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How to Create a Strategic Plan

Looking for a way to take your company in a new and profitable direction? It starts with strategic planning. Keep reading to learn what a strategic plan is, why you need it and how you can strategically create one.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

When it comes to business and finance, strategic planning will help you allocate your resources, energy and assets. When implemented, a strategic plan will begin to move your operations in a more profitable direction. The primary goal of the plan is to ensure you and any other stakeholders are on the same page and striving to reach the same goal.

Creating a strategic plan requires a disciplined effort. Once you put the plan into action, it will influence the segment of customers that you target, how you serve those customers and the experience those customers have.

Assess the Current Infrastructure and Operations

The first step in creating a strategic plan is to carefully assess your existing infrastructure and operations. You can do this through a SWOT analysis, which is an analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The goal here is to pinpoint the resources that you use to carry out your day-to-day operations, to look at your monthly revenue patterns, to list any company challenges related to the customer experience and, most importantly, to look at your marketing methods and ways to improve the overall customer experience.

Creation of Mission Statement and Objectives

The next step is to create a mission statement. You may already have one, but it’s important to note your mission at the top of the strategic plan document you create. This ensures everyone is focused on the same goal. Your mission statement should cover why you started the company and what you intend to accomplish through the products and services that you offer.

In addition to the mission statement, make sure to outline both short- and long-term objectives. List the objectives according to their priority and designate certain managers or employees to be responsible for each one. Also, jot down the resources that will be used to achieve each objective.

Measure Performance

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve and who is responsible for each goal, it’s time to deploy the plan and measure its progress. A weekly meeting is extremely important for all managers and stakeholders provide feedback. Your goal is to determine if the company is headed in the right direction. If not, you’ll need to revise the strategic plan accordingly.

Strategic Plans Are Ongoing

Once your strategic plan helps you achieve several objectives, it’s smart to regroup and set new objectives. As your company grows, you can set new goals to ensure the company keeps moving forward. You can share the success of your strategic plan with potential investors as a way to tap into new capital funding.


strategic plan for marketing

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7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: December 08, 2022

Creating a marketing strategy is essential to effectively nurture your customers, improve the bottom line at your business, and increase the ROI of your efforts.

Marketers planning their 2023 marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy is especially critical if you want to leverage the highest-ROI trends for 2023 : short video, influencer marketing, and branded social media. To get powerful results, you must carefully weave both emerging trends and proven strategies into your plan.

Let's dive into the critical components of a complete marketing strategy in 2023, followed by some examples for inspiration.

Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy is a detailed, structured plan of a company’s promotional efforts across a wide range of platforms and channels. A marketing strategy typically includes objectives, target audience profiles, content creation steps, key performance indicators, and other components.

A marketing strategy will:

The last one is especially important for this upcoming year. Keeping up with marketing trends is important for your strategy, but could be a full-time job.

Why? Because in one year alone, we've seen a major shift to short-form video content ; the rise and fall of new platforms (looking at you, Meta); and the continuing impact of the global pandemic. In short, what worked for your marketing strategy in the past might not fly today.

To succeed in the fast-paced marketing world — and maintain a sense of relevance with your audience — it's vital to stay ahead of the curve.

To help ease some of that uncertainty, we've going to show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned. But first, let’s go over the individual components that make up a strong marketing strategy.

Free Marketing Strategy Template

Fill out the form to access your free strategy doc., marketing strategy components.

1. Marketing Mix

marketing strategy components: marketing mix

Image Source

The marketing mix, also known as the 4 Ps of marketing, is the preliminary document you must create to understand what you will be marketing, where you’ll be marketing it, and how you’ll be marketing it. The following P’s make up this framework:

You can then extrapolate this information into a full-fledged marketing plan for each promotional channel. It’s important to lay out the information in broad strokes so that you understand the overall direction of your marketing strategy.

2. Marketing Objectives

marketing strategy components: marketing objectives

You can set your marketing objectives in conjunction with your 4 Ps, or right after. Either way, you should outline your marketing goals before building upon your strategy. Why? Because your goals will inform other components of the plan, including the budget and content creation process.

With every objective, you should aim to be as specific as possible. Try to create SMART marketing goals divided by channel or promotional tactic, and don’t forget that you can always come back and revise your goals as your priorities change.

3. Marketing Budget

marketing strategy components: marketing budget

A marketing budget is an essential element of your strategy. Without allotting funds to hiring the right talent, using the right software, advertising on the right channels, and creating the right content, your marketing strategy won’t have a powerful impact. To get a high return on investment, you must first invest.

Remember that you can always start small — hyper-focusing your budget on one or two efforts — and build upon them once you generate an ROI.

4. Competitive Analysis

Knowing your competition is key when creating a marketing strategy. Otherwise, you risk “yelling into the void” without measurable results. Worse, you won’t know whether you’re differentiating yourself enough from the competition and effectively drawing the attention of your intended audience.

You might already have an idea of whom your competitors are, but it’s still essential to sit down and identify them. You might end up uncovering a surprise competitor who’s vying for your target buyer’s attention and engagement.

5. Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

marketing strategy components: audience segmentation, targeting, and positioning

Segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) refers to the process of delivering “more relevant, personalized messages to target audiences.” In other words, rather than publishing posts and advertisements on a whim, you’ll go through a methodical process for creating content that resonates with your target buyer.

During the segmentation, targeting, and positioning process, you’ll take three steps:

6. Content Creation

marketing strategy components: content creation

Once you have your budget, competitive outlook, and STP information, it’s now time to take the most critical step: Creating your marketing content . But it’s essential to undertake this effort strategically. For one, you don’t want to publish random content that doesn’t solve for the customer, and for two, you must aim to capitalize on emerging trends so that your brand enjoys high visibility in the marketplace.

The competition is fierce across all formats. According to HubSpot Research , "half of marketers are using videos, with 47% leveraging images, followed by 33% posting blogs articles, infographics (30%) and podcasts or other audio content (28%)." Of these, video has the highest ROI.

marketing strategy components: content strategy data

It’s even more essential to invest in trends that have a high ROI, such as short-form video, influencer marketing, and social media DMs.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in blogging , one of the most proven content marketing techniques. It’s simply important to know where to allot the most resources, especially if you have a limited budget.

7. Metrics & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

marketing strategy components: metrics and kpis

Last, but certainly not least, your marketing strategy must include metrics and key performance indicators to understand how well your strategies are working. The KPIs you choose will vary depending on your business type and preferred customer acquisition channels . Examples of KPIs include:

Now, let’s dive into why it’s important to follow the steps of a marketing strategy.

The Importance of Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy Steps

A robust marketing strategy will reach your target audience — this includes those who have never heard of your brand all the way to repeat customers.

Without a defined strategy, you’ll essentially be throwing things to the wall to see what sticks. And it’s costing you cost, time, and resources.

There are seven key steps to crafting a successful marketing strategy: Build your marketing plan, create your buyer personas, identify your goals, select the tools, review your existing resources, audit and plan media campaigns, and lastly, execute your strategy.

Let’s get into the details of each step in the next section. Or you can jump to the section you're most interested in.

