Build A Marketing Plan to Achieve Your Mission

By Kaydee Brown • April 5, 2023

Building a marketing plan can feel overwhelming. But like any other large scale project, beginning with an outline can help you get started. From here, you begin to build a strategy and align the marketing goals to achieve your mission. Without clear definition, you can find yourself and your team focused on tactics that may not align with your organizational mission.  

Before we dive into the latest marketing tactics and how you might include those within your plan, we recommend asking yourself these four questions: 

  • How is your marketing team supporting member engagement and your association’s overall growth objectives? 
  • Does your team feel challenged to get the word out about how the association is transforming and leading the industry? 
  • Is your association getting enough visitors to – and engagement through – your website and content assets? 
  • What feedback or engagement is the association getting through social media channels? 

Building the Plan 

You can build a great marketing plan – but is it reaching AND resonating with your audiences? Beyond the demographics and job titles, where do they consume information? Before you launch into surveys and research projects – which can be expensive and time consuming – dig into your organizational data and you will find a lot of relevant audience information. Membership information, Google Analytics and social media analytics are great places to start. You can only be as strategic as your data, so becoming intimately familiar with what you have (and how much you trust it) is important when you are working on marketing strategy.  

Once you familiarize yourself with your segmenting capabilities and feel confident in your data, think about how you can align your plan accordingly. 

Consider options like: 

  • Unique advertising opportunities – are there any unique opportunities to your industry and membership that can help your association stand out? 
  • Account-based marketing. 
  • Leveraging non-member attendee lists from events, job seekers, employers, to spread your message to a wider audience. 
  • Utilizing social media advertising platforms such as LinkedIn targeted lists. 

Once you’ve secured your audience, set goals, outlined strategy and familiarize yourself with your data, it’s time to plan your health check. The purpose of this is to make sure you have the right efforts within the plan to meet all the different goals you’ve outlined amongst your team’s and the association. 

  • Are our goals aligned?  
  • Who is going to be responsible for what?  
  • Do we have enough bandwidth or do we need to hire more staff, reach out to volunteers or consider outsourcing the work to a partner?  
  • What does our budget look like and how are we tracking against it? 

This exercise is not meant to be a one-and-done effort. You should decide on a pre-determined timeline of when you are going to re-evaluate all these questions. Planned health checks are your opportunity to see how your strategies are tracking against your goals and gives you a chance to see if you need to consider any pivots to your future plans. 


We’ve all heard the saying, “collaboration is key”, and that could not be more true when it comes to marketing strategy and goals. Once you have fine-tuned your plan and feel that it is ready to be launched in the world, it is time to present it to other departments, committees and leadership team members. View this part of the process as an opportunity to collect feedback across other areas of the association, and don’t take it personally when it leads you back to the plan for final revisions. The purpose here is to collaborate with other areas outside of your department to ensure everyone is set up for success. 

Now is the time to show your executive team the “why” behind your plan. Explain how the components of your strategy align to the association’s greater strategic mission and goals. This is the time to demonstrate how your individual initiatives throughout the year will support those goals and how you will show the success of these efforts by using some of the measurable objectives we mentioned earlier. This is where data is key – your plan must be supported with the data points you collected during your planning process. We know that so much of our marketing efforts can be difficult to quantify – but utilizing data helps us paint a clearer picture of our efforts, successes and areas for growth. 

Marketing plans are not built in stone – they are fluid and require continuous iteration. Now that you’ve built a plan and the team is executing, schedule a realistic time to evaluate your efforts and adjust accordingly.  

  • Do you still have the bandwidth to achieve your goals? 
  • Are there holes that you have noticed over time? 
  • Have you achieved any of the goals yet? 
  • Is something not working, and you need to pivot? 

Ideally you have all the resources necessary to execute an effective marketing plan. However, that’s not always realistic – particularly with tightening budgets and teams. Listen to our recent webinar, Association Marketing: Expert Strategies to Help Meet Your Goals, for more tips and tricks on how to align your association marketing plan to meet your goals in 2023 and beyond.  

About The Author

Kaydee Brown is the senior marketing manager at Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].