First, what is it?
A Marketing Plan is a detailed documentation of the desired Goals, along with the Strategy and Tactics to be used in achieving them.
A marketing plan will help you make better decisions about growing your business.
When should you create a marketing plan?
Ideally, this should be done in the planning stages before the company is even created. Your service or product is pointless if no one is willing to pay for it.
Market research should be conducted, your audience determined, and ideas formed on how to reach them.
All of this should happen before you launch, but sometimes this isn't given proper attention. You can always do this now, and see improvements moving forward.
If you did create a plan on how to sell your offerings when the business was formed, but that has been a few years ago, then it may be time to revisit.
A lot can change in a year or two - even if your industry is fairly consistent, marketing tactics change constantly. The digital realm especially.
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What goes into the plan?
Marketing plan components include:
- Market Research Results
- Target Demographic
- Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
- Your overall Strategy
- Details on what platforms and tactics to use
You will want to include results from your research efforts, including survey results, questionnaires, etc.
Have you interviewed both prospects and paying customers about their pain points, questions, and potential objections related to the solutions you offer?
This is a definition of the group of people you want to reach - those you can help and who are likely to do business with you.
Unique Value Proposition
What makes you stand out? How is your business unique?
The question in the customer's mind you need to answer is "Why should I do business with you?"
This is where you outline the overall plan of attack.
How will you achieve the goals you set?
Details & Tactics
How - specifically - will you execute your strategy?
What will you and your team do in order to achieve your mission?
Keep the whole team organized regarding your marketing assets with a "brand blueprint" or "brand style guide".
A thorough one will include the following:
- Logos in various formats, along with guidance on how to use (spacing, size, aspect ratio)
- Color scheme / palatte
- Tone of voice - the personality of your brand
- Description of desired style for graphics, imagery, video, and other media elements
How to document?
You should make sure that once you take the time to create it, your plan should be well documented.
It is worth some extra effort in order to be sure that your team can access, understand, and update this documentation.
The highlights of your marketing strategy should be easy for anyone in the company to comprehend.
After all, "everyone is involved in sales, no matter what department they work in" - so it will be helpful to have everyone understand basics such as your UVP.