How to create a marketing plan
Having a business plan gets your business started, but having a marketing plan gets your business growing. And there is no wrong time to start creating a marketing plan, but if you are reading this today would be a great day to start working on your marketing plan. A marketing plan is objective-focused, this means goal indicators, timeline, budget, and measurable results.
If you are a small business you should be creating a strategic plan that covers one year, this will help adjust the plan as necessary as things change in the market or your company. As your company grows, your strategic marketing plans should cover longer terms, but keep a focus on the coming year.
Let’s take a look at all the steps it takes to create a marketing plan.
To know where you want to go you got to know where you are standing
The first step to creating a marketing plan is knowing everything there is to know about your business. Your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Everything about your company’s current state. A SWOT Analysis is a great tool to develop situational awareness.
To rise above your competitors you should know why your clients would prefer your business over them. And having the relevant information about your business will help you find these reasons.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal. They are focused on elements within your business, while opportunities and threats refer to external factors.
When you are thinking about your strengths, you should think about what makes your business rise above the others in your industry. What does your business offer that sets you apart from your competitors? Do you offer better customer service? Are your prices cheaper? Are the quality of your products better? Or maybe faster delivery time?. Weaknesses focus on what your business lacks or can improve on. Think about the complaints your clients may have or the competitive advantages your competitors have over you.
Now think about external factors that you can take advantage of, these are the opportunities, maybe you can offer delivery on your products, expand to a new sector of the market, start a franchise, or improve some of the processes to be more efficient. On the other hand, think about external factors that can affect your business, so you can prepare better.
Having good situational awareness is vital to any plan, but it is only the first step.
The second part of your plan is to describe your target audience. Write down a simple profile of your customer. There should be two aspects to this profile: demographic, and lifestyle.
Ler’s look at the demographics. You should write down some of these factors:
- Geographic Location
- Employement Status
- Family Composition
Now you should write down the lifestyle your customers have, and these factors may vary depending on your industry, but here are some example questions:
- What are their hobbies?
- What is their primary social media website?
- What are their values?
- What type of content they enjoy?
- What type of personality do they have (Introverted or extroverted)?
Learning about your audience will help you optimize resources to reach them.
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List your goals
This is where you list what you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts and a way to measure progress and completion. Maybe you want to increase sales by 25%, that is a good goal with a way to measure progress and completion.
To make sure you get the most out of your marketing strategy you have to set SMART goals, to keep your team motivated, focused, and have a sense of direction.
Develop a strategy
This is the main part of your marketing plan and the most specific to your business and your goals. The first part of this step of your marketing plan would be researching. Books, articles, interviews, podcasts, courses, seminars, etc… and wherever you can find information about your specific problem and how other businesses have tackled this problem with their tactics. There will never be a specific answer to your specific marketing plan, but the more you can narrow your strategies in well-informed tactics the better your ROI will be.
Use the first three steps of your marketing plan to information about businesses with the same problems and needs and how they tackle the situation. Analyzing your competition is always a good source of information on businesses in similar situations.
If you don’t have the time for research, having a consulting marketing expert is great for this part of the plan, they have the knowledge and experience with the tactics required to accomplish your goals.
Implementing and control
Once you have all your marketing tactics, goals, and how to measure progress it’s time to start working on your marketing plan. Whether you are the one implementing it or a whole team it is important to keep track of every metric that you can that is important to measure how every tactic is working. If you have a team in charge of the plan, make sure you set up scheduled meetings. Weekly meetings are good for keeping track of the activities done that week, monthly meetings are good for tracking progress in a little more detail, quarterly meetings are good for seeing if the strategy is working.
Keep in mind that marketing is a slow process but is always essential for any business, so make sure you devote time, budget, research, and a team depending on your business size.
Need help with your marketing plan or need a team to handle your marketing plan
At Bridge, we have strong expertise in creating customized teams for your business. Hire a marketing expert to develop a plan just for you, or hire a full marketing team to handle the marketing for your business. Find out how you can save on resources by outsourcing to Mexico with Bridge.