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Marketing Strategy: What It Is and How to Create One

A marketing strategy can set your business up for success. Learn why and how to make one for your business.

[Featured image] A women stands in front of a digital whiteboard and leads a marketing strategy meeting with several coworkers.

A marketing strategy is a long-term vision outlining a business’s value proposition to its customers. Rather than describing the concrete actions required in specific advertising campaigns, marketing strategies are a compass used to guide marketing efforts. 

While it may be tempting to hash out a marketing plan right away, thinking about the marketing strategy first can improve your product's success and give you a competitive advantage. Learn what marketing strategy is, why it matters, different types, and steps to create your own.

What is a marketing strategy? 

A marketing strategy is an overview of how a business or organization will articulate its value proposition to its customers. Generally, a marketing strategy outlines business goals, target market, buyer personas, competitors, and value for customers. It provides a long-term vision for overall marketing efforts, often looking many years ahead. 

Advantages of a marketing strategy

Marketing strategies can have a measurable impact on success. 

In 2022, CoSchedule surveyed 3,599 marketers and bloggers to identify their most successful marketing practices. They found that marketers who documented their marketing strategy were 331 percent more likely to report success than those who didn’t. Furthermore, marketers who were the most organized were found to be a whopping 674 percent more likely to report success [ 1 ].

Taking the time to create a marketing strategy can benefit your company's brand and bottom line. Watch this video to learn more about how to develop a winning marketing strategy:


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Marketing strategy vs. marketing plan

People often use the terms “marketing strategy” and “marketing plan” interchangeably, but in reality, they are two different processes.  

A marketing plan describes the concrete actions and marketing tactics undertaken to complete a marketing campaign. Meanwhile, a marketing strategy outlines the big picture of a marketing effort, such as the business's target customers. The strategy describes what the marketing objectives are, while the plan describes how those objectives are going to be achieved.

For example, imagine an e-commerce business that is trying to grow its customer base. They start a referral program to encourage word of mouth but it has little success. If they had created a strategy, they might have realized they needed to tap into new potential customers instead. A digital marketing strategy focused on targeted blog posts and search engine optimization (SEO) would have yielded better results.

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Types of marketing strategy 

There are many different approaches to marketing – such as social media marketing or content marketing – but strategies for market growth can be found in Ansoff’s matrix . These four strategies are: 

Market penetration 

Product development 

Market development


H. Igor Ansoff is a mathematician and business manager who created the matrix to help businesses define their strategies by varying what product is being sold and who the product is being sold to [ 2 ].

An image of Ansoff's matrix. The matrix includes tiles for "market penetration," "product development," "market development," and "diversification."

Ansoff’s matrix encourages markets to consider the four Ps , or the “marketing mix":

Product: What is being sold 

Place: Where it is being sold 

Price: What the product costs

Promotion: How the product is marketed to the target audience

The exact way that a marketer defines the four Ps for their marketing efforts will depend on the growth strategy they are using and the political and economic outlook of their market. 

Let’s take a closer look at each strategy from Ansoff’s matrix. 

Market penetration strategy 

Market penetration strategy is a growth strategy that involves selling existing products to existing markets. It is considered the least risky of all the strategies in Ansoff’s matrix. The strategy is typically considered most beneficial if the market is either growing or the marketer alters its promotional efforts through existing marketing channels [ 2 ]. 

McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" campaign

An example of a market penetration strategy can be found in McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign from 2003. 

In the early 2000s, McDonald's faced flagging sales and plummeting stock prices. Rather than creating a new product (product development strategy), McDonald's instead focused on attracting existing customers in an existing market with a catchy ad campaign. The result was their wildly successful “I’m Lovin’ it” campaign, which featured a catchy new jingle sung by Justin Timberlake [ 3 ]. 

“I’m Lovin It” has since become McDonald’s longest-running marketing campaign since its founding in 1940 [ 4 ]. 

Product development strategy

A product development strategy involves the development of a new product for an already existing market. Typically, it is considered riskier than a market penetration strategy because it requires the creation of a totally new product. In order to be successful, product development strategies typically require innovation and further research into the existing market, including the profiles and needs of the target audience [ 2 ].  

Uni Kuru Toga's mechanical pencil for every day writing

An example of a successful (and surprisingly interesting) product development strategy can be seen in the Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil. 

As odd as it may seem, in the mechanical pencil world the Uni  Kuru Toga is something of a star. “[T]he Uni Kuru Toga is the best mechanical pencil for every day writing,” opined the New York Time’s Wirecutter in a 2018 article [ 5 ]. Wired, meanwhile, called it “the ultimate geek tool” [ 6 ]. 

What makes the pencil so unique? A specially designed internal gear mechanism that rotates the lead so it stays sharp as you write and diamond infused lead that doesn’t easily break under pressure. In effect, as a 2009 commercial for the pencil demonstrated, it was meant for people concerned with even handwriting and durable lead [ 7 ]. 

While the market for mechanical pencils was already well-established, the Uni Kuru Toga was able to find success through a product development strategy that offered consumers something new and useful.

Market development strategy

A market development strategy takes an existing product into new markets. Much like a product development strategy, a market development strategy is considered riskier than a market penetration strategy because it involves introducing a familiar product into an unfamiliar marketplace. While the product remains the same, the new place it is sold requires possibly new pricing and promotional efforts [ 2 ].  

Microsoft's Hololens technology

An example of a market development strategy is when Microsoft introduced its Hololens technology to an additional 29 markets in Europe in November of 2017 [ 8 ]. The augmented reality headset provides a unique user experience that allows professionals to work in a “mixed reality” environment. To promote their efforts, Microsoft released a YouTube video showcasing the unique use cases of the product in the workplace, such as through interactive employee training programs in industrial environments [ 9 ]. 

Diversification strategy

A diversification strategy involves the development of a new product for a new market. The novelty required of a diversification strategy means that it is also the riskiest of the Ansoff matrix’s four strategies. Diversification strategies require full attention on all of the four Ps – product, price, place, and promotion—but the biggest risks can also lead to the biggest rewards [ 2 ]. 

Apple's first iPhone

An example of a diversification strategy is when Apple introduced the first iPhone on June 9, 2007 at the MacWorld Expo. At the time, Apple was new to the mobile phone market, but they innovated in the space by adding a music player and web browser to their new touchscreen phone [ 10 ]. 

“Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” CEO Steve Jobs declared before an audience of reporters [ 10 ]. Through much of the presentation, Jobs outlined the phone’s unique value proposition to customers.

It worked. As of June 2022, there were an estimated 1.8 billion active iPhone users [ 11 ].

How to create a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy can set you up for marketing success. As you are creating your own marketing strategy, consider the following steps to help guide your process.

1. Define your business and marketing goals.

The first step in creating an effective marketing strategy is to clarify your business objectives and marketing goals. What are you trying to achieve with your market growth strategy?

The answer to this question will inevitably depend on your particular place in the market and your own comfortability with different risk levels. 

Some examples of business and marketing goals include: 

Grow customer base 

Increase sales 

Increase brand awareness 

Whatever your objectives, the purpose is simply to consider what you want to actually accomplish by expanding your marketing efforts. These goals will guide the development of your marketing strategy.

2. Conduct market research. 

Strategic marketing requires a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, its economic and political context, and your product or service's place within it.

As you are conducting market research, you'll want to consider these factors: 

Competitors, particularly their value proposition and market share

Market size, including the realistic number of customers that would be interested in your products  

Market gaps where you can provide value

Possible economic and political realities that could impact the market in the long-term

 As you gain a better understanding of the market, you will also better understand how you fit into it and where you can grow in it. 

Read more: What Is Competitor Analysis? Definition + Step-by-Step Guide

3. Create a customer profile. 

The purpose of every marketing campaign is to connect with potential customers. Your marketing strategy needs to include a comprehensive profile of your target audience.

Consider your target audience in relation to the four P's. Think through the following: 

Based on what you know about the market, who is your target audience? What are their key demographics? 

What is your product’s value proposition to your customer? (Product)

How much is your target audience willing to pay for your product or service? (Price)

Where does your target audience shop? (Place)

What marketing tactics are most persuasive to your target audience? (Promotion)

As you research and consider these questions, your customer should come more clearly into view, so you can create a strategy with maximum impact. 

4. Synthesize and strategize. 

Finally, take the goals you have outlined, research you have conducted, and profiles you have created to construct a marketing strategy. The critical question you will want to answer is: how will you align with your target market to meet your overall objectives?

Your answer to this question will be your strategy.  

