How to Create a Marketing Plan?

Any marketing plan should:

  • Set clear, realistic and measurable goals
  • Provide deadlines for achieving objectives
  • Provide a budget for each marketing activity
  • Identify the person in charge of each activity

Start by reviewing the main actions carried out in last year’s operational marketing plan in order to justify their continuation or cessation in the following year.

Make sure that you have the resources (employees, training, tools) to achieve each of the objectives. If you generate incoming leads but do not have the bandwidth to process them, you will have a budget line with an expense that will not generate any revenue.

Content of a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is typically developed using the following steps:

  • SWOT Analysis: Your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
    • Environmental Analysis: your competitors, your customers, There’s also the regulatory and tax environment, technological developments, availability of needed resources, supplies, labor, and materiel needed for manufacturing your product…
  • Marketing Goals: What do you want to focus your actions on? (increase your brand awareness, improve perception of your products or services, increase the conversion rate, etc.)
  • Marketing Strategy: Develop your strategy according to a mix of the four key marketing factors (Product, Price, Place and Promotion)
  • Marketing Action Plan: List detailed actions, including schedule accountabilities, and a budget synthesis

Focus on Marketing Tools and Techniques

Your goals and your budget will determine the kind of actions you will pick for your plan. It’ s most likely a mix of offline/traditional and online activities.

Traditional Tools

Well before digital marketing was born, marketers were building marketing plans. They are still very much needed for many marketing activities, including

  • Classic Media: television, billboard, radio, press
  • Public relations
  • Events, exhibitions
  • Brochures, flyers, in-store advertising

Digital Tools

In addition to these well-known traditional marketing techniques,  digital marketing must be considered, with its whole world of unique strategies and tools. Digital marketing is usually much more reactive than traditional marketing, and makes it easier to measure ROI (Return on Investment).

  • SEO: Ensuring that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) will recommend your pages to their users
  • Sponsoring Ads (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
  • Retargeting: Displaying relevant ads to former visitors of your web site
  • Marketing Automation: Sending follow up messages and showing information to your users based on their behavior (as opposed to sending the same newsletter to every user)
  • Social Networks

Budgeting Actions

The marketing budget must be aligned with

  • The maturity of your company and your products and services
  • Your goals
  • The expected results.

Define the Key Performance Indicators to Measure

Last but not least: how do you measure your efforts and the investment in your marketing plan more commonly known as ROI (return on investment)?

The more you are able to measure, the easier it will be to justify the investment but and evolve your marketing plan by excluding inefficient actions to focusing only on the ones that work the best.

Example of Marketing Action Plan

Columns:
The objectives with indicators for each member, the owner and deadlines

  • Awareness / Image
  • Incoming Lead
  • Trial / Evaluation

Rows:
The desired goals in metrics

  • The main actions
  • Budget distribution/channel
    • SEO / SEA
    • Sponsored ads
    • Automation marketing etc

On the same topic, find out more about a marketing plan strategy, or how to manage a marketing business plan.