This blog post was originally published in 2021. 

Does your organization have a marketing strategy plan? Marketing is an essential part of any organization, but coming up with a strategy can feel daunting for many. Whether you’re starting from scratch or just want to give your current plan a little lift, we’ve got you covered.

Below are ten questions you’ll want to ask when designing a marketing plan tailored to your organization (or a specific project or program). You’ll find these questions, more helpful information and templates in our free online course, “FUNdamentals of Marketing.

  1. Goals: What are your organization’s (or the program or project’s) main 1–2 goals? What are the 1–3 marketing goals that will help to achieve the overall organizational goals?
  2. Benchmarks and measures: How will you measure progress? List the 3–5 steps you can complete to achieve the marketing goals. They should be specific, measurable and concrete.
  3. S.W.O.T. Analysis: What internal and external factors may influence the marketing & communications plan? You can answer this question by conducting a SWOT analysis. SWOT is a framework for identifying and analyzing an organization’s strengths and weaknesses (internal factors) and opportunities and threats (external factors). For example, internal strengths and weaknesses might include your staffing, types of programs and funding allocations. The economy, current events, government situation (funding) as well as public sentiment can fall within opportunities and threats. Concisely identify these factors will help you choose the messaging and communication channels that will activate the audiences you want to engage.
  4. Desired audience(s): What are the 1–3 top audience segments you need to engage to meet your goals and benchmarks? Where do you find them? How will you reach them? What message will be most effective for each? List any common demographics and psychographics for each segment, along with what benefits they seek from your organization. As you segment your audience toward specific goals, though, don’t forget to be inclusive of your entire community. Think about who your marketing may be missing.
  5. Calls to action: What do you need your desired audience to do, specifically?
  6. Messaging: Why should your desired audience care? What’s in it for them? What challenges or barriers do they face, and how does your organization help solve them?
  7. Strategies: How will your organization achieve the goals it has identified as most important? Strategies are the keys to your goals. For example, say one of your organization’s top goals is to keep more families together. Strategies could include training for field officers as well as public education to help increase your return to home rate.
  8. Tactics: What will you do to bring your strategies to life? What are the channels/methods you will use to connect your organization with your audience? Your communications plan will detail what communication tools you will use and when. There may be several paths that lead to your goal. Using the example of keeping families together through an increased return to home rate, tactics could include a press release, social media posts and virtual trainings about what to do if you lose or find a pet.
  9. Resources: What will it take to implement the plan? Include all three Ts of resources. Not just treasure (money), but also time and talent. Who will do what with what?
  10. Work plan: What are the specific to-dos to implement the plan? Make a checklist, with dates.

Want more tips, information and sample templates to help market your brand to your audiences? Take our free online course at your leisure: FUNdamentals of Marketing.