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Strategic Planning For Small Businesses in 2017

Mar 6, 2017 3:59:00 PM / by Local First

Nowadays, the key to long-term growth and success for your business is to find a way to best serve your customers.

Using strategic marketing, businesses can better identify customer needs and create a marketing plan to meet those needs and achieve organizational goals. A strategic plan can provide the blueprint you need to stay on track to achieve your goals in a changing marketplace and help ensure you don’t waste resources pursuing opportunities that aren’t aligned with long-term objectives.

To create your strategic plan, you must fully understand the strategic marketing process and its three key phases: Planning, Implementation, and Control.


The planning phase functions to provide an overall picture of the organization and has three steps:

Step 1: Situation analysis and SWOT.

A situational analysis asks: what is the current situation with the marketing or product? To understand your company’s current situation you must research and analyze your competitors and customers, assess your company, and identify any industry trends.

The SWOT process is a key tool in determining your current position in the market, from which plans can be made to build on/improve strengths, detect and fix weaknesses, seize opportunities and become aware of potential threats.

Step 2: Market-product focus and goal setting

Organizations must find a focus for their product/service offerings. This is found using market segmentation – putting buyers into groups or segments that have common needs and will respond in a similar way to marketing programs.

This requires setting marketing and product goals, selecting target markets, finding points of difference (unique selling points), and position the product to attract a particular segment.

Step 3: Marketing program

After the target market is identified, you must develop your program's marketing mix and budget. Each component of the mix, the 4 P's, are combined to provide the organization with a comprehensive, cohesive marketing program.

This involves determining the best product, price, promotion, and distribution methods to meet the objectives, in addition to planning the costs of implementing the strategy.


Implementation is the process that puts strategies and plans into motion to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

Four key components are necessary to support implementation, and all components must be in place in order to move from creating the plan to activating the plan:

Resources. You must make sure you have or obtain sufficient resources to implement the plan.

People. Make sure you have the right people on board; those individuals with required competencies and skills that are needed to support the plan.

Schedule. The marketing plan should be implemented according to a plan. It should be laid out by days, weeks, months or even years, and include milestones that must be achieved within a specific time frame.

Execution. Effective execution requires attention to detail to the marketing tactics, which involve the day-to-day decisions needed to implement the plan.


Marketing controls are a series of measurements used to determine whether the plan is meeting, or has met, its stated goals and objectives. The control phase will attempt to keep the marketing program moving in the direction set out in the marketing plan by:

Comparing results with plans to identify deviations – This involves comparing the actual results of the marketing campaign, through its sales, to see if the marketing plan is working.  Sales are compared to before and after the campaign.

Acting on the deviations. Once the evaluation is complete, if the actual performance is less than expected, changes can be made to the marketing plan to increase sales. This process can be repeated many times.


About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a proud Local First member. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com. Follow us today on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!

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Local First

Written by Local First