Every business needs customers, and your marketing strategy is central to finding new ones. However, poor planning can lead to business owners discounting the value of marketing and neglecting to create their own marketing plan.
This article covers the importance of creating a marketing plan, as well as learning how to write your own.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a document that clearly outlines an organisation’s marketing strategy for a period of time, such as quarterly. This marketing plan is vital as it provides a clear strategic focus so that the marketing goals can then align with the business objectives.
Seven popular elements of a marketing plan include:
- Business’s mission
- Target market
- Unique selling proposition (USP)
- Marketing strategies
- Marketing budget
- Identify competitors
- Market action plan
Why Do I Need a Marketing Plan?
If your business is booming without a marketing plan, you might ask yourself, “why do I need a marketing plan?”. The truth is that every business can improve and here are 3 benefits of marketing plans:
- Monitor your competition – before selling your product or service to your target market, you must understand the marketing strategy of your competitors. Are they using social media? Do they have a large budget? What demographics are they targeting? This will help you spot gaps in your competitor’s strategy and find new opportunities for your business.
- Budgeting for success – acquiring quality customers and leads isn’t cheap, so you need to plan a budget that gives your marketing strategy enough ammunition to succeed. Budget planning also enables you to pivot if the current plan is unsuccessful. Allow your future marketing plans to be driven by results to enable data-driven decisions moving forward.
- Create measurable targets – ultimately, businesses want a return on investment (ROI) from their marketing strategy plan. Without a clear plan, it’s impossible for marketing managers to evaluate the success of their campaigns. It’s vital to be specific about the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important for your business. For example, a customer acquisition cost of under $500.
How to write a Marketing Plan?
No matter what type of business you are, creating a marketing plan is an essential task. It’s a strategic document that ensures your marketing approach is driven by the overall business objectives.
Below are seven key elements today to assist you in creating a marketing plan.
Your Business’s Mission
Your business’s mission is a short statement that drives the everyday actions of your organisation. Your marketing mission should build off this so that the advertising goals are in sync with the wider business objective. It can be tough to create your own, these 27 mission statements may inspire you.
Your Target Market
Seth Godin once said that “not everyone is your customer”. It sounds obvious, but many businesses overlook this. Brainstorm who your ideal customer is, and start the process of understanding what’s important to them.
Start by identifying key demographics like age, gender, and location. You may discover that your products are popular with certain groups of people. Conversely, other potential customer groups will typically have contrasting lifestyles and interests, such as accountants.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes your business special? Why should your target market choose you over your competitors? Your USP acts as a magnet to attract new customers to your business.
An example of this is our own lead quality guarantee. Reference your USP in your marketing messages so that your customers know what makes your business unique.
Outline Your Marketing Strategies
Your marketing strategies will focus on the process, activity or price that will help you to achieve the business objectives. For example, your business may focus on affiliate marketing and email to reach new customers.
Remember that marketing is about quality over quantity.
Set Your Marketing Budget
Whilst there are free marketing strategies, it’s important that you have budgeted for any paid advertising or agencies you may engage. We recommend calculating your monthly expenses, and then create quarterly and yearly budgets so that you can plan ahead.
Some costs in your budget may include:
- Media spend
- Graphic design
- Agency retainer
- Marketing software, and
Identify Your Competition
Gathering intel on your competitors is invaluable. It enables you to understand their marketing strategy so that you can surpass them. Identify their target market, channels used, USP, and any other data related to their strategy.
For example, you investigate a key competitor and notice that they are acquiring over 30% of their traffic from paid LinkedIn ads. Can your business also acquire customers on LinkedIn? Or is your media spend better used elsewhere?
Actioning Your Market Strategy
Your marketing strategy is an ongoing process, and using a template helps you to track all your activities. There are many resources out there including this free marketing plan template to plan and record all your results. This template will also provide clarity about which marketing activities need to be actioned or updated each month.
If you’re working with a team, tools like Wrike.com are great at coordinating marketing projects that involve many moving pieces across different teams.
Are you still unsure how to action your market strategy? Check out these marketing plan examples from Shopify for some ideas.
How Lead Express Can Help You Create a Marketing Plan for Business
Don’t neglect the marketing operations of your business. Ensure that you understand your target market, define your mission and plan the appropriate budgets.
We understand that creating marketing plans and strategies can be complex. We offer a wide variety of lead generation and business consulting services to maximise the growth of your company.
Our team of experts are ready to help you with:
Do you have any questions about your marketing plan or any of our services? Please contact us today to take your business to the next level with Leads Express.