If you're a business owner, then you know that marketing is key to your success. But what is a marketing plan, and why does it work?
A marketing plan is a document that outlines your overall marketing strategy. It includes your goals, the strategies you'll use to achieve those goals and the budget you'll need to execute the plan.
Marketing plans are important because they help you stay organized and focused on your marketing goals. They also allow you to track your progress and make adjustments as needed. So if you're looking to improve your marketing results, be sure to create a marketing plan!
Every company in the world requires an effective and efficient marketing plan to increase brand awareness and attract new customers to its products and services. It might be more difficult to create a good marketing strategy if you've never been involved in one.
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines the specific actions you will take to achieve your marketing goals. It includes everything from your marketing strategy and objectives to your target market and budget.
A marketing strategy, on the other hand, is a high-level overview of the steps you will take to reach your target market and achieve your marketing goals.
While a marketing plan spells out the specifics of your marketing efforts, a marketing strategy provides a more general outline.
Typically, you will develop your marketing strategy first, and then create a marketing plan that details how you will execute that strategy.
However, it is also possible to develop a marketing plan without a clear marketing strategy.
In this case, you would need to start by developing your goals, target market, and budget. Once you have these details in place, you can begin to create your marketing plan.
What Does a Strategic Marketing Plan Look Like?
There aren't many strict guidelines for how a marketing plan should seem, and examples of marketing planning may range greatly in format, from word documents to slide decks and everything in between.
There is a lot to cover in a corporate marketing plan, and the most successful marketing plans take into account every component of the marketing flow, from a deep grasp of your consumer personas to a clear-cut marketing budget and much more.
You must undertake the following four things in order to develop a successful marketing strategy:
- Identify your target market (i.e., who are your customers?).
- Determine ways to persuade them to purchase or keep purchasing your goods or services.
- Assess your rivals and what they are doing to accomplish similar goals.
- Consider the methods for evaluating the outcomes of your marketing initiatives and campaigns.
The Seven P’s of Marketing
Marketing is an art, a science and an engineering feat all wrapped into one. The Seven P’s of Marketing is the perfect framework to help you craft your marketing strategy.
The seven "Ps" of marketing are typically included in the plans that marketing teams prepare. These were originally the "Four Ps," but they have now been broadened to help firms create more thorough strategies.
What is being sold? What is being offered? What is the benefit of buying this product or service? It’s important to know what you are selling as well as how it differs from competitors’ offerings. Product differentiation should be based on customer needs, not on company needs.
You must characterise the "product" in detail, highlighting its significance and the impact it will have on potential consumers' lives.
The "product's" unique selling proposition (USP) should be included as well.
Naturally, the price you're charging for the "product" and any applicable promotional discounts should be included in the "pricing" column.
What is the price of the product or service? How much does it cost? The price of your product or service should be competitively priced and in line with what your target market expects to pay for it. Your business has to make enough profit to stay in business.
You should also include details on profit margins, a marketing budget, supply and demand, and anything else that can have an impact on your pricing plan.
You should make sure to include this in your pricing approach regardless of whether you have a huge budget or are searching for low-cost marketing choices.
Where will the product or service be sold? This includes both physical location (such as store name and address) and virtual location (such as website name and address).
The place where you sell your product or service may include a combination of online and offline retail locations, depending on what makes sense for your business model. You may also consider a mix of wholesale and retail sales as part of your marketing plan.
Promotion is the act of informing people about a product or service and encouraging them to buy it
How will customers find out about your product or service? Promotional activities include advertising such as print, radio and television ads; social media marketing such as Facebook and Twitter ads; direct mail campaigns; trade shows; websites
The most important aspect of marketing is the people who are involved in the process. If you are going to be successful in any type of business, you need to have great people on your team.
People are what make a company stand out from its competitors; they are the ones who interact with customers and provide them with a great experience. If you have a good team, you will be able to provide exceptional service to your customers and make more sales.
Your marketing strategy's "process" focuses on the how of the job. How do you organize yourself internally to get things done efficiently in order to achieve specific goals and objectives?
This needs to include the further research that your marketing team has to conduct, the distribution channels you'll be utilising, the frequency of your postings, etc.
Even a timeframe for success with measurable SMART objectives that you can monitor throughout your campaigns may be included.
- Physical Evidence
Physical evidence is the last "P," and it should include all the information you gathered before creating your marketing strategy.
A SWOT analysis, details on how you developed your buyer personas, and any other pertinent "proof" to support your plan should be included.
In actuality, it is the purpose of the marketing strategy. Meaning, why should this strategy be implemented?
If any research is lacking, you should include that fact along with where the missing research will be done in the subgroup marketing tactics.
Marketing Plan Steps
But how should you go about making such a plan for your marketing strategies? Here are some marketing plan steps that you can follow to help you establish an effective plan for your next marketing campaign.
Step 1: Make a List of Your Goals
Writing an executive summary outlining your company's vision and broad objectives should be your first step in creating your plan.
To do this, you must have a well-defined mission statement that outlines the primary functions, purposes, and objectives of your brand.
When you have a clear understanding of your company's goal, you can utilise it to guide your marketing efforts and make sure that every element of your brand is in sync.
