Strategic Planning Doesn’t Equal a Marketing Plan

December 9, 2021

by Lara August, Founder and CEO

I'm a huge fan of planning and planning systems. We currently use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) for our strategic planning. We were a Scaling Up shop for a decade before we switched to EOS. I mentor and work with lots of Startups that use the Lean Canvas Model. Several clients work with other systems. As an Entrepreneur and Owner, I love all of this. I think having clearly defined goals, metrics and accountability is critical to running a business. As a Branding Expert and Marketer, I'm here to let you know that this strategic planning does not even come close to providing you with what you need to begin on a marketing plan (despite what your well-intentioned coach might be telling you).

What most strategic planning systems provide in terms of marketing:

  • Revenue and profitability targets
  • Product/service-specific shifts and goals
  • Key audience(s) or customer definition
  • Differentiators
  • Vision/Mission/Values

What a strategic plan is lacking when it comes to marketing:

  • Specific strategies and tactics to reach key audiences
  • Marketing/editorial calendar
  • Frequency recommendations
  • Advertising budgets
  • Marketing metrics (as leading indicators to revenue)

Additional things your marketing plan needs to include:

  • Evaluation of whether the budget will “get you there” or if your targets are even realistic
  • Consideration of industry benchmarks
  • Complex marketing programs require tools and technology
  • An implementation plan for how and when marketing passes off to sales (and probably more technology)
  • Regular review and adjustment

The strategic planning you do for your business every year should definitely be providing the high-level guidance needed to begin a marketing plan, but the marketing planning process can not begin in earnest until after that marketing strategy is completed and agreed upon by the leadership team.

If you don't have a formal marketing plan and would like help to jumpstart the effort for 2022, we have a workshop coming up on January 6, 2022. For more information and to register, visit our newsroom.

I have also written about key stakeholders who should be included in the marketing planning process. It's a wacky Halloween-themed blog.