What is marketing, really?
We could go into a deep philosophical explanation like others attempt to do but most of it ends up being just gibberish. To keep this simple, let’s first tell you what it is not. It’s not sales and the term marketing should not be used interchangeably with the word sales! Isn't that a surprise?
I think you’ll get this. When you want a house built, do you get started by ordering some lumber then hiring a carpenter, plumber and electrician? Of course not. You begin by hiring an architect who develops the plans. If you don’t start this way you end with a disjointed mess which is just what happens to most promotional efforts. A strategic marketing plan is what develops the blueprints that lead to more sales by learning about the competition, pricing, potential markets and a lot more stuff you need to know. This dictates the messaging, positioning and branding. The creative gurus, designers, writers, advertising media, PR, web developers, printers and then the sales team, follow the plan.
If you go to the various creatives first and let them each do their thing then buy some random advertising media you invariably end up with a mess because there was no plan to follow. They may all be very professional but the end product is not cohesive which dramatically reduces your programs effectiveness by missing or worse yet confusing your target audience. You need all of these services - but not until the blueprint is in place.
Now, go develop your strategic marketing plan.