SOSTAC is one of the world's best strategic marketing planning frameworks, renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness. Developed by PR Smith, this linear model provides a step-by-step process for marketing teams to create effective and efficient marketing plans. It comprises six key stages, each vital in shaping a robust marketing strategy. These stages are: Situation Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions, and Control.

In a world where marketing planning often becomes complex and overwhelming, SOSTAC stands out as an easy-to-use and comprehensive tool. This article aims to provide a detailed understanding of the SOSTAC framework, showcasing its application in various business scenarios and emphasising its significance in strategic planning. Whether you're looking for a SOSTAC marketing plan example or seeking to enhance your marketing strategy, this guide offers valuable insights.

Understanding SOSTAC

Situation Analysis: This initial stage involves assessing the current environment, including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It lays the foundation for the entire marketing plan, clearly showing where the business stands.

Objectives: Setting clear, measurable goals is crucial. These objectives must align with business priorities, ensuring that the marketing plan supports the overall mission and vision of the organisation.

Strategy: Strategy development is about outlining the broad steps to achieve those goals. It's the roadmap that guides the marketing team, ensuring that every effort aligns with the set objectives.

Tactics: Tactics involve establishing the right marketing mix. It's about choosing the specific methods and channels that will be used to reach the target audience.

Actions: This stage is about creating a detailed action plan. It defines who will do what, when, and how, ensuring that the plan is executed smoothly.

Control: Control is about defining performance management processes. It ensures that the plan is on track, allowing for adjustments and improvements as needed.

Importance of SOSTAC in Strategic Planning

SOSTAC is more than just a marketing planning tool; it's a strategic asset. By providing a structured approach, it ensures alignment with business goals, efficient resource allocation, and effective execution. It takes the guesswork out of marketing planning, offering a clear path from conception to implementation.

Key Components of SOSTAC

Each stage of SOSTAC plays a vital role in the marketing planning process. From understanding the market landscape to implementing and controlling the plan, SOSTAC offers a cohesive and comprehensive approach. It's not just about creating a marketing plan; it's about crafting a marketing strategy that resonates with the business's core values and objectives.

SOSTAC in Detail

Situation Analysis: How and Why to Analyse the Current Situation

Situation analysis is the foundation of any SOSTAC marketing plan example. It involves comprehensively examining the current market environment, including internal and external factors. Key tools in this stage include competitor analysis, PESTLE analysis, and SWOT analysis. Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats allows businesses to identify potential areas for growth and areas that may require attention. It's not just about knowing where you stand; it's about understanding how to leverage that information in your marketing planning.

Objectives: Defining Business Marketing Goals and How SOSTAC Aids This

Objectives are the heart of a marketing plan, guiding all subsequent actions. In the SOSTAC framework, objectives are often defined using SMART goals, ensuring they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Additionally, PR Smith's 5S Objectives can be used to create digital strategies, encompassing Sell, Serve, Speak, Sizzle, and Save Goals. By aligning marketing objectives with overarching business goals, SOSTAC ensures that the marketing strategy is focused and contributes directly to the company's success.

Strategy: Discussion on Strategic Development and Implementation with SOSTAC

Strategy development is where the SOSTAC marketing plan starts to take shape. It involves defining the broad steps to achieve the set objectives, including Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning (STP). This stage is about channel selection, deciding how to reach the target audience, and differentiating the offerings from competitors. The strategy must be aligned with the insights gained from the situation analysis, ensuring that it is grounded in real-world conditions and opportunities.

Tactics: Focus on Specific Tactics, Techniques, and Actions Included in SOSTAC Planning

Tactics are the specific actions and techniques that will be used to implement the strategy. This includes decisions about the marketing mix, such as product, price, place, and promotion. In a SOSTAC marketing plan example, tactics are often detailed and tailored to the unique needs and opportunities identified in the situation analysis. Whether it's a social media campaign or a new pricing strategy, the tactics must be aligned with the overall objectives and strategy.

Action: Explaining the Execution of Plans

Action is where the marketing plan moves from planning to execution. It involves creating detailed action plans, including GANTT charts, to outline who is accountable for each task, the resources required (defined by MEN, MONEY, and MINUTES), and the timelines. Resource planning is crucial at this stage to ensure that the plan is realistic and achievable. By defining clear responsibilities and resources, the SOSTAC framework ensures that the plan is not just a document but a living, actionable roadmap.

Control: Monitoring, Reviewing, and Modifying Plans

Control is the final stage of the SOSTAC framework, focusing on monitoring, reviewing, and modifying the marketing plan as needed. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), metrics, and analytics are used to measure success, often visualised through dashboards for easy tracking. This stage ensures that the plan is not static but can adapt to changing conditions and feedback. It's about continuous improvement, learning from what works, and adjusting what doesn't.

SOSTAC Examples

Case Study 1: SOSTAC Application in E-commerce Fitness Store

Situation Analysis:

  • Competitor Analysis: Big brands like Nike and Adidas dominate the market, with emerging local brands posing new competition. The challenge lies in differentiating the store's offerings and building a unique brand identity.
  • Current Situation: With a 15% market share in the local region and a strong online presence, the store has established a foothold but needs to expand further.
  • SWOT Analysis:

Strengths: Strong customer engagement, innovative marketing strategies, and a diverse product range.

