Determine what success looks like for your business and establish promotional goals. A strategic marketing plan provides an easy-to-follow road map for all promotional activities. Define your vision and develop your brand along with guidelines to ensure that the brand grows as intended.

Vision & Strategy

Consider your objectives and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to guide all future marketing activities. Mission statements define what companies stand for while vision statements clarify their goals and objectives. Although mission and vision statements are short, they guide every aspect of your business.

SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) should be developed for new businesses as well as whenever starting a new marketing endeavor. Executing successful marketing strategies can be fairly complex, requiring a significant amount of management, quality control and measurement. Working toward predetermined goals makes the marketing process more approachable and straight-forward.

Together with business owners, marketing teams develop lead-nurturing systems that qualify potential customers and advance them along the sales process. To illustrate this multi-step process, traditional marketing professionals use the marketing funnel while contemporary marketing professionals often prefer the marketing flywheel.

The marketing funnel and flywheel are two different ways to represent the multi-step process of marketing.

Identity & Brand Development

Good design is an important part of distinguishing one company from another. To help make your business recognizable and memorable, marketing activities require collateral that is branded consistently. The brand of your firm (logo, design, color, text and images) reflects your organization’s products and services and affects how your business is perceived. Looking sharp and presenting a clear and consistent story are essential components of successful brands. More often than not, companies that value design lead the pack.

What is good design? Good design solutions are beautiful, function well, they adhere to budgets and meet deadlines. The best designs are not rushed. They are thoughtfully calculated, worked and reworked. Research designs and styles that you like to identify successful precedents and current trends. Study the industry you work in to learn what your competitors have done well. Figure out how you can do it better.

Develop a brand that represents your business and reflects your mission and vision statements. Create an appropriate style with colors, design and fonts. Your logo is part of identity development, which also includes business cards, taglines, corporate forms and stationery. Another part of the identity is the persona, or voice, which is a written representation of an individual’s personality. It helps to maintain a consistent tone so all text reads as if it came from the same writer. Persona also guides the delivery of appropriate messages.

Design Guidelines

Guidelines help to keep design and production efficient and illustrate how a brand infrastructure should be incorporated. Guidelines include information about how to use the logo, preferred colors and font treatment. They describe standards for photography and video, feature examples of maps and signs, and they include recommendations for text and industry terms (nomenclature).

Guidelines preserve the understanding of a brand and help to keep company values intact. They also ensure that your brand grows consistently across different platforms and types of media. Guidelines are a valuable resource for both in-house and external use. Share your guidelines with anyone who works with your brand. This can be your employees, outside designers and collaborators, editorial reporters, filmmakers, print houses and signage fabricators, etc.

Guidelines illustrate how to use a brand infrastructure including the logo, preferred colors, font treatment and other design elements.