First of all, a marketing plan is a strategic document that every business needs. Regardless of company, size or sector, it has been proven that having a documented marketing strategy can significantly boost your success .
From determining how you will attract and retain business through to outlining areas of new product development and annual budgets, a marketing plan outlines where you are, what you want to achieve and presents the road map for how.
To help you to create a marketing plan that works hard for your business, we put together our “10 golden rules” below.
If you’d like to speak with a member of the team regarding your marketing strategy, call 01625 682110 now.
Think Beyond’s Marketing Plan Essentials
1. Be clear in your objectives
Firstly, a marketing plan is not created in isolation and should reflect your overall business aims as outlined in your business plan. Before you dedicate time and resource to areas such as market research or acquisition costs, consider what it is you want to achieve. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Generate a set amount of revenue or reduce churn by a certain percentage?
Whatever goals you select, they should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) as they will form a reference point from which to measure the success of your marketing efforts.
2. Analyse your environment: SWOT and PESTLE analysis
Secondly, any good marketing plan should consider both the micro and macro environment in which your business operates. Conduct SWOT analysis to determine internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. Include competitor analysis in your research and take your insights further through PESTLE research to understand how political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors can affect your success and the viability of your product or service.
3. Know how you are distinct: USP
Thirdly, identifying your Unique Selling Point (USP) is key to setting your product or service apart from competitors. Your USP can be service, product or mission oriented. A USP is part of your brand identity and should permeate your marketing messaging across channels.
4. Know your buyer
Businesses need buyers. Take time to identify your target market and create detailed buyer personas based on factors such as firmographics and behavioural profiles.
5. Strategise your segments
Identifying your target market is only half the battle. You need to strategise your segments by determining which segments to target and how. Decision making tools can help you to evaluate which segments are most attractive but this must be backed up with the development of a marketing mix and a clear positioning strategy for each segment that communicates how this business is to be won. This means blending marketing’s “7 P’s” – product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence with consistent marketing communications.
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No marketing plan is complete without a budget and a budget tracker. Break down your annual spend into monthly increments to allow for better tracking and to ensure that you do not overspend.
7. Plan your resource
Marketing does not occur in a vacuum. Consider what resource you will need from other departments to meet your strategy objectives. Do you need sales support or operational insights? Furthermore, plan ahead and list any dependencies that could impact project completion.
8. Assign responsibilities and timescales
Related to point 7, responsibilities and timescales should be added to your marketing plan. This adds a practical dimension to your plan and can help you to stay on track operationally.
9. Monitor results and do it all again
It is essential that results generated are regularly reviewed against the goals agreed in point one. Create a KPI dashboard to monitor performance and make adjustments as necessary. A marketing plan should never be considered a static document. It is a work in progress or a constantly evolving piece that moves with buyer trends, technological innovations and market conditions.
10. Share it
A marketing plan is meant to be shared so circulate to provide visibility on shared goals. This goes beyond sales and marketing alignment; this is sales, marketing, finance, operations and company alignment.
In conclusion, you may need a marketing expert to help create the perfect plan and execute your activities.
Make your plan count with Think Beyond
Marketing plans matter. They matter to your financial backers, to your business growth and to your bottom line. They matter as they help you to better understand the needs of your target market and how your company can serve them. Therefore, you can’t leave things to chance.
By understanding your customers, their purchase motivations and needs, you can present them with a product or service that solves their particular problem. Through an understanding of marketing methods, you can keenly target prospects and apply promotional techniques to gain a competitive edge over your industry rivals.
In conclusion, your marketing plan is your opportunity.
Think Beyond can help you to make the most of that opportunity. Our skilled marketeers have a proven track record in partnering with senior management teams to create strategic marketing plans that work. Working closely with your team on every element of your marketing strategy, Think Beyond will help you to identify, build and capitalise on growth opportunities to take your business further.
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