If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a) a business owner who is searching for ways to grow their business, or b) a marketer who needs inspiration for a new campaign.
Maybe you’re even both. In any case, you’ve come to the right place. Because today, we’re going to walk you through a simple process that will get you started down the path to greater success.
The Three Steps To A Successful Marketing Plan
The good news is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to business. So while you might not want to do this all at once, you can follow a step-by-step process that will help you make it happen.
Here’s the process:
STEP 1: Decide what you’re going to do.
The first step is to figure out exactly what you’re going to do. Now, some businesses will choose to launch a new product and see how it does. Others will choose to expand into a new area of business. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the term “marketing” to refer to whatever you’re doing in hopes of attracting new customers, clients, or fans.
Make a note of these actions and strategies in a marketing plan:
- Product launch
- New product/service
- Trade shows
- Social media
- Shoppable Instagram banners
- TV campaign
- Radio campaign
- Outdoor billboards
- Shiny widgets on a blog
STEP 2: Set a date for your campaign.
The second step is to set a date for your campaign. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to business, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. So you need to find the right timing to hit your target audience with your message.
Decide when you’re going to start and stop your campaign. Are you going to send out a press release to generate some early interest and traction? Or are you going to skip a few months and hit your audience with a revamped marketing plan in the new year?
There’s no exact science to this. But if you want to do some research, try looking at competitors’ annual reports or checking out their social media accounts to see what they’re doing.
STEP 3: Determining your budget.
The third and final step is to determine your budget. This is probably the most important step because, without a solid budget, you’re not going to know how much you can spend on each tactic, or whether or not some of them are even worth your time and money.
How much are you willing to spend? That is the question. Once you know the answer to that, you can move onto the next step. If you don’t know how much you’re willing to spend, you are not going to know whether or not you are successful. Just like any other business owner or manager, you need to have a budget for your marketing efforts.
What Is A Marketing Plan?
When you set out to market your products or services, you are going beyond just advertising or ‘selling’ your products. You are taking the time to develop a comprehensive plan that will bring in customers, retaining them, and encouraging them to buy your product or service.
A marketing plan is a blueprint for your marketing efforts. It will include everything from specific objectives to be met, to the metrics you will use to determine your success. It should also include a call to action – what are you asking your audience to do?
You can use a marketing plan to determine how you’re going to approach a particular audience (i.e., older adults, millennials, or Generation Z) with your message. It can also be used to determine the allocation of your marketing dollars (i.e., what to spend and what to save).
Why Do You Need A Marketing Plan?
Even though you have a budget, you still need a marketing plan. Why? Because:
- You can’t effectively Market without a plan
- Your plan will evolve
- You need to be able to measure your success
- You need to be able to track the performance of your marketing efforts
- The devil is in the details
In plain English: you can’t just go out there and start marketing. You need to have a plan. The good news is that you are not alone in this. More and more business owners, CEOs, and company executives are realizing the importance of putting together a marketing plan and holding themselves accountable for its execution.
The better your plan, the better your chances of success. And like any good plan, it should be detailed enough to stand the test of time yet simple enough to be easily understood by those who must implement it.
What Is The Difference Between A Strategic Plan And A Marketing Plan?
Here is where it gets a little bit tricky. Not only do you need a marketing plan, but you also need to have a strategic plan. The difference between the two is that a strategic plan stands for the long-term and lays out the overall direction of your company. A marketing plan, on the other hand, is more ‘tactical’ in nature and will determine the steps you are going to take to achieve your long-term goals. (For more on this, check out the HubSpot Blog’s post on the differences between a strategic plan and a marketing plan).
Once you have set your date for launch, you need to start differentiating yourself from your competitors. In today’s ever-changing world, your product or service might be completely original, but chances are, it will be very easy for your target audience to find products or services similar to yours.
Just because your product is unique doesn’t mean that it isn’t competing for marketplace share. The better you can describe the unique value your product provides, the more easily you will be able to sell it to your target audience. This value must be articulated in a way that is easy for those who aren’t familiar with your product or service to understand.
The Anatomy Of A Media Plan
When it comes to marketing, there are many tactics you can choose from. You can start with a splashy website and some well-placed ads. You can launch a new product and see how it does in the marketplace. Or, you can try out a new marketing strategy and hope for the best.
No matter what you choose, you need to have a strategy, and that strategy should include specific tactics, methods, and metrics for measuring your success.
The Six Most Important Things To Include In Your Marketing Plan
Now, you might not want to include every detail of your marketing plan in one place. That would be a huge task. Instead, you can use the template below to help you organize your thoughts and ideas.
What is important is that you get everything down on paper. From there, you can expand, edit, or revise as needed. The more you put down on paper the easier it will be to follow.
Here are the six most important things to include in your marketing plan: