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Why a Marketing Plan is the Foundation of a Strong Business Strategy

business woman in a yellow sweater presenting a marketing plan as the foundation of a strong business strategy to company leadership

What do you think of when you hear the word “strategy”? Are you imagining tanks, missiles, and battleships? While these are all important elements of a military strategy, they certainly don’t represent a business strategy. You might be surprised to learn that the term “strategy” in a business context is not as rigid or purely militaristic as it sounds. In fact, strategic thinking can be applied to any organization — small or large — and a marketing plan is the foundation of a strong business strategy.

How marketing plans help you set and achieve your business goals

Goals and objectives are your maps to the future. They should be set with a clear purpose in mind, such as improving brand awareness, increasing sales, or acquiring new customers.

Setting goals and objectives is an essential part of creating a marketing plan. Without them, you can’t measure the success of your efforts or determine what needs to change if they aren’t working as planned. In fact, without setting specific goals and objectives for your business’s marketing efforts (and having those goals aligned with the overall business strategy), it’s impossible to measure results or make informed decisions about where you want to go next.

By setting goals and objectives, you can measure your success and determine what needs to change if they aren’t working as planned. Without them, you won’t know whether your marketing efforts are effective or not. Setting goals and objectives is an essential part of creating a marketing plan.

The Importance of Understanding Your Target Audience

Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to identify the people who can benefit from what you offer. With an understanding of what your ideal customer looks like, you can identify how and where they consume content. This will help you tailor your marketing efforts to the target market and make sure that your message reaches them through channels they use daily.

While a marketing plan is the foundation of a strong business strategy, audience data is the foundation of a strong marketing plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends and forget about their core audience. As a result, many companies fail at reaching their goals because they don’t consider what their customers want or where they go online every day.

A clear understanding of your target audience includes information such as:

      • Demographics (age, gender, ethnicity)

      • Psychographics (personality traits)

      • Behaviors (what they do online and offline)

    This information will allow you to create a more effective marketing campaign. For example, if your target audience is primarily women between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, then it makes sense to advertise on sites like Facebook or Instagram where this demographic spends most of their time.

    Identifying Unique Selling Propositions: Your Competitive Advantage

    A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your business’s competitive advantage in the marketing place. It’s what makes your business different from others and the reason why customers should choose you over the competition. A well-designed marketing plan will consider your USP and weave its benefits throughout its many marketing efforts.

    To identify your USP, ask yourself these questions:

        • What do I do that is unique?

        • What am I known for?

        • How do I provide value to my customers?

      Ven Diagram depicting how business leaders and marketers can identify their unique selling proposition.

      A well-developed USP allows a company to stand out in its field. By incorporating your USP into your marketing plan, you’re ensuring that your competitive advantage is highlighted in marketing efforts. This will help customers quickly identify your strengths as they are considering their purchase options.

      Your Marketing Plan: The Foundation of Your Resource Allocation Strategy

      Allocating resources in your marketing plan is an important step to setting up a successful strategy. It’s vital to the success of marketing and sales efforts alike. The right approach can help you reach the right customers at the right time. With a marketing plan, you will be able to allocate resources effectively and ensure that they are used in the best way possible.

      businessman discussing marketing plan and analytics with leader

      A well-designed marketing plan will serve as the foundation of your resource allocation plan.

      It can be hard to know where to start when setting up a marketing plan’s budget, but this process doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Follow these steps for easy budget allocation:

        • Set clear goals for your business and ensure they are realistic. Define what success of each strategy looks like and what specific metrics relate back to your goals.

        • Budget enough financial resources on a monthly or quarterly basis. Make sure your financial allocations include tools needed for success, such as software subscriptions and outside contractors.

        • Finally, estimate and allocate your team’s time effectively. Understanding the time and effort necessary to complete specific campaigns can help your team prioritize marketing efforts that will have the most positive impact on your business.

      Your Marketing Plan: The Foundation of Your Resource Allocation Strategy

      Allocating resources in your marketing plan is an important step to setting up a successful strategy. It’s vital to the success of marketing and sales efforts alike. The right approach can help you reach the right customers at the right time. With a marketing plan, you will be able to allocate resources effectively and ensure that they are used in the best way possible.

      It can be hard to know where to start when setting up a marketing plan’s budget, but this process doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Follow these steps for easy budget allocation:

        • Set clear goals for your business and ensure they are realistic. Define what success of each strategy looks like and what specific metrics relate back to your goals.
        • Budget enough financial resources on a monthly or quarterly basis. Make sure your financial allocations include tools needed for success, such as software subscriptions and outside contractors.
        • Finally, estimate and allocate your team’s time effectively. Understanding the time and effort necessary to complete specific campaigns can help your team prioritize marketing efforts that will have the most positive impact on your business.

      Tracking Progress and ROI

      As you begin to implement your digital marketing plan, it’s important to track progress and ROI (return on investment). This is the only way for you to know whether your efforts are working. There are two main types of metrics used by many business owners: financial and non-financial.

      Financial metrics may include revenue generated, profit margins, and return on investment. You may choose to track financial metrics such as lead volume, conversions, and sales data. Comparing this data against your marketing plan can help you identify the most effective strategies for your marketing.

      Nonfinancial metrics can include qualitative data like customer satisfaction ratings, brand awareness, and user engagement. You can gain insight into these metrics by utilizing tools for audience surveys, monitoring your reviews, and reading material about your business on social media. The insights gathered when you measure customer satisfaction help guide future decisions and connects you with your customers.

      Staying Ahead of the Competition

      Developing a marketing plan helps you stay competitive by providing you with insights on your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, market share, marketing strategies, target audience, and unique selling propositions (USPs).

      To stay ahead of the competition, consider their potential reactions to changes in your industry while developing your marketing plan. For example, anticipate that a competitor may launch a new product or service at a lower price point than yours, which could result in lower profits for you. Anticipating this scenario beforehand allows you to respond quickly with alternative strategies, such as adjusting your prices or introducing new features that your competitors don’t offer.

      You should also consider long-term market changes and your competitors strategy. Certain marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO), can help you anticipate your competitors next move. SEO competitor analysis can offer valuable insights into companies who are eating into your market share and identify long-term strategies to secure your position.

      Your Key Takeaways

      A “one size fits all” approach does not work for a marketing plan. Tailor it to your business and your needs. When executed properly, a marketing plan serves as the foundation of a strong business strategy and guides your team for a specific period. It clearly outlines direction, aligns marketing efforts with business goals, and enables you to track progress towards goals. Additionally, it enables you to measure the ROI of marketing efforts which are essential for long-term success. In order to stay competitive and have a chance at successful growth, it is vital for a business to have a comprehensive marketing plan.

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