Marketing plans are a dime a dozen, right? Not exactly. You can write a run-of-the-mill marketing plan and accomplish more than a bunch of cold calls and a sale or two, but to write a truly effective marketing plan, there are many important steps that go into them. In fact, Forbes suggests diversifying your marketing plan is key to a successful strategy. In order to help you turn your ordinary marketing plan into an awesome marketing plan, we suggest answering the questions outlined in this blog. But, first, let’s take a look at the reasons businesses can benefit from creating and executing effective marketing plans.
Benefits of Creating a Marketing Plan
There are many reasons a business might consider creating a marketing plan. For instance, some organizations may simply want to expand on their existing sales strategies by implementing a marketing strategy as well. Others may have an effective means to maintain a consistent revenue but are now looking to grow their bottom line. Whatever the reason, most, if not all, organizations can benefit from having a marketing plan. Here are just some of the benefits businesses experience:
- Expanded Market Organizations that are looking to expand their market either geographically, demographically or any other way will be able to do so strategically.
- Get Everyone on the Same Page With a document that everyone can refer to when creating their marketing materials and planning their strategies, everyone can get on the same page. Medium.com even suggests that a marketing strategy should be part of your business’s daily routine.
- Stay Within Budget Planning all marketing activities in advance and assigning each activity a specific allowance from the overall budget will help you stay within your budget much easier.
- Measurable Goals An effective marketing plan will include measurable goals so you know you are achieving the results you desire. Using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals is a tried and true way to do so.
- Reinforced Brand Having a strategic marketing plan in place will help you determine how best to get your brand to be seen and help you stay focused on portraying a positive brand.
9 Steps to Create an Awesome Marketing Plan:
There are specific formulas you can follow to write an effective marketing plan. However, if you want to step up your marketing game and create an awesome marketing plan, we suggest you answer this series of questions instead.
1. What do you expect to get out of your marketing?
Answering this question will get you to understand what your marketing goals are. Determine what it is you expect to get out of your marketing for the next year and you can even take it a step further by determining what you want to get out of it in the next three, five, or ten years. Using the SMART approach, make sure that the goals you want to reach are measurable.
2. What is the maximum you want to spend on your marketing?
Based on past expenses or getting estimates on the initiatives you plan to take on, or both, break down all of your expected marketing expenses for the upcoming year. Add a little extra for the unexpected expenses for conferences you may find to attend or advertising opportunities that you can’t predict and add it all up to get your overall marketing budget.
3. How will you know it is working?
Answer this question in order to determine what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be for your marketing plan. This will help you measure your progress and make adjustments if necessary. KPIs can include everything from measuring the revenue generated by your marketing campaigns to measuring increases in website traffic and return on investment (ROI), and much more.
4. Who do you want to reach?
Determining who it is you want to reach with your marketing will help you determine your target market. Consequently, discovering who it is you want to target will help you figure out where your marketing should be focused in terms of which locations, publications, websites, etc.
5. How will you reach your marketing goals?
Once you figure out what your marketing goals are, you will be able to answer this question in order to come up with the marketing strategy that will get you to those goals. Your strategy will include the actions that you will take to meet these goals and how you plan to do them.
6. How do your competitors do it?
Do some research on who your competitors are and figure out how they do their marketing and decide if it is effective, as best you can tell in your educated opinion. Go to their websites, social media, online reviews, and whatever else you can find to see how they do it. A competitor analysis will not only help you decide what’s effective but help you determine what is missing so you can fill in that void in the market.
7. What makes you different from others?
Decide what makes you different. Determine your unique selling point (USP). To do so, take the differentiators you identified in step #6 and find out what makes your customers choose you. Send surveys or start polls to ask what it is that makes your product better in their opinions. Your USP will help you create your marketing plan strategy more effectively.
8. How do you want people to recognize your organization?
Answer this question in terms of physical identity and emotional identity. This includes your logo, your “voice,” your brand colors, plus how your prospects and customers perceive your organization. Feedblitz aptly describes your brand identity about giving your customer a good gut-feeling about your organization. If you want to be seen as a community-oriented, kind, giving organization? Add that to your plan so you’ll know how you want to achieve this brand identity.
9. How do you plan to do steps 1 through 8?
Answering this question will help you come up with a project marketing management plan that will give you all of the stages of a project plan, including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing so that you will be much more likely to complete all of your tasks and meet all of your marketing plan goals.
Creating Your Marketing Plan
Creating a plan may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. There are numerous tools available to help with creating a marketing plan as well as a commonly used marketing plan outline that includes the essential sections you should include within your plan.
Software options that can help you create your marketing plan include several productivity tools that will help you with your day-to-day workplace activities as well. So, if you’re looking for help with creating your marketing plan, take a look at software options such as:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Project management
- Survey generation
- Lead generation
- Email marketing
- Process automation
Once you have implemented some helpful tools and answered all of the questions to work through the steps above, you’ll be able to put it into writing. You can modify your marketing plan to meet your needs, but you’ll want to make sure you include some essential sections in order to include all of the pertinent information. Essential sections for a marketing plan include the following:
- Executive Summary
- Target Market
- Competitive Analysis
- Goals and Objectives
- Action Plan
Now that you’ve answered all of the questions and written the document that includes your full and strategic marketing plan, your final step will be to implement the plan. Putting the plan into action and ensuring you are meeting your goals, measuring your results, and adapting it as necessary, will help you stay within your budget and on-point with your objectives. Using tools that can help you execute your sales and marketing strategies will increase your chances of success substantially. Agile CRM is an extremely helpful tool that includes advanced features such as marketing automation and email marketing that are completely integrated into your customer relationship CRM tool to optimize all of your marketing initiatives. An effective marketing plan can make a huge difference in your marketing and sales. Following the steps to answer the questions posed above are sure to help you create an awesome marketing plan.