You’ve developed an innovative, sought-after and appealing product or service that answers consumer needs and fills a much-needed gap! You’re now at the point where you need a solid marketing strategy, specifying your wider brand goals and objectives, and a comprehensive marketing plan to detail the specific activities you will engage in to get you there.
The Executive Summary
Whenever you start a new business, launch a new product, or seek to increase your customer base — you need a marketing strategy. A handy, all-encompassing document that relays your wider brand aims and goals.
Building brand awareness, attracting leads, diversifying your target customer base and improving your competitive advantage are all examples of core marketing goals.
A marketing strategy acts as a roadmap to guide your marketing efforts. To take your business from idea to reality, grow it to the next level, or develop it for other markets, so you can appeal to a broader range of target consumers.
Your marketing strategy will help you to:
- Understand your customers’ needs
- Tailor your products to address these needs
- Discover the language you need to use to communicate effectively with your customers
- Access your competition, consider your competitive advantage and your unique selling points (USPs)
- Establish which distribution and communication channels will give you the best results
- Produce the right content at the right time to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
The ultimate aim of a marketing strategy is to finesse your aims and objectives, provide a clear understanding of your brand and its future direction, and share these with your team.
With your marketing strategy in hand, you and your team will have a clear route to market your business effectively. It also adds weight to the viability of your product/service, and you can then use it to approach investors and lenders for funding.
Marketing strategies are complex and multifaceted. In this series of articles, we will explore each facet in-depth. Together, the blogs in this series will guide you through the process of creating a marketing strategy that will take your business to the next level.
In part 1, we start with the executive summary.
What Is The Executive Summary?
The executive summary is the part of your marketing strategy that outlines the most important findings from your research. It is a summary of the entire marketing strategy. It offers a high-level overview of your overall brand objectives, marketing goals and marketing activities. It’s succinct, yet clear.
Your executive summary is between 1-2 pages long. And you write the executive summary last, after completing all the other sections of your marketing strategy. You may be wondering why we have chosen the executive summary to feature as part 1 of the series; it’s because the executive summary always comes at the beginning of your marketing strategy. It’s designed to stand out, grab the reader’s attention and provide the most vital information on both your short-term and long-term plans.
It outlines your most important goals, actions and research findings conclusions. It allows the reader to understand where your business is heading and how it is going to get there, quickly.
A strong executive summary will:
- Outline your goals
- Reveal the most important findings from each section of your plan and how they relate to achieving your goals
- Use concise language that is easy to follow
- Have a positive and interesting angle
Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary
Tip #1: Start capturing ideas to include in your executive summary from the very beginning of the planning process. As you brainstorm these with your team; get a bolt of inspiration after reading blogs or attending events; or capture an activity, mindset or tool that’s interesting and adopted by a brand you admire — note these down on a blank document.
Anything that relates to your bigger strategy, like key activities, communication channels or ideas to boost promotion, pop under the executive summary heading of the document. These ideas are likely to form the basis of your entire marketing strategy.
Tip #2: A marketing strategy is a dynamic document. Therefore, it changes as your brand, product and/or services, market and competitors change. Your executive summary should reflect this by housing any key updates or revisions to its previous version.
Many brands are going through this process now as they navigate through the changes to their business amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s likely that the executive summary and wider marketing strategy will once again need to be modified to navigate through the post-Covid business landscape.
Tip #3: Think of your executive summary as the blurb of a book. Briefly explain high-level critical information in the form of key takeaways for each of the main headings of the marketing strategy. A marketing strategy is often a long, in-depth and multifaceted document. Having a clear and concise summary of these takeaways enables the reader to devour the most important information quickly.
What Should You Include in the Executive Summary?
The executive summary for your marketing strategy must show prospective readers the main points of your brand’s story, marketing strategy, as well as information about the wider marketplace, product and/or services and your business’s direction.
Your executive summary should include the following information:
A description of your business and the people involved in your team
Here, it’s all about telling your story. Provide a short overview of the history of your brand, including the size of its current customer base (if there is one), its structure, sales figures, along with the skillsets/expertise of the people involved and their relevance in helping you achieve your goals.
Include other professionals involved with the operation too, such as your suppliers, accountants and marketing experts.
A description of the key market trends and the products/services you are marketing
Here, you are delving into your marketplace and specific industry sectors to explore the core trends shaping and impacting them. What factors are influencing their evolution? How are they innovating? Who is listening and engaging?
Describe the product or services clearly and concisely. Outline their unique selling proposition (USPs). These highlight the reason/s people will buy your product or service over your competitors’ offering.
A description of your customer base, where you will find them, and how you will target them via specific marketing activities to reach your goals
Describe the characteristics of your target audience/s and how you identified these.
Explain where you will find them and how you will target them. Note your promotional strategy, i.e. the communication channels and implementation of software or specialists to support your marketing activities and materials, along with the main objectives of these and their associated timelines.
Detail what the core marketing priorities are and specify whether these relate to key business activities, such as the launch of a new product/service or entry into a new marketplace. Outline your distribution strategy, explaining how you will deliver the product or service (e.g., online through downloadable content or conference calls, by post for a physical product or in-person when offering specific types of service).
A summary of the financial planning and projections of the project to manage budgets
Support both short-term and long-term marketing activities with clearly defined financial information. This should outline the associated budget attached to each activity and the metrics used to measure its success.
A summary of the overall objectives of the project and the strategies you will employ to achieve them.
This is effectively an overview of the executive summary. As succinctly as possible, explain your overall objectives and the strategies you will use to achieve these.
Extra tip: The executive summary should also include any other main takeaways from the subject headings contained within the marketing strategy. For example, if under your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis section, you have recently trained your team on how to use a new piece of technology, this is now a USP that differentiates you from your competitors. House this in the executive summary.
The executive summary of your marketing strategy provides a concise overview of the entire marketing actions of your brand. It provides you and your team with a roadmap for executing the strategy. It also provides investors with a way to easily evaluate the project and quickly decide if it’s worth their investment.
Let’s look at your wider marketing strategy. After you’ve started brainstorming your executive summary, we’re going to look at the bigger picture, which includes: your marketplace, your target audiences and buyer personas, your strengths and weaknesses, your competitors, your products and services, and your specific marketing activities.
Check out the rest of our Ultimate Marketing strategy series for guidance, insights and tips:
- Part 2: Market Research
- Part 3: Target Market
- Part 4: Competitor Research
- Part 5: Unique Selling Points (USPs)
- Part 6: Positioning and Pricing
- Part 7: Marketing Promotion and Distribution
- Part 8: Budget: Offers and Giveaways
- Part 9: Marketing Goals and Conversions
- Part 10: Marketing Metrics: Measuring, Modifying and Monitoring