Strategic marketing planning is not fun. When it comes to deciding what direction the company should be heading everybody has a different opinion.

That being said, a well-defined go to market strategy plays a crucial role in how the business is performing. And it all starts with defining clear marketing objectives, effective strategies and realistic tactics to accomplish them.

If you had a chance to be part of the team responsible for crafting the strategic plan for a company or brand I am sure you noticed how difficult it is to formulate clear objectives, and distinguish between strategy and tactics. Even experienced marketers struggle to formulate clear objectives, and distinguish between strategy and tactics.

I think this is a good time to clarify them.

Marketing Objectives

The objectives of the go to market plan are the goals that a company aims to accomplish, the motivators that drive the employees and management team forward.

Ideally a firm should focus on a few realistic goals such as to grow sales or maximize profits. Too many objectives result in lack of focus and inefficient allocation of resources.

Marketing objectives should also be clearly defined and measurable. As a result, long term vision and a good understanding of the marketplace are mandatory.

Realistic objectives are the solid foundation on which the strategies and tactics are crafted and executed.

Strategy versus Tactics

These two concepts create most confusion even among experienced marketers.

Marketing strategy represents the generic direction to be followed in order to accomplish a specific objective. There are usually multiple strategies that can be used to accomplish a goal.

Adopting a particular one depends on the company position in the marketplace and the available resources, among other things. A start-up will probably adopt a go to market strategy that is different from that of the market leader.

Marketing tactics are a series of actions that lead to the implementation of a particular strategy. Tactics are the to-do list the marketers focus on their everyday job and unfortunately, the things that take most time.

Many marketers and creative agencies think in terms of tactics rather than strategy. Building a website, executing an email blast, creating and pay-per-click campaigns are not strategies, but rather tactics supporting a specific strategy.

Let’s take a practical example of a company crafting its 5 year strategic plan. The introductory section that lists marketing objectives, strategies and tactics might look like this:

-double the sales to $10 million in the next five years

-Strategy 1: introduce 3 new products per year
-Strategy 2: increase distributor penetration
-Strategy 3: expand internationally

Related to Strategy 1:
-attend trade shows to identify new vendors
-invest in primary and secondary research to discover new consumer needs
-invest in manufacturing facilities and know-how

In conclusion, an effective go to market plan starts with a few well-defined objectives, supported by effective strategies, which in turn will be accomplished through a series of tactics. With these concepts clearly understood, the marketing plan has very good chances of being implemented.

Brought to you by: “The Brand Positioning 1 on 1” Workshop