The Significance of the Strategic Planning Process in Digital Marketing

Social media and advances in technology have transformed the competitive landscape, communications, and relationships between businesses and customers.  Marketers must explore opportunities to develop business processes and marketing strategies that integrate technology to improve communications with digital channel members such as customers, suppliers, distributors, and partners to help businesses maintain competitive positioning and survive the competitive market.

According to Elissa Hudson’s HubSpot article about marketing strategies and improving digital presence, a digital marketing strategy enables businesses to attain specific goals digitally through online marketing channels such as owned, earned, and paid media.  It aids organizations in developing their business online successfully.

Marketers must cultivate and promote the communication exchange between the brand and its customers to move the business forward in the right direction to achieve its desired goals.  Consequently, the strategic planning process is an essential tool that aids marketers in moving an organization forward and improving customer experiences and engagement with the brand efficiently and effectively. 

Strategic Planning Process

The strategic planning process outlines the steps to pursue to develop and implement a strategy within an organization.  According to Dave Chaffey and Fiona Ellis-Chadwick’s book, Digital Marketing Strategy Implementation and Practice (7th ed., 2019), the strategic planning process incorporates goal setting, situation review, strategy formulation, resource allocation, and monitoring.

Goal Setting:
Marketers should set goals and objectives when developing and implementing a digital marketing strategy within an organization.  Goals demonstrate how businesses can benefit from digital channels. 

Setting clearly defined SMART goals and objectives should be considered when developing marketing strategies.  SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Related) digital marketing objectives through the Internet and technology will enhance and benefit the business in the future, such as increased sales and leads, reduced costs, and improve customer service and brand image when setting goals.

Situation Review:
A situation review entails gathering information and analyzing, assessing assets, services, internal resources, external environment, customers, competitors, potential partners, influences, and intermediaries to improve the strategy.

Strategy Formulation:
Strategy formulation entails creating, evaluating, and selecting strategies to accomplish strategic objectives.  According to Dave Chaffey and Fiona Ellis-Chadwick’s book, Digital Marketing Strategy Implementation, and Practice (7th ed., 2019), strategy formulation includes identifying digital channels’ role in delivering new services and products, utilizing distribution channels, marketplaces, and new markets.  It also includes establishing the right value proposition for customers.    

Resource Allocation:
Resource allocation is essential in the strategic planning process as it helps achieve the organization’s goals.  Marketers must determine the scope of their project to develop a plan to utilize and allocate resources available to accomplish digital marketing campaign goals.  Effectively allocating resources enable marketers to increase productivity, time management, eliminate risks, and save money. 

Monitoring serves a significant purpose in the strategic planning process.  Monitoring enables marketers to evaluate progress and ensure digital marketing activities align with established strategic goals and objectives and the organization’s values, mission, and vision.

Monitoring enables continuous improvement, learning, and development and provides a basis for marketers to help leaders make quality informed decisions.  Monitoring the strategic planning process also aids marketers in determining effective strategies that increase efficiency and effectiveness and support specific business objectives such as increased sales or revenue from its digital marketing efforts.

Key Insight

The integration of technology and the strategic planning process enables businesses to transform their organization digitally to remain competitive and appeal to customers who utilize various sources of media or technologies daily.  Organizations can expand their reach and growth by improving their processes, digital marketing strategy, and brand positioning. 

In 2017, IKEA, a Swedish, multinational, ready-to-assemble furniture and home accessories retail company acquired TaskRabbit, a startup company that allows users to hire temporary workers to assemble furniture, clean homes, and deliver purchases. 

IKEA adopted the integration of technology and strategic planning process approach to change and improve their customers’ shopping experience to optimize costs.  This strategy enabled IKEA’s customers to acquire help with the delivery and assembly of their purchases.  IKEA recognized the positive outcomes from its efforts and decided to expand their efforts further by implementing augmented reality in the IKEA Place application to simplify the process for customers in selecting their furniture and virtually to furnish their room before making purchases at the store.   

Key Takeaway

The strategic planning process consists of SMART goals and objectives, resource allocation, and monitoring is critical for businesses to increase profits, revenue, and brand awareness, expand market share, enter new markets, and reach new target audiences.  It enables strong relationships to be developed and improves the communication exchange with customers and other digital channel members such as stakeholders, suppliers, and distributors.

SMART goals and objectives enable businesses to achieve optimal results from their digital marketing strategy by defining precise and specifics tasks and measuring their performance which helps organizations make better decisions and predict successful realistic outcomes in an established period.

SMART goals and objectives help businesses identify missed targets, manage time effectively, and measure the status of defined goals.  

Monitoring helps marketers determine when a digital marketing strategy is on track and if modifications or changes are necessary at various phases of the strategic planning process. 

Monitoring provides data required to influence and guide strategic planning, design and implement digital marketing strategies, and allocate resources more efficiently and effectively.

The strategic planning process enables marketers to develop and improve processes to cultivate and promote communication between the brand and its customers.  The strategic planning process establishes a guide and framework that helps marketers move the business forward in the direction to achieve its desired goals successfully, efficiently, and effectively that produces optimal results.

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