There are many things I don’t know
How to change the oil in my car, why chocolate always finds its way into my shopping trolley and how to get over jet lag – to name a few.
But one thing I do know is marketing
And marketing without a plan is like throwing a fistful of money in the air and hoping it multiplies. No matter how hard you wish, it’s not going to happen.
So what does a strong marketing plan look like?
Well, you need to think about both strategy and tactics.
Your strategy defines the overall direction of your marketing, while the tactics are how you will make it happen.
If you’ve been following The Marketing Project’s posts, you’ll know that we stick by the research – planning – implementation mantra for developing the perfect marketing plan. With that in mind, here are some tips to set you on the right path.
1. Know Your Market
To develop a clear picture of your business, its uniqueness, its competitors and the market you are in, take the time to develop a SWOT analysis and market profile. Identify your closest competitors and develop your customer profile/persona. Find out more here about how to do this.
2. Develop Your Brand Story
Why and how are you different from your competitors and why should your customers care? Your answer is your value proposition – value you can offer customers that will set you apart.
From your value proposition, you can develop your key communication messages. These form your brand story and should stay consistent and on-message across all your marketing channels.
3. Define Your Customer Segments
Based on your market profile research, define your customer segments. Ask yourself whether or not your products or services are tailored to these segments.
4. Define Your Marketing Objectives
Ensure your marketing objectives align with your business objectives. Do you want to increase sales of your product, build brand trust or educate your audience?
Your strategy is your overall plan of what you’re going to do. It’s a combination of points 2-4 (brand story, segments, and objectives), in addition to a high-level overview of what you’re going to do. For example;
Initially, we’re going to target customer segments A, B, and C because our research has shown us that they’re currently facing challenge A that we know we can easily solve for them with (insert services).
We also know that our value proposition is an ideal match with these segments because of X and Y.
In order to make this campaign profitable, we need to target xxx members of the target audience with an expected conversion rate of xx%.
This is the bit lots of businesses jump to straight away but as you can see it should be some way down the track. What tactics will work best for your business – content marketing, social media, traditional marketing, digital or a mix?
Don’t try to cover all bases or jump onto the latest bandwagon, develop a tactical action plan based only on the channels that suit your business, your target market, your resources and your budget.
7. Don’t Forget Implementation
Trust me, this is where most businesses fail.
Even the most carefully crafted marketing plan won’t go anywhere without an implementation plan and consistent application of that plan.
So don’t just throw money in the air and hope for the best. Take the time to develop your marketing plan, be patient, and reap the rewards for all your hard work.
If marketing planning still has you pulling your hair out, please give us a shout, we’re happy to take your headache away