SOSTAC® Certified Planner

This 20-hour CPD accredited online programme empowers executives to create highly effective business and marketing plans using the acclaimed SOSTAC® Planning methodology. Recognised as one of the Top 3 Business Models by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Centenary Poll, this program ensures you're equipped to drive efficiency and effectiveness in your strategic initiatives.

What Is the SOSTAC® Planning Framework?

Developed by PR Smith, the SOSTAC® Planning Framework is a straightforward yet powerful system designed to instil a sense of order and structure into your strategic planning process. Its simplicity allows various departments, divisions, and products to utilise the same planning template, facilitating the seamless aggregation of individual plans into a cohesive master plan. The result? Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately leading to superior outcomes. It has been adopted by LinkedIn, KPMG and thousands of professionals, start-ups and blue-chips globally.

What Are the Six Components of the SOSTAC® Planning Framework?

PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning methodology comprises six components, or sections, with each seamlessly building upon the last, guaranteeing a cohesive and meticulously planned marketing strategy:

  1. Situation analysis: This involves assessing the current marketing situation by analysing the market, customers, competitor analysis, and internal capabilities. It helps identify key opportunities, challenges, and insights. The art of asking great questions is encouraged.
  2. Objectives: Clear and specific marketing objectives are set based on the organisation's overall goals. Objectives should be measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They provide a clear direction and purpose for the marketing efforts.
  3. Strategy: The strategy outlines how the objectives will be achieved. It involves making strategic choices regarding target market segments, positioning, value proposition, and competitive advantage. PR Smith's 9 key strategic components must be considered. The strategy then sets the overall approach for reaching the target audience effectively. Strategy is usually the weakest part of non-SOSTAC® plans.
  4. Tactics: Tactics refer to the specific marketing activities and initiatives that will be implemented to execute the strategy. It includes decisions on the marketing mix elements (product, price, place, promotion, people, processes and physical evidence), digital marketing channels (place and promotion), communications, and customer engagement tactics.
  5. Actions: Actions involve implementing the tactics and executing the marketing plan with excellence and passion. This includes Internal Marketing (motivation, communication and training). The Actions section includes assigning responsibilities, setting timelines, and ensuring proper coordination and communication within the marketing team and other relevant stakeholders.
  6. Control: Control refers to the measurement, monitoring, and evaluation of marketing efforts against the set objectives. It involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), analysing results, making adjustments if necessary, and ensuring accountability and continuous improvement.

4Ms - Four Key Resources

To be effective, SOSTAC® requires four critical resources:

  • Men and women: The human resource(s) equipped with the right blend of skills to required to make the plan happen.
  • Money: The budget required to deliver the plan and how to measure return on investment.
  • Minutes: How you prioritise time in the decision making process in the absence of information.
  • Megadata: How you decide what data you need and how you will use it.

SOSTAC® in 3-Minutes with PR Smith

Why Should I Become a SOSTAC® Certified Planner?

In today’s complex business landscape, marketers face many strategic and operational challenges. With reduced budgets, fewer resources and expectations for marketers to ‘deliver more with less’ it is easy to fall into bad habits.

You should consider becoming a SOSTAC® Certified Planner if your organisation lacks a structured approach to marketing planning, or if your marketing efforts are falling short of expectations. Or, if you want to:

  • Make better informed decisions.
  • Reduce Risk.
  • Boost Results.
  • Deliver a re-assuring sense of order.

How SOSTAC® Helps Others?

Click this link to see why other professionals, including Professor Philip Kotler, find SOSTAC® so useful.

Who Is This Course For?

become a sostac® certified planner

This course is designed for sales and marketing professionals with at least 5 years managerial experience, or marketing/business graduates and/or post-graduates

Person at desk with a business problem
become a sostac® certified planner

Who Is This Course For?

This course is designed for sales and marketing professionals with at least 5 years managerial experience, or marketing/business graduates and/or post-graduates

What Will I Learn on the Course?

Here’s a summary of what you will cover across the 20-hour learning experience:

Full syllabus:

The emphasis of this course is on the strategy section. Plus the logic of SOSTAC® which informs better decision-making. Topics include:

  • Introduction to SOSTAC®.
  • Situation analysis: Customer analysis; competitor analysis; company analysis: trend analysis.
  • Objectives: Mission; Vision; KPIs
  • Strategy: Types of strategy; Strategic matrices: Ansoff; Boston; GE market attractiveness; single product strategies; strategic error; 9 components of marketing strategy; Sample strategy excerpts; Strategy template; Questions your manager or board might ask you about your strategy.
  • Tactics: The old marketing mix; Value Proposition; The magic marketing formula; Marketing Comms; Tactical tools; The tactical matrix; Moving from campaigns to conversations; Integrated tactics; Gantt charts.
  • Actions: Internal marketing: communications, motivations and training. Ensuring tactics are executed with passion and excellence.
  • Control: Build control into your plan; What metrics do we measure? Key performance indicators; customer feedback; budget.

How Is the Training Delivered?

The SOSTAC® Certified Planner course is delivered through distance learning, spanning around 20 learning hours. Dive into comprehensive reading materials, engaging quizzes, and informative videos from the founder of SOSTAC® Planning methodology, author, PR Smith. You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace, but the course must be completed within 90 days of enrolment.


To qualify as a SOSTAC® Certified Planner, there is a 1-hour multiple choice (x 30 questions) assessment based on a case study. The assessment is open book and you can use your notes and the provided training manual. You are offered one free re-sit if required.

Benefits of Becoming a SOSTAC® Certified Planner

  1. SOSTAC® Certified Planners can build stronger professional plans.
  2. Discuss, with confidence, existing plans or other departments’ plans.
  3. Help colleagues to use the same structure and build better plans.
  4. Ensure consistency across the business – boosting efficiency and effectiveness.
  5. Stand out from the crowd as an elite SOSTAC® Certified Planner.
  6. You have access to a network/directory of SOSTAC® certified professionals.
  7. The certificate is accredited by the CPD Standards Office.
perfect planning for better business

Register to Become a SOSTAC® Certified Planner

Enrol to become a SOSTAC® Certified Planner and master the skills to build better marketing and business plans.

Registration Fee:
UK residents: £234 (Including VAT) £195 + VAT = £234
Non-UK: £195

Why We’ve Partnered with PR Smith

SOSTAC® was created by PR Smith and is now used all over the world by professionals to produce great plans to boost commercial results. Paul has authored several best-selling books on marketing and inspires audiences around the world with public speaking, conferences, workshops, webinars and breakfast briefings. Follow Paul on LinkedIn.

We’ve chosen to partner with PR Smith as our Founder Paul Mills is a SOSTAC® Certified Planner and has been using SOSTAC® for several years. All of VCMO’s Fractional Marketing Executives must be SOSTAC® Certified Planners to provide assurance that marketing plans they build for clients are created using the most thorough approach.


If you'd like to become a SOSTAC Certified Planner, simply click to register.

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