Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a plan. A plan for the day, a plan for the week, for what I wanted to be when I grew up, for my perfect vacation. A couple of the basics of planning are that you have to keep your eye on short- and long-term goals, and you’ve always, always, always gotta have a Plan B! I’ve brought those basics into my approach to marketing plans.
When we work with purpose-driven clients, we find that many feel too busy to plan, pulled in too many directions to focus, or just not sure where to start. We always encourage the process of creating a marketing plan, you’ll learn so much! So we decided to share a framework to help get you started. Below is a quick summary of what you’ll find in our Marketing Plan Template.
Key Components of a Marketing Plan
What’s the reason for the plan? Is it annual communications, introducing a new brand, or rolling out a membership campaign? Get clear about what you need to do.
Who are you targeting in the plan? Remember your plan doesn’t have to cover ALL of your organization’s audiences. Everyone may not be impacted by your challenge, and that’s okay. Different people will also need different tactics and different messaging.
What do you hope to achieve with this marketing plan and how will you judge its success? Are you energizing your audience with a rebrand? Attracting new members? Raising awareness of your website and its functionality?
Always keep in mind the space your organization occupies in the minds of your audiences. If you’re not sure about your positioning, you can find our quick template in the Almanac Website Worksheet. Ask yourself, based on your positioning, would we use this tactic? Would we share these messages?
What is your organization’s stance on key concepts that your audience wants to hear about from you. We’ve included some sample messaging prompts in the Plan template to get you started.
What are the communication vehicles or opportunities you have to reach your audiences. Start with what you know, the events and publications you already produce, then consider your social media channels and your own website. Finally, look at new tactics, vehicles that might need to be created, like direct mail pieces.
This is where you get clear on who is doing what and when. This section is where you start delegating to your internal team (no, this isn’t all up to you!) and where you start thinking about if you need some outside help.
Nothing in your marketing plan will happen if you don’t put a deadline on it. I find it helpful to first fill in the dates on all the things I know will happen during the plan timeline, like events, and mailings that we can message, and then looking for holes or opportunities to reach out and communicate.
When you first get started with your plan, estimating costs is fine. It’s a great way to see if you’re planning far beyond your capacity. But as you refine, you’ll want to get actual estimates before you commit to a tactic.
This last topic isn’t a section in our template, but rather an approach that you have to bring to any marketing plan. The challenges in your organization, in your community and in the world can change very quickly, as we know all too well. The success of your planning process will depend greatly on how nimble you and your team can be with changing tactics, messaging and timelines.