Weaknesses: Inefficiencies in the supply chain and limited brand recognition compared to industry giants.

Opportunities: Expanding the product line to include niche fitness products and leveraging social media for brand building.

Threats: Competition from established brands, price wars, and changing consumer preferences.

  • PESTLE Analysis: The store operates in a politically stable environment with economic growth. The business landscape is shaped by the societal shift towards health consciousness, technological advancements in e-commerce, legal compliance, and a focus on environmental sustainability.



  • Corporate Objectives: Aim to increase revenue by 25% in the next fiscal year, aligning with the growth strategy.
  • Marketing Objectives: Enhance online visibility by 30% to reach a broader audience and increase customer retention by 20% through personalised engagement.


  • Segmentation: Targeting fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and health-conscious individuals, focusing on specific needs and preferences.
  • Targeting: Concentrating on millennials and Gen Z, who are more likely to engage with online fitness brands.
  • Positioning: Positioning as an affordable provider of quality fitness products, emphasising value and reliability.


  • Implement Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with fitness influencers to increase brand awareness (£100,000).
  • Enhance Website UX/UI: Improve the online shopping experience to boost conversion rates (£50,000).
  • Offer Seasonal Discounts and Loyalty Programs: Encourage repeat purchases and loyalty through exclusive offers (£75,000).
  • Channel Mix: Utilise social media advertising, email marketing, content marketing, and SEO to reach the target audience (£175,000).


  • Who: Marketing team to lead, with support from external agencies for specialised tasks.
  • Budget: £500,000 allocated for the year, distributed across various channels and initiatives.
  • When: Sequencing of actions:
    • Q1: Focus on website enhancement and influencer partnerships.
    • Q2-Q3: Implement seasonal discounts and loyalty programs.
    • Q4: Evaluate and adjust strategies as needed.
  • Recommendations: Regularly review performance, adapt to market trends, and invest in continuous customer engagement.


  • Metrics: Monitor sales growth, website traffic, and customer satisfaction to gauge success.
  • Dashboards: Utilise tools like Google Analytics and CRM to track real-time performance.
  • KPIs: Key performance indicators include conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and retention rate, aligning with the overall objectives.

By aligning the situation analysis with clear objectives, a targeted strategy, tactical implementation, actionable plans, and robust control mechanisms, this SOSTAC plan provides a comprehensive roadmap for the E-commerce Fitness Store to achieve its goals. The precise allocation of budget and sequencing of actions ensures a focused approach, maximising the potential for success.

Case Study 2: SOSTAC Application in Car Dealership

Situation Analysis:

  • Competitor Analysis: Competition from both local dealerships and national chains requires a unique value proposition. Understanding competitors' strategies and offerings is key.
  • Current Situation: With a 10% local market share and a strong community reputation, the dealership has a solid base but needs to expand its reach, particularly online.
  • SWOT Analysis:

Strengths: Excellent customer service, community trust, diverse inventory.

Weaknesses: Limited online presence, dependency on the local market.

Opportunities: Expansion into the used car market and partnerships with local businesses.

Threats: Emerging online platforms and economic downturn affecting car sales.

  • PESTLE Analysis: Compliance with political regulations, adaptability to economic fluctuations, understanding societal preferences for car types, technological integration in sales processes, legal compliance, and adherence to environmental regulations shape the business environment.



  • Corporate Objectives: Aim to increase overall sales by 15%, focusing on both new and used cars.
  • Marketing Objectives: Improve online inquiries by 40% to reach a broader audience and enhance customer satisfaction by 10% through personalised service.


  • Segmentation: Targeting families looking for reliable cars, first-time buyers seeking affordability, and luxury seekers wanting premium vehicles.
  • Targeting: Focusing on the local community, building on existing reputation and trust.
  • Positioning: Positioning as a trusted, community-oriented dealership that understands local needs.


  • Enhance Online Listings with Virtual Tours: Offer immersive online experiences to attract remote buyers (£50,000).
  • Implement Referral Programs: Encourage satisfied customers to refer others, offering incentives (£30,000).
  • Community Engagement through Local Events: Sponsor local events, host car exhibitions, and engage in community service (£70,000).
  • Channel Mix: Utilise local advertising, social media, email marketing, and SEO to reach the target audience (£150,000).


  • Who: Sales and marketing teams to collaborate, with potential outsourcing for specialised tasks.
  • Budget: £300,000 allocated for the year, distributed across various channels and initiatives.
  • When: Sequencing of actions:
    • Q1: Focus on enhancing online presence and launching referral programs.
    • Q2-Q3: Engage in community events and partnerships.
    • Q4: Evaluate and adjust strategies, focusing on year-end sales.
  • Recommendations: Regularly review market trends, adapt to customer feedback, and invest in staff training for consistent service quality.


  • Metrics: Monitor sales numbers, online inquiries, and customer satisfaction to gauge success.
  • Dashboards: Utilise a CRM system and social media analytics to track performance in real time.
  • KPIs: Key performance indicators include lead conversion rate, customer satisfaction score, and repeat business, aligning with the overall objectives.

