Marketing is an essential aspect of every functioning business nowadays. A concrete and well-defined marketing plan is an absolute must for executing relevant and timely marketing and achieving the goals. Now that we know why we need it to, let’s discover what it is.
A marketing plan is a document in which a business defines marketing strategy, clients they want to target, budget, timeline, and metrics to organize, execute and track strategies they are implementing. Most companies commit themselves to a marketing plan that is one year long.
Let’s dive into more details and discover five concrete steps that you can take to create a unique marketing plan for your business.
1. Define the mission of your business
Defining a mission is a great starting point for the marketing plan and starting a business. Having a clearly defined mission brings a better direction in which you want something to go.
To avoid abstraction and make the mission clear for everybody involved, a good thing to begin with, is defining a SMART mission – one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
If you already have a mission defined, do check if it is:
- Specific enough
- Measurable by available parameters
- Achievable was given the current situation
- Realistic to expect as a result of an action
- Timely managed, with starting and ending date
2. Identify your ideal client.
Before thinking about how to, take some time and think about who exactly you want to attract. The best way to do this is to imagine the ideal client that can benefit your business.
Think about clients you had excellent cooperation with, and take the best characteristics from them. If you are still in the beginning and didn’t have many clients or have had experience with bad clients, think about factors that your ideal client shouldn’t have.
You can go in-depth with this, give your ideal client a name, and define things he does that don’t need to be relevant to your business. Of course, this is a process of assuming, and through this process, you will find out how much you know about your business and its people.
3. Create marketing strategies
A marketing plan serves as a framework in which you can lay down multiple marketing strategies. Take this as a secret sauce of marketing – relying on scoring from the first shot is not the best idea in the dynamic marketing world.
Since you already have the mission and your ideal client, it’s time to think about how these two can interact with each other. Keep in mind that at this point, you may realize that some of the outputs from previous steps might need some fine-tuning, which is perfectly okay.
4. Allocate appropriate budget
Getting things done and enjoying its benefits requires resources – time, finances, software, office, and all of these should be appropriately organized when allocating the budget for your marketing plan.
Speaking about the budget, it is very worth mentioning that it is essential to set a timeline of how things will go whenever you create budgeting plans. You have to be playful with how you think about budgeting while keeping your mind open to alternative solutions. Here creativity meets with the real world.
Since no budget is exact, don’t try to make it perfect. As your marketing adventure kicks off, you will see what sectors need more and less of the available resources.
5. Lay down KPI
Now that you have set the grounds for your marketing plan let’s expand our venture to understand what other benefits your business might have.
Marketing is all about learning, experimenting, and judging what is working and what is not. If you want to repeat this process as objectively as possible, it is crucial to lay down parameters that will tell you if your marketing was successful or not.
Key performance indicators (KPI) are metrics that you based mainly on marketing strategies that we talked about earlier. Depending on the approach you are taking, make sure you select the proper parameters for evaluating the success of your marketing plan.
Here, you can see if your mission for the marketing plan is SMART – if you have too much struggle with putting KPI in place, maybe it is time to revisit and tweak your overall mission.
It’s always a great idea to look at what your competition is doing and what their approach is when it comes to marketing. Don’t get carried away too much. Your customers appreciate marketing strategies that are unique and have their twists.
Don’t worry about making mistakes once you have a marketing plan and your campaign is up and running. Mistakes are there as part of the learning process.
If you are measuring the success of your campaign according to the principles mentioned above, you will get a lot of indirect value, which will help you orient in the desired direction.