Examples of Successful Marketing Strategies

7 Steps of a Marketing Strategy Process

1. Build a marketing plan.

Wait, I have to make a plan for my strategy? What's the difference?

Your marketing strategy provides an overview of the reasons why your marketing team will need certain resources, take certain actions, and set certain goals over the year. Your marketing plan is the specific actions you'll take to achieve that strategy.

Not sure where to start? This free marketing plan template can help.


Download for Free

The right template can help you build a marketing plan that identifies your budget for the year, the initiatives your marketing organization needs to tackle, and the marketing channels you'll use to implement those initiatives.

Plus, it’ll tie everything back to a business summary, to keep you aligned with overarching company goals.

2. Create buyer personas.

If you can't define who your audience is in one sentence, now's your chance to do it. A buyer persona is a snapshot of your ideal customer.

For example, a store like Macy's could define a buyer persona as Budgeting Belinda, a stylish working-class woman in her 30s living in a suburb, looking to fill her closet with designer deals at low prices.

With this description, Macy's Marketing department can picture Budgeting Belinda and work with a clear definition in mind.

Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information, including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges. Notice how Belinda has all of those attributes in her description.

You don't have to create your buyer persona with a pen and paper. In fact, HubSpot offers a free template you can use to make your own (and it's really fun).

You can also use a platform like Versium , which helps you identify, understand and reach your target audience through data and artificial intelligence.

Buyer personas should be at the core of building your strategy.

3. Identify your goals.

Your marketing strategy goals should reflect your business goals.

For example, if one of your business goals is to have 300 people attend your annual conference in three months, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting online registration by 10% at the end of the month to stay on track.

Other marketing goals might be to increase brand awareness or generate high-quality leads. You might also want to grow or maintain thought leadership in your industry or increase customer value.

Whatever your goals, identify what they are and how your marketing organization can work to achieve them over the next year.

4. Select the appropriate tools.

Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals.

Online software like social media schedulers gives you analytics to help you keep track of what your audience likes and doesn't. Alternatively, you might consider Google Analytics to measure blog and web page performance.

Additionally, make your goals SMART – to do so, take a look at How to Write a SMART Goal [+ Free SMART Goal Template ].

Here are a few tools that can help you track and measure the success of your marketing goals:

HubSpot Marketing Hub

The Marketing Hub allows you to consolidate all of your marketing tools into one centralized platform.

hubspot marketing hub dashboard

You can also transform data pulled from timeline and Gantt views to track your projects on and ensure deadlines have been met. Plus, with more than 40 integrations — from SurveyMonkey to Mailchimp and, of course, HubSpot — you can visualize your data and ensure your whole company is collaborating.

Pricing : Basic, $8/month/seat; Standard, $10/month/seat; Pro, $16/month/seat; Enterprise, contact for pricing.

semrush dashboard

Crazy Egg also offers recordings, A/B testing, and more to help ensure your website is offering the best user experience.

Pricing : Basic, $24/month; Standard, $49/month; Plus, $99/month; Pro, $249/month; Enterprise, contact for pricing.

5. Review your media.

Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories – paid, owned, and earned media.

  • Paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. This includes offline channels like television, direct mail, and billboard to online channels like social media, search engines, and websites.
  • Owned Media refers to any of the media your marketing team has to create: pictures, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, etc.
  • Earned media is another way to say user-generated content . Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your brand are all examples of earned media.

Gather your materials in each media type and consolidate them in one location to have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate them to maximize your strategy.

For example, if you already have a blog that's rolling out weekly content in your niche (owned media), you might consider promoting your blog posts on Twitter (paid media), which customers might then reTweet (earned media). Ultimately, that will help you create a better, more well-rounded marketing strategy.

If you have resources that don't fit into your goals, nix them. This is a great time to clean house and identify gaps in your materials.

6. Audit and plan media campaigns.

Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you.

Focus on your owned media and marketing goals. For instance, will updating the CTAs at the end of your blog posts help you increase RSVPs to your event?

Next, look at your buyer personas. Let's say you work for a video editing software company. If one of your persona's challenges is adding clean sound effects to their videos but you don't have any content that reflects that, make a 15-second demo video for Instagram to show how great your product is at solving that challenge.

Finally, create a content creation plan. The plan should include topic clusters, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it's solving for your buyer persona.

For ideas on content creation or a more in-depth look at how to create a content plan, check out our post, The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation .

7. Bring it to fruition.

At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed – and by which teams.

The final step is to bring that all together and assign actions to your plans.

Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.

Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.

To paint an example, let's go back to the video software company.

Maybe in January, you will launch a software update that improves the exportation process for users. In April, you want to publish an ebook that explains editing terms to your buyer personas, and in September, you plan to launch an integration with other software.

Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be as well. As long as the strategy includes the pertinent details outlined in previous sections, you'll be set.

Now that we've explored the critical steps of a complete marketing strategy, let's look at some "Why didn't I think of that?" strategies to inspire your own.

1. Regal Movies

Digital strategy: owned media.

Regal Movies took the Halloween spirit to a new level, even renaming its Twitter account to reflect the spirit of the season. This "Monster Madness" poll is a fun, interactive way to get followers invested in Regal's content:

regal movies' owned media

In this case, the consumer is praising the brand’s product. Doesn’t get better than a fantastic review like that.

3. Small Girls PR

Digital strategy: event marketing.

Wait, is that Keke Palmer?


Small Girls PR is a boutique PR company based in New York, and one of the company's talents is throwing amazing events for their clients, like Olay. This event recap carousel on Instagram is an effective event marketing example, as it boosts awareness for your brand and offers social proof by featuring a public figure.

4. Superside

Digital strategy: paid media.

Design agency Superside launched an Instagram ad to promote a lead magnet: Their digital ad design guide. While the brand may have created the guide specifically for paid promotions, it’s also possible that they repurposed a high-performing blog post into a downloadable ebook.

marketing strategy paid media example

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Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

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Here’s how to make sure both you and your patients know what makes your practice special .


Fam Pract Manag. 2001;8(10):39-43

strategic plan for marketing

For many physicians, marketing is simply a matter of putting an advertisement in the local newspaper, redecorating the waiting room or conducting a direct mailing to people in the community. But this is a haphazard approach that will accomplish little more for your practice than draining its marketing budget.

The key to successfully marketing your practice begins with developing a strategic marketing plan in which each activity is based on solid research and specific goals, and is implemented and carefully evaluated in a timely manner. The plan serves as a road map to help you achieve your marketing goals.

Why should you market your practice?

Some physicians still feel that marketing is at best unprofessional and at worst unethical. In fact, good marketing is no more than educating your patients and your community about your expertise and services, and there are a wide range of reasons for doing it, not all of which have a purely financial basis. However, if you do want to determine the value of each new patient to your practice, calculate the average of the revenue that 10 new patients generated during their first 12 months with you.

