The annual marketing plan is a high-level strategy that guides the direction of your team’s campaigns, goals, and growth. An annual marketing plan helps you set up your company for success because it increases employee productivity by allowing them to work together in unison towards one goal – making their business dreams come true.
With so much to keep track of, things can get messy and it’s nearly impossible to put a number on how much money you’ll need if there is no marketing plan for your business reference. The marketing plan you need will vary depending on your industry and the goals of your team.
Here is a step by step guide from team Digitally Global, to create a customized marketing plan:
Create a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is an important step before beginning any marketing plan. Every company has its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to consider; it’s also useful for companies that are looking into the market to analyze how they compare with other competitors in the current market.
Think about how other products are better than yours. Plus, consider the gaps in a competitor’s approach. What are they missing? What can you offer that’ll give your customer what they want and set yourself apart from everyone else on the market? Think about what sets you apart!
Answering questions like this should help you figure out where to start and which customers will be most receptive to your product based on their needs for it.
Understanding Your Audience
You might be wondering how to know who your target audience is. The answer? Market research! You can find out which companies you should or shouldn’t take on as clients, and what type of content will help them the most by researching their demographics. It’s a great way to refine buyer personas if you already have those established, but it’ll also give you insight into creating any that don’t exist yet so they’re more accurate for future marketing campaigns.
Your buyer persona should include demographic information such as age, gender, and income. However, it will also include psychographic information such as pain points and goals. What drives your audience? What problems do they have that your product or service can fix?
Your goals will help you define what your tone of voice should be, which brings us to step number three.
Create SMART Goals
You can’t go somewhere unless you have a road map. However, it also applies to marketing in the sense that without goals you cannot improve your ROI. After figuring out where you are currently and analyzing your audience’s needs as well as what they want from this product or service then defining SMART Goals is possible which will lead towards success.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means that all your goals should be specific and include a timeframe for which you want to complete them.
Before we start any tactic, let’s write out the goal first. Then we can begin analyzing the tactics that will help you achieve it more quickly or effectively than before.
Analysis Of Your Strategy
You’ve got to figure out what tactics will help you achieve your goals. Plus, how exactly are the right channels and action items going to get there? For example: if increasing Instagram followers by 15% in three months is a goal for you – make sure focusing on things like hosting giveaways, responding to every comment, and posting 3 times per week would be important.
Once you know your goals, it should be easy to brainstorm several tactics that will help you achieve them. But remember: You don’t want these fancy new strategies blowing up in your face by spending more than what’s budgeted.
Before you can start implementing any of the ideas that you’ve come up with in the steps above, know your budget.
While writing out your marketing plan be sure to note an estimated budget and a time frame for each one as expenses will vary depending on what is needed, such as ad space or even social media ads.
With your marketing plan creation in place, let us explore the elements a good marketing plan should include:
Marketing plans are tailored to the industry you’re in, whether it’s consumer-based or business-to-business. No matter what your marketing plan includes, here are some of the essential elements of an effective marketing plan:
Your Business Summary
A business summary is a succinct, one-page overview of your company that should inform investors and customers about what makes it special. An effective business summary can be as short as three sentences or paragraph long. Yet, you need to include:
- The company name
- Where it’s headquartered
- Its mission statement
Your Business Initiatives
The Business Initiatives element of a marketing plan is important because it helps you to segment your department’s goals. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which are usually found in business plans; this section should outline the projects that relate specifically to marketing and what their objectives would be as well as how they will be measured.
Analysis Of Your Consumers
So you’re a company that wants to sell what people need? Sounds like it’s time for some market research. This section of your marketing plan will help with describing the industry and buyer persona. A buyer persona, or ideal customer description, would include traits such as:
- Personal challenges
- Triggering events
Analysis Of Competitors
Your buyer persona has choices when it comes to solving their problems, including both the types of solutions they consider and providers that can administer those solutions. In your market research, you should consider your competition – what they do well and where gaps are that you can potentially fill with our product or service offerings. This includes:
- Market share
Your marketing plan’s Business Summary also includes a SWOT analysis, which stands for the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Be patient with your market research; you’ll write most of it based on what you find in this section below as well as your strategy later down the line.
Analysis Of Your Market Strategy
What will your business offer your buyer personas that won’t be found anywhere else? What do you want to stand out about from the rest of the competition and grab their attention in a crowded marketplace? This is what this section should answer, as it’s all too easy for buyers today to ignore any one company if they feel there are many more who can provide them with similar products or services.
Analysis Of Your Budget
You need to consider your budget and how much money you have allotted the marketing team. You shouldn’t be too quick to make assumptions on other company financials, as those numbers may not reflect what is going on at a given time.
It’s important to have a clear idea of where your marketing budget is going, and the best way to do that is by categorizing it in line with what type of expenses you’ll be covering. For example:
- Outsourcing costs to a marketing agency and/or other providers
- Marketing software
- Paid promotions
- Events (those you’ll host and/or attend)
Analysis Of Marketing Channels
Finally, your marketing plan will include a list of the places you’ll be posting content to educate and generate leads. While your company might promote its product through certain ad space, it’s up to these other channels that help spread awareness about what you’re doing for them.
Knowing the budget and doing analysis on where you want to invest your marketing money, should give you a plan of how much budget to put towards what tactics. From there, it would be best if we could come up with financial projections for this year; they won’t be 100% accurate but I bet that they’d help us out tremendously when talking about executive planning. The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins first, that way you can ramp up fast and take on more sophisticated projects. To learn more about creating a customized marketing plan for your business, click here.