From the very start, businesses should work to develop a marketing plan. Paper distributors are no exception. They have to convince consumers about paper products and help them understand the benefits of choosing them over digital. Many have resorted to shunning paper for their smartphones or personal devices, but it still has its place in the world. 

The first step to executing a marketing plan is to create one. Paper distributors have to put time aside and use all resources available to make it good. 

Here are four tips for making a fantastic advertising strategy: 

1. Understand where the company is at and what it wants
Entrepreneur recommended defining business goals and taking a look at the current market. The paper industry is facing digital competitors. That will be a large consideration for paper distributors' marketing plans. They need to understand their product, its benefits and how target audiences will react to certain marketing tactics.

Once companies understand their market they can comprehend what competitors are selling, according to Entrepreneur. It's all about offering something of better value. Even though the paper industry may never overcome the digital age, it's not going away entirely. The paper industry can work with that idea and find better ways to sell to customers.

2. Have an exit strategy
It might not seem necessary at first, but The Huffington Post suggested having an exit strategy for any marketing plan. The source noted that business owners typically have an end goal for their companies – selling them. Whether the organizations are sold to other enterprises or another person, entrepreneurs focus on new ways to entice consumers and boost sales, all to ensure the business is successful enough to sell in the end. 

Marketing plans also need exit strategies. The Huffington Post described these as end-goals for what plans should accomplish. These strategies should not be vague and have to hone in on how the marketing tactics should change statistics and sales. There has to be a vision for what advertising plan is going to change in a company. 

3. Be creative and think outside the box
Business 2 Community contributor Tony Adragna suggested finding interesting story angles for marketing plans. These strategies have to answer questions consumers are asking, according to the source, and do it in a unique and interesting way. Becoming a leader in the paper industry takes innovation, and distributors need to find unique angles to present to their audience. 

The source recommended telling a story, whether on a blog or through social media posts. Stories help keep audiences interested and informed and also display company values in a creative manner. Adragna added that being unique means showing personality through a particular writing style and creating a voice that stands out. 

4. Strategize different marketing communication channels
The cores of marketing plans are the ways businesses are going to connect with customers. Communication resources such as social media, pamphlets and email should all be considered. The paper industry has the upper hand, as companies in this sector can connect with customers by marketing with their products. Paper advertisements stand out more among the digital competition, as it's hard to ignore them. Emails and social media are easy to ignore, either by trashing messages or scrolling past. But consumers have to touch paper products to get rid of them, which makes them more likely to read those types of advertisements. 

Entrepreneur recommended outlining primary market strategies and then having a subsection of tactics that will be used for any further opportunities. These can be determined by their effectiveness for warm and cold prospects. The source suggested using email to contact warm prospects and print advertising for cold prospects.