Steps in Creating a Marketing Plan

Are you updating your company’s marketing plan every year?

Do you even have a marketing plan?

Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t: about half of all companies don’t have a “clearly defined digital marketing strategy.”

But if you do? Since some number of plan-less companies no doubt are your competitors, creating a marketing plan can help you beat them!

First step in crafting a marketing plan

Know your particular state of affairs. That is:

  • How do you compare to your competitors?
  • What’s the current state of your market niche?
  • What are you strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (also known as SWOT)?

In short, this means you will need to conduct a SWOT analysis, a planning technique that puts your SWOT into perspective, allowing you to see in what areas your business could improve as well as where your opportunities are greatest. A SWOT analysis also helps you discover which negative factors are holding back your chances of success.

Analyzing your competitors can help you determine your SWOT

Done well, a competitive analysis allows you to determine who your major competitors truly are and then research their marketing/sales strategies, as well as their products/services. 

Know what your top competition is doing and you can then create better marketing/sales/business strategies…and ascertain the opportunities where you can outperform them.

You’ll also be able to see the trends in your sector and therefore help ensure that your products and/or services consistently meet – if not exceed – what’s expected of them in your market.

Define your perfect prospect

Now that you know where you stand in your market, it’s time to figure out who makes up your target market.

Creating – or updating – your buyer personas will help you see clearly who can use – even need – what you sell. 

Your personas should include: 

  • age, gender, income
  • pain points and how your product/services particularly helps alleviate them

Writing these out truly can help you really “know” and understand what your target audience needs and wants.

Create goals – and the best goals are SMART goals 

You probably know what SMART goals are. They are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Analyzing potential tactics and strategies 

Now comes the fun part: deciding on what strategies and tactics you will use to achieve your goals.

This shouldn’t be hard: use your goals as a guide to help you choose strategies.

For example, let’s say one of your SMART goals is “increase the number of people on our email list by 25 percent in six months.”

Strategies/tactics to achieve that goal could include:

  • Creating a series of six white papers or reports that discuss particular problems or goals you know your prospects have and how they could solve them (using your product/service, of course).
  • Create a landing page for each report on your website on which page visitors can insert their email address so that they may download the report for free.
  • Broadcast the fact that the free report exists on your social channels via organic and paid posts.
  • Write a few search engine optimized blog posts about the topic, with links in the posts to the landing page where people can provide you with their email and thus receive the report for free)

Set and watch your budget

Of course, the number and type of strategies/tactics you use are only as narrow or broad as your budget. 

So as you choose your strategies, right how much they potentially may cost and compare them to your budget.

Looking at your goal of increasing your email list, above, and comparing it to your budget, you may decide you can create only one or two reports instead of reports. You also may decide to cut back on the social media advertising you use to promote it, focusing instead on organic social media tactics to broadcast it.

You should write your marketing plan down and distribute it to team members as needed.

Here’s a free marketing plan template (courtesy of HubSpot) that we like. 

Need help creating a marketing plan and then executing it? Learn more about how Ingenex Digital Marketing can help.

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