Ultimately, your marketing strategy should cover the following: 

Business and marketing objectives

Market overview, including key facts and figures

Competitor research 

Customer profile

General statement of strategy highlighting the product’s value proposition to customers

You might consider whether a social media strategy makes sense for your product or service. If so, your strategy could include user-generated content. Go a step further to consider which social media channels fits best with your target audience.

While you may have collected much information as you were conducting research, your marketing strategy doesn’t need to be too long. In fact, a strong marketing strategy can be as short as one page. Remember, this is meant to act as long-term guide for directing specific marketing tactics, not an action plan of how a marketing campaign will be done. 

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Article sources

CoSchedule. “ The Marketing Management + Strategy Statistics You Need to Know in 2019 , https://coschedule.com/marketing-statistics.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Oxford College of Marketing. “ Using the Ansoff Matrix to Develop Marketing Strategy , https://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2016/08/01/using-ansoff-matrix-develop-marketing-strategy/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

The Take Out. “ TIL McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ jingle was born out of desperation , https://thetakeout.com/history-of-mcdonald-s-i-m-lovin-it-jingle-1846400888.” AccessedFebruary 6, 2023.

Chicago Magazine. “ Five Things You Never Knew About ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ , https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2014/McDonalds-Im-Lovin-It-Campaign/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

NYT Wirecutter. “ The Best Mechanical Pencils , https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-mechanical-pencils/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Wired. “ Kura Toga: The Ultimate Geek Tool , https://www.wired.com/2011/11/kuru-toga-the-ultimate-geek-tool/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

YouTube (Uni Ball UK). “ Uni Kuru Togat from Mutsibishi Pencil Company , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80k7Jl1o8Lc&t=22s.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Tech Crunch. “ Microsoft expands HoloLens headsets to 29 new markets, now up to 39 , https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/01/microsoft-expands-hololens-headsets-to-29-new-european-markets/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

YouTube (Microsoft HoloLens). “ Microsoft HoloLens: Mixed Reality in the Modern Workspace , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIJM9xNg9xs.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Computer World. “ Update: Jobs touts iPhone, Apple TV , https://www.computerworld.com/article/2549128/update--jobs-touts-iphone---appletv-.html.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

Earthweb. “ How many people use iPhones in 2022? , https://earthweb.com/how-many-people-use-iphones/.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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Business Planning: It’s Importance, Types and Key Elements

Table of Contents

Every year, thousands of new businesses see the light of the day. One look at the  World Bank's Entrepreneurship Survey and database  shows the mind-boggling rate of new business registrations. However, sadly, only a tiny percentage of them have a chance of survival.   

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, about 50% in their fifth year.

Research from the University of Tennessee found that 44% of businesses fail within the first three years. Among those that operate within specific sectors, like information (which includes most tech firms), 63% shut shop within three years.

Several  other statistics  expose the abysmal rates of business failure. But why are so many businesses bound to fail? Most studies mention "lack of business planning" as one of the reasons.

This isn’t surprising at all. 

Running a business without a plan is like riding a motorcycle up a craggy cliff blindfolded. Yet, way too many firms ( a whopping 67%)  don't have a formal business plan in place. 

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It doesn't matter if you're a startup with a great idea or a business with an excellent product. You can only go so far without a roadmap — a business plan. Only, a business plan is so much more than just a roadmap. A solid plan allows a business to weather market challenges and pivot quickly in the face of crisis, like the one global businesses are struggling with right now, in the post-pandemic world.  

But before you can go ahead and develop a great business plan, you need to know the basics. In this article, we'll discuss the fundamentals of business planning to help you plan effectively for 2021.  

Now before we begin with the details of business planning, let us understand what it is.

What Is a Business Plan?

No two businesses have an identical business plan, even if they operate within the same industry. So one business plan can look entirely different from another one. Still, for the sake of simplicity, a business plan can be defined as a guide for a company to operate and achieve its goals.  

More specifically, it's a document in writing that outlines the goals, objectives, and purpose of a business while laying out the blueprint for its day-to-day operations and key functions such as marketing, finance, and expansion.

A good business plan can be a game-changer for startups that are looking to raise funds to grow and scale. It convinces prospective investors that the venture will be profitable and provides a realistic outlook on how much profit is on the cards and by when it will be attained. 

However, it's not only new businesses that greatly benefit from a business plan. Well-established companies and large conglomerates also need to tweak their business plans to adapt to new business environments and unpredictable market changes. 

Before getting into learning more about business planning, let us learn the advantages of having one.

The Advantages of Having a Business Plan

Since a detailed business plan offers a birds-eye view of the entire framework of an establishment, it has several benefits that make it an important part of any organization. Here are few ways a business plan can offer significant competitive edge.

Now let's look at the various types involved in business planning.

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You're Steps Away from a Business Analyst Job

The Types of Business Plans

Business plans are formulated according to the needs of a business. It can be a simple one-page document or an elaborate 40-page affair, or anything in between. While there’s no rule set in stone as to what exactly a business plan can or can’t contain, there are a few common types of business plan that nearly all businesses in existence use.  

Here’s an overview of a few fundamental types of business plans. 

The Key Elements of a Business Plan

There is some preliminary work that’s required before you actually sit down to write a plan for your business. Knowing what goes into a business plan is one of them. 

Here are the key elements of a good business plan:

Best Business Plan Software

The importance of business planning is it simplifies the planning of your company's finances to present this information to a bank or investors. Here are the best business plan software providers available right now:

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The Only Course You Need to Succeed

Common Challenges of Writing a Business Plan

The importance of business planning cannot be emphasized enough, but it can be challenging to write a business plan. Here are a few issues to consider before you start your business planning:

Become an Expert Business Planner

Whether you’re running your own business or in-charge of ensuring strategic performance and growth for your employer or clients, knowing the ins and outs of business planning can set you up for success. 

Be it the launch of a new and exciting product or an expansion of operations, business planning is the necessity of all large and small companies. Which is why the need for professionals with superior business planning skills will never die out. In fact, their demand is on the rise with global firms putting emphasis on business analysis and planning to cope with cut-throat competition and market uncertainties.

While some are natural-born planners, most people have to work to develop this important skill. Plus, business planning requires you to understand the fundamentals of business management and be familiar with business analysis techniques . It also requires you to have a working knowledge of data visualization, project management, and monitoring tools commonly used by businesses today.   

Simpliearn’s Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis will help you develop and hone the required skills to become an extraordinary business planner. This comprehensive training program combined with the latest tools and methods can pave the way for you and equip you with the skills and the know-how to tackle any real-world challenges that may arise. Completing this industry-recognized course also earns you a valued certification as tangible proof of your talent. 

What Is Meant by Business Planning?

Business planning is developing a company's mission or goals and defining the strategies you will use to achieve those goals or tasks. The process can be extensive, encompassing all aspects of the operation, or it can be concrete, focusing on specific functions within the overall corporate structure.

What Are the 4 Types of Business Plans?

The following are the four types of business plans:

Operational Planning

This type of planning typically describes the company's day-to-day operations. Single-use plans are developed for events and activities that occur only once (such as a single marketing campaign). Ongoing plans include problem-solving policies, rules for specific regulations, and procedures for a step-by-step process for achieving particular goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic plans are all about why things must occur. A high-level overview of the entire business is included in strategic planning. It is the organization's foundation and will dictate long-term decisions.

Tactical Planning

Tactical plans are about what will happen. Strategic planning is aided by tactical planning. It outlines the tactics the organization intends to employ to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

Contingency Planning

When something unexpected occurs or something needs to be changed, contingency plans are created. In situations where a change is required, contingency planning can be beneficial.

What Are the 7 Steps of a Business Plan?

The following are the seven steps required for a business plan:

Conduct Research

If your company is to run a viable business plan and attract investors, your information must be of the highest quality.

Have a Goal

The goal must be unambiguous. You will waste your time if you don't know why you're writing a business plan. Knowing also implies having a target audience for when the plan is expected to get completed.

Create a Company Profile

Some refer to it as a company profile, while others refer to it as a snapshot. It's designed to be mentally quick and digestible because it needs to stick in the reader's mind quickly since more information is provided later in the plan.

Describe the Company in Detail

Explain the company's current situation, both good and bad. Details should also include patents, licenses, copyrights, and unique strengths that no one else has.

Create a marketing plan ahead of time.

A strategic marketing plan is required because it outlines how your product or service will be communicated, delivered, and sold to customers.

Be Willing to Change Your Plan for the Sake of Your Audience

Another standard error is that people only write one business plan. Startups have several versions, just as candidates have numerous resumes for various potential employers.

