Creating a Marketing Plan
Without a sound plan and strategy, companies won’t be able to know what they’re trying to do with their marketing efforts. That’s why the first step in creating any sort of marketing campaign is to create a plan and a strategy that encompasses the following five basic steps.
Goals and Budget
The first step when developing a marketing plan is to define the company’s overall future business goals and to set goals to accomplish them sometime between the next one and three years. There are different goals a business can have in the long term, and they can be focused internally, externally, or they can be a mix of both. After the company’s goals are defined, it’s time to define the marketing campaign’s goals. They should be realistic, specific and measurable, and be set according to a specific timeline that is in line with the timeline of the company’s own business goals.
Additionally, while the company is setting its business and marketing goals, it’s also time to define its marketing budget. A general rule for setting a budget for marketing expenses is to set it at between 6 and 12% of the company’s gross revenue. If the business is in its early stages, it should be prepared for higher spending to establish its marketing foundation efforts.
The next step in the process is to analyze the company’s current marketing efforts according to its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). These should be determined in terms of the company’s target market, competitive position, current positioning, channel partners, target audiences, and more.
Once the business has been analyzed, it’s important for the company to learn what its ideal customer base is. This task entails learning the consumer’s interests, values, beliefs, behaviors, and more. This is done by creating buyer personas for each segment of the target audience. Buyer personas are fictional representations of a company’s ideal customer based on the aforementioned consumer data.
When creating a buyer persona, it’s important to brainstorm who the ideal customers might be. Once a list of people has been created, the company can then identify the groups with similar roles or needs and merge them, thus, segmenting their target audience. Then, entries on the list can be prioritized according to each group’s impact on the final buying decision, the relationship they have with the company, and the size of the audience segment.
Next, once the business has defined all of the above-mentioned points, it’s time to define the objectives for the marketing campaigns. This is an important step because it’s the only way that the business can align its marketing efforts with its business goals, decide on marketing strategies, and establish all of the necessary metrics that the company will need to monitor to see how its campaign performs .
The final step is to define the different marketing efforts the company will be utilizing for its campaign. Those efforts should be written down in a document and should define what the company will be doing during each step of the marketing campaign. Having a clear strategic direction for the company’s marketing efforts will ensure that the marketing plan is cohesive, aligns with all of the company’s business goals, and encompasses each segment of the target audience.