Your 2021 Marketing Plan Has Arrived

January 2, 2021 | Messaging


By Marilyn Heywood Paige

You've had plenty of trials in 2020, but it doesn't mean you can't thrive in 2021. Your sales and marketing efforts will be integral to your success going forward, so you must build a 2021 marketing plan if you haven't already. This blow and our webinar series will show you how.

Your 2021 Marketing Plan

I covered how to create a marketing plan last summer, it concentrated on choosing tactics and budgeting. This blog dovetails with our webinar series, How to Build the Right Marketing System for 2021: A Six-Part Webinar Series. I focus the series and this blog on the marketing approach you need to adopt to prosper in 2021. 
(To dive deeper and learn more about what I go into here, register for the next segment of the series. If you have missed parts one and two, you can access the videos on our webinar page.)

Plan, Execute, and Measure

Your 2021 marketing plan involves three parts. They are plan, execute, and measure. The first part involves establishing your goals, examining your business’s situation, formulating a strategy statement, and developing a messaging blueprint. The second part, execute, is choosing the tactics and delivery channels for your messages. And the third part is measuring your efforts and adjusting according to the feedback. 
We cover each of these three parts in the first five segments of the webinar series. 

Planning Starts With Goals & A Situation Analysis

In last month’s webinar, How to Plan Your Marketing to Achieve Your Business Goals (Faster): I dove into the first stages of the system, which includes your marketing goals and the situation analysis. This part of the planning process is pivotal to getting the right marketing system for your business. I can’t stress this enough. Most people skip this part and later wonder why their marketing efforts aren’t getting the ROI they had hoped for.  
You may have started with goals before, but did you tie them to your overall business goals and did you make them specific enough?

Tie Your Business Goals To Your Marketing Goals

Many companies have business goals that are disconnected from their marketing goals. Let’s say your company goals for 2021 are: 
● Improve customer service● Reduce employee turnover● Gain more market share● Improve the company's reputation
Your marketing department is likely only brought in on the discussion about gaining more market share, right? If that’s the case, you are not getting the most ROI from your marketing spend. Your marketing efforts can include improving customer service, reducing employee turnover, and improving the company’s reputation. If you think about how each of those goals encompasses a communications challenge, you can see how marketing can help you realize those goals. 


The Situation Analysis Is Your Unique Advantage

Many SMBs resist it, but a thorough situation analysis forms the foundation of the right marketing system for your business. You can get a marketing system. There are many vendors who will sell you a silver bullet solution. But it won’t be the right system for your business, in your industry, given your target audience and competitors, and with your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Without considering these factors (and more) you’re going to pay more than you need to and get less than optimal results. 

Marketing Strategy & Messaging

The next stage in the planning process is developing a strategy statement and messaging blueprint.

Marketing Strategy Statement

The marketing strategy statement is based on everything you learned in the situation analysis. It examines all the data points and insights gleaned from each part of the internal and external analysis. It is the big picture view of how you will achieve your goals that guides all of your future actions and keeps your efforts on track. 
Marketing is littered with shiny objects. There are loads of fun tactics to plunge into, and new ones being introduced every day. Add to this the many changes taking place because of COVID-19, and you are likely to get your head turned in many directions in 2021. Before you spend a dime or a minute trying something new, check the idea against the strategy statement. The statement should guide all your marketing decisions, providing the “true north” so you don’t lose your way. I go into more detail on the strategy statement in the webinar on January 12th.  

Messaging Blueprint

All your brand messaging should be based on a blueprint formulated from the results of your situation analysis. That is the only way your messaging can be relevant and compelling to your target audience. Let me repeat that. Your brand messaging will not stand out to your audience unless you base your messaging on a thorough situation analysis. 

What to Include in A Message Blueprint
The blueprint tells everyone in your organization how the brand should speak to the target audience. It includes the words and phrases to use organized in the following sections:
● Market Strategy Statement● Target Markets - Who are all the audiences you are speaking to?● Brand Voice - What is the tone of the brand?● 30-Second Elevator Pitch - This is the answer to "what does your company do?"● Value Propositions - What value will a customer derive from doing business with you?● Differentiators - How does your company differ from your competitors?● Primary Messages - What are the key messages we must get across that are most important to the target audience?● Secondary Messages - What is our credibility? Why should the target audience believe what we say?
Here is an example of a messaging blueprint for a healthcare company we'll call Example Company:

Marketing Strategy Statement

Our consumer-centric messaging educates patients, wins their trust, and inspires them to live their best lives.

Target Markets

● 35 - 55 year old adults with a commitment to their own health and wellness● Referring Physicians

Brand Voice

Optimistic about patient's futures, and straightforward about what goes into treatment.

30-Second Pitch

Example Company delivers exceptional care in a comfortable environment. Your treatment will include the latest advances in technology and you’ll reap many times your investment in good health and the self-confidence that comes from feeling great. Ask me about a free consultation.

Value Propositions

For Patients:

We make it comfortable and affordable to achieve better heath-the cornerstone of your ideal self.

For Referring Physicians:

Example Company's high-caliber of care will enhance your reputation and strengthen your relationship with your patients.


● Convenient locations in Denver, Littleton, Louisville, Fort Collins, and Greeley● Trusted by physicians with their own families● Variety of the most advanced healthcare services● Free consultations● 5280 Magazine's Top Physicians 2011 - 2019● In business 13 years● Text message communication● Easy, online payment management● Local practices provide more personalized attention

Target Market 35 to 55-Year-Olds

Primary Message  Treatments to fit any age or lifestyle.
Secondary Messages Do-able treatment options for everyone.We work with you to set the treatment pace, accommodate your schedule, and fit your budget.

Blueprints can be extremely detailed with a different section for each target market. Or they can be big-picture documents. It depends on who is using them. 
Once you have a strategy and a messaging blueprint, you’re ready to decide which tactics you will use to distribute your messages. Our webinar on February 9th at 10 AM MT will cover how to choose tactics. Sign up for our newsletter to get registration details for all our upcoming webinars.

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