With 2020 fast approaching, now is the time most businesses should be planning for the new year. Putting in place business goals and determining priorities. Many businesses that I meet overlook putting a marketing plan in place. The reasons I hear for this range from lack of time or know-how. Here is an easy guide to starting your business marketing plan.
Why have a marketing plan?
Your marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your business goals – one that will get you there on time, on budget and with minimum stress. It will aid your business to keep focused on what matters and avoid wasting money and time on things that don’t work.
A marketing plan will help your business to:
- Coordinate your efforts and structure your options
- Be realistic about your time and capacity
- Stay organised and on track throughout the year
- Increase the likelihood of the initiatives getting done by taking the time to identify what you want to do and when you want to do it
- Avoid having a scattered approach to marketing, which means your efforts are more likely to pay off and make the dollars you do invest in marketing, work harder
Put simply, it will help you to achieve your business goals.
How to create a simple and effective marketing plan
- Start with the big picture
Your Business Goals
Firstly, the most important step is to re-visit your business goals for the year. Your marketing plan should be dictated by what you want your business to achieve i.e., your business goals.
Write down your business goals for 2020.
Do you want to grow your revenue? Do you want to launch a new product or service? Do you want to raise your brand awareness levels? Do you want to reach a new audience? Do you want to keep your customers engaged or up-sell other products/services?
Identify your market, consider what makes your business unique in this market.
- Who are your competitors and what are they doing?
- Are there any upcoming events and opportunities to help you accomplish your goals?
- Are there any opportunities or threats on the horizon?
- Consider the natural cycles of your industry, are there any seasonal opportunities?
- Know your current customers – what motivates them, how best to reach and engage them. Think about how you can stay relevant.
- Are your existing customers looking for something that your business isn’t providing?
- Are there any new audiences that you would like to target and if so, what are they looking for from a business like yours?
- Narrow down and start formulating ideas
Once you have considered the wider picture, narrow down and think about individual marketing ideas that would provide the best outcome to help you achieve your business goals and take advantage of the market conditions (identified in Step 1).
For each idea think about:
- who you are wanting to reach?
- what do you want to say?
- What does this audience need that you can offer and what motivates them?
- how would you like them to respond?
- which channel or platform offers you the most effective way to reach them with your message?
- when is the optimal time to reach them?
The next important step is to list the ideas in order of priority.
- Which will deliver the most impact?
- Which are the most cost efficient to give your business a ROI?
- Be realistic of your available budget, available resources to execute and time constraints.
- Have you tried anything in the past that worked or didn’t work, that you can take learnings from?
- Create a marketing activity plan
Further develop and add detail to each marketing idea so that they evolve into marketing activities ready to be implemented.
Each activity needs:
- Aim with clear desired outcomes
- Target audience
- Delivery date
- Definition of how it will be measured – based on your desired outcomes
- Responsible person/s to deliver (this may include a combination of internal staff and external suppliers such as creative agencies).
The collection of your marketing activities forms your marketing activity plan for the year.
Your marketing activities may be anything from thought leadership generation, email campaigns, social media campaigns, events, webinars, blog posts, sponsorship of a community event, collaboration with another business, to name a few.
- Don’t forget to review activities after launch
Measurement and analysis are often the most overlooked component of a marketing activity plan. When you are planning each of your marketing activities make sure that you have included a measurement mechanism.
After each marketing activity is completed spend a time to review the results and document what worked well, what didn’t, areas that could be improved or tweaked for next time. This process is invaluable in determining where to allocate your future marketing spend and efforts.
As a side note, remember to always ask your customers HOW they found you and record this information. Did they find you through a referral? a Google search? an email? a promotion? LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram? Podcast?
Finally, don’t forget to put a process in place to record customer, prospect or industry feedback. Positive and negative feedback helps to learn and improve. Feedback generated from your marketing activities provides your business with invaluable insights into the mindsets, motivations and behaviour of existing and potential customers.
2020 is just around the corner, now is the time to start your business and marketing planning for next year. Put time aside now, create a marketing plan and your business can hit the ground running in the new year.
Kim MacDonald, Principal of Spindrift Marketing, a Sydney based marketing consultancy and outsourcing agency. Helping businesses create marketing strategies and plans that deliver on business priorities as well as delivering these plans on their behalf through our full suite of outsourced marketing services. http://www.spindriftmarketing.com.au
Kim is a Marketing, Brand and Business Development specialist with over 20 years’ experience in a range of top tier multinational organisations, in industries including Professional Services, Airlines, Financial Services, High Tech and MedTech in both Australia and the UK. She is passionate about helping SME’s achieve the best outcome, value and return from their marketing by aligning marketing initiatives to business priorities. http://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-macdonald.