The Virtual CMO Masterclass Series

In this FREE Masterclass Series of The Virtual CMO podcast, we walk through the steps needed and strategies behind building a strategic marketing plan for your business.

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Why Build a Strategic Marketing Plan for Your Business?

Another plan? I hear you. It can be frustrating when so much time seems to be spent on planning and preparation. Budget approvals, staffing requests, contracts, etc can all chew up time that often feels better spent on the actual tasks of marketing. After all, blogs don't write themselves and social media campaigns can't run without content.

All fair points but the truth remains, marketing is most effective when the tactics that get executed are carefully coordinated and linked together. When one activity builds on the next. When the messages are consistent across channels and clearly articulate the value that your product or service delivers. This is why a written marketing plan is so important to your business and why an investment of time of up front can dramatically increase the likelihood of success in the months to follow.

The goal of a strategic marketing plan is to first get a baseline understanding of your target market and ideal customer profile. From there, you can begin crafting a story and marketing messages that clearly articulate your competitive differentiators and how your product or solution solves a potential customer's pain points. Once you understand where your prospects are most likely to be found, you can start planning what content needs to be developed to attract their attention. What channels will you use? Who will create the content? What will it cost? All of these questions get answered as you go through the process of creating your plan. Once completed, you'll have a document that clearly defines your objectives and the tools needed to effectively achieve them and grow your business. 

You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint and you don't want to run your marketing program without a strategic marketing plan!

Without a Plan, Marketing Tactics Are Disconnected and Ineffective

The biggest cause of marketing failure or ineffectiveness are programs that run in isolation or are inconsistent in their implementation. You'll get exponentially better results when tactics work together in support of a common objective. 

A Strategic Marketing Plan Helps Connect Tactics to the Buyer's Journey

Potential buyers often require specific information at distinct stages of their buyer's journey. One goal of a strategic marketing plan is to understand that journey and what kinds of content are required at each stage. Rather than continuing to build content to support a single stage, it helps you take a broader look and build your marketing plan and content strategy around support for each stage in order to help prospects move towards closure.

Hosted By: Eric Dickmann

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a CMO On Demand for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies and bring innovative products to the market.

Featured Guest Presenters

Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim is an entrepreneur/business owner with expertise in marketing and business growth. He started Rialto Marketing in 2013 and has been helping service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress.

Tim Fitzpatrick

President - Rialto Marketing

Kevin Mako

Kevin is the Founder and President of MAKO Design + Invent, the pioneer firm for providing world-class end-to-end physical consumer product development tailored to inventors, product startups, and small manufacturers.

Kevin Mako

Founder and President of MAKO Design + Invent

Michael Solomon

Michael is a Professor of Marketing at the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, a sought-after keynote speaker, author, and an industry consultant.

Michael Solomon

Author and Professor at the

Haub School of Business

Greg Rosner

Greg is the Founder of PitchKitchen.com, a sales enablement agency based in New York whose mission is to fix bad sales messages, virtual presentations, and home pages that make themselves the hero of the story instead of their customer. 

Greg Rosner

Founder and CEO of Pitchkithcen

Michael Fleischner

Michael is an entrepreneur, marketer, author, podcast host, and founder of Big Fin SEO, a search engine optimization and digital marketing agency.

Michael Fleischner

Founder and President of

Big Fin SEO

Alex Desnoyers

Alex is a Channel Consultant for HubSpot Solution's Partners. HubSpot's Solution's Partners are an integral part of the HubSpot ecosystem. They work closely together to strategize and build scalable solutions to help HubSpot's customers grow better.

Alex Desnoyers

channel consultant at


Ed Garry

Ed is an experienced industry veteran in financial services and consulting helping clients design and implement customer relationship management solutions and analytical platforms.

Ed Garry

senior director at

Huron Consulting

Jonathan Baldock

Jonathan is a social media marketing expert. With 10 years of experience at LinkedIn, he is highly skilled in social sharing best practices. Utilizing earned media as a results-focused evergreen channel, Jonathan is an expert in social media recruitment, sales, and marketing strategies.

Jonathan Baldock

Advisor at

Social HP

Hamlet Azarian

Hamlet works with Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A venture-backed startups as a Senior Growth Adviser. In this role, he develops playbooks, hires and trains the marketing and growth teams, and facilitates strategic execution.

Michael Fleischner

Founder at

The Retail Merchant Group

Tracy Russ

Tracy is an experienced strategic communications executive, public relations leader, and public engagement expert focused on communications, design, public relations, civic engagement, and brand development

Tracy Russ

Creator and Managing Director at SOLID

Melissa Forziat

Melissa is a Southern California-based marketer, speaker, consultant, and author. She teaches small businesses how to market on a budget and helps them execute their marketing strategies, in addition to working with business organizations to train their trainers. 

Melissa Forziat

Principal at

Melissa Forziat Events

Ben Amos

Ben has over 15 years of experience in the film and media industry and is also Founder and Creative Director of Innovate Media, a video production and online video strategy agency operating from Queensland, Australia.

Ben Amos

Founder at

Engage Video Marketing

Masterclass Episodes

15 Steps to Build an Effective Strategic Marketing Process

Part 01: 15 Steps to Build an Effective Strategic Marketing Process

with Eric Dickmann, Founder and CMO of The Five Echelon Group

Understand the importance of building out a strategic marketing plan process to gather data, define your objectives, clarify your timelines, narrow your scope, and begin the process of selecting specific tactics and channels as well as the underlying budget required to execute a successful marketing plan.