Incorporate Your Motivation

Your motivation must be a compelling reason for people to believe your company will succeed in all circumstances. A mission should drive a business, not just selling, to make money. That mission is defined by your motivation as specified in your business plan.

What Are the Basic Steps in Business Planning?

These are the basic steps in business planning:

Summary and Objectives

Briefly describe your company, its objectives, and your plan to keep it running.

Services and Products

Add specifics to your detailed description of the product or service you intend to offer. Where, why, and how much you plan to sell your product or service and any special offers.

Conduct research on your industry and the ideal customers to whom you want to sell. Identify the issues you want to solve for your customers.

Operations are the process of running your business, including the people, skills, and experience required to make it successful.

How are you going to reach your target audience? How you intend to sell to them may include positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution.

Consider funding costs, operating expenses, and projected income. Include your financial objectives and a breakdown of what it takes to make your company profitable. With proper business planning through the help of support, system, and mentorship, it is easy to start a business.

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The Marketing Planning Process: Step-by-Step Breakdown

Erica Chappell

Managing Editor

January 18, 2021

Want to learn about the different steps that go into the marketing planning process? Managing a marketing project is a bit like managing a fast-food restaurant.

You have a very limited time to prepare the product (campaign). And you have to coordinate with staff members who are handling completely different duties. If it’s done right, you’ll be attracting a ton of loyal (and hungry) customers.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the strategic marketing plan process , how you can implement it in your business, and the best tool to help you with the entire process.

What Is a Marketing Plan?

Benefits of the marketing planning process, 1. document your business goals, 2. conduct a marketing audit and research, 3. define your buyer persona, 4. set a budget, 5. identify a marketing tactic, 6. schedule the marketing campaign .

Order up! Let’s go.

A marketing plan is a document that showcases your company’s marketing strategy for the upcoming month, quarter, or year.

Here’s what a marketing action plan contains when you unbox it:

And what happens when you create an amazing marketing plan? You’ll be able to stay focused on your marketing goal and also create an equally amazing marketing strategy. Here’s how you can create a marketing campaign that can make even the pros jealous!

Marketing efforts, when done right, can result in significant positive effects that can kickstart your business’s success. Here are a few benefits of proactive marketing planning.

Provides benchmarks and accountability

Through the planning process, you will be able to set benchmarks and create a roadmap for your marketing strategy to reach business goals. Making this visible allows the entire team to be accountable for their actions and tasks. It will also ensure everything runs smoothly as everyone knows what’s happening and how they need to work together.

Encourages team collaboration

Because the marketing planning process will likely run across departments and need a fair bit of collaboration, it opens up cross-departmental communication and unifies the organization. Also, getting your team involved early allows you to be realistic with your planning.

Reduces risk

Now, you have a marketing strategy. By having a planning process in place, you now have a framework to gain an overview of the target market, competitive advantage, and market segmentation. This allows you to be better prepared for risk factors that you might not have foreseen.

Challenges your beliefs and assumptions

Since business is always changing, having a marketing planning process allows you to keep adapting more effective strategies. By continually honing your marketing efforts, you might run across new tools and techniques, incorporate new ideas from different team members, and challenge your standard operating procedures .

What Are the Steps in the Marketing Planning Process?

Creating a marketing plan for the first time might seem like a convoluted process, but it’s actually super simple. The planning process becomes 100x easier to deal with when you break it down into these six steps:

Let’s take a closer look at each step.

Before planning a marketing strategy, you and your marketing team should ask your senior management to highlight your corporate objectives. 

Ideally, every large-scale business goal and objective should span 18-24 months. This gives you enough time to develop marketing initiatives that align with these overall business objectives.

goal folders in clickup

Let’s say you’re the marketing manager for Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad. The business owner, Gus Fring’s business goal might be to increase restaurant revenue to $3 million in the next year.

You’ll need to create a SMART marketing goal that can contribute to his business goals. For example: 

Curious about SMART goals? Check out our guide for tips on how to create a great business goal.

After you’ve decided on the goal, marketing project management tools like ClickUp can help you document and track them. In ClickUp, Goals are high-level containers that can be broken into smaller objectives, known as  Targets. Targets can be measured by units like numbers, $$$, true/false, and task lists.

Bonus: Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

When you meet your Targets, you achieve your marketing goal too. ClickUp automatically updates the progress percentage as you meet Targets in real-time. This can motivate your sales and marketing teams as they see the numbers rising every day!

Quickly pull up important data on a single screen with Dashboards in ClickUp

Want to monitor more marketing metrics? 

ClickUp is loaded with features that your teams need to manage your project or marketing program. Its Dashboards are the way to go. Each unique dashboard offers a lot of Custom Widgets that let you track marketing KPIs and every marketing objective.

Track sales, conversion rates, social media engagement, and more, with a Line Chart, Bar Chart, Pie Chart, Battery Chart, or however you best visualize data!

Want to get there faster? Use the ClickUp Content Management Template to easily track your content goals, budgets, and resources all within one space. Get this template for free!

It’s time for a serious throwback. You need to take a look at all the marketing decisions and initiatives that you’ve taken in the past few years. Additionally, you’ll also have to go through old reports to see which marketing tactics worked and which didn’t.

With the help of a marketing audit, you’ll be able to avoid the issues your marketing department has faced in the past. Take it from Gus: ClickUp Docs let your team collaborate in real-time on your audit, marketing research , and annual marketing plan documents; it’s like Google Docs , but way better!

Not only can you embed lists, tables, images, and videos, but you can also assign actionable tasks directly within a ClickUp Doc. And to make your job even easier, ClickUp lets you save your work as a marketing plan template that you can use later!

After the audit, you’ll need to determine where you’re currently placed in the market and market trends. Ask your team:

But why just limit feedback to your company?  Your customers and clients’ opinion matter too. 

After all, they’ll be using your products or services. With the Form view , you can create detailed customer survey forms faster than you can say Heisenberg . 

clickup forms

Choose from different fields of text, labels, questions, and more. ClickUp allows you to publicly share these forms, and it then collects responses within the tool. This way, you can directly take action on their responses by including their inputs in the marketing plan.

How well do you know your customers, really? In this phase, you’ll need to embrace market segmentation. What’s that?

Essentially, you’ll need to identify the different kinds of customers in your target market. Then you’ll have to narrow your focus to a specific target audience. After that, you’ll have to create a buyer persona. These are fictional representations of your ideal customer in your target market. Ask your team:

You’ll need to really get into their minds, so you can tailor your marketing strategy that appeals best to them. For example, Los Pollos Hermanos settles on a buyer persona named Walt, who’s a middle-aged high-school chemistry teacher. 

Now that you have an idea of who he is, how he behaves, and what he wants, you can market to him better! But how do you come up with a buyer persona? Two words: Mind Maps .

Mind Maps in ClickUp

Drawing Mind Maps in ClickUp can help your marketing team organize your thoughts and ideas when creating a persona . Just place a central idea and add relevant thoughts when they pop up. 

And remember the more detailed the persona Mind Map, the better. Knowing your customers well will allow you to create a personalized yet strategic marketing plan that connects to your target audience.

You might have tons of cool strategic marketing ideas, but if they don’t fall into your marketing budget, it would be almost impossible to execute them. And even if you do break the bank to work on them, there are no guarantees that you’ll be rolling in dough in the end.

So how much should you spend on your strategic marketing plan? Allocating 7-15% of your company’s income to your marketing department is ideal, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all rule. 

However, keep in mind that any initial marketing activity can be expensive. This includes getting a logo , branding , and creating a campaign from scratch. How do you track all your marketing expenses?

In ClickUp, every task can have additional details called Custom Fields . With these fields, you can record data like phone numbers, labels, checkboxes, and more.

custom field library in clickup

In this case, you can track the budget, and cost of each marketing activity and task with the ‘Money’ field. What’s more is that with Column Calculations , you can automatically add up your spending to see whether it’s in line with your budget.

So no more half-measures when you’re creating your strategic marketing plan!

Now that you know exactly what your customers are like, it’s time to choose the right distribution channels where they spend most of their time. After all, your target audience has to see your ad, right?

Let’s take a few platforms where you can implement your strategic plan , and the best tactics for each:

Let’s look back at Walt’s persona. Since we determined that he gets all his news from TV, our marketing effort should focus on creating a wonderful commercial:

Remember that the message of your strategic marketing campaign should reflect customer needs. In this case, this commercial should reassure their target audience that their food is high-quality and fresh—99.99% fresh.

