What Is A Marketing Plan & Why Do You Really Need One?

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A large part of our job involves demystifying industry buzzwords into regular, everyday language that makes sense for business owners and managers.  Today, we’re talking about the illusive “Marketing Plan.”

A business plan is a concise document that outlines the business’ current marketplace position, future objectives and tactical approaches for putting the plan into action.

The main purpose of a marketing plan is to connect thinking (strategy) with doing (execution).  While a significant amount of work goes into putting one of these plans together, we’ve found that the end result must be tangible and actionable in order for the whole concept to work.  That’s why, when we work together to form a plan for a client, we typically follow a standardized approach, with a number of key items being covered.

KICKOFF

No one knows your business like… yourself.  So to begin, we take time to learn about the recent challenges and successes in the business.

DISCOVERY

To get an accurate picture of the business and the industry, we’ll perform a situational analysis that covers internal stakeholders (employees and owners) and external (vendors, suppliers, etc.) areas.  In addition, it’s always good to take a closer look at the industry to spot any observable trends and opportunities.

DREAMING

With an understanding of the present, the plan should now look forward.  Objectives will help guide the business into the future.

TACTICS

This is where things get fun!  It’s time to put together a list of ways you can go about accomplishing your objectives.  You don’t need to focus in on the details at this point, but its good to include general tactical ideas, like social media marketing, outdoor advertising, press releases and more.  After coming up with a fair number (we aim for 30), you should then filter them down based on budget, goals, and timelines.  The result should be a short list of actionable items for which budgets and scope can be determined.

All of this can seem a bit overwhelming, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to answering the “who, what, where, when, why and how.”  With the right plan and a motivated team in place, you’ll have everything you need to make your marketing a success.


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