Even while setting goals may not be the first thing you do when creating your marketing strategy, doing it at the top of the final document sets the tone for everything that follows.
Step 2: Describe Your Research
Your plan will be built on research, which should include:
- Competitive Analysis - Examine what your rivals are doing and how it can impact your strategy.
- SWOT Analysis - This is a typical procedure for any firm and involves analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your company.
- Your buyer personas - These will outline the characteristics of both the customers you want to attract and those you want to steer clear of.
- Your Buyers' Purchase Cycle - Converting leads requires an understanding of how, when, where, and why your target market makes purchases.
Step 3: Identify Your Marketing Spending Budget
Writing a marketing strategy, like everything else, entails making sure your expenditures are covered.
Any marketing plan proposal must include a pricing strategy as well as a clear budget that details where and how much money may be spent.
However, this shouldn't only cover a marketing plan for things like paid advertising. Additionally, you may use this part to include any other expenses that may arise throughout your campaigns, such as freelancers, sponsorships, or other charges.
Step 4: Specify KPIs and Measurement Techniques
A solid plan proposal should have SMART objectives and KPIs that you can use to measure your success, just like a roadmap would have signposts you can use to monitor your progress to the end destination.
The number of followers you're acquiring on social media, likes on a post, and website visitors with organic page views are a few examples of marketing strategy KPIs.
You may use these distinct, numerical markings to keep track of your advancement.
Establishing a baseline to compare the business at the beginning of the campaign with how your advertising has aided the company's growth and/or achievement of its goals is also crucial when deciding on your KPIs and objectives.
To make sure that your plans are producing positive outcomes and to change them if they are not, measurement should be done before, through, and after — throughout the year, on a monthly or even weekly basis.
Step 5: Describe Your Overall Strategy and Tactical Plans
Your ideas and tactics take on life when you have tactical plans and calendars.
For the year, try concentrating on 4 or 5 key techniques and developing your execution strategies around them.
Remember that your strategies could or might not be the same as your objectives.
If your objectives are broad (for example, to boost traffic by 50%), your approach will focus more on how to achieve that outcome and will be, as the name suggests, more tactical.
Step 6: Describe Your Plan
It's time to describe the plan once you have a firm grasp of the situation and an understanding of your target audience.
During this phase, you'll need to think about the following:
Knowing Your USP (unique selling proposition) is important, as is building a strong brand, having an optimised website, producing quality content, defining your distribution channels (email, social media, etc.), and developing an SEO strategy.
Step 7: Set Your Content Efforts and Strategy in Place
Content is the lifeblood of your marketing plan. It's what keeps people interested, engaged, and coming back for more. But it can be tricky to create content that's both engaging and effective for your business.
When it comes to content strategy, you should have a clear idea of what kinds of content will work best for your business. For example, if you're an eCommerce company, you might want to focus on blog posts about tips for shopping online or other consumer-related topics. If you sell products to businesses, then you might want to focus on case studies and industry data reports.
Whatever type of content you're creating, it needs to align with your business goals and target audience. If you're trying to reach millennial shoppers, then creating videos with young people talking about their experiences with your products may be a better fit than white papers that talk about how great they are at solving problems in their industries.
Once you've identified the types of content that will work well for your business, then it's time to create a plan that details how much time and money each piece will take as well as how often they'll publish new posts so readers know when they can expect new information from
Additionally, this is where you'll decide what kinds of material the strategy will cover and which channels you'll employ to spread the message.
Asking yourself the following questions will help you finish this segment.
- What kind of material are you going to produce?
- What volume of material will you produce?
- What objectives and KPIs do you have for each piece of content?
- Which platforms will you use to disseminate your content?
- What will be done with sponsored advertising?
Step 8: Assess Your Competition
Competition is a fact of life in the business world, and if your company isn't keeping up with the competition, then you're going to be at a disadvantage.
To ensure that your marketing plan is effective, it's important to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
In addition, you should also consider how they are approaching their marketing efforts, so that you can identify any opportunities for new ideas or strategies.
Here are some ways to do this:
- Analyze their website. This can give you insight into what types of content they produce and how frequently they post new material. It also gives you an idea of how much traffic their site receives and whether it's increasing or decreasing over time.
- Look at social media profiles. Social media is a great way for companies to connect with customers and build brand awareness. Examining your competitor's social media profiles can help you understand what sorts of messages are resonating with their audience and what kinds of posts get shared most often — which can give you ideas for similar posts on your own social media pages.
- Read customer reviews online. If there are any negative reviews online about one of your competitors' products or services, read them carefully to see if there
Step 9: Describe the Contributors to Your Strategy and Their Roles
It's time to outline who will be doing what now that your marketing strategy has been properly developed.
It’s important to note that this is not a list of people who will be working on your marketing strategy. Instead, it’s a description of the specific tasks that each person will be responsible for.
This section should include:
- The name and contact information for each team member
- Their role in the project (e.g., market research specialist)
You don't have to get too involved in the day-to-day tasks that your staff members are working on, but you should be aware of which teams and team leaders are in charge of particular content categories, channels, KPIs, and other things.
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