Writer and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” This is true in virtually every aspect of business, and in life. With that said, if you wish to make your business more successful, you must make a plan for this desire to become a reality, otherwise it will continue to be merely a wish. Below, we’re sharing the elements that make up a good marketing plan in the hopes of inspiring you to develop one for your own business to help your business wishes come true.

Marketing Plan vs Marketing Strategy – What Is The Difference?

Simply put, a marketing plan consists of one or more marketing strategies. In other words, a marketing strategy is but a single element of an overarching marketing plan.

Put another way, a marketing strategy is the method by which a business can go about achieving its goals. A marketing plan will use one or a variety of marketing strategies to align a team and help them take cohesive action together towards a common mission.

Think of it like a map from Florida to California. The marketing plan is the road map taking you from point A to point B. The marketing strategy is why you want to get to California from Florida – it’s your purpose for the drive. You need both to make the trip successfully.

Contents Of A Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy will remain constant, but a marketing plan can change and adapt as needed to ensure that the main objectives of the company are being achieved.

A marketing plan will include:

  1. Executive summary – Also referred to as the business mission, this section of a marketing plan gives a brief look at how you will map out the steps to achieve the goals laid out in the marketing strategy
  2. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – These are the metrics you will use to determine if your company achieved its goals. For example, if the goal was to earn more revenue, what KPIs will indicate whether or not this goal was met? The KPIs your marketing plan uses might include:
    1. Conversion rates of visitor to customer, newsletter signups, or repeat purchases
    2. Cost per conversion
    3. Cost of customer acquisition
    4. Number of website visits/clicks from social media/organic search/paid campaigns
    5. Number of inbound links
  3. Buyer personas – These are also referred to as an ideal customer avatar. The more specific you can be about the age, sex, socioeconomic status, location, etc… about your buyers the better. It makes your messaging much easier because you only need to write to one or two or a handful of people that want to hear exactly what you have to say.
  4. Initiatives and strategies – Consider things like:
    1. The type of content you will create (i.e. videos on YouTube, social media updates, website content, etc…)
    2. If you will use paid campaigns or strive solely for organic reach
    3. Will your primary method of selling be a website/brick and mortar store/eCommerce shop/hybrid of website and brick and mortar
  5. Define omissions – This might seem out of place for “contents of a marketing plan” because it’s literally the things you won’t be focusing on. However, by dictating what your company will not be paying attention to, you can keep your eye on the prize as the old saying goes
  6. Marketing budget – How much can you afford to spend on your marketing efforts? Knowing how much you have to spend can help you focus your efforts on marketing strategies that will yield the most bang for your buck
    1. Will this budget change by month, quarter, year?
    2. Should the focus be on free campaigns and organic traffic?
  1. Competition – You need to know a lot about your competitors including things like:
    1. What they are spending
    2. Their fees for products and services
    3. The messaging they are using
  2. Contributors and their responsibilities – Who on your team will be responsible for what? When everyone knows what is expected of them, it’s easier to track what is working and ensure there is no overlapping or repeating of tasks.

Elements Of A Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy will address the following:

  • What are you selling and why do they buy it?
    • Who is your customer?
    • What is your unique selling proposition?
    • How much are you charging?
  • Background and marketing analysis
    • What is the market size and segments?
    • Who are your competitors?
  • What is your company’s message and how will you spread it?
    • i.e. blogging, YouTube, and social media?
  • What are the long and short term goals?

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