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Strategic Marketing Planning

Success is the residue of planning."

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Strategic Marketing Planning

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Success is the residue of planning."

- Benjamin Franklin

Planning is vital to marketing. It provides a roadmap to the final marketing goal and unifies the team's efforts to achieve common objectives. In today's explanation, let's look at strategic marketing planning and how it works.

Strategic Marketing Planning Definition

Strategic marketing planning is one of the main functions of marketing management. It is the process in which the company develops marketing strategies to meet its strategic goals and objectives. The main steps include identifying the company's current situation, analysing its opportunities and threats, and mapping out marketing action plans for implementation.

Strategic marketing planning is the development of marketing strategies based on the overall business strategy.

Marketing plans are developed based on the scope of the strategic plan. Once the plan is concluded, it is implemented to achieve the company's objectives. (Figure 1)

Importance of Strategic Planning in Marketing

Strategic planning in marketing is vital as it comes with many benefits. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

A significant part of strategic planning is developing a SWOT analysis that considers the internal and external environment's influence on business performance. This analysis will likely include the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This information helps managers understand the company's situation and develop appropriate marketing strategies.

Marketing plans include marketing strategies and specific goals and deadlines for achieving them. Thus, by developing a plan, marketers can ensure marketing activities are carried out within the set timeframe and meet the overall objectives.

While goals are vital to business success, they are rather vague for implementation. A company can set a goal to increase its sales by 10% within two years, but without an action plan with clear steps on what to do, this is unlikely to happen. That's where strategic marketing planning comes into play. Along with marketing goals, the plan outlines specific steps to take to reach the set goal.

Process of Strategic Marketing Planning

Now that we've learned what strategic marketing planning is and why it is essential, let's take a look at how to create one:

Sections of a strategic marketing plan

While strategic marketing plans vary from one company to another, they tend to include the following sections:



Executive summary

Brief summary of goals and recommendations

SWOT analysis

Analysis of the company's current marketing situation along with opportunities and threats it might face.

Marketing objectives

Specification of the marketing objectives following the overall strategic objectives

Marketing strategies

Strategies for the target market, positioning, marketing mix, and expenditures.

Action program

Specification of steps to implement the marketing strategies.


Estimation of marketing costs and expected revenue.


Description of how the monitoring process will be carried out.

Table 1. Sections of a strategic marketing plan, StudySmarter Originals

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is the shortened version of the entire marketing plan. It outlines high-level objectives, marketing goals, and activities of the company. The summary must be clear, concise, and easy to understand.

2. Market analysis

The next part of the strategic marketing plan is market analysis or SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis considers the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how it can exploit or tackle them.

3. Marketing plan

This is the central part of the strategy that specifies:

  • Marketing goals: Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).

  • Marketing strategy: Details on how to engage customers, create customer value, build customer relationships, etc. The company should develop strategies for each marketing mix element.

  • Marketing budget: Estimate the costs for carrying out marketing activities.

4. Implementations and controls

This section outlines the specific steps for the marketing campaign to be carried out. It should also include measures for progress and returns on marketing investment.

Steps to planning a marketing strategy

Strategic marketing planning includes five main steps:

1. Build buyer personas

The buyer persona is the fictional representation of a company's target customers. It may include their age, income, location, job, challenges, hobbies, dreams, and goals.

2. Identify marketing goals

Marketers should create marketing goals based on the strategic objectives of the business. For example, if the company aims to increase its sales by 10%, a marketing goal can be to generate 50% more leads from organic search (SEO).

3. Survey existing marketing assets

The development of a new marketing campaign may require the adoption of new tools and marketing channels. However, it doesn't mean the company should dismiss its existing marketing platforms and assets. Marketers should look at the company's owned, earned, or paid media to audit the existing marketing resources.

The media through which companies market their products or services can be owned, earned, or paid:1

  • Owned media include what's owned by the company, e.g. the company's blog and social media pages.
  • Earned media comes from word-of-mouth marketing who are happy about the products or services. Examples of owned media can be seen in testimonials on a company's websites.
  • Paid media refers to platforms at which you have to pay to market your products. Examples include Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

4. Audit previous campaigns and plan new ones

Before developing new marketing plans, the company should audit its previous marketing campaigns to identify future gaps, opportunities, or issues to prevent. Once done, it can plan new strategies for the upcoming marketing campaign.

