Marketing Plans – Strategy AND Tactics

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?

5. Strategy

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%.

6. Tactics

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

Why Finding the Time to Market is a Must

As a small business owner, one of your biggest challenges (even when you’re a marketer!) is finding the time to do your own marketing.

Even with a great team behind you, it’s inevitable that you find yourself wearing multiple hats.

Unfortunately, more often than not, your marketing hat gets placed in the ‘I’ll attend to that later’ pile and never gets put back on. Later never comes and you find yourself at the end of another year wondering why you haven’t kicked all the business goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

I can tell you why.

Because strategic, well-planned marketing is absolutely vital to the success of your business and your brand. Put it in the too hard basket at your own peril.

I can’t give you the secret to finding more hours in your day (now that would be nice, wouldn’t it?). What I can do, however, is offer these five sure-fire tips to making sure your marketing activity gets done and dusted so those goals get kicked one after the other.

  1. Put together a plan and stick to it. I know I harp on about this to the point of tedium but if you don’t know how much work there is to be done, how can you make the time to do it?
  2. Based on previous sales analysis, attach projected sales figures to each marketing campaign/activity. It’s much easier to justify the time spent and the budget allocated to something when it’s attached in your mind to revenue generation.
  3. Analyse your sales pipeline and look at where your leads come from. There’s nothing more motivating than realising that your pipeline will dry up pretty soon unless you get marketing!
  4. Allocate as many implementation tasks as possible to other people. There comes a point where you can’t keep control over every detail of your business as much as you might like to, and that includes control over your marketing activity. Keep control of the strategy and let go of implementation. Set a time each week or month to check in with your implementation person or team to see how things are going and check that everything is on track and keeping to the overall strategy.
  5. As with everything else involved with managing a business, time management is crucial. Prioritise your marketing. Set time in your diary to do Point 4 and to work on your strategy as soon as possible.

Whatever strategy you develop, stick with the program and, come December, you will be ticking off goal after goal and be ready to set the bar even higher for next year.

If you’re a start-up or an established SME, we can help you ease on down the marketing road. Reach out to us anytime.