Strategic Marketing Plan
Example of a strategic marketing plan for an educational institution. Includes market and competitor research, data analysis, positioning, media channel selections and actionable recommendations. Company names and locations changed to protect client privacy.
Successful marketing planning relies on a variety of factors, such as measurement and accuracy of various analyses, customer feedback, outlined goals, clearly defined actions that are assigned and coordinated among a reliable and cohesive team, market trends, the customers’ perceived value of the brand.
While this strategic plan does not dig deep into the research needed to execute an entire marketing plan, it contains the basic elements of any standard plan, and outlines the approach, challenges and marketing activities necessary to meet company goals.
Performance Benchmarking and Public Organizations
Public organizations can better themselves and provide better public services when they allow themselves to be examined as if they were for-profit. Private institutions are often successful because they have managed to find a niche in the market where there is little competition. A company rarely does very well while competing with many similar companies without differentiating themselves.
Public organizations, on the other hand, are rarely subject to normal market forces, but rather to public policy. When the public institution shifts its focus from public policy to building customers’ value perceptions, it will also satisfy the governing organizations investing efforts and resources to achieve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided by the public organization.
In addition to standard KPIs, your marketing campaigns should utilize a feedback mechanism that collects information regarding campaign activity success. We recommend that you seriously consider the feedback approach as you move forward. Feedback from campaign activity will allow you to adjust your marketing plan moving forward.
Market and Data Analysis
Market elements that we have reviewed include:
Aggregate customer composition | Market intensity type | Market leadership position | Perceived value | Marketing systems maturity
These analyses assist us to evaluate a business’s overall competitive profile (how much competition you have in your market) and if the maturity of your marketing systems are adequate to grow in your market place.
Some businesses that have unique products or services and very few competitors need little marketing prowess to be successful. The only limitation is the size of the market. On the other end of the spectrum are businesses that have many competitors. This is also true in a sense for ABC Adult School, because funding is based on a diverse set of public policy and changing decision makers. This could mean ABC Adult School needs highly mature and efficient marketing systems just to maintain funding.
This is normally a task that we do with direct client input. As a starting point, we will provide you an example on how to position ABC Adult School.
“The ABC Adult School seeks to completely fill the void for local high school completion by residents in and around ABC City.”
This may seem restrictive; however, based on the high school completion statistics in the surrounding area, this is not only a noble reason to exist, it is a huge community and society service that other local institutions are not clearly providing for.
Because ABC School is primarily an ABC Unified School District extension, and most students are from ABC City, we suggest that ABC Adult School focuses on this geographic area and avoid treading on other territories, as other districts will likely have their own similar institutions already set in place.
In those few areas where a specialty service already exists, work carefully to not overlap. We believe that the best results always occur when focus is maintained. Use care not to wander into areas that are “hot” rather than using real data, outside of GED and ESL programs. Most would agree that much is to be done in high school education by experts in high school. From a marketing perspective, moving into new services, such as job training, will place you in a market with very capable players with which you are not yet prepared to compete.
The ABC Adult School and other adult schools we researched practically ignore brand voice in common communication channels. Most school districts’ outward face to students and stake holders is matter-of-fact, dry and misplaced. We recommend you develop your brand identity with a consistent tone that reflects the personality of your brand.
- UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE COPY
In a review of the market (other adult schools), it is common to not even tell a website visitor why the organization exists. Rather, the first communication is information on classes offered, or registration details. The exceptions were “Competitor A” Adult School, which attempts to explain what they do, and “Competitor B” Adult School, which provides its mission statement, although it is on the bottom right column where it can be missed. We recommend that you clearly communicate your mission statement on your homepage.
Current website copy focuses only on the point-of-view of the prospective student who has already decided to start school again. You should also create marketing campaigns that drive potential students in the consideration stage and build website messaging that focuses on the “undecided” visitor. We suggest you also include a FAQ section, provide clear registration links, and links to supportive services.
