Building a rock solid marketing strategy is difficult. Creating one every month or every quarter can seem daunting to even the most experienced marketing directors. By using a simple template, however, this effort can become much more manageable.
This leaves many marketers with a predicament. Where do I get a marketing strategy template? Do I build one myself or download one off the Internet? Should I ask around, or keep this to myself? With a little bit of research, you should be able to build your own marketing strategy template in a matter of days, allowing you to save weeks worth of work over the course of your career. Here are some simple tips that can help you get your marketing strategy template built this week!
Assessing Your Business Objectives
The first thing you need to do is take a step back and assess what business objectives you’re trying to achieve with your marketing strategy. Too often, marketers make the mistake of not aligning their goals with the company’s. Correcting this problem is easy. By working with everyone from your executives to your sales staff, figure out how you can align your goals directly to their goals. If your sales team wants more leads, include that as a KPI. If your executives want to see more brand visibility or want to explore a new vertical, incorporate these goals into your strategy. This is the single most important step to building an effective strategy, and it needs to be incorporated into your template.
Next, assess what tools you have at your disposal. Part of your business objective is going to be controlling costs, so understanding what you can do in-house and what you need to hire a marketing agency for is important. Make a list of everything you can accomplish in-house and everything you’ll need to outsource. If you can estimate costs effectively, include this as well.
Finding the Right Platforms for Your Marketing
Next, you need to figure out where you want to execute. Do you want to build a strong digital marketing strategy and ignore more traditional channels, or would you rather eschew digital in favor of mediums you’ve been using for years? Here are a few questions you should ask when determining what platforms to use in your strategy document:
- What platforms have we tried in the past? What worked? What didn’t?
- What platforms do our customers live on? Are they likely to look online for answers to their questions, or would they rather be communicated via more traditional methods?
- How can we re-purpose content that we’re already creating? If we do a quarterly email newsletter, could we also turn that into a blog post or direct mail piece? How can we get more results from one piece of marketing?
- Where do our salespeople meet our customers? Are they more likely to be at networking events or adding each other on LinkedIn?
- What can I test at a low cost? The easiest way to figure out what works is by testing it! I recommend testing one new platform a quarter just to see what works.
Building a Marketing Strategy Template That Can Last For Years
The whole purpose of a template is having an asset that you can re-use for years to come. In order to build a marketing strategy template that is truly reusable, it’s important to follow a general outline that won’t deviate much from month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter. Here’s a general outline that I like to follow for many of my marketing strategy documents:
- Traditional Marketing Strategy Overview
- Traditional Channel 1
- Traditional Channel 2
- Traditional Channel 3
- Digital Marketing Strategy Overview
- Digital Channel 1
- Digital Channel 2
- Digital Channel 3
- Outcomes and Objectives
- Primary Goals – Marketing Department
- Primary Goals/KPI’s – Rest of the Organization
- Resources Needed
If you need to incorporate more specifics, start looking at individual platforms you plan on using for elaboration. Building a digital marketing strategy template, for example, is a great way to provide more insight into the process for those who are curious.
Once you’ve built an effective marketing strategy template, you should be able to rinse and repeat, effectively re-using this document for years. Some sections may change dramatically through the years while others remain virtually unchanged, but the amount of time and energy you’ll need to put into your strategy will be reduced substantially.