Basics of a marketing plan

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

There is a saying. "If you don't know where you are going any road will get you there". If translated to marketing this might read as if you haven't thought about what you are doing with your marketing then anything you do might work or you could be wasting your time effort and money. Having a marketing plan will not only help you not waste money - it might actually help you make money!

The basics

A marketing plan gives you an opportunity to think about what you want to achieve over the next year. It can give a focus to all aspects of marketing e.g. advertising, social media, or PR and enables you to be clear about what you want to accomplish. This might be raising your profile with a target audience, launching a product or service, attracting new customers or developing relationships in the wider community. A marketing plan will also give you a feel for how much time and effort this will cost; identify who is going to do it; and ensuring the expected benefits outweigh the costs.

A marketing plan could include these elements:

1. Being clear about what your business is

This can include the company name and branding, values and missions statement. it ensures the plan remains grounded . It could also include known issues around trading conditions, competitors and forecast changes.

2. Knowing your target audience

Ensuring you know who will be the recipient of your marketing efforts. It may include the development of a customer persona. It may include market research and focus groups to establish what they think of you currently and whether that is something you want to strengthen or change. This information can help messages, processes and channels.

3. Market Strategy

With your target audience in mind this is the "what, when where and how" of the marketing campaign.In marketing terms this will ensure that Price, Product, Place and Promotion are crystal clear and relevant and distinct from competitors. For example there is little point in having a strong social media element of a strategy to a target audience that doesn't engage strongly with social media.

4. Resources

Ensure you have the resources not only in terms of a cash budget but in terms of time. A serious mistake organisations make is to allocate the resources and budget for marketing but forget that a successful marketing campaign might actually generate additional business and work.

5. Marketing Channels

Be clear on what message is carried on what marketing channel whether using print, digital or events.

6. Evaluate

How will you know whether that plan worked? Select some basic indicators (metrics) that will give you a feel for increased levels of awareness, sales, footfall, enquiries or revenue -depending on what it was you were looking to achieve. If it is a digital campaign look for analytics that can help.

Lastly a plan can fit on to one size of A4. It doesn't have to be complex. But it does give you a chance to decide which road will get you to where you want to go.

Contact Third Quarter Tribe if you think we can help you develop an affordable practical marketing plan for your organisation - no matter how small.

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