However, you don’t have to focus all your tactics on one single platform. A healthy marketing mix between offline and online media ensures everyone gets your message. Now, it’s up to your marketing team to decide which route they want to take.  For example, you can create and publish new content on your blog, host automated webinars , and at the same time promote offline content to convert your audience. With ClickUp’s Chat view , you can discuss tactics, and sales deals, attach images/videos, and assign tasks in your marketing mix.

Chat view stores all of your comments in ClickUp

Now we’ve finally reached the end of the strategic marketing planning process . After you’ve got the marketing plan locked down, it’s time to list all the tasks that need to be done in order to pull it off.

How do you do it?

With ClickUp’s Gantt Charts , you can create a dynamic timeline of your marketing campaign activities from start to finish. The Gantt view lets you visualize the start and end dates for each task, and any important milestones along the way.

business planning in marketing

With Task Dependencies , you can indicate the sequence in which you want to complete your tasks. All you have to do is draw a line between two tasks, and you’re done!

Now, your marketing team won’t be able to work on a dependent task until they’ve cleared the preceding task. Need to work on a digital marketing calendar ? You can schedule all your marketing activities through ClickUp’s Calendar view .

It’s super easy to schedule posts or tasks, and adjust due dates—all you have to do is drag and drop.

Note: Since the strategic marketing process requires your team to be quick on their feet, ClickUp offers marketing plan templates for your content calendar , SEO management , campaign tracking , promotional calendar , A/B testing , and graphic design processes . 

Just apply the marketing plan template, and you’re ready to start planning in seconds! However, note that ClickUp isn’t just built for the strategic planning process; it can help with every marketing process from execution to monitoring. 

So, ClickUp has more features ? Here’s what ClickUp has to offer:

Get Planning on Your Marketing Strategy With ClickUp

So what’s the secret behind running a great strategic planning session? All you need to do is figure out what your customers want, set a time and resource budget, brainstorm the best way to serve your customers, and that’s it. We told you, it’s just like the restaurant business. 😁 

And as most restaurants have sophisticated equipment to help you out, you’ll need a dedicated marketing automation software and project tool like ClickUp to help you out too! From Goal Trackers to Dashboards and Timelines , it’s got everything you need you to get started with your marketing plans.

Get ClickUp for free today, and cook up the perfect marketing campaigns!

Want more tips? Read our expert roundup to get more marketing management ideas .

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What Is HR Strategy? And How Can You Best Execute It?

HR strategy defines which HR and workforce practices and activities to pursue and improve to deliver outcomes that will drive enterprise business goals.

HR One Page Strategic Planning Template

Capture your HR strategic plan on a single page

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How do you align HR strategy with business goals?

To drive HR strategic planning and any HR transformation initiatives, follow these five steps to create an effective human resources strategy that supports enterprise business goals:

Successfully plan and execute your HR strategy

CHROs must break down business goals into strategic implications and define priorities that drive enterprise success and create business value.

Keep your strategy aligned as business needs change

Setting strategy is only the first step; turning it into a strategic HR plan that you successfully execute is far more challenging. The process fails for a number of reasons, including lack of visibility into business goals and inadequately defined measures for success. The volatile conditions in recent years also require measures to keep the strategy aligned as business needs change. Being programmatic helps to ensure that relevant strategy is executed effectively.

Align with business strategy.  Human resources strategy should always respond to business strategy; it also should align both upward (with business priorities) and downward (with functional priorities). In a world where talent is increasingly seen as an organizational priority, HR strategy should inform and influence business strategy. 

Establish goals as part of the strategy.  Consider what constitutes long-term success for your HR function and how to prioritize goals to support enterprise strategy. Perhaps create a prioritized list of initiatives and HR goals, and evaluate the gaps between the current state and your mission-critical initiatives. 

Set criteria for measuring successful strategy execution and adaptation.  Once you’ve developed goals, identify four to seven key performance measures that describe the current level of performance of the HR function. Make sure these measures are specific, quantifiable and clearly tied to the desired performance, and use those same indicators to measure performance in the future.

Craft a clear and concise statement that captures the core of the strategy and summarizes the key objectives on which the HR function will focus over the next year. This empowers your organization’s HR professionals and employees to contribute positively to enterprise objectives. Tailor the communication to each stakeholder group to provide employees with direction for their decision making.

Relationship between Business Strategy and HR Strategy

Tackle the future of work as your organization sets strategic workforce and talent goals

It has always been critical for CHROs to prepare their organizations for the future of work (changes in how work gets done, influenced by technological, generational and social shifts). But the pandemic era has reinvented the future of work in new and unexpected ways — from increasing demands for a more human-centric employee value proposition and more seamless employee experience to tough-to-diagnose employee turnover.

Here are the 9 Future of Work Trends for 2023 :

Given the growing volume of  future-of-work-reinvented trends , HR leaders need to shortlist the most important ones on which to focus when developing HR strategies. This requires a three-step trends analysis:

Identify : Recognize trends that could affect how, when and where work is done; who or what does work; or even what work means in the near future.

Interpret : Understand the relevance and implication of a  future of work trend to your organization.

Prioritize : Involve diverse stakeholders for an inclusive process of selecting key parameters. Ensure buy-in by prioritizing trends based on objective evaluation and a comprehensive analysis.

business planning in marketing

Navigate business challenges and create value

Adapting to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation has required C-suite leaders to regularly revisit and adapt their HR strategies and tactics to track changes in business strategy and ensure their organizations’ survival and growth through strategic human resources management.

The days when strategic planning was a once-a-year, set-it-and-forget exercise are over. Today’s rapidly changing business environment requires HR strategies to adapt. Gartner research shows:

Most organizations (66%) say the top barrier to effective strategic planning is the lack of integration with business needs.

Thirty-eight percent of HR leaders state that their HR strategic planning process is not aligned to the business strategic planning calendar, and changes are not triggered by shifts in the business plans.

To respond to changes and avoid wasting time on strategic planning, CHROs should identify external and internal triggers for strategic review and monitor them continuously. To do this:

Talk with relevant stakeholders to identify business-, management- and function-driven strategy triggers for your organization.

Use this preemptive identification of triggers to act quickly when they occur instead of falling behind the rest of the business.

Once triggers are established, proactively monitor business changes to ensure the function can meet business needs as efficiently as possible and improve overall business outcomes.

Adapting HR Strategies

Plan and monitor the evolution of your organization

Workforce planning is the process by which HR leaders generate a forecast that projects the future workforce needs of their organizations. Especially now, workforce and business trends are impacting leaders’ expectations about workforce planning approaches and outcomes. 

For example, digital business transformation often changes critical skills needs, as well as planning and budgeting cycles. This is especially the case as HR adopts tactics more common to IT, such as agile methodologies and multidisciplinary fusion teams . HR’s increased use of technology solutions will similarly impact budgets and staffing to capitalize on innovations.

New ways of working demand new talent profiles across all business units. Strategic human resources management will incorporate more granular information about worker skills, capabilities, knowledge and experiences to respond to those needs.

Five types of workforce planning:

Workforce optimization : How do we optimize the assignment and distribution of tasks and processes to improve capacity utilization, productivity and other business outcomes?

Workforce scheduling optimization : How do we optimize workforce schedules to meet compliance and fair scheduling needs while ensuring that we can hit business targets?

Operational workforce planning : How do we plan for the right number and types of workforce resources to hit projected business targets and make sure we are executing on that plan?

Organization modeling and transformation management : How do we align resources to our new organization structure following a significant transformation (for instance, restructuring, merger and acquisition, divestiture and reduction in force)?

Strategic workforce planning : What are the workforce implications of our organization’s short- and long-term strategy? Will we have the right resources? If not, how could we get them?

Goals of workforce planning include:

Aligning talent planning with the strategic business plan

Identifying key workforce risks in the short, medium and long term

Creating a talent strategy to mitigate potential workforce risks

Mapping out critical skills needed in existing roles

Ensuring talent readiness for future business needs

Filling current and projected talent gaps

Recruiting future talent for the organization

Preventing attrition

Workforce Planning

It’s important for CHROs to make sure they and their HR leaders carve out time and resources to conduct workforce planning effectively, as few organizations have specific roles or teams dedicated to these efforts. Larger organizations might benefit from specialist full-time employees in a dedicated role.

Six key steps in strategic workforce planning :

Prioritize skills according to enterprise goals

As part of strategic workforce planning, it is essential for HR leaders to identify whether the organization has the capabilities and skills it needs to achieve its business goals. It’s also critical to incorporate plans to address skills needs directly into HR strategies.

Skills are a foundational element for managing the workforce within any industry. Improving and automating the detection and assessment of skills enables significantly greater organizational agility. Especially in times of uncertainty, or when competition is fierce, organizations with better data on skills can adapt more quickly by more accurately identifying which opportunities are feasible immediately and which require more investment over time.