You might consider marketing your practice for any or all of the following reasons: to increase your income, expand your patient base, discourage competition, improve your practice image, promote current and new services, introduce new providers, enter a new marketplace or gain or retain market share. Whatever your motivation, make sure to get your staff involved right from the start. Share your reasons for marketing with them, and ask them for their ideas. If your staff is not involved early, it will be difficult to convince them to support the marketing plan and take on any additional work that comes with it.

The elements of a plan

There are nine major steps required to develop a well-crafted, strategic marketing plan: set your marketing goals, conduct a marketing audit, conduct market research, analyze the research, identify your target audience, determine a budget, develop specific marketing strategies, develop an implementation schedule for the strategies and create an evaluation process.

1. Set your marketing goals. Once you’ve decided to market your practice, you need to set realistic and measurable goals to achieve over the next 18 to 24 months. This time span allows you to plan activities around community events that are in line with your marketing goals. For example, you might help sponsor an annual walkathon for breast cancer or speak at your community’s annual health fair. Because of the rapid changes occurring in the health care environment, we don’t recommend planning specific activities more than two years in advance. One way to define your goals is to separate them into the following three categories: immediate, one to six months; short-term, six to 12 months; and long-term, 12 to 24 months. Here are some examples of measurable goals:

Increase the number of new patients seen in the practice by 5 percent within the first six months and 10 percent by the end of the first year.

Shift your patient mix by expanding the pediatric and adolescent patient base from 15 percent to 25 percent of total patient visits within 18 months.

Increase your gross revenue by 30 percent within 24 months.

Improve your practice’s image, which may be measured by “before” and “after” scores on a community survey or by reviews from focus group participants.

It’s important to share these goals with your staff members. They can tell you from their perspectives whether they believe the goals are reasonable. If you want your marketing plan to be successful, your staff needs to support your efforts to achieve the marketing goals.

Marketing can increase your income, introduce new providers or improve your practice image, among other things.

A strategic marketing plan requires you to define your practice in terms of what it does for patients.

Every goal, strategy and action in your marketing plan is subject to change as you evaluate your progress.

2. Conduct a marketing audit. A marketing audit is a review of all marketing activities that have occurred in your practice over the past three years. Be as thorough as possible, making sure to review every announcement, advertisement, phonebook ad, open house, brochure and seminar and evaluate whether it was successful.

3. Conduct market research. The purpose of market research is to draw a realistic picture of your practice, the community you practice in and your current position in that community. With this research, you can make fairly accurate projections about future growth in the community, identify competitive factors and explore nontraditional opportunities (such as offering patients nutritional counseling, smoking-cessation programs or massage therapy). Your research may even bring to light some problem areas in your practice as well as solutions you can implement right away. (See “ A guide to market research ” to find out what kind of information you need to gather and where to find it.)

Conducting market research is often the most time-consuming step in this process. However, it’s also one of the most important steps. It’s from this research that you’re able to find out what your practice does best and what you need to work on, what the needs of your community are, who your practice should be targeting and how you should go about it.

4. Analyze the research. Next, you need to analyze the raw data you collect and summarize it into meaningful findings that will be the foundation for determining which marketing strategies make the most sense and will get the best results for your practice The research will identify the wants and needs of your current and potential patients and will help you to define your target audience (for more on target audiences, see step 5, below). This is also a good time to look back at the goals you’ve chosen. Based on your research findings, you may need to modify some of your goals.

A strategic marketing plan requires that your practice be defined in terms of what it does for patients. The research analysis will reveal your practice’s strategic advantages. After looking closely at your own practice as well as your competitors’, you can ask yourself some key questions: What are the similarities and differences between your practice and your competitors’? What sets your practice apart from your competition? Is your location more desirable than your competitors’? Do you offer a broader scope of services than the competition? Is there a service you provide that no one else in the community currently offers? Your competitive edge may lie in your style of practice, the range of services you offer, the ease of making an appointment or the way you and your staff communicate with patients.


To gather the kind of information you need to develop a strategic marketing plan for your practice, you need to conduct market research on your practice, your competition and your community. You can’t rely on intuition, judgment and experience; your practice needs hard data. Although it will take some time to gather this information, a number of resources are available that can make the process easier for you.

Your practice

Much of the information you need about your own practice can be found through discussions with staff members and other physicians, or by reviewing your patient records. You can also find out about your practice and whether it’s meeting the needs of your current patients by asking them to fill out a patient survey about the practice. Here are some of the questions you need answered about your practice:

What is the background and history of your practice? Has it been in the current community for a long time?

What are your practice’s strengths and weaknesses? Are there problems with scheduling, cancellations, staff turnover or reimbursement management?

Who are your current patients in terms of their age, sex, ethnic origin, type of insurance coverage, chief complaints and where they live?

What are the services provided by your practice? Who needs these services? Are these needs changing?

How is your practice perceived by your patients?

Your competition

You need to find out who your competitors are and what they have to offer. Check with your county or state medical society and your local hospital to find out how many other family physicians, nurse practitioners and general internists are in your service area, how long they’ve practiced in that location and how many have moved into your area over the past five years.

Once you’ve determined who your competitors are, you need to assess them. This information may be a little harder to come by, but you can try to gather as much information as you can by simply asking other physicians, listening to your patients, friends and neighbors when they talk about their physicians and keeping your eye out for competitors’ advertisements. To assess your competition, you need to ask the following questions:

What are your competitors’ target audiences and niche markets?

Why do certain patients or groups of patients particularly like or dislike your competitors?

How are your competitors viewed within the community?

What marketing activities have your competitors tried?

Your community

In addition to gathering information about your practice and your competitors’ practices, you need to learn as much as you can about the people in your community. You can find answers to the following questions by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce, your state vital statistics department or the U.S. Census Bureau ( ). Census data is available for every state, county, city, ZIP code, neighborhood, etc.:

How many people live in your service area? Is the population expected to grow or shrink? What are the demographic characteristics of the population in your area?

How is your practice perceived in the community? Are you known in the community?

Who are your potential patients? Are their wants and needs being met elsewhere in the community? If not, how can your practice meet those needs?

5. Identify a target audience. With the help of your market research analysis, you should be able to identify your practice’s “target audience,” which is the specific group of patients to which you’d like to direct your marketing efforts. Your target audience might include patients of a certain age, gender, location, payer type or language/ethnicity and patients with certain clinical needs. Keep in mind that your target audience should not only be the patients you want to attract but also the people who can influence and provide exposure to that segment of the population. For example, if you wish to treat patients with arthritis, you might want to get involved in the local and regional Arthritis Foundation and explore senior organizations in the community. If you want to treat young athletes, you might consider giving talks on sports safety and first-aid tips to coaches and athletes at the local high schools, colleges and YMCAs. The key to marketing lies in targeting the audience that your practice can serve better than your competition – and communicating this to that group.

6. Determine a budget. Before you can decide what specific marketing strategies you want to implement to achieve your goals, you need to examine your financial information and come up with a marketing budget. Marketing budgets vary by the type of market a practice is in, the age of a practice and whether the practice has marketed before. There’s no standard for how much a practice should spend. However, in our experience, practices in open markets have spent 3 percent to 5 percent of their annual gross incomes on marketing. If your practice is new, in a highly competitive market or has never been marketed before, or if you intend to roll out an ambitious new program or service, you can expect to spend 10 percent or more of your annual gross income the first year you implement the plan.