2. DESIGN WEBSITE FOR USER EXPERIENCE
Re-build the primary communication pages of the website, focusing on user friendly design that encourages visitors to navigate to key pages. See the example from Khan Academy.
Note how the first page starts with the mission statement and brand benefits. They use concise copy to communicate core ideas. Graphics and text are minimal, but provide clear calls-to-action and easy-to-find links to key pages for every audience segment.
Messaging should tell visitors why ABC exists, not what it does. While there is a place for course listing and all the details, remember that everyone knows these exist, but they need to know why they exist, or why they should continue to fund them. Khan Academy does a great job of this. Their why section is found just below the fold on their home page.
3. FOCUS ON IMPROVING PERCEIVED IMAGE
Our Value Analysis focuses on four elements that create customer perception: Image, Quality, Service and Price. Our opinion is that most school districts are actually creating hurtles instead of attracting qualified students. This is reflected by your low Image score in the results of our analysis on ABC Adult School’s perceived value. Overall perceived value will increase when ABC Adult School focuses on improving your Perceived Image of the brand.
4. OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
Optimize your site for mobile search. The primary tool for young adults is the smart phone. Even low income adults have a high probability of having a smart phone. When this is the case, the smart phones become a hand-held computer and communication devise. What ABC Adult School communicates on its website becomes the same communication on the smart phone.
5. USE SOCIAL PROOF TO PROMOTE YOUR BRAND VALUE
Social proof can be a very powerful tool for marketers when used correctly. Using testimonials to showcase the success of your brand, products and services can make people more confident that you’re the right choice for them. Showcase your success stories on your website. You have some good testimonials, but you also need good photos to supplement them. Consider adding a testimonials section on your website, and email stakeholders and decision makers for funding with new stories to keep them informed of successes.
6. LEVERAGE BLOG POSTS TO COMMUNICATE BRAND VALUE
Blogs should answer “why ” the organization is valuable, with in-depth and relevant topics. Other topics should address common problems and frequently asked questions provided by students. These posts should be shared on your social media accounts as well.
7. CREATE A CONSISTENT VISUAL BRAND IDENTITY
Use consistent logos and images. The ABC Unified School District (ABCUSD) uses a different design than the ABC Adult school, even in the same website. What do each of these branding images uniquely stand for? What does it have to do with ABC City? A design with a separate look and feel from ABCUSD may be appropriate; however, it needs to tie into the overall message in some fashion. If you intend to have a separate image, have a logo designed that is meaningful and use it throughout the full range of communications. Don’t let another organization’s image overpower your own, even if it is your parent company or governing entity.
8. CREATE APPROPRIATE MARKETING COLLATERAL
Build a presentation for your donor/grantor stakeholders that uses professionally designed logos and design elements, with your case for funding. Re-build this case online for all to see. Realize that this is really a selling brochure, with why ABC Adult School exists, how it accomplishes the why and how funding will help change people lives. Even standard grantors want to know they are funding the best programs.
Design a small brochure for walk-ins and other events.
9. INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL CREATIVE DESIGN
Professional designers should be used to assist in developing logos, layouts and the website design. Do not rely on inexperienced students for this very important Image initiative. We strongly believe that the investment will provide a good return in value perception alone.
Annual Marketing Plan
Description: Proposal for annual marketing plan prepared for client in the manufacturing and industrial market. The plan provides recommended marketing activities that support the client’s goals and objectives for the calendar year.
Included in This Plan: execution strategy, market segments, brand messaging, qualified lead generation, media channel selections, media buys, content creation, implementation schedule/ editorial calendar, and methods to evaluate overall effectiveness and Return on Marketing Investment.
The following marketing plan provides recommendations to assist CONFIDENTIAL* in reaching their annual business Goals and Objectives for corporate growth. In order for CONFIDENTIAL to reach their desired Goals and Objectives, it is imperative that all recommendations are followed as outlined in this Plan. The marketing team will execute the Plan according to the Plan Strategy, and as allowed by CONFIDENTIAL’s total annual budget of $80,000.
