Strategies are hard.

Where the hell do you even start? Whether you are the one responsible for creating a marketing plan or you are working with an agency, you need to understand the components.

The following outline is what I start with when crafting a strategy and then I customize based on the client, industry and overall goals. This will give you a starting point, and you can then add and subtract from there.

Marketing Plan Overview:
This is just a paragraph or two of what is included in the plan. What are the components and sections that are outlined in the strategy.

Goals & Objectives:
It is imperative that you map out measurable goals, break it out into internal and external goals. Below are some examples:

  • Increase leads through website by 10 a month.
  • Map out internal processes to streamline the customer service experience.

You will also want to outline how you plan to measure each of these goals. Obviously with the website lead generation, it will be how many forms are filled out, calls made, traffic on page, etc. For the internal processes, you can set a timeline of when each section will be completed.

SWOT Analysis:
SWOT Analysis is a tool for examining the current status of a company in a particular marketplace. This is not expected to be timeliness, but to give a snapshot of the company and the market forces at this point in time.

Strengths & Weaknesses: Internal factors that can support or hinder a company’s success. These are factors that the company has control over, and can change over time. Examples: reputation, education, location, patents, assets, competitive advantages
Opportunities & Threats: External market forces that can support or hinder a company’s success in the marketplace. These factors are outside of the company’s control.
Examples: economic, political, cultural, technological or social factors

Competitor Analysis:
This may seem redundant year after year, but it is important to revisit ever year. Look at what your major competitors are doing well or not so well in the marketing realm, so look at their website, social media, search rank, blogging, email marketing and more. Learn from what they are doing well and avoid what they are not doing well.

Research:
This section will vary based on your industry. However, if you have done surveys or client interviews in the past, that is a great starting point. You can also indicate in the strategy that surveys are going to be implemented as part of the strategy. By gathering as much intel as you can on your current and past customers, you can effectively plan out tools and tactics within the plan. This section is also where you map out buyer/audience personals. Below is an example, if the client was a home builder or realty company:

  • Millennial Couple with Young Kinds, a Dog
    • Clear pricing is important for this group so they can manage budget, although they are often willing to stretch.
    • Space is important for kids to be close and have places to play, desire to entertain family and friends is also important.
    • They research every buying decision online before moving forward. This is often done on a tablet or mobile phone.
    • They are avid watchers of HGTV, especially Fixer Upper as they can relate to Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Messaging:
Clear and consistent messaging is a must for all brands. By maintaining consistence across all communication mediums, you ensure that everyone is receiving the right message. In this section outline your brand attributes, positioning statement, elevator speech, tagline, tone and voice and sample language.

Tactics:
This is the section where you map out how you are going to achieve the goals you mapped out early on in the strategy. Depending on what the research, competitor analysis and other sections reveal this can include, but is not limited to:

  • Community engagement
  • Digital – SEO/SEM
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Blogging

The next section is implementation. I recommend breaking this out first quarterly, then monthly, then weekly and finally daily. Be sure everyone on your team knows what they are responsible for and revisit the strategy often in bi-weekly meetings to adjust as needed.

 

 

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