Some of the initial marketing activities can be expensive. For example, it can cost more than $5,000 to have a corporate image package (i.e., logo, stationery and collateral pieces) developed by a professional and as much as $10,000 if you add a brochure. On the other hand, some of the best marketing activities cost practically nothing. For example, to build your referral network, you might try meeting with new physicians in your community and sending follow-up/thankyou notes to referring physicians. Big or small, these are all worthwhile investments that will give the community a positive image of your practice.

7. Develop marketing strategies. With your budget in place, you can begin to define specific marketing strategies that will address your goals, reach your target audience and build your patient base. Remember to focus your strategies on the elements of your practice that can be used to create a special value in the minds of patients and referral sources. Each strategy should be related to a specific goal and should be made up of numerous actions. For example, one strategy related to the goal of increasing patient satisfaction might be to make the office more patient friendly. The actions required for that strategy might include the following:

Provide patient satisfaction training sessions to staff;

Develop a patient self-scheduling system within the practice Web site to eliminate the need to telephone the office for an appointment;

Improve the reception-room decor;

Provide name tags for staff;

Require staff to introduce themselves to each new patient;

Conduct post-encounter telephone interviews with new patients within three days of their appointments.

[Watch for an upcoming article in FPM about specific, cost-effective marketing actions you can try in your practice.]

8. Develop an implementation schedule. An implementation schedule is a time-line that shows which marketing actions will be done when and by whom. The schedule should also include the cost of each marketing action and how it fits into the budget estimates for the 24-month period. When creating the schedule, carefully consider how the activities will affect the current practice operations and whether there are sufficient resources (such as staff, time and money) to accomplish the necessary tasks. In some cases, it may be necessary to whittle down the list or postpone some activities. In other cases, it might be best to go ahead with full implementation of your plan. If you want to fully implement the plan but don’t quite have the staffing resources, you might consider bringing in a consultant to coordinate the marketing activities and/or adding a part-time staff member to handle the majority of the marketing tasks. The implementation schedule will also give you a basis on which to monitor the progress of your marketing plan.

9. Create an evaluation process. The value of a marketing plan is its effectiveness, which requires deliberate and timely implementation and monitoring and evaluation of results. It’s important to measure your results against the standards you set in establishing your goals. Review your plan periodically (we recommend quarterly) by comparing your progress with the implementation schedule. There are several ways you can measure the results of your progress: patient survey scores, referral sources, increased income, increased new patients and decreased complaints.

If at any time you find your progress does not measure up to your expectations, you need to determine why. Perhaps the advertisement about a new service you are marketing has not attracted new patients. If the ad campaign has been carried out as directed without results, dump the campaign and try other actions. Perhaps you’ll want to try giving a series of seminars specifically targeted to the group you want to attract or developing a new segment on your Web site for patients that describes the benefits of the new service. You may even find that if each physician in the practice talks about the new service with his or her patients as merely informational conversation, favorable results will follow. In other words, the actions – and even the strategies and goals – in the marketing plan are not written in stone. By regularly monitoring and evaluating each action, you can always change and try new approaches.

As good as you make it

A good marketing plan outlines realistic marketing goals, strategies and actions based on sound information and research about your practice and your community. But the plan is only as good as your commitment to implementing it, dedicating sufficient resources to the endeavor, involving your staff and communicating openly with them. The marketing plan should not merely be written, reviewed and put away on a shelf. Instead, your practice marketing plan should be an evolving blueprint that guides your efforts and monitors your success. Marketing works when the dedication is there. It’s up to you!

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6 Steps to Successful Strategic Marketing Planning

strategic marketing planning process

The strategic marketing planning process involves creating a marketing strategy that outlines what your objectives are, what programs you’ll use to achieve those objectives, who is responsible for those metrics, and by when you’ll be achieving those goals. In short, developing and managing a strategic marketing plan is crucial in reaching business objectives.

What is the marketing planning process?

Step 1: liaise with other departments.

While marketing does proactively drive demand and new business, they need to do so in the framework of supporting the larger business objectives. That’s why when it comes to the planning process, start by looking at other departments. Here’s what to ask yourself before developing and managing a strategic marketing plan: 

  • What are the executive team’s top priorities for the year?
  • What pipeline and revenue numbers are we aiming for this fiscal year?
  • Are any adoption rates or implementation goals being set for the product? 

Step 2: Create marketing goals that align with the business

Now that you’ve understood the business goals, you’re more informed on  how to plan marketing strategy.

For example, if the business has a goal to generate $5 million in new business from Jan. 1 to June 1, you have to ask yourself how marketing can drive new business. For instance, let’s say in your business, each new client would be purchasing an average of $500,000. That means sales needs to close 10 new clients in order to meet their $5 million goal. 

Then you need to figure out how many qualified accounts you need to tee up for sales, in order to close 10 new clients. For example, a good way to start is: how many accounts today engage with our marketing content, get passed to sales, are qualified, have a demo, and then book? If the percentage is 10%, then you need 100 contacts to get transferred to sales in order to close about 10 new clients. 

That is to say, starting with a focus on your goals, you ensure that you are actually building a marketing strategy vs. plan (a list of tactics). 

Step 3: Determine which campaign planning will achieve that marketing goal 

In order to generate 100 engaged contacts for sales, you want to look at your existing programs and determine the success of each at driving engagement. For example, let’s say you ran four webinars last quarter. Each had 100 registrants, and 30 people attended. Of those 30 people, 10 requested a demo and five were from qualified accounts. Once passed over, sales closed one lead. 

If that’s the average data, then you now know that you can expect a webinar to result in five contacts and one deal.

After that, replicate the process across your campaigns to plan out which activities will actually support your company growth goals.


Our Marketing Planning Crash Course can help.

Step 4: Create a marketing campaign calendar that aligns with your goals 

Now that you have focused goals that are strategically aligned with business objectives, you can create a calendar of activities, from content marketing to events. The best part? You won’t have someone asking “why is marketing running that webinar again” because you’d know the answer—it’s to drive X number of leads to sales.

Then, in your marketing campaign planning calendar, you’d want to include this information:

Period: Q1 Goal: Support sales in generating $5 million in new business, from Jan. 1 to June 1, by generating 100 engaged contacts.

Step 5: Establish your investments

After that, it’s time to align investments to your planned campaigns. The good news is that marketers who conduct the marketing strategy process from the get go can easily justify and secure budget for their activities—because they can directly tie that dollar into how it will impact the business goal. That’s one of the reasons why Uptempo’s process of marketing strategy planning encourages marketers to directly tie their spend to specific company goals.

Step 6: Let it run!

Finally, it’s time to execute on your plan—and start achieving business impact. While you execute on your strategic marketing plan, keep in mind that you should revisit the business goals quarterly. That keeps you on the right track to ensure the marketing organization continues to drive toward overarching corporate goals.

Knowing how to strategize marketing plans is a critical part of the marketing process. Now that you’ve completed the six steps of strategic marketing planning, you’ve set yourself and your team up for success. 


