I’ve had many conversations about creating industrial marketing plans that start something like this, “Can you create an industrial marketing plan for us?”
My answer: “Of course I can.”
However, I find there is a disconnect in many of these conversations with manufacturers and engineering companies. Their assumption is that I should be able to tell them exactly what they should do to generate more leads and increase sales because I must know some standard or secret formula. Needless to say, they also expect it to be quick and cheap.
Industrial marketing plans need strategy first
Plans and strategy are distinctly different but interconnected. You can’t have one without the other. Here’s a famous quote that address this point.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” —Sun Tzu.
Quotes aside, here is some hardcore data to back that up.
“41% of manufacturing marketers report their organization has a documented content marketing strategy, up from 21% last year.” (Source: Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020).
Industrial marketing planning vs strategy
Let’s get the distinction(s) out of the way first. I’ll try to summarize them in a short sentence for each one.
Strategy is about answering the Who and the Why questions.
Planning is about answering the What and the How questions.
In strategy, you want to ask questions that lead to you understanding who you will be marketing to, their challenges that you can address and your expectations of why your target audience will respond to your content and messaging.
In a marketing plan, you want to focus on what steps (tactics) you want to take to achieve your goals, what it will cost (budget) to implement the plan, how you will execute the tasks (in-house vs. outsource) and what you will track (KPIs) to measure success.
It should be clear by now that your strategy really should shape your plan. You can’t just jump into tactics without a strategy in place. You can choose to call it a strategic plan and make it matter of semantics if you like.
How much does it cost to create industrial marketing plans?
Of course, you want to know the cost, after all we live in the real world (May be drastically changed after the pandemic). I’m not trying to be evasive here, but it really is a wide range depending on what your needs are and whether you need an overarching industrial marketing plan or a plan for a specific marketing strategy (a website redesign plan or an industrial content marketing plan).
I have created simple industrial marketing plans for $3,500 and at the other end of the range, as much as $15,000.
Comprehensive industrial marketing plans could include:
- Assessing current programs
- Website, SEO, and content audit
- Surveys and interviewing customers
- Developing buyer personas
- Creating a vetted and documented strategy
- Identifying audience challenges and issues
- Developing a plan of action with target dates
- Building an editorial calendar
- Identifying in-house resources, team members and SMEs
- Assigning tasks and timelines
- Evaluating and implementing marketing technology
- Identifying KPIs and measurement tools
On the other hand, you may feel confident about creating your own industrial marketing plan. You just want an outside expert as a trusted partner to provide validation, expertise, and coach you through some of the tough spots. A fixed term and fixed price consulting engagement may work very well for you in that case.
My suggestion is to start with an initial conversation with your team or outside consultant to determine a broad list of needs and expectations. That is good starting point, especially if you are going to need outside help.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation where I ask you a series of questions to determine your needs, targets, challenges, and expectations. I can probably give you a rough estimate of how much it would cost for me to create your industrial marketing plan.