Your 2018 Strategic Marketing Plan: Where to Start


A surprising number of aviation, aerospace and defense businesses don’t have a strategic marketing plan. Their marketing, if they have any, lacks structure and strategic focus. Instead it is tactically driven and ad hoc in nature. It’s a bit chaotic, typically wasteful, and usually not very effective. 

Imagine, instead, having a strategic roadmap with one year of step-by-step advice and recommendations about every aspect of your marketing program. This is a strategic marketing plan. 

It outlines in great detail what you need to do, when to do it, what to say and what to look like — to achieve your established goals. Putting together a plan like this — driven by goals, backed by facts, and executed in a consistent and professional manner — isn’t going to be quick or easy. But it will be worthwhile, and we’re here to help set you up for success in 2018. 

This week’s blog is an excerpt from our new e-book, which is a much-expanded version of our popular A&D Marketing Planner. Today we offer a high-level overview of everything that’s included in a Strategic Marketing Plan (and everything that’s included in the e-book). You can download the e-book for greater detail on each section, as well as lots of industry-specific examples, pro tips, and pro resources to help you along the way. 

What’s Included in a Strategic Marketing Plan


The first step in creating a strategic marketing plan is to develop a strong foundation of information and understanding. Completeness and accuracy are of upmost importance — every aspect of your plan will be built around this initial assessment, so it has to be right. Your assessment should include: 

  • Situational analysis
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT)
  • Competitive Review
  • Market Overview

Target Audience(s)

Fifty-seven percent of B2B marketers say their No. 1 challenge is understanding who their target audience is, according to new research from Dun & Bradstreet. Yet deeply understanding your customers — who they are and what they care about — is also one of the biggest opportunities to develop a marketing plan that will really deliver. Without realizing it, many businesses make their marketing more about them than about their prospects. You can avoid this trap, and jumpstart your audience definition, by asking and answering the right questions. The e-book can help.

Goals, Objectives and Strategy, Supported by Design & Messaging

Once you’ve completed the assessment, begin your marketing strategy by establishing measurable and meaningful goals and objectives that support the business as a whole. Effective goals express what you want to accomplish (big picture), and objectives are the meaningful, specific, and measurable ways you’ll achieve each goal—emphasis on measurable. 

Before you start working on messaging and design, stop and take stock. Look carefully at everything that has come before and start to consider how your creative recommendations will align and support the information and insights gathered to date. Your messaging and design can’t happen in a vacuum; they must reflect the reality of your assessment, audience and goals and objectives. 

The magic happens when you fuse all of this information with insight and creativity for a succinct promise of value to be delivered. In our process, this comes to life through a value proposition, messaging platform, and a visual mood board.

Tactical Implementation (individual tactics will vary)

With the exception of a great, SEO-optimized website and the basic sales tools you must have, we can’t give you a one-size-fits-all list of tactics or a promise that, “if you do these things, your customers will come.” 

Like so many aspects of your marketing plan, the key to tactical success lies in clarity about what you are trying to achieve and those you are trying to reach. The better you understand your ideal customer — what they think, what they care about, where they get their information — the easier it will be to develop your tactical plan. At a minimum, your plan should encompass: 

  • Master Calendar
    • Sales tools
    • Ad strategy and plan
    • PR strategy and plan
    • Content strategy and plan
    • Trade show or events strategy and plan
    • Social media strategy and plan

Budget and Measurement

Clients and prospects often ask how much they should be spending on marketing. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we do have relevant benchmarks and data to assist with planning. Likewise, when it comes to linking marketing investment to measurable results, today’s marketers have an array of tools – primarily digital – to connect marketing spend to business outcomes. There are hundreds of marketing metrics, and all of them are helpful for different people, projects and goals. The e-book has more detail and examples relevant to budgeting and measurement for A&D marketers.


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In addition to the Marketing Planner e-book (download your copy at left), if you liked this blog you may also be interested in another popular download, a complete listing of aviation, aerospace and defense trade shows and events for 2018. It’s a BDN Aerospace Marketing exclusive; download your copy today.