By aligning a detailed understanding of the local market with clear objectives, a community-focused strategy, tactical implementation, actionable plans, and robust control mechanisms, this SOSTAC plan provides a comprehensive roadmap for the Car Dealership to achieve its growth goals. The precise allocation of budget and focus on community engagement ensures a tailored approach that resonates with the local audience.

Case Study 3: SOSTAC Application in Manufacturer of Cleaning Equipment

Situation Analysis:

  • Competitor Analysis: Facing competition from global manufacturers and local producers, differentiation through innovation and quality is crucial.
  • Current Situation: As a leading supplier in the region with ambitions to expand globally, the focus is on entering new markets and building brand awareness.
  • SWOT Analysis:

Strengths: Strong innovation capabilities, established distributor network, quality products.

Weaknesses: Limited brand awareness in new markets, dependency on distributor relationships.

Opportunities: Emerging markets with growing demand and collaboration with local partners.

Threats: Cheaper alternatives, regulatory challenges, fluctuating economic conditions.

  • PESTLE Analysis: Political trade agreements, economic stability, societal cleanliness trends, technological advancements in cleaning solutions, adherence to legal standards, and environmental considerations shape the strategic direction.



  • Corporate Objectives: Expand to 2 new markets and increase revenue by 20%, aligning with the global growth strategy.
  • Marketing Objectives: Increase brand awareness by 50% in new markets and enhance distributor relationships by 15% through targeted engagement.


  • Segmentation: Targeting industrial, commercial, and residential sectors, catering to diverse cleaning needs.
  • Targeting: Focusing on emerging markets where demand for innovative cleaning solutions is growing.
  • Positioning: Positioning as a provider of innovative, reliable cleaning solutions, emphasising quality and sustainability.


  • Collaborate with Local Distributors: Building partnerships to facilitate market entry (£200,000).
  • Implement Targeted B2B Marketing Campaigns: Utilising account-based marketing, LinkedIn, and webinars to reach decision-makers in the target sectors (£300,000).
  • Participate in International Trade Shows: Showcasing products and building relationships with potential distributors and clients (£150,000).
  • Use of CRM: Implementing a CRM system to manage distributor relationships and track sales activities (£100,000).


  • Who: Sales team to lead expansion efforts, marketing team for brand building, R&D for continuous innovation.
  • Budget: £1,000,000 allocated for global expansion, distributed across various initiatives.
  • When:  We are delaying our entry into new markets until 2023, with a phased approach through 2025.
  • Recommendations: Regularly review market trends, adapt strategies to local needs, invest in training and support for distributors.


  • Metrics: Monitor market penetration, revenue growth, distributor engagement, and cost per lead to gauge success.
  • Dashboards: Utilise a sales tracking system and marketing analytics tools to track performance in real-time.
  • KPIs: Key performance indicators include market share in new markets, distributor satisfaction, innovation index, aligning with the overall objectives.

By integrating a comprehensive situation analysis with clear objectives, a targeted strategy, tactical implementation, actionable plans, and robust control mechanisms, this SOSTAC plan provides a strategic roadmap for the Manufacturer of Cleaning Equipment to achieve its global expansion goals. Including modern marketing tactics like LinkedIn, webinars, and account-based marketing, along with traditional methods like trade shows, ensures a multifaceted approach.

SOSTAC: The Marketing Tool for Any Business

In the ever-evolving business landscape, the SOSTAC framework stands out as a popular marketing model that provides a comprehensive roadmap for success. Whether it's an e-commerce fitness store looking to carve a niche in a competitive market or a manufacturer of cleaning equipment aiming for global expansion, SOSTAC's adaptable nature makes it a go-to choice for marketers.

A well-crafted digital marketing strategy is at the heart of any successful marketing campaign. SOSTAC's systematic approach ensures that every aspect of the marketing plan, from understanding the current situation to implementing control measures, is meticulously addressed. It allows businesses to align their marketing efforts with corporate objectives, ensuring a cohesive and targeted approach.

One of the key strengths of SOSTAC is its ability to cater to different market segments, including existing customers. Businesses can build lasting relationships and foster brand loyalty by focusing on customer retention through tactics like social media marketing and targeted promotions. Engaging existing customers enhances revenue and strengthens the brand's reputation.

In today's digital age, integrating online marketing channels is vital. SOSTAC encourages the use of various digital platforms, including search engine optimisation (SEO), to reach a broader audience. SEO and social media marketing ensure businesses stay visible and relevant in the crowded online space. When used effectively, these digital tools can significantly boost brand awareness and drive traffic, leading to increased sales and growth.

The SOSTAC framework offers a structured and strategic approach to marketing planning. Its flexibility, comprehensiveness, and focus on both traditional and digital channels make it an invaluable tool for businesses of all sizes and sectors. Whether launching a new product, expanding into new markets, or nurturing existing customers, SOSTAC provides the guidance and clarity needed to navigate the complex marketing world. It's not just a popular marketing model; it's a proven pathway to success.

Download the situation analysis templates for digital marketing planning