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[The content of this article comes from 5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Strategic Marketing Plan” by Ruth Zive of MarketingWise, a friend and very wise marketer. I had to change a thing or two. It’s what I do.]

The emergence of new marketing platforms and technologies seems to have heightened awareness amongst executives that they need to dust off their websites and make some serious changes to their marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, in the face of the changing marketing landscape, most companies respond with knee jerk reactions that can be expensive and ineffective.

Slapping a blog tab and social media icons onto your website, or stuffing your content with keywords – heck, even frantic Google Adwords campaigns – are too often reactive and not particularly thoughtful.

At MarketingWise, we recommend every marketing initiative should be preempted with a thoughtful and strategic marketing audit. Here’s why…

You refine your value proposition.

What do you stand for?

How are you different from the competition?

What are your most special products, services and qualities?

Are you articulating the answers to these fundamental questions in your marketing materials?

You identify your target clients’ pain points

97% of all purchasing decisions are initiated with an online search. Most are searching for answers to their questions and solutions to the challenges they can’t seem to overcome.

Your messaging must start with a clear understanding of your target customer’s pain points.

You create useful content.

MarketingWise believes all your marketing efforts should be content driven—but not in an ad hoc, mindless kind of way. Rather, you want to coordinate your content thoughtfully and strategically, and align your marketing materials with your sales cycle. You should always take into consideration seasonal fluctuations over the course of the full year and tailor your content accordingly. Also make sure to repurpose content in a way that makes the most of your marketing spend.

You save money.

Most companies allocate 10% to 25% of their total operating budget on marketing. 

Marketing costs money. But marketing well doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. In fact, a strategic marketing plan helps ensure you allocate resources wisely, which reduces costs and increaeses efficiency.

You ID new opportunities.

We always benchmark our clients against the competition in an effort to identify gaps in the market. Sometimes these are difficult to see when you are mired in the day-to-day chaos of running a business. By surveying the landscape at a high level, you are better positioned to determine the best opportunities for growth.

A strategic marketing plan is an essential starting point for any comprehensive marketing effort. If you have experience strategizing marketing plans or have questions about what you read here, please share your thoughts here.