Gartner research shows that headed into 2022, building critical skills and competencies was a priority for 59% of HR leaders — and the challenge remains complex. 

Many of today’s new and emerging skills are also difficult to obtain, so HR leaders first need a way to sense shifts in skills needs dynamically. This allows them to:

Anticipate needs as they occur, rather than trying to predict the future, and adapt to those shifts in an iterative, course-corrective way

Develop skills at the time of need by identifying and implementing skills accelerators — strategies that leverage existing resources (e.g., content, people and skills adjacencies) to develop new skills solutions at speed

Enable employees to make skills decisions dynamically, such as by creating channels for them and the organization to exchange skills information for mutually beneficial and flexible skills development 

Prioritizing skills according to enterprise goals will help HR leaders understand the key talent issues they will need to tackle.

Critical Workforce Skills and Competencies

Most organizations will need to deploy multiple talent strategies to acquire hard-to-find critical skills. This involves combining build, buy, borrow, rent and other strategies depending on the particular needs and circumstances.

All processes related to workforce planning use data and analytics intensively, making labor market intelligence and talent analytics (also known as HR analytics, workforce analytics and people analytics) critical for HR leaders to use in:

Forecasting the future workforce 

Creating long- and short-term sourcing plans

Pinpointing emerging roles and skills and identifying skills gaps

Analyzing competitor hiring trends

Discovering new competition for key talent

Understanding market disruptors

Drive business productivity with HR Technology

Pandemic-accelerated trends continue to transform how organizations acquire, develop, motivate, reward, serve and manage talent. Technology has emerged as an essential tool in responding to uncertainty and creating a more human-centric but adaptive and composable organization . HR technology, in shaping employee experience and driving business productivity, is therefore an increasingly critical component of successful HR strategy.

Increasingly, designers of human capital management (HCM) applications aim to improve the candidate, worker, learner and manager experiences, while acknowledging that most employees spend relatively little time using these applications. Many applications have a conversational user interface or use insights from behavioral science disciplines to engage users, influence behaviors and contribute to improvements in organizational culture. Continuous learning, listening, feedback and performance management are also becoming necessary to support hybrid and agile ways of working. HR technology shapes employee experience and impacts business productivity.

But amid continual hype around technology trends , HR leaders must understand their own needs and capabilities as they plan to add technologies within HR processes and existing applications. Aim to improve the employee experience by resisting one-size-fits-all solutions, and instead deploy flexible, human-centric HR processes and tools to meet diverse workforce needs.

The core functional pillars of HCM applications are:

Administrative HR: Core HR organizational and employee data management, employment life cycle processes, transactional employee and manager self-service benefits, and payroll administration

Talent management: Recruiting, onboarding, performance management, compensation allocation, career and succession planning, learning and development, and workforce planning

Workforce management: Time capture, absence management, scheduling, task and activity tracking, budgeting and forecasting

Integrated HR service management: Content delivery via a portal and knowledge management capabilities for employees and managers, which may include case management (ticketing/routing), business process management tools and digital document management

HR Technology

Innovation in the HCM technology market is driven by:

Technological advances, including artificial intelligence , augmented reality and virtual reality

Increased focus on skills management, as existing HR applications do not support current business requirements

Wider macro and social developments surrounding the nature and evolution of work practices and policies, such as the increasing importance of diversity, equity and inclusion , automation, remote working and the growth of the gig economy

Customer demand and extension requests, with functional gaps often being filled through an ecosystem of partners

To support ongoing pandemic responses and prepare for subsequent economic uncertainty, the following technologies have attracted renewed interest:

Internal talent marketplaces

Ontology-based skills graphs

Voice of employee

Learning experience platforms

Workforce planning and modeling

Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

Join your peer CHROs and senior HR executives from leading organizations to discuss specific HR challenges and learn top HR trends and priorities.

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CHRO Global Leadership Board

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Frequently asked questions

What is hr strategy.

Human resources (HR) strategy defines which HR and workforce practices and activities to pursue and improve to deliver outcomes that will drive enterprise business goals.

What is needed to execute your HR strategy?

How does technology fit into HR strategy?

HR technology is a critical component of a successful HR strategy, as it plays an important role in shaping employee experience and driving business productivity.

Drive stronger performance on your mission-critical priorities.

What Is a Marketing Strategy?

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One

business planning in marketing

Investopedia / Daniel Fishel

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition , key brand messaging, data on target customer  demographics, and other high-level elements.

A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Marketing Strategies

A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.

This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart ( WMT ) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.

Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans

The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan —a document that details the specific types of marketing activities that a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.

Marketing strategies should ideally have longer life spans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.

For example, a marketing strategy might say that a company aims to increase authority in niche circles where their clients visit. The marketing plan puts that in action by commissioning thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn.

Benefits of a Marketing Strategy

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization , or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.

Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.

Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.

Why does my company need a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.

What do the four Ps mean in a marketing strategy?

The four Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The four Ps can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It also can be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.

What does a marketing strategy look like?

A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and public relations campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the four Ps. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging  that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, and platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.

Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?

The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Walmart Corporate. “ About .”

HubSpot Blog. “ 7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2022 .”

i7 Marketing. “ 6 Steps to Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign .”

CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”

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What Is Influencer Marketing? Strategy and Mistakes to Avoid

Lisa Anthony

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Influence marketing is a form of social media marketing where businesses partner with influencers — people known online for their knowledge on a topic and who have sizable social media followings — to promote their products and services. Because influencers are often viewed as trusted experts, their endorsement of products can influence the buying decisions of those who follow them.

Businesses typically compensate influencers through free products and some monetary means. Essential factors in a business's selection of an influencer are audience demographics, number of followers, engagement rates and cost.

A common tiering system for influencers is based on the number of their followers:

Nano-influencer: 1,000 to 10,000 followers.

Micro-influencer: 10,000 to 100,000 followers.

Macro-influencer: 100,000 to 1 million followers.

Mega-influencers: over 1 million followers.

While you may think a macro- or mega-influencer is needed for a successful marketing campaign, nano-influencers often have especially close relationships with their followers. As a result, they can be cost-effective for business owners with limited marketing budgets but who want to include influencer marketing in their marketing plan .

Influencer marketing, like other forms of online marketing , must follow standards set by the Federal Trade Commission Act. An important part of following this act is disclosing the relationship between the business and the influencer. The influencers are responsible for making this disclosure and providing an honest assessment of any products they endorse for a business.

Influencer marketing vs. celebrity marketing

While some celebrities are mega-influencers, influencer marketing and celebrity marketing are different. Celebrity marketing — using actors, musicians, writers, sports figures and other well-known public figures to endorse products — is a common marketing tactic that some have traced back to royal endorsements in the 1760s. It uses a variety of channels to deliver the endorsement, including print, TV, radio, film and the internet.

Influencer marketing, on the other hand, is a newer tactic that mainly takes place on social media platforms. While influencers are well-known in their communities, they generally aren't famous beyond the social platforms they use. In contrast, celebrities are typically well-known in a larger community but are often less likely to be an expert on the products they endorse.

Influencer marketing strategies

If investing in influencer marketing is something you want to explore, here are some steps you can take to incorporate it into your marketing plan.

Know your target audience

To maximize your influencer marketing efforts, you'll want to direct your messaging to your target audience, the group most likely to buy your products and services. Reviewing the demographics of your target audience — age, gender identity, education, ethnicity, family size, income and location — will help you find an influencer whose audience overlaps with your own.

Don't let demographic details such as the average age of your audience prevent you from exploring influencers. There are influencers with followers that fall into many different demographic groups.

Determine your campaign goals

Clearly define the goals you'd like to achieve through your influencer marketing campaign, such as increased brand awareness, trust in your products, website traffic or product purchases. Also, determine the metrics you can use to measure progress. For example, you could create a unique landing page for an influencer to link to and track its visitor count. Or, influencers could be given unique discount codes to share with their followers, allowing you to track purchases.

» MORE: Do's and don'ts of using Facebook to drive business sales

Select the right influencers

The next step is to identify influencers with followers that align with your target audience. You may want to start your search on the platform where you have the strongest presence. After you select a few influencers, follow them to see what they share and with whom they engage. Free online engagement calculators and marketing tools can provide metrics such as the number of followers, posts, engagement rates and comments-to-like ratios to help you determine follower interest.

A simple way to calculate an engagement rate is to divide total engagement by followers and multiply by 100. Interactions such as comments, likes, shares, messages, downloads, saves, retweets and pins are some common engagements. Of course, what's considered a good engagement rate varies by platform, but it can be a useful comparison point when reviewing influencers on the same platform.

