team is working together with one common goal in mind which will highly boost the overall efficiency of the task.

Success Rates for Typical Marketing Tactics vs. Strategic Imperatives

While specific success rates can vary greatly depending on industry, target audience, and implementation factors, here’s a general comparison of success rates for typical marketing tactics versus strategic imperatives:

Typical Marketing Tactics:

  • Content Marketing: 60% of successful marketers use content marketing to achieve their marketing goals. (Source: HubSpot)
  • Social Media Marketing: 50% of marketers report increased brand awareness through social media marketing. (Source: Sprout Social)
  • Email Marketing: Average open rates for email campaigns hover around 21.33%, with click-through rates at 2.62%. (Source: Campaign Monitor)
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Average PPC conversion rates across industries range from 1% to 5%, with an average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of $33.18. (Source: WordStream)

Strategic Imperatives:

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Companies with a customer-centric culture achieve 60% higher profit margins than those that don’t. (Source: Bain & Company)
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Organizations that use data effectively are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than competitors. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • Marketing Automation: Businesses that implement marketing automation see a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. (Source: Marketo)
  • Omnichannel Marketing: Integrating marketing efforts across channels leads to a 90% higher customer retention rate. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

Key Takeaways:

  • While individual tactics can be successful, they are most effective when aligned with a broader strategic imperative.
  • Strategic imperatives focus on long-term goals and address fundamental business challenges, leading to more sustainable and impactful results.
  • Data-driven decision making, customer centricity, and integrated marketing approaches are crucial for achieving sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Measuring and tracking the success of marketing efforts is essential to identify what works and continuously refine strategies.


  • These are general averages, and the actual success rate will depend on your specific implementation and circumstances.
  • Aligning your marketing tactics with strategic imperatives is crucial for achieving long-term success.
  • Continuously measuring, analyzing, and iterating on your marketing approach is essential for maximizing results.

What Are the End Goals of a Successful Strategic Marketing Planning Process?

In short, any business-related activity either aims directly or indirectly to maximise profit.

This can be a series of meticulous processes and strategies woven together to implement this.

The marketing planning process enables your company to do the following:

1. Stand Out From Competitors

Marketing, especially branding, is all about promoting your company. This means making its products stand apart from your competitors.

A successful strategic marketing plan should achieve this for your company, distinguishing it from others and making it retain its own personality amidst other brands.

Strategic marketing plan USP infographic
The strategic marketing planning process is much easier if you have a clear USP. image credit: TractionWise

2. Assess Your Company’s Positioning and How to Improve It

Positioning here has a duality to it: it specifies the company’s position in terms of market share and financial position and the brand’s position within the market.

It’s a common practice amongst marketers to create the brand’s slogan after a strong positioning statement, establishing the points of strength that the company owns.

3. Give Insights about Marketing Segmentation

The strategic marketing planning process grants the company an in-depth insight about the market segmentation and whether the company is targeting the right customers.

More importantly, a decent strategic marketing plan makes the company assess if the targeted segment is the right one.

4. Budget Accordingly

A solid marketing strategy gives management insights about the expected costs for a marketing campaign and how to cover for it. Naturally, this allows the management to allocate the appropriate budget for marketing, without over or under-doing it.

Some people would think that over-budgeting is a plus. But it affects overall efficiency for the company; the funding that is allocated for marketing could have been allocated to other departments in the company.

With so many shiny marketing tools out there, it’s easy to get carried away or fooled by the sales speak of their makers.

A strategic planning process will naturally help any company to face these challenges in a realistic, systematic manner and to account for all possible scenarios with the highest return possible.

Examples/Templates for Creating Strategic Marketing Plans and Measuring Impact

Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan:

Here’s a template you can use to create your strategic marketing plan:

1. Executive Summary:

  • Briefly summarize your key marketing goals and objectives.
  • Highlight the target market and value proposition.
  • Outline the key strategies and tactics you will implement.

2. Situation Analysis:

  • Describe the current market situation, including industry trends, competitor landscape, and target market analysis.
  • Identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).
  • Define your unique selling proposition (USP) and competitive advantage.

