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Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan
Once you’ve read and decided which marketing plan is better for you here, you’ll probably wonder how to build your marketing strategy.
What’s a marketing strategy though?
A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular mission or goal. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute on that mission and track its success.
For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.
A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It is the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.
Let's say, for example, your company is launching a new product and wants to build awareness.
This calls for the marketing department to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired results.
The department decides to launch a social media post dedicated to the industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an email marketing campaign to join the conversation around this subject -- all of which serve to attract an audience and convert this audience into buyers.
Can you see the distinction between the business's marketing plan versus the three marketing strategies?
In the above example, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new product to the marketplace and driving interest in that product. The business will execute on that plan with three marketing strategies: a new social media post, a YouTube video series, and a new account or email campaign.
Though your business might require a larger marketing strategy, it’s up to you how granular you want your marketing plan.
Nonetheless, there are a certain set of steps every marketing plan goes through in its creation. Learn what they are below.
1) State your business's mission.
Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business's main mission statement. Be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you'll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.
2)Determine the KPIs for this mission.
Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission's progress. To do so, you'll need to determine your key performance indicators or "KPIs" for short. KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.
3) Identify your buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a description of whom you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, job title, and more. Each buyer persona should be a direct reflection of your business's customers and potential customers. Therefore, it's critical that business leaders all agree on what your buyer personas are.
4) Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
Here's where you'll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there is a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, it's critical that you choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.
A content strategy should stipulate:
- Which types of content you'll create. These can include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, ebooks, and more.
- How much of it you'll create. You can describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on your workflow and the short-term goals you set for your content.
- The goals (and KPIs) you'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
- The channels on which you'll distribute this content. Some popular channels at your disposal include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.
5) Clearly define your plan's omissions.
A marketing plan explains what the marketing team is going to focus on. However, it also explains what the marketing team is not going to focus on.
If there are other aspects of your business that you aren't serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can't please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.
6) Define your marketing budget.
Your content strategy might leverage many free channels and platforms, but there are a number of hidden expenses to a marketing team that needs to be accounted for.
Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.
7) Identify your competition.
Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one in this section.
Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.
8) Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.
With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it's time to explain who's doing what. You don't have to delve too deeply into your employees' day-to-day projects, but it should be known which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.
Bonus: Click here to download our FREE Marketing Plan Template and get started.