After you've narrowed your search to a few good candidates, reach out. Many influencers will include contact information in their bio or "about" section. You can provide an overview of the marketing campaign you envision, including highlights, expectations and a timeline. Next, request the influencer's rate sheet, which will include pricing and platforms and may also contain details about their followers, examples of posts and other information.

Calculate campaign cost

The cost of partnering with an influencer is typically based on the number of their followers, the social media channels they use and what type of promotion you're looking for. A post rate of $10 per 1,000 followers is a common estimate given for the industry. In general, the more followers an influencer has, the more they will cost per post. And posts on certain platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook, might be more expensive than on TikTok and Twitter. Influencer fees vary significantly, so it's best to refer to an influencer's personal rate sheet for an accurate cost estimate.

In addition to post fees, don't forget to factor in additional costs such as free products, discounts, commissions and performance bonuses.

Create messaging for posts and mentions

Providing brand information, guidelines on referring to your business and preferred topics will help influencers create the content used in their posts. You can ask to pre-approve the content that will be posted. However, influencers have control over what they will share. After all, they are speaking to their audience, one they've worked hard to build, and they want to be authentic in their posts.

Track return on investment

After launching your influencer marketing campaign, tracking the metrics you've set for your goals will help you monitor your return on investment (ROI). In general, ROI measures the amount of return on a monetary investment. An ROI calculation could be attributed to each of your goals. For example, if you're tracking sales revenue through landing pages and discount codes, a revenue ROI can be calculated from total sales revenue divided by the fees paid to the influencer. Or, an engagement ROI could be calculated based on the website traffic sourced from social media divided by influencer cost. A marketing attribution model can help you determine your most effective marketing channels.

Common mistakes to avoid

When you decide to move forward with influencer marketing, avoiding these common mistakes can help you make the most of this marketing channel.

Not thoroughly vetting your influencer

Because your brand will be associated with the influencers you select, you want to research them thoroughly to ensure they align with your brand values. Look at the content in their posts and frequency over a period. Also, review their interactions with followers to see if they are meaningful engagements or one-word responses. Reviewing prior sponsorships can help you determine if they will represent your brand well, and a Google search can reveal other information.

Focusing on follower volume instead of engagement

It's the quality of an influencer's relationships with their followers that matters when they promote your products and services. If the influencer has a large following but doesn't receive much engagement, their promotion of your product may not impact their audience. Influencers with highly engaged audiences — even if they're smaller — may be a better fit, and they generally cost less per post.

Unclear expectations

It's important that the influencers you partner with have a clear understanding of what they are expected to deliver. A written agreement can help define expectations and deliverables, clarify the campaign timeline, disclose payment details and highlight additional terms such as a content pre-approve requirement.

Not optimizing your social media accounts

While paying someone to promote your business on their social media channels, you also need to ensure your profiles are up-to-date, professional and visually appealing. After all, a successful influencer campaign will drive new visitors to your pages and website. Ensure your social media pages include high-quality images and content that gives insights into your products and brand. Information such as location and store hours are also important when you operate at a physical location. And regular activity on your social media platforms can also signal that you are engaged with your customers.

» MORE: How to promote your business on social media

On a similar note...

18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: December 01, 2022

Free Business Plan Template

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The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

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Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and ensures your venture is sustainable for the long term.

Business plan sample: Image shows a hand writing a plan and a notepad.

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formal, then take a look at business plan samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan (which may be dozens or hundreds of pages long).

Most executive summaries include:

However, many of these topics will be covered in more detail later on in the business plan, so keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important take-aways.

If you’re planning to start or expand a small business, preparing a business plan is still very crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this small business pdf to get an idea of how to create one for your business.

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example
  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be crystal clear on why you're targeting them.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you inform this component of your business plan.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to determine funding strategies, investment opportunities, etc. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to provide insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others will be in charts.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline gives this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy into its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

“Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration,” explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your “Why?” In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

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How to Write a Business Plan for Your Franchise This vital step can make the difference between success or failure in the franchise world.

By Clarissa Buch Zilberman • May 8, 2023

You're set on becoming a franchisee . You may think it's time to call a franchisor, tell them you're interested, and get funding from your local bank , right? Wrong.

If you're considering buying a franchise, you'll need to write a thorough business plan before moving forward.

A business plan is a detailed document that describes how your business will achieve its goals. Consider it an essential tool for any business owner — including franchisees!

Sound daunting? It can be. But it's a crucial and necessary step in starting your own business. Plus, becoming a franchisee means that the franchisor will provide some of the strategies, plans and overall business information , with some minor tweaks for your specific market.

Here's how to get started.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Start with comprehensive research

Before you can begin writing your franchise business plan, you need to gather information about your franchise business . Research the industry, market trends and competitors in the area. You should utilize a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the business, as well.

Next, research the franchisor's history, vision, mission and values . This will help you understand the franchisor's expectations and see if your goals align with the brand. You may have already done a lot of this research when narrowing down your franchise choices .

Related: The 4 Biggest Myths About Franchising

Define your business concept and target market

Your business concept should include details about your product or service , pricing strategy, location, unique selling proposition and market advantages.

Much of this information will be supplied by your franchisor. However, make sure to tweak it correctly for your specific location and audience .

Develop a financial plan

A financial outline is a critical component of your franchise business plan. It should include details about your startup costs, ongoing expenses , revenue projections and profitability.

You should also share cash flow, balance sheets and income statements here. With these documents, you can readily identify any gaps in your business and develop strategies to address them.

Related: 10 Tips to Go From Employee to Boss, From Franchisees Who Did It

Outline your marketing and sales strategy

You may get a headstart from your franchisor on the marketing and sales strategy . This is where you'll want to include more information about your target audience, marketing channels and tactics to promote your business.

From a sales strategy perspective , include your pricing strategy, sales team structure and sales targets that are tailored to your area.

Develop an operations plan

Your operations plan should include details about your day-to-day work, staffing requirements and supplier relationships. You should also outline any technology and equipment needs, inventory management and quality control procedures , some of which your franchisor may dictate.

Create a management team and personnel plan

Your management team and personnel plan should detail the leadership structure of your business, each team member's role and responsibility and the qualifications and experience needed for each position.

You should also outline a staffing plan , which will include your recruitment strategy, employee benefits and training and development programs.

Create an executive summary

An executive summary is literally a summary of your business plan that will provide all the necessary information to someone who only has a few moments to review your business plan. It should summarize the key points of your franchise business plan and research.

Get started by outlining your business plan

A franchise business plan, at the minimum, should include the following sections :

  • Executive Summary: This section provides a brief overview of your business, your mission statement, goals and target market.
  • Company Description: This section includes more information about your business, such as what you do or sell, your company history and your management team.
  • Market Analysis: This section analyzes the market for your products or services, including your target market, competition and competitive advantage.
  • Operations Plan: This section describes how your business will operate, including your location, your marketing and sales strategies and management and staffing plan.
  • Financial Plan: This section projects your business's financial performance, meaning your revenue, expenses and profit.
  • Appendix: This section includes supporting documents, such as financial statements, marketing materials and legal documents.

A business plan will help you succeed

Writing a franchise business plan is a critical step in becoming a successful franchisee . It requires comprehensive research, a well-defined business concept, a solid financial plan, a strong marketing and sales strategy, a detailed operations plan and a competent management team.

Remember: It's a living document, so be sure to update it regularly as your business grows and changes. This will ensure that your plan always reflects the current state of your business.

Tackle a business plan logically and seek help from an expert or your franchisor, as necessary. Then you're off to get your loan, finish your applications and open your doors !

Related: Is Franchising Right For You? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions to Find Out.

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Writer, Editor & Content Marketing Consultant

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Specializing in lifestyle, business, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Realtor.com, Travel + Leisure, and Bon Appétit, among other print and digital titles. Through her content marketing consultancy, By Clarissa , she leverages her extensive editorial background and unique industry insights to support enterprise organizations and global creative agencies with their B2B, B2C, and B2E content initiatives. 

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How to write marketing plan in business plan

How to Write the Marketing Plan in Business Plan?

A marketing plan in business plan is one of the very important sections of a business plan. Marketing is done to spread awareness about your business and its product/service. 

An effective marketing strategy helps you achieve early success. 

Use this article to write an effective marketing plan section in a business plan. 

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing section of a business plan gives you a roadmap to organize, execute and track the progress of your marketing efforts. 

Your marketing plan helps you align your marketing efforts with your business goals. It gives your marketing effort a direction and you can evaluate your efforts at any point.

