A business plan is a company’s overall vision and mission and will include reference to every part of the business that will have an impact on its ability to achieve its goals. Here’s a link to a Business Plan template https://www.gov.uk/write-business-plan to use as a starting point.
The important thing to always bear in mind is to ask yourself whether what you are stating in your marketing strategy (and/or business plan) is relevant and useful. There are lots of templates out, but the key requirement is to ensure that they suit the needs of your business, rather than the other way round.
Think of a business plan as a dynamic tool to keep driving the company forward along the right path. There are three key things to remember in business – direction, quality and quantity. The direction is by far the most important, and it is delivered by plans – and by the strategies that are put in place to achieve these plans. And that is why it is essential that a business plan is reviewed and updated on a regular basis – and that any important developments are communicated to the entire management team (and from them to every other member of staff, and any suppliers who represent your brand).
The marketing strategy explains how to achieve the business plan. It will consider long-term goals, medium-term activities and short-term tactics. Please remember that a strategy is defined as being “the best use of scarce resources to achieve specific objectives.” The term “scarce resources” refers primarily to time and money, which means, in other words, that you cannot deliver a meaningful marketing strategy without a sensible budget in place, and that you need the right people to deliver it internally and/or externally.
A marketing strategy is about setting the scene for the business, undertaking research, finding useful insights and developing plans to maximise the use of scarce resources and should include reference to the following key elements (amongst others):
- Products & Services
A marketing strategy should really be thought of a sales and marketing strategy, as it is all about creating sales for the business – in fact, it is even truer to call it a profit strategy, as it is all about improving the bottom line. When we talk about the bottom line, we must understand that some elements of marketing (just like most other areas of the business) have to be seen as a sort of necessary overhead, such as the investment in corporate branding and marketing communications collateral. It is nonetheless clearly true that a professional and credible corporate identity will always deliver additional sales and profits in the long term.
It is also important to think of the entire organisational approach when it comes to marketing strategy. Everyone in the business is – to a greater or lesser degree – a brand ambassador, which means that every way in which they communicate with prospects and customers (at every occasion during the sales process, and for the lifetime of the customer) will have a combined macro effect on your company’s bottom line. The creation of a pipeline strategy is, therefore, an essential part of the equation. Never forget to look at the impact of your people when it comes to sales and marketing (and profits).