Many businesses struggle with challenges which could be overcome by having a strategic marketing communications plan in place. By undertaking a process to create a comprehensive strategy, awareness of your organization will be increased and goals achieved, benefiting your business greatly.

We have developed a process for creating a tailor-made marketing communications strategy called The Marshall Plan® that involves gathering a group of eight to ten stakeholders for three meetings. Here is how The Marshall Plan® comes together:

Meeting #1: Discovery Session

At this meeting, the group of stakeholders dives deep into their marketing and communication goals, how the organization currently communicates, and examples of situations when communications were effective or ineffective. A “SWOT” analysis is conducted to analyze the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Following the meeting, a competitive analysis of other organizations is conducted and the ways they communicate and market themselves is analyzed from a best-practices perspective.

Meeting #2: Midterm Meeting

About a month later, the marketing communications expert provides a replay of the findings from the discovery meeting and all the competitive and best-practices research. The group then discusses their exact strategy and tactics.

The following elements are included in the plan:

– SWOT Analysis: A thorough examination of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the organization faces

– Tagline: The thoughtful development of a short statement that encompasses their brand in one powerful phrase, akin to Nike’s “Just Do It”

– Core Story: The crafting of a unique brand story in a way that will make a lasting impression on targeted audiences

– Sound Bite: A 30-second elevator speech about the organization

– Message Map: A breakdown of the key brand messages in graphic form to ensure the entire team is “singing from the same song sheet”

– One- to Three-Year Action Plan: Detailed marketing tactics that make the most sense for the organization to implement based on its goals, resources and budget, which can include:

1.  Public relations
2.  Marketing, including content marketing
3.  Social media
4.  Advertising
5.  Special event suggestions
6.  Community outreach
7.  Fundraising strategies

– Additional Marketing Tools: Depending on the organization’s specific needs, tools may include a new logo, media relations templates, a new website or other additional components

Meeting #3: Final Presentation

Four to six weeks later, the group meets again to review the plan and divide up the responsibilities. Budget amounts, timelines, and who is responsible for each aspect of the plan are agreed upon. Now the group is ready to hit the ground running with their new marketing strategy.

Many organizations feel as if they have been “born again” when they have a strategic and tactical road map so they can move forward in a highly coordinated manner. Learn more about The Marshall Plan® process in this video:


Take The Marshall Plan® quiz to find out if this strategic plan is right for you.