Having a well-structured marketing plan is crucial for achieving success, and one framework that has remained relevant over many years is the SOSTAC approach. Developed by PR Smith in the 1990s, SOSTAC provides the perfect blueprint to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate marketing and business efforts. Its versatility and effectiveness has allowed it to remain in frequent use across multiple sectors, for multiple purposes, for over 30 years.


So, what does SOSTAC mean? SOSTAC stands for Situational Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action and Control.

1. Situational Analysis

The first step of the SOSTAC approach involves conducting a thorough analysis of your current situation. This is where you assess the internal and external factors that may impact your marketing strategy. You should evaluate market trends, competitor activities, customer insights and internal strengths & weaknesses to form an understanding of your current landscape. From this, you can easily identify opportunities and challenges that will inform future marketing decisions.

2. Objectives

Once you have analysed your situation, the next step is to establish a clear set of objectives. These could involve increasing brand awareness, generating enquiries and/or driving sales. You should ensure all your objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound), to provide you with a realistic approach and clear direction. It’s also important to make sure the objectives that you set align with the overarching strategic goals of your business.

3. Strategy

With your objectives set in place, it’s time to develop a strategic plan to achieve them. At this stage of the framework, it’s important that you define your unique selling points and your product or service benefits to create differentiation and gain competitive advantage. You can also use segmentation, targeting and positioning within your strategy to delve deeper into understanding your target audience.

4. Tactics

Tactics are the specific actions that you will take to successfully execute the strategy. You typically will choose the most appropriate distribution channels and communication tools to reach your desired target audience following your strategic research. Whether it’s social media, content marketing, email campaigns and/or paid advertising, selecting the right tactics ensures that your efforts will deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.

5. Action

With your planning complete, you must then decide how you will put the plan into motion. This stage typically outlines who does what, and when. It’s important to ensure that all key stakeholders are aligned and engaged in this process. Effective communication and consistency across each media touchpoint is also key for success.

6. Control

Lastly, the control stage is where you monitor and evaluate the performance of your marketing activities. By tracking data metrics and KPIs, you can assess the effectiveness of your efforts against the original SMART objectives you initially set out. You will be able to identify what’s worked well and which areas need improvement, allowing you to make real-time adjustments, ensuring your strategy remains agile and responsive to changing market conditions.

The Importance Of SOSTAC In Strategic Marketing Planning

So now you know what SOSTAC is, you can see how it serves as a valuable guide for strategic planning in marketing and business.

Each stage of the process provides you with clear guidelines and direction. By conducting a thorough situational analysis and setting SMART objectives, you can ensure that your marketing strategies are consistent with the wider business objectives. SOSTAC also helps you to save time and money by optimising the resources you have available and allowing you to plan allocation effectively. Having the ability to adjust your marketing approach based on real-time feedback and changing market conditions ensures that your efforts remain agile and responsive.

Ultimately, the SOSTAC framework helps you to achieve your objectives with clarity, focus, and efficiency.

If you require further guidance with your marketing planning, contact our team of marketing specialists to find out how we can assist you.