Developing a marketing plan helps businesses define goals and create the right tactics to accomplish them.
Without strategic direction, business decisions can be uninformed, opportunities can be overlooked, and challenges can cause downtime.
When creating a marketing plan, use these 7 tips as a guide:
1. Align Marketing Goals with
Companies often set business goals to measure success but may not link goals to marketing execution.
For example, if business goals include a 20% increase in sales, marketing strategies designed to generate website traffic and leads will be important.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Conduct interviews or surveys to help decide whom to target and how to engage potential customers.
From your research, create a Buyer Persona to better understand your customers’ decision-making journey. A buyer persona will also help define customer segments and shape marketing strategies and tactics including how you develop content and offers.
3. Highlight Your Advantages
Create a list of questions that help you understand your strengths from the customer’s perspective.
Determine your Unique Selling Position (USP) to identify characteristics that provide a competitive advantage. For example, if you’re a tech company and offer 24/7 support service, you should highlight that in your messaging.
Once you’ve defined your strengths, determine whether these can help your business seek new opportunities.
4. Anticipate Challenges
Identify weaknesses by assessing negative reviews and feedback. What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
Are there challenges you foresee in the industry? By anticipating challenges, you’ll be able to prepare for gaps that could prevent you from reaching your goals.
5. Develop a Strategy
A strategy defines the core tactics of your marketing plan and the expected results.
If you’re looking to increase your social media presence, then one tactic could be to create a Facebook page or a company LinkedIn account. Or, if you want to increase website traffic to drive sales, consider Search Engine Optimization for your website.
Once you define core tactics, consider growth strategies.
Growth strategies address new and high potential opportunities may include tactics such as events, digital ads, website content, email or direct mail blasts, or even special offers for customers.
6. Make Data-Driven Decisions
Make smarter decisions by using data to measure successes and failures.
Determine what databases, analytics, monitoring tools, or Client Relationship Management systems (CRMs) you have available to you and evaluate goals based on what the data says.
Are your conversion rates low? Do you need more responses or downloads?
Based on the results, create a strategy that will help you achieve your goals (see #5).
7. Evaluate & Adjust
Monitor your marketing plan to seek new opportunities for growth.
Review, evaluate, and adjust to fit the needs of the company and the wants of the customer.
Give marketing strategies enough time and gather data before evaluating and adjusting the performance of your tactics.
If something isn’t working, try a new tactic.
If you need to scale back, don’t stop all marketing. Make selective adjustments based on new priorities.
Need help developing a marketing plan for your business?
Strategy can help you fit the pieces together to develop an effective marketing plan. We’ll work with you and recommend ways to increase impact and address emerging opportunities.
Contact us today and let’s talk about your goals!