Your must-haves for marketing — a checklist

Core values. Key messages. Positioning statements. Logo usage. These are just a few of the elements you need to have in place in order to support a strong marketing program. There are many more (read on for the full checklist) but because of how they’re packaged it can be confusing to know whether or not you have all the pieces.

clearing up the confusion

While developing marketing plans, messaging platforms and branding guides for clients lately, it has dawned on me that these are just “containers” for the many individual marketing elements. And depending on who develops these plans, platforms and guides, they will more than likely contain different elements. So when a client tells me they already have a marketing plan, messaging platform or branding guide, it’s important for me to know what elements are included in their interpretation of these containers to ensure we’re not missing any critical components.

To put an end to this confusion, I’ve put together a checklist of key marketing elements, and noted in which containers – marketing plans [MKT], messaging platforms [MSG] and branding guides [BRD] – these elements typically appear.

checklist: key marketing elements

the following might show up in a variety of containers

______    brand essence
the brand promise; vision, mission [MSG BRD]

______    core values
what you stand for—three to five values, each a single word or phrase [MKT MSG BRD]

______    unique value proposition
a broad, overarching promise; functional and emotional benefits; outcome of business strategy [MKT MSG BRD]

______    positioning
what distinguishes you from competitors; a subset of the value proposition targeted to specific audiences or personas [MKT MSG BRD]

______    key messages
what is most important for target audiences to know/understand about you; three messages max [MKT MSG BRD]

______    tagline
brief and memorable; reinforces positioning [MKT MSG BRD]

______    copy blocks
blocks of copy in varying lengths (50 words, 75 words, 100 words, for example) that provide a snapshot of who you are and can be used consistently across a variety of applications [MKT MSG BRD]

the following are usually in the branding guide [BRD]

______    color palette
primary and often secondary color palettes to be used across all marketing and communications applications

______    logo usage
defines logo colors for CMYK, RGB and other color modes; demonstrates proper logo usage and clear space requirements

______    typography
specifies the fonts to use for headers, subheads and body copy; often includes alternate fonts for digital applications

the following are usually in the marketing plan [MKT]

______    marketing goals
specific and measurable success indicators over a set timeframe

______    known challenges
things you’re aware of that could stand in the way of your goals

______    marketing budget
the dollar amount allocated for marketing expenses over a set timeframe

______    target audience/personas
identified demographic groups to be targeted

______    top-level strategy
high-level approach to how goals will be met

______    tactics
specific vehicles (and sometimes schedules) for reaching identified target audiences

How does your checklist check out?

If you’re missing any of these key elements and think it may be holding you back from reaching your goals, let’s talk. Each organization is different, and so are its needs. That’s why I take a customized approach with each client to help you fill in the blanks.

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