How to Identify Your Target Market and Ideal Customer Profile

Part 02: How to Identify Your Target Market and Ideal Customer Profile

with guest Tim Fitzpatrick, President of Rialto Marketing

Marketing too broadly is expensive and inefficient. To start, you first need to clearly identify your niche or target market. From there, it's important to understand your ideal customer profile. Who are they? What's important to them? Where can you reach them? Etc.

The Importance of Product Market Fit and Competitive Differentiation

Part 03: The Importance of Product Market Fit and Competitive Differentiation

with guest Kevin Mako, Founder and President of MAKO Design + Invent

There are few break-through products out there. Most often, products are an incremental improvement over something that exists. The key is understanding where a product fits into the marketplace and how it can be differentiated from the competition.

Building a Brand Story That Resonates with Your Ideal Customer

Part 04: Building a Brand Story That Resonates with Your Ideal Customer

with guest Michael Solomon, Author and Professor of Marketing at the Haub School of Business

Your brand is more than just your products or services. It's how you do business, what you value, and how you interact with your customers. Building a brand story that both resonates, and builds trust with potential customers is a critical aspect of any strategic marketing plan.

Dominate the Competition with a Compelling 3-to-5 Word Marketing Message

Part 05: Dominate the Competition with a Compelling 3-to-5 Word Marketing Message

with guest Greg Rosner, Founder of Pitch Kitchen

Once your brand story is crafted, you need to distill down a compelling message you can take to the marketplace. Attention spans are short and your value needs to be clearly articulated in your messaging. Building messages that address pain points and create a desire are important aspects of your content strategy.

How to Expand Your Team with Digital Freelancers and Content Creators

Part 06: How to Expand Your Team with Digital Freelancers and Content Creators

with guest Michael Fleischner, Founder of Big Fin SEO

It's not always easy to get things done with the team you have on hand. Luckily, digital freelancers and content creators can augment internal staff and help you scale your marketing team. It has never been easier to bring in marketing expertise and let skilled professionals improve the quality of your marketing output.

Masterclass EP07

Part 07: How to Use Marketing Automation to Increase Campaign Effectiveness

with guest Alex Desnoyers, Channel Consultant at HubSpot

Once you start to get your content completed and campaigns running, you'll want to make sure to have a marketing automation platform in place. These tools allow you to automate marketing functions and provide a wealth of data to help you track to the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

Masterclass EP08

Part 08: The Need for Customer Relationship Management and Analytics in Your Business

with guest Ed Garry, Senior Director at Huron Consulting Group

While marketing automation can help streamline the execution of campaigns, a customer relationship management platform provides a centralized hub for customer data and allows organizations to have a 360 degree view of customer interactions from marketing, sales, and service. These tools help you keep and expand customer relationship while improving internal processes.

Masterclass Episode 9

Part 09: How to Use Social Media Marketing to Amplify Your Reach

with guest Jonathan Baldock, Advisor at Social HP

Whether your company is in the B2B or B2C space, social media should be an important part of your strategic marketing plan. Communicating your value proposition and pushing it out over the right social media platforms to reach your target market is an inexpensive way to increase brand awareness and amplify your reach. 

Masterclass Episode 10

Part 10: Advertising, Content, and SEO for Growing Inbound Marketing

with guest Hamlet Azarian, Founder at The Retail Merchant Group

Inbounding marketing is the process of creating content that draws prospects to your company. Whether that's through content marketing, paid advertising, or search engine optimization (SEO) to drive organic traffic, having a strategy to draw in new prospects is critical to the success of your marketing strategy.

Masterclass Episode 11

Part 11: Building an Impactful PR and Communications Strategy

with guest Tracy Russ, Creator and Managing Director at SOLID

Raising awareness of your products, services, and brand can be helped by implementing a comprehensive Public Relations (PR) and communications strategy. Working with members of the press, bloggers, podcasters, and influencers, a successful strategy can help engage these authoritative external resources to drive awareness and build credibility.

Masterclass Episode 12

Part 12: List Building Strategy and Mastering Email Communications

with guest Matt Rouse, Co-Founder at Hook SEO

Email is an important asset in your marketing toolkit. Whether your contacting prospects to educate them about your products and services, or emailing existing customers to keep them engaged with your brand, email is low-cost tool with a broad reach. Learning to capture lead information, build and segment lists, and craft compelling email communications is an essential part of every marketing plan.

Masterclass Episode 13

Part 13: How to Build and Maximize Your Marketing Budget

with guest Melissa Forzait, Principal at Melissa Forzait Events

Marketing is a cost center and an expense that needs to be managed. When you spend money effectively, marketing can have a tremendous impact on your business. But it's easy to get carried away and spend money on tools and tactics that add little value. Learning how to maximize you limited marketing budget dollars is an important aspect of building your strategic marketing plan.

Masterclass Episode 14

Part 14: Using Video Marketing to Communicate Your Brand Story

with guest Ben Amos, Founder at Engage Video Marketing

Video is everywhere. On your website, on social media, in your email communications, it's an important part of your overall marketing strategy. But it takes time and effort to create video content that stays on-brand and effectively communicates your market messages. Learn how to effectively incorporate video into all aspects of your marketing strategy and win big across your digital channels.

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