Types of marketing plan 

A perfect type of marketing plan in business plan will depend on your business, your goals, and how soon you want to achieve them. 

We have outlined some marketing plans that most businesses need to use. Since this is the age of the internet, we have also included online marketing plans and digital marketing plans.

Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans 

These are your business marketing plans with a timeline. Every business has its quarterly, bi-yearly, and yearly goals. You will use these goals to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing efforts over time.

Paid Marketing Plans 

Paid marketing plans include online advertising, buying billboards, or marketing on vehicles. Pay Per Click marketing and social media marketing for your small business.

Social Media Marketing Plan 

Social media marketing plan for business plan can be done in two ways. You can hire a team and raise awareness about your business by sharing regular updates. 

You can also do paid marketing on social media. You will need to invest in buying ads on that social media platform and pay for a team of social media marketers.

You can also leverage these effective digital marketing channels for your business. 

Content Marketing Plan 

A content marketing plan is about attracting potential customers to your website with the help of SEO. You create value for your potential customer first and then by extension, market your business. It can be offline in the form of free workshops etc or online in the form of guides and resources.

Product Launch Marketing Plan 

A product lunch  sales and marketing plan in business plan  will help you decide on the marketing tools, tactics, and tracking you will do when launching a new product or service.

You can also hire WiseBusinessPlans Digital Marketing Services to run successful marketing campaigns for your business. 

Wish it was Easier?

Learning takes time, Market will not wait for it. Hire a professional business plan writer and get a top-notch, investor-ready business plan for your business idea. 

Marketing Plan vs Marketing Strategy

The difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy is simple; a marketing plan is what methods, tools, and tactics you will use for marketing, and a market strategy in business plan is how you will implement your plan.

Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy with this detailed guide. 

How to Write a Marketing Plan for a Business Plan?

How to write a marketing plan for a business plan

Follow these simple steps to write a marketing plan in business plan.

Business Mission

Write your business mission statement and translate it into the efforts the marketing department will make. 

For example, your business mission is to help people with home gardening. Your marketing department version will be to attract people who want to do home gardening.

These are performance indicators. These metrics will help you evaluate performance and progress. An example of KPIs for marketing is customer visits to your website, social media page, or brick-and-mortar store.

Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a short description of your average customer. When you have no data, a buyer persona will describe the customer you want to attract.

Decide on Marketing Strategies and Content

Go through the marketing strategies you can use and select the one that will produce the best return on investment for your business. 

Similarly, think about the content type that is attractive to your target audience . For example, video format may attract your audience or you may need to share more about your business on social media to grab their attention.

Define Marketing Plan Scope

Define the scope and limits of your marketing plan. Clearly mention what your marketing team will do and will not do. 

This will help you save time, cost, and effort in wasted resources.

Set Marketing Budget 

You can only spend a set amount on marketing. Set your marketing budget and be creative in that budget to produce the best return. 

Your budget is directly related to your marketing goals. Set your marketing budget in a way that does not hamper marketing efforts. 

Know your Competition 

Knowing and profiling your customer helps you market better. See what are strong spots of competitors’ marketing plans, are and how they are attracting audiences to make a plan to compete effectively. 

Appoint your Team & their Responsibilities

Decide on job roles for your team. Set their KPIs, marketing channels they will manage, what content they will create, etc.

Bonus Tip: Here is a step by step guide on how to write a marketing plan executive summary with example and template.

Example of Marketing Plan in Business Plan PDF

See this example of a marketing plan in a business plan to understand how it is done. You can create your marketing plan in the same way.

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It is a very useful guide. I was wondering If your site offers marketing plan writers for businesses. If any, kindly reply.

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Brush up on the basics of digital marketing

Professional reviewing a digital marketing campaign.

Digital marketing allows brands to gain insights about their customers and connect with them in precise and personal ways. And it’s a more efficient and affordable way to reach your target audiences than with traditional marketing efforts. Whether it’s using channels like social media or email, optimizing content for search engine optimization (SEO), or building a full content marketing strategy, digital marketing should be a part of every marketer’s strategy.

Before diving into digital marketing, let’s address a common misconception. Terms like online and internet marketing often get used interchangeably with digital marketing. While related, there are subtle differences. Along with outlining the differences between these terms, this post will cover:

What is digital marketing?

The history of digital marketing, the benefits of digital marketing.

  • Learn more about digital marketing

Digital marketing is using digital devices and channels — like computers, smartphones, and other digital media — for marketing activities like promoting products or brands. It includes online channels like email, social media, and SEO, but also others like electronic billboards, TV, and radio.

Importantly, digital marketing is not the same as online or internet marketing. Instead, these terms are a subset of digital marketing. Let’s explore these terms further.

Digital marketing

As the umbrella term, digital marketing uses any digital channel, including television, radio, and digital billboards, as well as any marketing methods that rely on a phone, tablet, or computer and the internet. Marketing that requires the internet also falls into the more specific category of online or internet marketing.

Online or internet marketing

A subset of digital marketing, online or internet marketing includes email, social media, SEO, and pay-per-click (PPC). These terms are interchangeable.

Not too long ago, channels like radio, TV, and electronic billboards sprung up as the original forms of digital marketing. They acted as one-way conversation with a captive audience, similar to print advertising. And while these original techniques are still used today, they are now considered offline digital marketing techniques that lack some of the features and benefits of modern digital marketing tools.

Modern digital marketing came into its own in the late 1990s with the rise of the internet. As people started to engage with brands and each other online, marketing expanded into a vast landscape of digital content. Marketers no longer drove the discussion. Instead, consumers became empowered to be publishers, critics, style makers, and trendsetters. Audiences’ attention spans shortened as they gained the ability to click away from any content at any moment.

To compete for customers’ attention, brands have since evolved their marketing strategies to include digital experiences that are tailored to customers’ specific behaviors and needs — all on their favorite channels. And this includes the online digital marketing channels that most people are familiar with, including:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Short message service (SMS) marketing
  • Social media marketing (SMM)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)

While there are benefits to all forms of digital marketing, online digital marketing delivers the greatest impact. For example, let’s compare personalization through offline digital marketing and online digital marketing channels. With offline digital marketing, a business may choose to advertise on a radio station that targets certain demographics. They can run television ads during programs that attract certain audiences or create digital billboard messaging that’s more dynamic than analog billboard messaging. But none of these channels offer the same level of personalization as online digital marketing techniques.

Let’s look at some of the benefits modern digital marketing offers that traditional marketing does not.

Benefits of modern digital marketing.

  • Affordability. Modern digital marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing methods. Consider the cost of creating a website or social media account versus buying billboard space to attempt to reach the same audience.
  • Reach. The internet enables you to reach people all around the world, whereas putting an ad in a newspaper or running a commercial on TV only reaches one country or area.
  • Personalization. Segmentation goes a long way toward personalizing your marketing message to specific demographics. Traditional marketing methods were slightly customizable, while modern digital marketing offers highly personalized experiences.
  • Flexibility. Modern digital marketing allows you to continue using the marketing efforts that are working to deliver the best ROI — and ditch the ones that aren’t.
  • Measurability. Businesses can now track where their traffic and conversions are coming from and use those insights to make data-based decisions. While a newspaper ad used to go out to the world and a business would hope it would bring in customers, businesses can now see how many people visited their blog page and how many of those visitors clicked through to the product page.

Plan your next move and learn more about digital marketing

Digital marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy. It allows your brand to personalize your message to a specific audience and then measure how well that message performed. Any changes can be made quickly for relatively low costs, allowing you to build relationships with your customers by delivering just the right experiences. And if you want to expand your customer base, you can reach customers across the world almost instantly.

We’ve just scratched the surface. Explore these resources to learn more about digital marketing:

  • Digital Marketing Strategy: 11 Essential Must-Know Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing Channels: An Essential Digital Guide
  • Why Digital Marketing is Crucial — No Matter the Size of Your Business

Adobe can help

Any great marketing strategy needs to be delivered by a great marketing tool. Adobe Marketo Engage uses powerful B2B and B2C marketing automation to boost every aspect of your customer engagement — across any channel. It also allows you to bring your marketing and sales teams together on one platform to efficiently attract, segment, and nurture leads from just discovering your brand to becoming your biggest fans.

To get started, watch the product overview video or take an interactive product tour .

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Brands Embracing Pride Month Confront a Volatile Political Climate

Target became the latest company to adjust plans for marketing supportive of the L.G.B.T.Q. community after it faced backlash from some customers.

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A display of Pride Month-themed clothing in a Target store, with racks of T-shirts in front of a large rainbow and a sign with the hashtag “take pride.”