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Develop an Effective Marketing Strategic Plan You Can Use

Put your marketing strategic plan on one page with this template.

Screenshot of Strategy on a Page PDF

An effective marketing strategic plan should provide a clear roadmap to deliver on your business goals.

A marketing plan is incomplete without an effective strategy and strategic plans. At a functional level, it is imperative that a clear, measurable and communicable marketing strategic plan is put in place that goes well with the overall strategy and your marketing goals. 

Use this proven one-page marketing strategic planning template to:

  • Learn about ‘waste-free’ marketing strategic planning
  • Build a successful marketing strategic planning process that helps you effectively reach your target audience
  • Communicate your marketing strategic plan with precision and clarity
  • Secure buy-in from business partners and move towards your marketing goals
  • Execute your marketing objectives on time and within budget

Effectively execute your marketing strategy using Gartner’s marketing strategy template.

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About Gartner Marketing Strategic Plan Template

Gartner Marketing Strategic Planning Template helps marketing leaders define the roadmap for executing the key actions required to meet marketing strategic goals in alignment to the enterprise business model and goals. Additionally it helps you create and communicate a clear action plan that states where the marketing function currently is, where it needs to be, how to get there and how you will measure progress.

Webinar: 7 Key Trends That Will Impact Your Strategic Planning

Inflection points and wild cards continually threaten to shake up industries. However, future-fit organizations survive disruption by actively sensing and responding to changes. This complimentary webinar will help marketing executives scope key macro and environmental trends that could impact their organization’s business models and marketing strategic planning.

What Is Marketing Strategy Planning?

How to Evaluate Strategic Management

How to develop a marketing plan budget, how to increase sales & revenue: 5 essential strategies.

To stay in business, every business needs to convert prospects to closed sales. How a company markets to potential customers is a marketing strategy. A company may have more than one strategy in place at any given time, using various marketing platforms – including networking, digital media and traditional print advertising. Plan your marketing strategies so that you can evaluate the successful campaigns and build upon them, while adjusting or stopping unsuccessful ones.

Marketing strategy planning involves creating a road map for how you will sell your product or service or customers.

Start With Situation Analysis

Before you can develop a plan, you need to determine exactly where your business currently sits. Perhaps your company is meeting revenue goals but wants to scale up or move into new markets. If you aren't meeting goals, take an honest assessment of why. No marketing plan can change things if your sales team is unmotivated or untrained.

Most of this information is in your existing business plan and updated data reports. If the information isn't available, conduct a SWOT ( Strengths, Weaknesses , Opportunities and Threats ) Analysis to identify potential problems. Be clear on what you do well and on what makes your company – as well as its products and services – unique.

Define the Ideal Customer

A business owner who says "everyone is my client" is relying on broad marketing concepts that are most likely hurting sales success. Demographic studies show that some consumers buy differently than other consumers – younger consumers respond more to texts and digital ads, whereas older consumers have more traditional buying habits. Take the time to define your ideal customer, based on age, gender, family status and financial status. Once you have a description of the ideal consumer, define how your products solve a need or a desire in that group.

Establish Marketing Goals

Marketing should lead to sales. Define how your marketing efforts improve revenues. Goals can include increasing sales by 10 percent or having an additional 30 percent of online customers buy a second item through shopping cart suggestions. Be very specific with goals so you can measure your success. Set a time frame with timeline markers. Timeline markers to track progress so you can make adjustments as you work toward the ultimate goal. For example, if the goal to increase annual units by 1,000 over a 12-month period, then track the progress on a monthly basis.

Select Marketing Tools

Once you know your customer and what you want to do, set your marketing methods. Select from traditional advertising and digital marketing platforms. Also establish the frequency of advertising or "touches" to the customer. A touch is considered any contact with a prospect. It can be a phone call, a text, sales email or postal letter.

How you utilize tools is often different for cold versus warm leads. Social media advertising is able to target specific demographics and adjust ad frequency. For example, social media ads allow you to target young mothers searching for car seats.

Budget Funds 

Everything costs money, and you want to make sure you have a budget that enables your strategy to succeed but doesn't throw good money after bad – on ineffective strategies. Establish a budget for each strategy. Monitor the results to determine which strategies are the most effective. Be flexible enough to adjust budgets, and move money away from campaigns that aren't working into strategies that working.

With more than 15 years of small business ownership including owning a State Farm agency in Southern California, Kimberlee understands the needs of business owners first hand. When not writing, Kimberlee enjoys chasing waterfalls with her son in Hawaii.

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Strategic Marketing Plan Template & Examples

strategic plan for marketing

Imagine setting out to climb Mt. Everest guided only by intuition. You wouldn’t make it very far without a detailed plan (and an experienced sherpa) to guide the way. 

Marketing may not be an extreme sport with life-or-death consequences, but you’ve got big goals to reach nonetheless. And your team’s success relies on a lot more than gut instinct. 

That’s why a strategic marketing plan is a must, no matter your industry. Think of it as the roadmap that gets your business where it needs to go each and every year. 

Drafting your first marketing plan can feel intimidating, but don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the basics, show you what a strategic marketing plan looks like, and even give you a couple of free templates to get started. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a strategic marketing plan?

Essential elements of a strategic marketing plan, free marketing plan templates and examples.

Let’s start from square one and define what a strategic marketing plan is. 

A strategic marketing plan is a formal document that guides your team’s marketing efforts throughout the year. It maps your annual marketing goals to your company’s overall business objectives, while also outlining how you’ll spend your yearly marketing budget.

A good marketing plan clearly outlines:

Keep in mind that your plan may vary based on your industry and goals. Length and format don’t matter as much as the details you include. Do your research, and make it as easy as possible for company leaders to understand how your strategic marketing plan helps business grow.

What’s the difference between a marketing strategy vs. marketing plan?

A marketing strategy details how you’ll execute a piece of your marketing plan with a specific tactical goal in mind. You might do this by launching an email or social media campaign, publishing a blog series, offering a special promo, or hosting a live event. 

A marketing plan , on the other hand, is the high-level framework that drives all your marketing strategies. It’s a big-picture look at the who, what, and why behind your marketing goals, with a focus on tying them to larger organizational objectives. 

No two marketing plans are exactly the same, but they do share some common threads. Here are 6 important elements you’ll want to identify and research before you build out your next strategic marketing plan.

Everything you do as a marketing team should support your company’s overall strategy and goals. So summarize your organization’s business objectives, and let it serve as your marketing plan’s true north. Your team and stakeholders should be able to clearly see how the marketing strategies and goals you outline in your plan align with your company’s top priorities.  

A SWOT analysis breaks down your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This enables you to assess both the internal and external factors that influence your success so you can build targeted strategies that close gaps and drive results. 

Research is the core of any marketing plan because it’s what you’ll use to shape your goals and strategy. Don’t be afraid to dive deep into the details here. A well-researched marketing plan is worth the time invested. 

Focusing your research energy on these areas will equip you with a solid base for smart marketing decisions.

