The creation of a marketing plan is vital for everyone involved in your company to ensure they are on the same page for each element of marketing your business. Overwhelming might be an understatement when crafting your first marketing plan with all of the topics, moving parts, and tasks that need to be completed. However, having this plan all laid out will limit the bumps in the road when putting the pieces into motion. A marketing plan ensures that your messaging is aligned with the vision and mission while being proactive with generating sales. Keeping the focus for everyone involved, all in the same direction will ensure the marketing dollars budgeted will provide the highest return on investment.
Immerse Agency’s nine tips to create the perfect marketing plan will guide any business starting its first marketing plan or give some new ideas that may help refresh an existing marketing plan.
1. Identify Goals & Objectives
The first step any business needs to do in the beginning stages of crafting a marketing plan is identifying the goals and objectives that the plan needs to accomplish. This sounds simple, but in actuality, many marketers tend to focus on the execution of the tactics defining their success rather than identifying the real victory for their hard work. Once the goals are set, there needs to be a set definition of what success looks like for each goal using specific numbers and metrics.
2. Pinpoint and Know Your Target Audience & Market
If you aren’t communicating with the right people, your business’s marketing won’t be effective. The audience and consumer profile must be identified in your marketing plan. Demographic information such as age, gender, geography, and purchasing power should be in your audience profile. Additional profiles should include psychographic details and understanding how to appeal to the audience’s values, desires, and challenges.
Completing this step will help any business comprehend the market’s decision-making process, and ultimately game planning how to make these decisions will benefit the goals of the marketing plan.
3. Research & Analyze the Right Topics
When formulating your marketing plan, research is necessary to understand the landscape of the current market and how your business can separate from the competition. Competitive analysis is when the research of the direct competition determines similar targets, and the solutions the opposition uses to target their audiences. “Spying on the competition” will begin giving insight on keywords and key phrases customers may be using, and understanding where the competition ranks in these areas will help your business carve out a unique strategy to drive traffic to your website.
Another standard practice in every marketing plan today, is SWOT analysis. The acronym SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. Analyzing these core topics will help determine the differences in the products or services while being able to establish a unique position in the market.
4. Recognize Your Buyer Persona
Once the market segment’s details are fleshed out, the identified buyer persona should be defined in your marketing plan. This information will allow you to craft extremely pertinent content and message to drive awareness of the business and push traffic. Recognizing the buyer persona should be hyper-focused and specific to the goals and objectives to be achieved in the marketing plan. Overlap may occur with the personas identified in general marketing efforts; the likelihood of them being different depends on what direction the marketing plan is taking with the new strategy.
5. Distinguish the Lifecycle of the Consumer
Only half the story comes from the buyer persona. To truly produce content and advertisement copy that will appeal to a targeted audience, one needs to understand the consumer lifecycle. Awareness, comparison, selection, and decision are just a few ways to break down lifecycle stages. Depending on your marketing plan and business, you can select the stages that best reflect how the customer interacts with your business. Once this is selected, the next step is merging the information and creating a content map. All of this information will help form the content created, marketing strategies that will be carried out, and which promotional channels will be the most successful.
6. Make Your Selling Propositions Unique
An essential step in an effective marketing plan is identifying and defining the unique selling proposition. This is what sets your business apart from the competition. It allows you to target that specific audience that has the highest percentage of buying and viewing the company relevant and valuable.
You’ll need to be able to do these five things that will articulate your selling proposition from the information researched in the marketing plan.
- Clearly outline your target market
- For your market, clearly explain the problem your business or product solves
- Communicate the applicable benefits you offer that make your business different
- Highlight your business’s “big promise” that is being delivered
- Showcase to your ideal audience the appeal of the identity of your business
Once these factors are determined, work them into a short section of the marketing plan. This step will help the entire team remain focused throughout the campaign.
7. Goals Have to be Measured
Unless results are tallied and measured, you won’t truly comprehend the effectiveness of the marketing plan or be able to shift areas to improve upon it. In the marketing plan, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) have to be identified and recorded before the campaign, so the ability to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign and return on investment (ROI). Make sure you measure the right data, as chasing down the wrong information can create a lot more work in the future for the business.
8. Marketing Tactics Need to be Used Correctly
Once you have defined that audience by its persona, lifecycle stages, and selling proposition, you will have the ability to select the appropriate tactics and strategies that will engage your target audience. Once these tactics are selected, they will highlight the strengths of your company and provide a helping hand in achieving the marketing plan’s goals.
Focus on strategies that will move the needle most. There are many ways to achieve the same result, but you need to narrow down your selection so you can focus your resources. You may consider how your ideal audience prefers to consume content or how your content is best presented. The perfect audience identified may have one preference over another; this will allow you to pivot resources during the campaign for more ideal results.
9. Create & Maintain Your Budget
For any business, marketing is an essential investment. Setting aside a dedicated budget for the marketing plan is vital. Once the budget is defined, it will be necessary to continually revisit it to ensure that identified marketing tactics are supported correctly and thoroughly in a way that will create results. Not every marketing tactic will blow your budget, and the key is to find those that will optimize the marketing budget through careful planning and execution.
Resources should be allocated to outlets that work best, and it is beneficial to use those tactics that give your business full control on how it is spent. To also increase effectiveness, you should use cross-channel remarketing. Remember not to scale these tactics until the return on investment has been proven.
Keep in mind that a marketing plan is a living document that is to be revisited and updated throughout the lifetime of the project. Doing this will allow everyone to remain focused on the goals and ensure that the implementation of the plan is using the most effective tactics.
Immerse Agency implements these nine elements with all of its marketing plans for our clients. Hopefully, there are a few tricks of the trade that will be able to be used when writing your next marketing plan. If you need help creating a new marketing plan or fine-tuning a current plan, contact us today and let’s get started!