Creating a Marketing Plan
By Louise Dennington | November 24, 2022
Planning… something we bleat on about all the time! But as we know, it is essential to business success.
A marketing plan is not just a one-off document created in-house by someone that happens to know a thing or two about marketing. It is an integrate part of your business – a tool that constantly changes and evolves as the business does. Without one, how can you possibly know if your marketing efforts are targeting the right people and if you’re spending your marketing budget in the right way?
Type ‘marketing plan’ into Google and you’ll be hit with a whole host of articles, images and templates, some of which will be very helpful, but mostly overwhelming! So, let’s start by going back to basics.
What is a marketing plan?
‘A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organise, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working towards the same business goals.’ Source: hubspot.com.
Marketing plans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Annual marketing plans involve the scheduling of campaigns based around a launch, providing a useful overview of the marketing strategy for the coming year. Content marketing plans are exactly as they say – more content focused and highlight specific target audiences and the channels you’ll use to reach them. Product/service launch plans would cover strategies, tactics and content for launching a new product or service to market. You can also have social media marketing plans, but more often than not, social planning plays a part in the bigger picture and promotion anyway.
How to create a marketing plan
A typical marketing plan should incorporate the following:
- An executive summary – a brief statement outlining your marketing goals, high level metrics, company milestones, facts, future goals and plans. Don’t include too much detail here, that will follow, but instead, set the tone for the rest of the plan.
- Goals and objectives – these need to be specific, data-driven goals, otherwise known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). So if you know you want to get more Instagram followers, what does that look like for your business? How many new followers do you aim to gain each month? If you want to grow your business, are you measuring turnover, number of employees or something different? Again, be specific.
- Customer personas – here you are considering your ideal customer. Who are they? What are their goals? What problems do they have that you can solve? The more detail the better here. How old are they? Where do they live? What’s their income, their goals, their hobbies? What motivates them? Where do they hang out? You may need to conduct some research for this, but by spending time looking into the demographics, habits and goals, you will have more data to enable you to create a targeted plan to reach them.
- Competitor analysis – who are they, what are they doing and how will you be different? This is an area where a great deal of time should be spent really delving into the detail – their team, their strategy, their growth, their customers, what content they have put out there etc.
- SWOT analysis – Strengths: positive aspects of your business such as your team experience, your reputation, your unique offering. Weaknesses: what are you lacking, whats holding you back and where can improvements be made? Opportunities: things that could contribute to your growth such as leads, software development, trends or sales opportunities. Threats: your competition, change in consumer behaviour, or even changes to technology you aren’t prepared for.
- Measurable targets – social media stats or Google analytics are perfect for this. Where are you now and where do you want to be? What are your growth opportunities?
- Marketing strategy – here you might chose to use mind maps, flow charts, timelines, tables or set templates. The visual aspect of this tends to work well for most people. It should be created in a way that every team member can understand.
- Measurement guidelines – as a minimum, this section should explain how results will be measured or tracked, i.e. what is being measured, how it will be measured and how often.
The key to the success of a marketing plan is its continual evolvement. It may need reviewing if something isn’t working well, or if a significant event or something occurs that will affect the success of your plan. Content needs to be timely and on topic. Flexibility is important, but equally, so is time for implementation.
Contact hue if you would like assistance in the creation of your marketing plan, or indeed, if we can help deliver it.
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