It’s important to understand major movements in the industry you’re marketing to so you have a feel for the pulse of the market. Thoroughly research the industry your organization works in, and be sure to report on the general climate, as well as any noteworthy happenings. If your company serves any subindustries, don’t forget to include them in your analysis too. 

Target market

Marketing to the masses rarely pays off. That’s why narrowing down your target audience is a must for any marketing plan. Consider it the filter you run every marketing strategy through. 

The more specific you can get, the better. Answering questions like these can help you paint a clear picture of your ideal buyer so you know how to focus your resources for a bigger impact on the people you want to reach.

Competitive analysis

It’s also important to understand who and what you’re up against when it comes to attracting your perfect buyer. Identify the key players in your space, and give a brief rundown of what they’re doing to win. This groundwork will make it easier to see how to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to talk strategy. Outline your strategic marketing goals for the year, and briefly explain how these strategies support company-wide goals. Use a gantt chart to establish a timeline for each goal and monitor results along the way. This is an easy way to set expectations and keep your team and stakeholders in the loop.

Metrics are where the rubber meets the road in your marketing plan. Use your market research to define specific KPIs or key marketing metrics that will serve as your measure for success. This will help you track progress so you know if you need to change course mid-project to ensure you hit your strategic marketing goals.

Marketing channels are the vehicles you’ll use to reach your target audience and grow your brand. Choose your channels wisely based on where you expect to get the most bang for your marketing buck. Briefly explain the purpose of each channel and how it supports your overall marketing strategy and business goals. 

Want to build a more detailed plan for each marketing channel so you can bring your ideas to life? Check out our free social media strategy plan and editorial content plan templates for more information on planning by channel. 

Marketing budget

Establishing a monthly budget for your marketing plan—and tracking it along the way—helps you maximize ROI and identify wasted spend before it drains your marketing dollars. 

Start by listing any ongoing expenses you have so you know what you can afford to spend on new initiatives. Then do your best to estimate any new costs you expect in the coming year. Don’t forget to account for any new hires, freelance workers, or third-party agencies you might need to rely on to get the work done. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you! Here are a few examples of how you might structure a marketing plan so you can easily start writing your own. 

Your marketing plan may shake out differently depending on the industry you work in or the goals you’re focused on. Use these marketing plan templates and samples as a guide to jumpstart the process and come up with a marketing plan structure that works for you. 

Google Docs marketing plan template and example

The most common way to create a marketing plan is simply to write it out as a text document. This format enables you to freely elaborate on any research findings you gathered during discovery, while also making a clear case for the marketing goals you’ve set for the year.

We put together a free Google Docs marketing plan template to help you save time so you can get your planning process off the ground faster. This marketing plan example is perfect for documenting and sharing the full scope of your strategic marketing plan with your team and stakeholders.

strategic plan for marketing

Here’s a basic breakdown of what the Google Docs marketing plan template covers:

Save a copy of the template to your Google Drive or download it as a Word document, and customize it to fit your own strategic marketing plan needs.  ‍

Use template in Google Docs

Gantt chart marketing plan template and examples

A plan’s no good if you set it and forget it. That’s where a gantt chart comes in handy. Use this free gantt chart marketing plan template to track your strategic marketing plan all the way to success. 

A gantt chart is a great way to lay your marketing plan out in a simple, visual timeline that’s easy to update as work progresses. It gives you a high-level view of your plan’s major goals and strategies, while enabling you to collaborate on and share your plan with your team and stakeholders.

How you use a gantt chart to put your plan into action is up to you. Build a timeline for the tasks you need to complete as you develop your marketing plan, like the example below. 

strategic plan for marketing

Once you’ve fleshed out the details of your marketing plan, you can use a gantt chart to define and track your strategic marketing goals. For example, you could break your marketing plan down by quarter to show when specific objectives will come into play and update progress as you close in on your goal. Here’s how that might look.

strategic plan for marketing

Use template in TeamGantt

Ready to build a strategic marketing plan of your own? 

We’ve created a free marketing plan template for you in TeamGantt so you can jump right in!

Customizing the template is quick and easy, thanks to TeamGantt’s drag and drop simplicity. And since everything’s online, your whole team can collaborate on activities in real time.

Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of our free TeamGantt strategic marketing plan template.

Drag and drop tasks to schedule your plan

Configuring your marketing plan is as easy as dragging and dropping tasks—or entire task groups—into their new rightful place. Click and drag the edges of each taskbar to set a new task duration. 

strategic plan for marketing

Communicate with comments 

Collaboration is easy with TeamGantt's discussion feature . Share documents and chat with your team directly from a task’s Comments section. Use Notes to communicate important information—like goals, target audience, and budget—at the project level. 

Have a more formal marketing plan document? Attach the file or link to your project so everyone has easy access to it.

strategic plan for marketing

Share a copy with stakeholders

Plans are meant to be shared, so we made it easy to keep even the most inquisitive stakeholders in the loop. Export your plan to a printer-friendly PDF , or share a view-only link to your project so stakeholders can see your marketing plan progress in real time. 

strategic plan for marketing

Sign up for a free TeamGantt account today , and save time on project setup with this free marketing plan template!

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Success is the residue of planning."

- Benjamin Franklin

Planning is vital to marketing. It provides a roadmap to the final marketing goal and unifies the team's efforts to achieve common objectives. In today's explanation, let's look at strategic marketing planning and how it works.

Strategic Marketing Planning Definition

Strategic marketing planning is one of the main functions of marketing management . It is the process in which the company develops marketing strategies to meet its strategic goals and objectives. The main steps include identifying the company's current situation, analysing its opportunities and threats, and mapping out marketing action plans for implementation.

Marketing plans are developed based on the scope of the strategic plan. Once the plan is concluded, it is implemented to achieve the company's objectives. (Figure 1)

Importance of Strategic Planning in Marketing

Strategic planning in marketing is vital as it comes with many benefits. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

Understand the company's current situation

A significant part of strategic planning is developing a SWOT analysis that considers the internal and external environment's influence on business performance. This analysis will likely include the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This information helps managers understand the company's situation and develop appropriate marketing strategies.

Accomplish marketing goals

Marketing plans include marketing strategies and specific goals and deadlines for achieving them. Thus, by developing a plan, marketers can ensure marketing activities are carried out within the set timeframe and meet the overall objectives.

Specify actions to be taken

While goals are vital to business success, they are rather vague for implementation. A company can set a goal to increase its sales by 10% within two years, but without an action plan with clear steps on what to do, this is unlikely to happen. That's where strategic marketing planning comes into play. Along with marketing goals, the plan outlines specific steps to take to reach the set goal.

Process of Strategic Marketing Planning

Now that we've learned what strategic marketing planning is and why it is essential, let's take a look at how to create one:

Sections of a strategic marketing plan

While strategic marketing plans vary from one company to another, they tend to include the following sections:

Table 1. Sections of a strategic marketing plan , StudySmarter Originals

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is the shortened version of the entire marketing plan . It outlines high-level objectives, marketing goals, and activities of the company. The summary must be clear, concise, and easy to understand.

2. Market analysis

The next part of the strategic marketing plan is market analysis or SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis considers the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how it can exploit or tackle them.

