A plan helps everyone understand the goal. A strategy guides you towards achieving the goal.
At some point in your business development, you will need to put pen to paper and write out your goals, mission, vision and direction. You will need to explain your products and services, your market position, your tactics for growth and define your competition.
While for many entrepreneurs, this information is stored in their busy minds, it is essential that it is written down. Without a clear roadmap, your success is likely to be staggered, you might miss opportunities, needlessly spend money or even collapse your new business.
Marketing Plan vs Marketing Strategy
A marketing plan is a framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created. The plan helps to inform each strategy and link it back to a larger business goal.
A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software are to be used to execute the goal and track its progress.
4 P’s of Marketing
To help inform your marketing strategy, there are 4 areas of your business information that can be used.
From this information, you can move on to creating a strategy that supports your plans. The following 7 things make your strategy as effective and relevant as possible.
Unique Selling Proposition
The foundation of your marketing strategy should be your unique selling proposition (USP). This is the statement that defines your business and it should be used it inform your choices. Know your USP and then build upon it by relating it to each of the 4 Ps. The theme of your marketing should be how your business answers customer needs and how it differs from competitors in achieving this.
Know Your Customers
Your market analysis should form the basis of the assumptions you make about your customers. Your ideal customer persona is at the centre of your marketing strategy because this will help you to know more about what tactics to use, what language resonates with your desired audience and how best to connect with potential leads.
Whether your product is physical or a service, online or in-store, local or international – all these factors will influence how your business strategy needs to be executed. The strategy is a roadmap, not a hardline, so allow for adjustments and changes that support your goals.
Research should be the core of your decisionmaking about pricing. Comparative studies and an understanding of your market and customers should inform your decisions about how to charge customers and why you have selected that cost.
Include Visual Information
Using charts, graphs, and images to illustrate your findings can make them easier for your audience to absorb. You need your team to understand the decisions that have been made and the strategy itself, so using visuals can help not only keep people engaged, but also provides a quick reference.
Outline a Budget
While you will have an overall budget, you need to show how you intend to spend this portion of the budget, and how it will meet with financial goals or restrictions.
Include Your Collateral
Be sure to include all the video, images, photos, content and any other marketing materials that you have in your report so your team understands what they might have access to, what already exists and how it might be used as part of a separate strategy.