How to create a marketing plan?

You will have to start by reviewing the main actions carried out in last year’s Operational Marketing Plan in order to justify their continuation or not for the following year.

As a reminder, it is important for a marketing plan to:

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

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 profit.

Content of a Marketing Plan

The development of the marketing plan goes through the following steps:

  • SWOT Analysis: your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Environmental analysis: your competitors, your customers, their needs, expectations and motivations.
  • Goals: What do you want to focus your actions on (Increase your brand awareness, improve its perception, your products or services, increase the conversion rate, etc.)
  • Marketing Strategy: Develop your strategy according to the mix marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion)
  • Marketing action plan including an action schedule 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

Way before digital marketing was born, marketers used to build marketing plans, and this is still much needed for many marketing plans:

  • 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, you obviously need to consider digital marketing that brings its whole world of strategies and tools. Digital marketing is usually much more reactive 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:

  • How mature your company and your products and services are
  • Your goals
  • But also with the expected results.

Define the Key Performance Indicators to Measure

Last but not least: How to measure the efforts and investments of your marketing or more commonly called ROI (return on investment).

The more you will be able to measure, the easier it will be to convince your manager to make the investment but also to evolve your marketing plan by excluding inefficient actions to focus on those that works 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