Let’s talk about types of marketing plans. Before we delve in, we have to be clear on the fact that marketing plans are meant to guide organizations strategically as they implement, execute, and monitor their marketing strategy throughout a determined period of time. Plans can be either strategic – encompassing a longer time span and meant to achieve higher level goals, or they can be tactical – short and sweet with a more immediate goal.

One of my favorite examples of a strategic marketing plan is Sephora’s “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign. My professional career has been focused on advocating for social justice and inclusion of all individuals in the higher education setting, but it has trickled into everything I do in my personal life. It was no surprise that when I saw the story of blind Paralympic swimmer, Anastasia, I immediately wanted to buy makeup – not because it looked fantastic on her (although it did), but because Sephora captured how her confidence and fearlessness radiated through her and I could relate to her adversity.

Sephora’s campaign stands out in that it challenges traditional beauty standards by sharing stories of individuals who are beautiful because of the “flaws” society believes they possess. What makes this marketing plan strategic is that it has turned “We Belong to Something Beautiful” into the company’s manifesto, making it a long-term strategy. This has proven to be an overall successful strategy as it has resulted in education and awareness, with many organizations such as the NAACP, Center for Urban Families, and National Cares Mentoring Movement joining the movement and allowing Sephora to fulfill their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Similarly, the Always brand tried to increase awareness of confidence issues being faced by girls during puberty, with the introduction of the #LikeAGirl campaign. A simple public service announcement, the video ad, featuring the misconceptions of doing things “like a girl” went viral in 2014, exceeding the company’s 2 million viewer goal by 74 million views, with 4.5 billion global media impressions, according to PR Week. With a 195% increase in Twitter followers, the company leveraged their new audience to continue this campaign beyond their original tactical strategy, with the inclusion of education and engagement resources on their website.

Both of these companies managed to captivate audiences with very little but a message, and effectively used social media to make that message go viral in a way that has delivered long-term results and brought added value to their organizations. 

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