Plan it Out: The Marketing Plan and Strategy
Updated: Jan 12
Behind every thriving business is a marketing plan and strategy. Whenever a business reaches out to Iron City Social, we immediately start creating a structure for growth. A marketing plan and strategy will summarize your business, note key business initiatives, describe your target market, give an overview of your strategy, and contain marketing budget information.
We’ve broken it down into chunks so you can take it at your own speed. By the end, you will be ready to create your own marketing plan and strategy. Let’s get to it!
A business summary is a place to note a summary of your business, key marketing leaders, your mission statement, and a list of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, or a SWOT analysis. This section of the marketing plan forces you to craft a mission statement for your business, making you think of the “why” behind what you do. A mission statement should reflect the core values of your business.
The SWOT analysis is used to identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses in addition to opportunities and threats within your industry. An analysis like this is a simple but powerful tool for your business. It helps you build on what you do well, address what you're lacking, minimize risks, and take advantage of chances for success.
This part of the marketing plan describes the marketing initiatives you’ll put in place to support your larger goals. This includes but is not limited to marketing initiatives, goals, and metrics. Remember to use metrics to measure your success and to make sure the initiatives are time-bound.
When you identify and define your target market, note the key industries you want to target, if applicable, and detail your buyer personas. It’s important to remember to provide as much information as possible when detailing your buyer persona.
How do you know if this applies to your business? A great example of a business that wouldn’t have a crucial target industry or highly defined buyer personas would be a brewery. A brewery doesn’t target one specific industry, and depending on the brewery, it may not have a defined buyer persona. Instead, they would build buyer personas based on the various types of craft beer drinkers. For example, one buyer persona would detail the novice craft beer drinker, and another may go into someone who’s a more avid craft beer drinker.
Before we move on, let’s talk about competitive analysis. And I know what you’re thinking - why would I research my competitors? I’m doing my own thing! Well, it’s crucial to analyze your competition so you don’t duplicate anything they’re doing. It also gives you some insight into what’s working and not, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Think of a marketing strategy as your “roadmap” to all things marketing when it comes to your business. Your marketing strategy should detail how you plan to move your potential customers through their “buyers journey,” aka the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider, evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.
Luckily, all of this can be answered with the information you’ve collected in the previous parts of the marketing plan. Questions to consider here would be:
How will this product solve the challenges described in your buyer persona description(s)?
How much are you selling this product for? Is it competitive?
How will you promote this product?
In this section, you’ll detail all funds you’ll use for marketing and advertising your business. Think anything from social media to photography.
Not sure where to start? The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue on marketing and advertising if you're doing less than $5 million a year in sales.
Remember to be conservative yet aggressive. After all, you are investing in the growth of your business!
Now that we broke down a marketing plan and strategy steps, the next step is to create one! Below is a Marketing Plan and Strategy Template to help get you started. Plus, here are a few helpful links to refer to:
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARKETING STRATEGY
DEFINING YOUR AUDIENCE
MARKETING PLAN AND STRATEGY TEMPLATE
Need more help? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 648 - 3210.