Project recap: Making a marketing plan

Post by Alan Maynard

At the end of last fall’s JOMC 720: “Strategic Communication” class, I submitted a proposed marketing plan designed to assist Southern lifestyle magazine Garden & Gun, LLC with the promotion of any future video content. The project was meant to provide a road map for the planning and implementation of strategies meant to further Garden & Gun’s digital video presence on the Web, mainly through content hubs on the company’s website, iPad app and YouTube channel. Tactics that utilized a combination of paid, owned and earned media described in detail how to:

• Encourage existing subscribers to consume new G&G video content
• Drive the magazine’s social media following to new G&G video content
• Attract new, non-followers to new G&G video content and to the brand

The marketing plan aspired to provide a foundation for a central communicating campaign idea: Garden & Gun is the new home for quality video content that features best of the South.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Garden & Gun, LLC is a nationally syndicated magazine focused on Southern lifestyle and culture. The publication highlights some of the South's best food, art, literature and travel destinations. Since its launch in 200, G&G has received numerous awards, including the 2015 American Society of Magazine Editors award in General Excellence. The Charleston, South Carolina-based mag also hosts an impressive iPad app that showcases an engaging digital version of every issue. CEO Rebecca Darwin is a UNC alumnus, and she spoke at the MJ-school’s 2014 homecoming.

With the modern media landscape changing rapidly, many newspapers and magazines are exploring ways to diversify their content and revenues with ventures into digital media markets. The plan suggested that G&G should follow the lead of other print publications and use its expertise in Southern society and culture to generate quality video content that would help the brand further establish a popular and lucrative digital footprint.

The marketing plan project was an excellent exercise in preparing communication materials for clients in the real world. I conducted a situation analysis that checked the pulse of the industry, and assessed how the brand and its competitors were fairing recently. A target audience was identified and described in detail, and marketing objectives were established. The assignment allowed me ponder over which digital tactics among those now available would be most suitable for the G&G brand, and provided a platform for me to justify the reasoning behind those chosen. I wrote up a timeline for the plan’s implementation, and described methods for monitoring and evaluating the success of the plan’s objectives.

As a video editor, I’ve seen that many of my clients—as well as my current employer—have begun to explore digital video, but many lack direction on how best to promote content. As more and more brands consider adding digital video to their repertoire, the marketing plan assignment will likely serve as a tangible guide I can share with clients to help them find success in the digital video realm.

Alan Maynard is an editor/colorist at Trailblazer Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a second-year student in the MATC program.
The images above are screen shots from Alan's JOMC 720 final project.