By Jordyn Holman and Julie Creswell

For years, Pride Month, the annual celebration for L.G.B.T.Q. Americans, has afforded companies a marketing opportunity to tap into the buying power of a group with growing financial, political and social clout.

Yet, while these efforts have always faced some opposition, brands and marketers say the country’s current political environment — especially around transgender issues — has made this year’s campaigns more complicated. This week Target became the latest company to rethink its approach after facing criticism for its Pride collection, which included clothes and books for children that drew outrage from some on the right.

The retailer moved its Pride displays — including rainbow-striped collared shirts, yellow hoodies reading “Not a Phase” and baby clothing and accessories — from the entrances of some Target stores around the country and placed them in the back.

Target said it was concerned “about threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work” after some customers had screamed at employees and thrown the Pride-themed merchandise on the floor.

Among the items angering some customers was a one-piece, tuck-friendly swimsuit — a bathing suit that has extra material for the crotch area for individuals who want to conceal their genitalia. Some critics erroneously claimed that the swimsuit was being sold to children; Target said it was available only in adult sizes. The collection also includes children’s books about transgender issues and gender fluidity.

One woman recorded a TikTok video in a Target store on Monday in which she became angry at seeing a greeting card that read “So Glad You Came Out” and a yellow onesie that said “¡Bien Proud!”

“If that doesn’t give you a reason to boycott Target, I don’t know what does,” she said.

In a statement, a company spokeswoman said, “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.” She added that the company, which has been selling Pride Month merchandise for a decade, remained committed to the L.G.B.T.Q. community “and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”

While Target said its decision had been made in the interest of employee safety, many said its actions — along with a conservative backlash against Bud Light after it worked with a transgender influencer — might alienate the community it was seeking to support. And those who criticized Target and Bud Light in the first place may now feel further emboldened to attack inclusive initiatives by other companies.

“We’re in a new space here with safety and employee safety being threatened by policy and purpose,” said Vanitha Swaminathan, professor of marketing at the University of Pittsburgh. “I can’t say that you can disregard employee safety. That’s very core to what a company has to do. At the same time, Target can still, from a policy standpoint, be supportive of their initial stance. It’s sad to see that we’ve reached this point in our culture wars.”

Marketing campaigns around Pride Month in June have become routine for many companies, with opposition cropping up at times. Last year, for instance, Pizza Hut faced calls for a boycott after it recommended “Big Wig,” a book featuring drag performers, as part of its children’s summer reading program.

Yet companies and marketers say the political climate makes this year different — primarily because a number of Republican-led states have introduced and passed legislation restricting transition care for transgender minors and adults, and transgender rights has become a galvanizing issue for many conservatives.

GLAAD, the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group that works with more than 160 companies, is considering having communications professionals in its GLAAD Media Institute work with brands that are planning Pride Month celebrations so they can better respond to criticism.

“We do feel like we’re at a moment where, with the politicization of trans and gender-nonconforming folks, that we probably need to assemble a Pride war room for brands so that we can push back,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the group’s chief executive, said in an interview.

On Thursday, GLAAD and six other advocacy groups called on Target to return to its stores and its website any Pride merchandise it had removed and to release a statement “in the next 24 hours reaffirming their commitment” to the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

When faced with criticism and social media calls for boycotts in the past, most companies learned that the declarations of outrage soon faded away.

Then Bud Light happened. Owned by the beer giant Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light continues to struggle with the fallout from a social media campaign in mid-March with the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. After calls for a boycott of the beer, sales in the four weeks ending in mid-May dropped more than 23 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the research firm NIQ and Bump Williams Consulting, which works with the alcoholic beverage industry.

In some markets in the South, such as Jacksonville, Fla., and New Orleans, Bud Light’s sales were down 40 percent in those four weeks.

Anheuser-Busch, which in recent years has released rainbow-hued bottles and cans of Bud Light for Pride Month, did not respond to a question about its plans for this year.

Some marketing and communications consultants said the negative reaction to Bud Light’s campaign with Ms. Mulvaney was a product of the beer’s generally more politically conservative customer base. Companies like Nike or Starbucks can more easily create products or campaigns around gay and transgender issues or Pride Month because their consumers tend to be younger and more progressive, said David Johnson, the chief executive of Strategic Vision PR Group in Atlanta.

“When they embrace the gay or transgender community, it’s not out of line with their core beliefs,” he said.

A number of companies are moving forward with their Pride Month plans. In June, the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade will weave its way through the city. Advertisements for a one-piece Adidas swimsuit created by the South African queer designer Rich Mnisi feature a transgender man as the model. Levi’s has a campaign showing a half-dozen gay and transgender people talking about how they show up while wearing the company’s denim and tops.

But a number of other companies are being much less forthcoming about specific Pride Month plans. And some L.G.B.T.Q. advocates criticized Target for seeming to cave to pressure. (The company’s decision did come as employees in the retail industry have faced increasingly aggressive behavior from customers since the start of the pandemic.)

Target also removed a Pride line from Abprallen, an L.G.B.T.Q. fashion and accessories company based in London, some of whose designs have been criticized for depicting satanic symbols like pentagrams and a shirt that reads “Satan respects pronouns.” Abprallen did not respond to a request for comment.

“We’ll find out in the next week which companies are continuing to make a push and do Pride Month campaigns,” said Matt Skallerud, the president of Pink Media, which specializes in L.G.B.T.Q. online marketing. “If companies we know have been supportive of Pride Month don’t show up this year, their absence will be noticed, and I’d be concerned that could harm them.”

Advocacy groups are wary that all of this could create a chilling effect, especially when it comes to attaining a broader representation of L.G.B.T.Q. people in advertising.

“White gay men are the one segment that are most likely represented on our screens, whether it’s programing or ads ,” s aid Lisette Arsuaga, co-founder of the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing. “We now started moving forward with a greater representation of all of the letters within the L.G.B.T.Q.”

The overall consumer sentiment for seeing trans representation on TV and in advertising hasn’t changed, according to recent GLAAD research. In a survey that was conducted in February, GLAAD said, 75 percent of people who did not identify as L.G.B.T.Q. were comfortable seeing those people represented in marketing campaigns. That figure held steady from 2020.

“You can absolutely roll out an ad campaign and include L.G.B.T.Q. folks in it,” Ms. Ellis of GLAAD said. “And at the same time, there is this political right-wing arm that you have to be aware of when you’re doing it and just be prepared for.”

Jordyn Holman is a business reporter covering retail for The Times. She previously worked at Bloomberg News, where she covered retail and diversity in corporate America. @ JordynJournals

Julie Creswell is a New York-based reporter. She has covered banks, private equity, retail and health care. She previously worked for Fortune Magazine and also wrote about debt, monetary policy and mutual funds at Dow Jones. @ julie_creswell

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7 strategies to make digital marketing more effective for financial advisors

business planning in marketing

Advisors have many options when it comes to marketing their business online. The key is  choosing one that can maximize client recruitment and lead to achievement of a firm's strategic goals.

Over 40% of advisors landed more clients via social media marketing and nearly one-third plan to increase their website spends in 2022, according to a survey by Broadridge Financial Solutions . Having a defined marketing strategy is associated with more positive business outcomes, the study found, yet only 28% of advisors have one in place. 

Read: In scramble to comply with SEC marketing rule, advisors wrestle with ambiguities

For Lou Calabrese, chief marketing officer at the wealth management firm Robertson Stephens in San Francisco, social media, email marketing and a website are the main digital marketing tactics advisors have to invest in. Calabrese said advisors should be spending around 10% to 15% of their time on marketing strategies. 

"This is your way of getting new businesses in the door other than the traditional waiting like referrals, introductions from clients and centers of influence," Calabrese said. 

The survey found that 30% of advisors plan to increase marketing spend over the next 12 months, especially on websites and social media. Currently, advisors spend around 3% of their business revenue on marketing, while chief marketing officers report an average marketing spend of 8.7%. 

"It's a loop," said Rebecca Hourihan, founder of 401(k) Marketing, a marketing firm in San Diego for retirement plan advisors. "Advisor shares an email, social media post or content marketing, and then people like it, comment and share it and that loops back to that advisory firm in the form of referrals, happy clients, more favorable introductions and easier time to meet in person."

Read: Marketing trap: SEC warns new advisors of their compliance shortcomings

Scroll down the cardshow to see tips and tactics from marketing experts on how financial advisors can grow their businesses.

Align with the business 

Create a digital image, know the audience , diversify and customize content, adopt new technologies , track the data , evaluate the strategy .

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