Understand the necessary components of a successful marketing strategy template and how to outline a plan to grow your business, expand your reach and meet organizational goals.
The right marketing plan should put you on course to making your company’s business goals a reality. The best marketing plans act as a high-level guide toward your campaigns, goals, and growth and lay the foundation for the year ahead.
To help you get a head start on planning your market strategy, we’ve created a free template to guide you in the right direction. The plan includes key sections essential to any great marketing plan, ranging from defining your target customers and how you will reach them to measurements and tracking the success of your marketing plan.
How to Create a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan should be a living, working document rather than a handbook on company policy. The plan should be somewhat malleable and act as a reference throughout the year and be shareable across all stakeholders and members of your team.
Below we’ve identified five steps to serve as an outline for kickstarting your marketing strategy. Your final plan will go into greater detail, but these key areas should get you started.
Conduct a situational analysis
You must know your business’ current situation before you can even start a marketing plan. A situational or SWOT analysis is an excellent first step. The analysis will identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
The analysis will also give you a better understanding of the current market and help you identify your competitors and compare your business. Consider how your products stack up and what sets them apart. Analyzing your competitors will also help you identify gaps in the market and offer up opportunities for a competitive advantage.
Define your target audience
You cannot craft your marketing strategy if you don’t know your target audience. At this step, you need to create buyer personas if your company does not already have them, or review your existing personas for updates. A buyer persona should include demographic information like age, gender, and income, as well as psychographic information, such as pain points and goals. Personas should identify what drives your audience and the challenges they face that your business can solve.
Identify your goals
Before implementing any marketing strategy, write down your goals. Your goals should be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and include a time frame in which you want to complete them.
Another framework for goal setting is Objectives and Key Results, or OKR. With OKR, you identify an objective and then several key results needed to reach the objective. This is the methodology we use here at Pavilion as it allows for greater transparency and alignment across the organization. For example, we set an objective for the entire company, then break down key results by department.
Analyze your tactics
Once you’ve analyzed your company, audience, and your goals, you are ready to look deeper at the marketing tactics available to you and choose the proper distribution channels. Your chosen tactics should clearly align with your goals, audience, and opportunities for your company. This step should be relatively easy if you’ve done a thorough job on the first three steps.
Set your budget
Arguably the most critical step, establishing your budget will help make implementing your marketing strategy a reality. While writing down your marketing tactics in step four, you should also jot down an estimated budget, and the time it will take to complete each idea.
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to outline a marketing plan, you’re ready to get into the nitty-gritty. A marketing strategy template should break down each area of your high-level outline into several essential components. Consider including the following:
This section acts as a table of contents, summarizing each section of your marketing plan. It is also where business information can be listed, such as location, the company mission statement, and the names of the marketing team members.
Establish and document key goals, including what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it.
Understand and explain who you are marketing to; you should include buyer personas here.
Unique Selling Proposition
What are the most persuasive things you can say to sell your product?
Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Discuss how your brand is currently perceived and how you’d like it to be perceived.
Marketing Strategy and Tactics
Determine the strategies or initiatives you’ll implement to reach your goals, based on the competitive insights you’ve gathered. Include 4-5 strategies or initiatives.
Budget and ROI
Set a financial projection for all information in your marketing plan. Your projections can never be 100 percent accurate, but you should use them to determine what marketing strategies will offer the highest ROI.
Map out your customer journey. Where do the majority of your leads currently come from — and are they quality leads? Which channels have been most effective historically? Outline the channels you plan to use to achieve your goals and how you will use them. Channels can include blogs, social media, and email marketing.
Explain how you’ll create and optimize content against target keywords and search terms.
Measurements and KPIs
Detail how you’ll be tracking the progression of your marketing plan and how you’ll measure success.
Creating a marketing plan is no small undertaking. It requires a lot of research and forethought, asking yourself hard questions about your company’s goals. But the steps you take now will guide your future success and are ultimately essential in growing your business, expanding your reach, and meeting organizational goals.