5. Monitor and modify

After implementing the new marketing strategies, marketers need to measure their progress and make changes when something is not working as planned.

Digital Marketing Strategic Planning

With the advent of the Internet and digital technology, traditional marketing via offline channels such as TVs or newspapers are no longer enough for brands to make themselves known. To succeed in the digital age, companies must incorporate digital marketing - marketing via digital channels - in their strategic planning.

Digital marketing strategic planning includes creating a plan for establishing a brand presence on the Internet through digital channels such as social media, organic search, or paid ads.

The main goals of the digital marketing strategy are the same as for traditional ones - to increase brand awareness and attract new customers. Thus, the steps are also similar.

Some examples of digital marketing campaigns include:

  • Creating a blog,
  • Running social media advertising campaigns,
  • Giving out digital products, e.g. ebooks, templates, etc.,
  • Running an email marketing campaign.

Strategic Marketing Planning Example

To see how strategic marketing planning works out in real life, let's consider some examples from Starbucks' mission statement, SWOT analysis, and marketing strategy:

Mission statement example

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. 2

The mission statement showcases human connection as the core value Starbucks offers its customer.

SWOT analysis example

Starbucks' SWOT analysis


  • Number one coffee chain retailer

  • Strong financial performance

  • Highly recognisable brand

  • Happy workers providing excellent service

  • An extensive network of suppliers

  • Strong loyalty program


  • High prices due to premium coffee beans

  • All products have substitutes


  • Convenient coffee buying - drive-through locations, pick-up options


  • Many rivals, including small coffee shops and reputable brands such as McDonald's Cafe and Dunkin' Donuts.

  • Risk of coffeehouse close-down due to Covid-19

Table 2. Starbucks SWOT Analysis, StudySmarter Originals

Marketing strategy example

Starbucks' Marketing Mix 4Ps:

  • Product - premium coffee, adaptive menus based on regions, and a wide selection of food and beverages.

  • Price - value-based prices, targeting middle and high-income individuals.

  • Place - coffeehouses, mobile apps, retailers.

  • Promotion - spend a huge amount of money on advertising, develop a highly efficient loyalty program, and exert corporate social responsibility.

Strategic Marketing Planning - Key takeaways

  • Strategic marketing planning is the development of marketing strategies based on the overall business strategy.
  • Strategic marketing planning helps marketers understand the current situation of the business and develop matching strategies.
  • The main sections of a strategic marketing plan include an executive summary, SWOT analysis, marketing objectives and strategies, action plans, budgets, and controls.
  • Steps to developing a marketing plan include creating buyer personas, defining marketing goals, surveying existing marketing assets, auditing past marketing campaigns and creating new ones.
  • Digital marketing planning is the development of marketing strategies for online channels.


  1. Small Business Trends, What Is “Owned, Earned and Paid Media”?, 2013
  2. Starbucks, Starbucks Mission and Value, 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions about Strategic Marketing Planning

Strategic planning in marketing management is the development of marketing strategies to meet the overall business objectives. 

The five steps in the strategic planning process are: 

  1. Create a buyer persona
  2. Define marketing goals
  3. Review existing marketing assets
  4. Audit past marketing campaigns
  5. Create new campaign

The 4 marketing strategies are Product, Price, Price, and Promotion.

Strategic marketing planning is important as it helps marketers understand the business's current situation and develop suitable marketing strategies. 

An example of marketing planning: Based on the SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat), a company recognises a gap in customers' needs and plans a new marketing campaign to fill that need.  

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

Which of the following statements is correct? Marketing objectives can be useful for budgeting. Marketing objectives should be aligned with corporate objectives.

Which one of the following actions is not part of the process behind setting marketing objectives?Identifysegment Satisfy Anticipate 

Which of the following is not an external influence?Legislation CompetitionAdvertising regulationsCorporate mission. 


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