3. Marketing plan

This is the central part of the strategy that specifies:

Marketing goa ls: Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).

Marketing strategy: Details on how to engage customers, create customer value , build customer relationships, etc. The company should develop strategies for each marketing mix element.

Marketing budget: Estimate the costs for carrying out marketing activities.

4. Implementations and controls

This section outlines the specific steps for the marketing campaign to be carried out. It should also include measures for progress and returns on marketing investment.

Steps to planning a marketing strategy

Strategic marketing planning includes five main steps:

1. Build buyer personas

The buyer persona is the fictional representation of a company's target customers. It may include their age, income, location, job, challenges, hobbies, dreams, and goals.

2. Identify marketing goals

Marketers should create marketing goals based on the strategic objectives of the business. For example, if the company aims to increase its sales by 10%, a marketing goal can be to generate 50% more leads from organic search (SEO).

3. Survey existing marketing assets

The development of a new marketing campaign may require the adoption of new tools and marketing channels . However, it doesn't mean the company should dismiss its existing marketing platforms and assets. Marketers should look at the company's owned, earned, or paid media to audit the existing marketing resources.

The media through which companies market their products or services can be owned, earned, or paid: 1

4. Audit previous campaigns and plan new ones

Before developing new marketing plans, the company should audit its previous marketing campaigns to identify future gaps, opportunities, or issues to prevent. Once done, it can plan new strategies for the upcoming marketing campaign.

5. Monitor and modify

After implementing the new marketing strategies, marketers need to measure their progress and make changes when something is not working as planned.

Digital Marketing Strategic Planning

With the advent of the Internet and digital technology, traditional marketing via offline channels such as TVs or newspapers are no longer enough for brands to make themselves known. To succeed in the digital age, companies must incorporate digital marketing - marketing via digital channels - in their strategic planning.

Digital marketing strategic planning includes creating a plan for establishing a brand presence on the Internet through digital channels such as social media, organic search, or paid ads.

The main goals of the digital marketing strategy are the same as for traditional ones - to increase brand awareness and attract new customers. Thus, the steps are also similar.

Some examples of digital marketing campaigns include:

Strategic Marketing Planning Example

To see how strategic marketing planning works out in real life, let's consider some examples from Starbucks' mission statement, SWOT analysis, and marketing strategy :

Mission statement example

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. 2

The mission statement showcases human connection as the core value Starbucks offers its customer.

SWOT analysis example

Table 2. Starbucks SWOT Analysis, StudySmarter Originals

Marketing strategy example

Starbucks' Marketing Mix 4Ps:

Product - premium coffee, adaptive menus based on regions, and a wide selection of food and beverages.

Price - value-based prices, targeting middle and high-income individuals.

Place - coffeehouses, mobile apps, retailers.

Promotion - spend a huge amount of money on advertising, develop a highly efficient loyalty program, and exert corporate social responsibility.

Strategic Marketing Planning - Key takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions about Strategic Marketing Planning

--> what is meant by strategic planning in marketing management .

Strategic planning in marketing management is the development of marketing strategies to meet the overall business objectives. 

--> What are the five steps in the strategic planning process? 

The five steps in the strategic planning process are: 

--> What are the 4 marketing strategies?

The 4 marketing strategies are Product, Price, Price, and Promotion.

--> What is the importance of strategic marketing planning? 

Strategic marketing planning is important as it helps marketers understand the business's current situation and develop suitable marketing strategies. 

--> What is an example of marketing planning? 

An example of marketing planning: Based on the SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat), a company recognises a gap in customers' needs and plans a new marketing campaign to fill that need.  

Final Strategic Marketing Planning Quiz

The executive summary is the last section of the strategic marketing plan. 

Show answer

Show question

The buyer persona is the fictional representation of _________.

Company's target customer

Marketing goals do not have to align with business strategic goals. 

Name a few types of digital marketing campaigns you know. 

Social media marketing

Marketing growth strategies make up part of marketing _______.

_____________  is the process managers use to ensure that the company's goals are aligned with its marketing activities.

Strategic marketing planning

Businesses implement   marketing __________ to expand their market presence and reach a broader range of customers.

growth strategies

For   strategic marketing planning   to be successful, the company has to define its mission and objectives.

A business rarely needs to review its portfolio.

During _________ the company decides which brands and products require further investment and which ones should no longer receive investment. 

portfolio analysis

What is the first step of portfolio analysis?

The first step of portfolio analysis includes determining strategic business units (SBUs). 

A widespread portfolio analysis method includes using the ______.

______  have high market growth and market share.

______ have a high market share but present lower levels of growth.

Companies can use  ____   strategies to increase market share through investment or ____   strategies to keep the SBU at current levels.

build, hold

Market penetration can be used by companies that want to increase the market share of one of their  ______   products   in  _____   markets .

existing, existing

When using a ________ strategy, the business attempts to find   new   markets   for its   existing   products .

market development

The business will develop   new   products   to sell in   existing   markets   when pursuing a _________ strategy. 

product development

A diversification strategy involves low levels of risk.

The   _________   is the total amount of money a business allocates to marketing activities.

marketing budget

What aspects should decision-makers assess to create an overall marketing budget?

The external environment,

The competitive environment,

The internal environment and capabilities,

Internal performance,

The marketing audit.

At times, the total marketing budget is not decided by marketers, but by the directors and executives of the company.  

The  ______ method   involves determining the budget based on how much the company can afford to spend.

What is the process for setting the budget using the affordable method?

Calculate total revenues, 

Deduct the costs associated with production, distribution, and other operating expenses, 

Decide how much profit to retain, 

Determine the remaining value – this sum can be spent on the marketing budget.

The affordable method is often used by startups or small businesses that cannot afford to spend much on communications.  

The  __________ method   allocates a percentage of current or forecasted sales to the promotional budget.


Using the percentage-of-sales method, t he budget is set at a predetermined level of ____, ______, or ______, sales. 

past, current, or future

T he budget may vary significantly year-to-year if the company's sales are unstable. This is a characteristic of the _______.

percentag-of-sales method

The  _________   method sets the marketing budget at a level where marginal revenues are equal to the marginal costs of a campaign.

marginal analysis

This method works on the basis of calculating how much additional revenue is created from a unit increase in advertising expenditure.

The inertia method for setting marketing budgets can lead to innovative results.

The  ________   method involves setting the promotional budget at the same level as competitors. 

competitive parity

To use the ________ approach, companies closely examine other companies' spending and set their budget based on the industry's average.

Define the objective-task method.

The   objective-task   method sets a budget based on the campaign's objectives and the resources required to achieve them.

What are the three steps for using the objective-task method?

What companies include in their marketing budgets can vary significantly based on the industry they operate and the types of customers they serve. 

Name two of the elements included in a marketing budget.

The communications mix/campaigns – advertising, promotion, public relations, etc.

In-house tools – software, programs, etc.

Agencies and consultants, 

Employee salaries, 

Training and development.

T he effective functioning of marketing operations enables a company to plan, execute, and evaluate marketing activities.  