Marketing performance will be measured using the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) defined in the Evaluation section of the Plan. It is important to note that we cannot provide a true and complete review and evaluation of the return on marketing investment (ROMI) for all marketing costs incurred unless the client provides all data requested by the marketing team. listed in the Evaluation section of this Plan is accessible to the marketing team.
*Due to the sensitive nature of the information included in this plan, the business name has been omitted to protect client’s privacy
Goals & Objectives
New customer acquisition: 25 per month
Sales: $2mm current product
Customer retention rate: 85% repeat customers (+25%)
Sales: $500,000.00 of new product
Increase overall brand awareness within industrial distribution industry
- Build brand awareness in industry publications
- Build presence on social media platforms
- Drive traffic to web using paid search
- Add url to all print materials
Secure new leads using a multifaceted marketing approach – online & offline channels
- Secure leads at trade shows
- Purchase Direct Mail Lists
- Leverage keyword focused content marketing
- Advertise in Trade Magazines
Engage target audience at key touch points for conversion
- Distribute Newsletters
- Search – Run targeted PPC campaigns
- Build content around the needs of the customers
- Create Company Videos (past videos were successful at driving engagement)
Encourage repeat purchases & support from existing customers
- Promote special offers through email invitations to exclusive pricing and deals
- Send personalized , new product information and surveys
- Garner support from customer ambassadors: reviews and testimonials
- Email existing customer segments with referral % deal for new customers
- Provide contact information to customer service representatives
TRADE PUBLICATION ADS
Run digital and print ads, feature stories and press releases in top 5 industry publications.
Send 2 email blasts to promote (1.) new products (2.) general products and services. Send 12 e-newsletters via MailChimp account – once monthly.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Publish 5 social posts per week in each of the 4 social channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google +. Share industry related content. Re-tweet and share posts from influencers and customers. Share original content including links to blogs, images and website pages.
Client will produce 3 company videos.
CONTENT MARKETING / ORGANIC SEO
Increase page rank to first page on search engine listings/above direct competitors by publishing keyword-focused content.
Use direct mail postcards to promote new products and special promotions to targeted segments from purchased lead lists.
Invite customers to review their experience and provide direct links to surveys and/or polls. Publish reviews on client website to help reinforce positive customer perception.
Sponsor an exhibitor booth at annual industry summit to generate leads. Promote event on social media with relevant hash tags and links, on e-newsletter and on client’s blog page.
Run pay-per-click ad campaigns using Google Ads to promote new and existing products using targeted keywords.
Channel Selections and Assets
Digital & Print Publications
Advantage Media Email
Youtube & Vimeo
|Website Pages/ Posts|
Ads, Advertorials, Press Releases,
Posts, News, Links To Blogs
Budget / Cost Breakdown
Engagement Strategies by Customer Segment
BREAKDOWN OF CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES, CHANNEL SELECTIONS, MESSAGING AND KPIs
Plan Measurement & Evaluation
CONFIDENTIAL will need to provide the marketing team a mechanism to track lead conversions, giving us a picture of the customer’s journey from a cold lead to a sales qualified lead, and ultimately, a customer. This is necessary to create customer experiences that are optimized to attract and convert qualified leads.
The marketing team will work with CONFIDENTIAL to establish a standardized system for collecting, sharing and analyzing marketing performance metrics. This step is crucial in order for the marketing team to provide CONFIDENTIAL an accurate calculation of ROMI.
ROMI = (Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost
- Total New Business Generated (Measured Against Previous Year’s Sales and Forecasted Sales)
- Qualitative Data – Customer Surveys, Reviews and Polls
- Offline Conversions – Phone Calls, Events/ Trade Shows, Referrals
- Conversions from Organic Website Traffic
- Social Media Engagement (Measured Natively on Social Media Platforms and using Google Analytics and Marketing Software Data)
- Cost Per Sale / Customer Acquisition Cost
- Paid / PPC Web Traffic
- Display Ads & Video Conversions