Why Strategic Market Planning Is Critical

Puzzle piecesThe new CMO role has become the key to paving the way into new markets, new sales territories, new income streams and, yes, executive meetings reserved for the CEO, CFO and legal counsel. What changed?

The simple answer is the market has intensified and nothing should be ignored or pushed aside when it comes to forging a new frontier for your company’s growth. Nothing is more important.

What used to stack up as solid marketing is really not going to work today. Here are five things strategic market planners must keep in mind today:

1. Put everyone inside your company on your team.
Everyone in your company can give you useful insights and suggestions. Gone are the days when everything comes from research and executive committees. Really, who cares where the idea comes from as long as it comes?

2. Get to know your customers on a first name basis.
This is not optional; rather, it’s a new requirement that you and your full team should aspire to achieve. It’s not just for the sales team to do, but also for everyone actively involved in delivering value to your customers. Regardless of your company’s size, the better you are known by your customers, the more trust you will earn.

3. Track how much you spend per customer, per market, per year.

A lot has been written on marketing ROI, but still, very few companies actively engage in the tracking and analyzing of their marketing expenditures on a weekly/monthly basis. At full throttle, your company should be able to both spend and track simultaneously, and make adjustments on the fly based on actual data metrics of the results. Things to track include awareness scores, leads generated, customer satisfaction and the list should go on and on.

4. Put your best sales people on your best territories and prospects.
Often companies use the strategy of putting their best people on their toughest challenges. I do not subscribe to this at all! Why punish a high performer with a lousy territory? What makes sense to me is to put your stars where they can make the biggest impact and use the weaker sales reps in the weaker markets to prove themselves. (I welcome your Comments!)

5. Make sure your Website is aligned with your value proposition and messaging.

What you say in an elevator to a prospect should be found on your Website. If it’s not, either your Website or you are not using current brand messaging. Either way, the messages need to harmonize with each other to realize the full impact of your brand and its message. The importance of integration of messaging cannot be overemphasized.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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