Define marketing operations. 

Marketing operations means the people, processes, and technologies required to execute a company's marketing strategies and perform at an optimum level. 

Marketing operations provide a _______ through which firms can execute marketing strategies to deliver value to customers.

Marketing operations provide a basis for companies to design the right infrastructure, and processes, and hire expert marketers to implement the marketing strategies effectively. 

What is the difference between marketing and marketing operations? 

Marketing operations have a wider focus than marketing. It involves marketing planning, technology development, performance measurement, and reporting. Whereas, marketing  deals with communicating and delivering value to customers. It does not concern itself with the issues of marketing infrastructure and processes.  

Marketing operations have a wider focus than marketing. 

The marketing operations plan is a comprehensive plan of action that includes designing the right marketing infrastructure, optimizing the processes, and hiring skilled marketers to effectively execute the marketing activities

What are the key components of a marketing operations plan? 

Identify the purpose, find resources, set KPIs, implement and evaluate 

What are the types of marketing operations? 

Project planning, Technology management , Data management, Content development  

In ______, the focus is on ensuring all aspects of the project are running optimally. 

Project planning    

_________  is used to manage technological tools such as Search Engine Marketing etc. Managers also search for new technologies to optimize marketing operations. 

Technology management

Marketers use data to provide tailored solutions to their customers.  

Content development ensures that the company can attract customers and communicate consistent marketing messages. 

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Marketing Plans with a Strategic Focus

A solid marketing strategy is the bedrock of an air-tight marketing plan. (Isn’t that an understatement? Just stop and re-read that for a second and let it sink in.) Clearly translating your vision into concrete plans is important for many reasons:

strategic plan for marketing

Are you ready to chart your course for the future? Do you want to make the biggest impact and attract donors? (I hear your head nodding. I don’t think you’d be reading this if you weren’t.) So, it is worth the time and investment in creating a strategic marketing plan that aligns your organization’s goals with your efforts and adequately sums up how you will achieve them.

To start off, writing out the details of what you are after will solidify your objectives, which is a very important part of getting the ball rolling. (If you need help rolling that ball uphill, check out our Marketing Plan Workbook , a handy guide that will walk you through creating your plan!) A good strategic plan will first, and most importantly, garner support from the people around you – your team, your colleagues, your management team. Sometimes internal buy-in can seem harder than anything else. But don’t underestimate the power of other departments feeling like you’ve heard them and are ready to support them through marketing. 

These are the main sections of a strategic plan:

Let us look at the first six of these more closely. But first…

Evaluate your resources

This refers to not just the money you have placed in your budget (or think you’ll be approved for) or expect from fundraising, but all the other resources available to you. These include your skill and experience, and that of your team and the people/volunteers who are a part of your marketing efforts. This step is critical to being acutely aware of the amount of hard cost you can commit to and the manpower available to you so you don’t have unrealistic expectations (ideas vs. reality).

Connect your marketing strategy to your mission statement

What is your nonprofit or association’s mission statement? This may be something you’re not thinking about every day (because you’re busy doing ) but should be the guiding light of your marketing efforts. Reiterating how marketing supports your mission is the cornerstone of your marketing plan. This is also very helpful for board members to see and rationalize.

Sketch out your ambitions, goals, and activities (otherwise known as objectives)

Drafting out your exact desired endstate at the end of a period or year, and the various ways you can achieve them will help to break down your primary vision into discrete parts that can be planned precisely. When you do this properly, you will be able to see your objectives in detail and carry that directly to creating campaigns. 

For example, if your endstate is that you want to be “nationally recognized and positioned as an innovative leader” or “increasing education, income, and health – especially for women and kids” then every objective should tie back into that goal.

Your objectives will then be very specific, such as:

Remember, keep your objectives broad. You’ll get granular later.

Analysis and positioning

After identifying your main goals, it is time to consider some strategic thinking. You are still thinking high-level here though. One helpful tool you can use for input in this section is a very common method called a SWOT analysis. (You probably got a lot of practice at this in school, but it is very useful in business, too.) This stands for:

The first two are positive and negative elements within your organization while the latter are positive and negative elements outside of your organization. The main idea is to go over them with your team and think about ways to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. Pair this with an analysis of your overall space and your direct and indirect competitors, and you can create the right way to position your nonprofit or association’s message.

Who exactly are your potential stakeholders – future employees, donors, and even the people you serve? You’ll need to put together a picture of who they are (age, race, familial status, etc.), what they like (hobbies, professional affiliations, etc) and their attitudes (preferences, beliefs, buying or media habits, etc.) in order to make sure that your strategies and tactics are reaching the right people. Conducting research to create personas is the most effective way to do this, but if that’s not a possibility, sometimes gathering an internal group and creating the personas based on your knowledge and expertise is enough to put something together.

Marketing Strategies & Tactics

You’ve finally reached the “meat” of the market plan – how exactly are you going to catch the attention of potential donors and volunteers? With so many organizations competing for this same attention, marketing is one of the most important ways to stand out from the crowd. 

Start with strategy statements first that fit your objectives and then you can organize your tactical ideas (usually the easiest part) underneath. I suggest three to ten strategies, at least two for each objective . Start each statement with a verb, such as: create, educate, encourage, leverage, develop, utilize, or continue.

Then, you move to tactics. Below are a few channels that I bet you’ll want to use.

Website : The internet has made online marketing and advertising much easier than it used to be. Creating and maintaining a website should definitely be one of your first moves. (I know this is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you’re at a small nonprofit.) This is the best place to draw people in, captivate them and get them to invest in your cause. Create content that speaks directly to the motivations of the average volunteer, update available info about upcoming events and provide feedback from successfully executed projects.

Email : Carefully targeted email can be used to build awareness, keep volunteers and donors feeling involved and send regular reminders of impending events or milestones. A people-based approach, or segmentation, can be really effective through email, as its personalized. Thinking about the different audiences and what they would be most interested in is a great place to start. As you get more knowledgeable, you can set up more complex email drips or triggered emails.    

Advertising : Sometimes using traditional advertising methods can be most effective in reaching the most people at once. Most nonprofits can utilize earned media, like PSAs or PR, without paying for the placement. But, if you want to ensure you get an urgent message out, paying for some placements may be a smart and strategic move. A lot of nonprofits can dip their toe into paid media on social media first, where you only need a budget of $50 to get some movement.

Guerrilla : Use non-traditional forms of outreach to activate your audiences in person in places where you think they might be and create awareness through word-of-mouth. One great way to start guerilla (or experiential marketing) is to enable teams with matching t-shirts and small giveaways and flyers during a community street festival.

Social Media : Currently one of the most powerful mediums for sharing information and connecting, the power of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is inestimable. You can create buzz about your events by sharing viral and event-specific content, while using various incentives to encouraging sharing, and build a digital community that will want to meet in person to deepen their engagement.      

Looking for more tactical ideas? Check out our mega checklist of tactics here .

Starting the process and then solidifying your marketing plan can take time, but it pays off hugely in the end. If done well, your strategic plans will engage and attract stakeholders who will be willing to rally around your cause.


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