Tips on How to Build a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is the foundation for your whole business. In creating one, you define your target market and identify your customers, how your business stands in the industry and against competitors, and set goals and outline the strategies to achieve them. Your marketing plan ensures that your efforts and budget spent on marketing are impactful and effective for your business.
Together, we will guide you through all the important elements of building a marketing plan.
Building a Foundation Through Brand Positioning
Creating the foundation to build a marketing plan is two-fold, beginning with positioning and goals. A great way to get started with brand positioning is with introspection. Ask yourself who your company is, why you do what you do, and see how you stand against competitors. Define your business using the 4 P’s of Marketing matrix and SWOT analysis.
Our free resource will help you separate the product, price, place, and promotion on top of gaining a new perspective of your business and help answer questions, such as:
- What your customers want from you.
- How your product/service meets their needs.
- Customer perceptions.
- How your team interacts with customers.
- Business’s guiding principles and values.
The 4 P’s of Marketing helps your whole team cohesively represent the business to ensure that they can cohesively and effectively promote your brand’s unique value proposition no matter who a team member is communicating with.
Creating a Goal-Based Strategy
The next step in building up your marketing plan begins with outlining your strategy with the knowledge you gained from brand positioning. A good strategy is created with clear, realistic, and measurable goals. By assigning deadlines, a marketing budget, and allocating responsibilities, you can ensure accountability to yourself and your team so goals are actively being worked at. The best way to define these parameters for your goals is by establishing SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for creating actionable goals; the letters are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
- Specific: Be as specific as possible when selecting a goal. The narrower and more specific a goal is, it will be easier to achieve it.
- Measurable: Use evidence, metrics, or data to prove progress made and will help you determine when a goal is complete.
- Attainable: The challenging yet reasonable actions you take to accomplish the goal.
- Realistic: Ensuring the goal is worthwhile and aligns with a relevant purpose.
- Time-bound: Specify the deadline to monitor or reevaluate a goal.
Using this goal-setting method increases the likelihood that you will be motivated to achieve the desired results. A goal-based strategy requires regular review and evolution to ensure your business and marketing plans are aligned and headed in the right direction. We suggest referring back to your SMART goals quarterly and making any necessary changes to your strategy to ensure you can meet them.
Defining Your Marketing Plan
Now that your goals and strategies are outlined, now is time to create a marketing plan to support them. When brainstorming ideas, it is important to remember your marketing plans, activities, and tactics add value consistently and detail who on the team will facilitate them. Your content plan may include blogs, ebooks or downloadable resources, podcasts, marketing campaigns, webinars, and workshops. No matter what activities and tactics you choose, be sure to prioritize what is most important to the success of your strategy.
It is also important to align your marketing plan with your sales strategy. Your sales strategy is the goals and tactics guiding your sales team to position your business and its products based on sales processes, positioning, and competitive analysis. By intertwining your marketing plan and sales strategy, your team can maximize reaching, engaging, and converting prospects into customers. Your team will become better informed and empowered to comfortably communicate your business’s full value to your target audience.
Another consideration to remember is that your marketing plan should be flexible. It will change and require consistent tweaking and maintenance throughout the life of your business and extends outside your marketing initiatives. It includes monitoring our competition and staying current with new tactics, trends, and channels your target audience uses to keep a competitive edge.
Approving the Plan
It is a collaborative effort to see a marketing plan come to fruition. The approval process usually includes presenting all the creative and marketing assets from ideation to campaign launch and performance evaluation to stakeholders. The main goal of this presentation is to convince stakeholders to greenlight your marketing plan — and usually, this comes down to its impact on the bottom line.
The main thing to remember for this presentation is that communication is more than just talking – it’s also listening. Ensure you are offering opportunities for questions and feedback to nurture buy-in. The following parts are important to include in your presentation to outline the marketing plan and why stakeholders should support this plan, which include but are not limited to:
- Business goals
- Main marketing purpose and initiatives
- How will they be evaluated
- Total projected hours, budget, impact
- Overall ROI
Keep in mind for the presentation that while the outline above helps give stakeholders the necessary information to understand the marketing plan, it is important to translate how this plan can benefit both the organization and its goals.
Executing the Marketing Plan
Now is finally the time to set your marketing plan into motion.
For a successful marketing plan execution, each element needs its details wholly fleshed out to make the plan come to life and produce results. A creative brief is a great tool to get everyone on the team on the same page and bring all the project details to a single, easy-to-reference spot. It is also the place to designate the responsibilities, deliverables, and timelines of the team members for each portion of the plan. Using a creative brief can ensure that your plan’s details are less overwhelming to the team and allow for more efficient execution.
Let’s Work Together
Ready to build a marketing plan but need help putting together all the pieces of your business? Our team can help finetune all the details and elements necessary to create an effective strategy that will help you meet your business goals. Learn more about our process and work with an experienced team to build a marketing plan by meeting with our knowledgeable Sales team.
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