Diary 2014Over the coming months, as we edge closer to the roll out of the new CIM Certificate/Diploma in Professional Marketing syllabi in September 2014, we will be looking at some of the key topics that fall under the new modules.

Strategic Marketing: Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

One of the mandatory areas covered in the Strategic Marketing module of the new CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing syllabus will be the process of creating and implementing a 3 year strategic marketing plan.

For a marketing plan to be strategic, it needs to encompass everything from an understanding of the market segments, the environments (including competitive) and how these can impact consumer behaviour, the strategies that will best reach your market and how the plan will be implemented and measured.

The Key Sections of A Strategic Marketing Plan

Every good strategic marketing plan must be broken down into sections that address everything from the current strategies and market share down to the ambitions and plans for the future of the organisation within the defined markets, plus their ability and capability to achieve these.

There are many frameworks for a strategic plan (Malcolm McDonald is a very useful starting point for this).  However, as an initial guide, here’s what the sections of the plan should broadly contain:

The Overview

This section of the plan comes first, but should be tackled last. It will give all those who read the plan a brief summary of what is included.

The Strategic Audit

During the Strategic Audit, the aim is to gain in depth information on the following:

  • The potential market including the various market segments and the geographical, behavioural and environmental challenges, and the opportunities and threats to your organisation associated with each.
  • Your competitors including their current market share and what this is expected to grow to, and their current product or market segment focus.
  • An analysis of your current internal situation, including the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation’s current marketing efforts and tactics for addressing weaknesses.
  • An in-depth review of the unmet needs of the market and opportunities for growth and movement within your organisation’s fields.

The Marketing Strategy

As part of the Marketing Strategy, you will use the information gleaned during your Strategic Audit to revisit the opportunities within the market. This will involve looking at the following:

  • Challenges faced by your organisation/your competitors in fulfilling the currently unmet needs.
  • The goals of your organisation; these could be goals relating to revenue, customer acquisition and retention, brand reputation or market share/brand position – are they realistic?
  • An overview of strategies for overcoming the highlighted challenges and reaching the goals set.


In this section of the marketing plan, you will develop the actions required to deliver your organisation’s strategies and reach their goals.  This will involve looking at the following:

  • Current marketing trends and their effectiveness in reaching your target market.
  • Effective use of organisational resources and competences to maximise return on marketing investment (ROMI)
  • The budget, timeline and scale of campaigns carried out for each proposed strategy and the expected success rate.
  • Highlight who would be responsible for the various tasks involved with each proposed strategy.
  • Detail how each strategy would be measured, with tailored metrics highlighting the level of success based on the original goals.

Strategic marketing plans should be completed on a 3 year basis, with regular reviews to ensure that changes in the wider environment over that period does not result in your organisation experiencing strategic drift and loss of competitive advantage.  An annual operational marketing plan, regularly monitored and reviewed will achieve this.

The strategic marketing plan should be flexible, adaptable and responsive to meet customer and organisational needs in today’s increasingly volatile and competitive environment.

Strategic marketing is one of the mandatory units covered in the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing. If you would like to learn more about strategic marketing and studying for your CIM Diploma, visit our website where you can chat to our friendly support team and request a 2 week free trial of our unique online learning system.