Developing an effective marketing strategy based on content is not something you hand over to the newest intern. Content as an effective basis for engagement and proving value to your target audience requires a thoughtful and comprehensive planning stage. A critical piece of the planning stage is to write a proper marketing plan for your business. By ‘proper’, I mean it is not just a spreadsheet or an ad schedule.
Here is a list of topics that should be included in your formal marketing plan and some examples of the specifics:
- Executive Summary – this is at the front, but usually written last
- Current Situation Analysis – covers areas like resources, offering, KSFs, economic environment, socio-cultural, technology trends, etc. Should include macro and micro analysis
- Market Summary – size, growth trend, regional differences, market needs, market trends, market position of the firm
- S.W.O.T. – remember that ‘strengths’ & ‘weaknesses’ are internal to the firm; ‘opportunities’ & ‘threats’ are external and reflect the target market
- Competitive Analysis – market share, market positions of competitors, strengths and weaknesses of competitors; don’t forget your customer’s options ‘not to use’ as a competitor
- Critical Issues – these are make-or-break issues like the need for a marketing automation platform or content development strategy
- Marketing Strategy – how will the marketing strategy support the business strategy and/or corporate strategy? objectives, target market definition, positioning, value proposition? Will you use inbound, outbound, content, or combination?
- The Offering – describe the product or service
- Price – describe the pricing strategy
- Promotion – budget, tactics, messaging, regional differences
- Sales Channel – how will you move your product or service to the market so it can be purchased; direct, distribution, resellers, agents, licensing, other
- Financials – describe the important financial data, net sales growth, operating profit, targets, regional breakdown if applicable
- Controls & Measurement – how will you measure the marketing ROI and marketing spend, KPIs, planning milestones
This is not the only way to construct a formal Marketing Plan, however, it is a fairly comprehensive outline of a standard plan. There are many, many textbooks, references and templates available and most of them are pretty good. This Amazon page shows a few good references to get you started just in case you don’t already have a marketing plan in place. Today is a great day to get started on a plan or to update your existing plan. These documents are not meant to be written and then ignored. A good marketing plan is a dynamic document meant to be referred to and updated as your business environment lives and develops.
If you are not willing or able to address each and every one of these topics, then you are ill-advised to proceed with a content marketing strategy.