3. Marketing Objectives:

  • Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) for your marketing campaigns.
  • Align your marketing objectives with your overall corporate strategy.
  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.

4. Target Market:

  • Clearly define your ideal customer profile and buyer personas.
  • Understand their needs, wants, and pain points.
  • Segment your target market based on relevant criteria.

5. Marketing Strategies:

  • Develop comprehensive strategies for each marketing channel, such as content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.
  • Outline specific tactics and activities for each strategy.
  • Define the budget and resources allocated for each channel.

6. Marketing Mix:

The Marketing Mix: Product | The Marketing Mix | Marketing Strategy | Business Strategy
  • Define your product portfolio, pricing strategy, distribution channels, and promotional activities.
  • Ensure all elements of the marketing mix are aligned and consistent.
  • Consider the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) and their impact on your target market.

7. Implementation and Measurement:

  • Develop a detailed timeline for implementing your marketing plan.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for each team member.
  • Establish a process for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
  • Use analytics tools and dashboards to monitor key metrics and KPIs.

8. Budget and Resources:

  • Allocate sufficient budget and resources to effectively implement your marketing plan.
  • Prioritize spending based on the potential return on investment (ROI) of each initiative.
  • Track your budget and expenses to ensure efficient utilization of resources.

9. Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Regularly monitor the progress of your marketing campaigns.
  • Analyze the data and identify areas for improvement.
  • Adapt your strategies and tactics based on market feedback and performance results.
  • Conduct periodic reviews and evaluations to assess the overall effectiveness of your marketing plan.

Measuring Impact:

Here are some examples of how you can measure the impact of your marketing campaigns:

Website Traffic:

  • Track the number of unique visitors, page views, and bounce rate.
  • Analyze traffic sources and identify the most effective channels.
  • Use website analytics tools to gain insights into user behavior.

Lead Generation:

  • Track the number of leads generated from each marketing campaign.
  • Analyze the quality of leads and identify the most qualified leads.
  • Implement lead nurturing strategies to convert leads into customers.

Sales and Revenue:

  • Track the number of sales and revenue generated from each marketing campaign.
  • Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each campaign.
  • Analyze the lifetime value of customers acquired through marketing efforts.

Brand Awareness:

  • Conduct brand awareness surveys to measure brand recognition and recall.
  • Track social media mentions and engagement metrics.
  • Monitor online reviews and sentiment analysis.


  • Track the number of likes, shares, comments, and other engagement metrics on social media platforms.
  • Analyze email open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts by tracking website traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation.

Customer Satisfaction:

  • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Track customer reviews and feedback.
  • Analyze customer lifetime value and identify opportunities for improvement.

By using these templates and measuring the impact of your marketing efforts, you can develop and implement successful marketing campaigns that drive growth and achieve your business goals.

Remember, this is just a general template, and you may need to adapt it to fit the specific needs of your business and industry.


Still have questions? Explore common strategic marketing queries below.

Q: How often should marketing strategy be revisited?

A: Formally review and if necessary, revise strategic priorities every 2-3 years. But monitor metrics continually.

Q: Who should lead strategy development?

A: While input needed across an organization, designate an executive-level figure to drive planning and alignment.

Q: What’s more important – robust analytics or creative ideas?

A: Balance both. Data informs but doesn’t replace imaginative growth opportunities tailored to company strengths.

Q: How can we help our team transition to strategic focus?

A: Communicate connections between daily tactics and high-level growth goals. Incentivize and reward strategic contributions.


An optimized marketing strategy aligns brand positioning, content, and channels to expand market share sustainably. But blueprint development is just step one. Regularly assess performance indicators defined early on to course correct initiatives if needed. Infuse a culture valuing innovation and calculated risk-taking needed to capitalize on new opportunities.

Equip teams with resources and executive support to thoughtfully stretch beyond short term results. With comprehensive planning and nimble execution, realize the full potential of strategic marketing.

If you want help making better strategic marketing decisions, contact ProfileTree today.

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