If you find that your marketing team is not achieving desired results, you may need to follow a strategic marketing planning process that is firmly rooted in a marketing audit to remedy that. Contrary to popular thinking, marketing is not just some random activity. It’s not something you wake up from any side of the bed and just do. It is rather a very systematic and logical process that requires active planning and research and a lot of forecasting. Like every other business function, marketing needs to be strategic in order to achieve desired business results – and this is what marketing specialists call the strategic marketing planning process.

What does this process involve? Identifying a range of marketing options for the company. Formulating marketing objectives consistent with the company’s overall objectives. Working in the cost of specific marketing activities and the organization’s preparedness for such costs. Details made explicit in writing. It’s important to stress the role of writing things down here as memory can be a very tricky thing. Every detail, from consumer characteristics to communication channels, must be written down.

More importantly, when following a strategic marketing planning process, you will need to consider the following: mission statement, financial summary, market overview, SWOT analyses, assumptions, marketing objectives and strategies appropriately prioritized, resource allocations containing details of timing, responsibilities and costs, as well as forecasts and budgets, etc. There are other considerations that aid strategic marketing planning and it’s the job of the marketing manager to oversee this process.

In addition, it’s important to perform a marketing audit to scan the performance of the business, looking critically at internal and external factors that may have – one way or the other – affected the performance of the business. This will ensure that plans are not made in thin air, that they are firmly rooted within the company’s realities.

There’s some sort of confidence that comes when problems are anticipated. They no longer become threats. They become challenges that can be surmounted ahead of time with strategies such as introducing a new product, slashing prices or cutting costs, restructuring the sales team, etc. A strategic marketing planning process makes this possible.