It’s time to start setting your sat nav! If you’ve been following our Marketing MOT series you will by now have:
- An idea of what has worked for you marketing-wise in the past and what you might want to continue doing in the future – Part One.
- Undertaken an assessment of where your business is now including factors both internal and external to the business which may impact you – Part Two.
- Identified your target audience, ideal client, or customer and how your products or services may be able to provide solutions to their pain points – Part Three.
- Gained an insight into where you stand in relation to your competitors – Part Four.
- Produced a clear value proposition – Part Four.
In this final part, we bring this all together, setting out how we are going to achieve our targets, goals, and objectives in our Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan.
What’s the difference between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?
A Marketing Strategy usually comes before a Marketing Plan and helps support it. It tackles the question of why? Looking at the desired end results it sets out the paths that will lead you there. So, what does it usually include?
- Executive Summary – an outline of your strategy
- Background – your business goals, marketing goals, and challenges
- Market Analysis – SWOT analysis, PESTEL (the macro environment)
- Target Audience – your ideal customers or clients (buyer personas)
- Competitive Analysis – competitor benchmarking
- Offering – what you will deliver and how you will deliver it
- Message – value proposition and testimonials
- Selling – the channels you’ll be selling through, the sales process, pricing, communication, and promotion (which channels will be the most effective), and marketing activities.
A Marketing Plan is a list of the steps that you will need to take in order to accomplish your goals. It covers how, when, where, who, and what.
Here’s what is usually included in a Marketing Plan:
- Executive Summary – a brief overview of your plan.
- Target Market – an overview of the market, their pains, goals, buying patterns, and messaging.
- KPIs – How are you going to measure the success of your marketing campaigns?
- Situation Analysis – Goals, strengths, weaknesses, environmental factors and market analysis, challenges, and impacts on your business moving forward.
- 4 of the 7Ps of Marketing
– Product – what are you offering, how does it differ from your competitors?
– Price – pricing model, why will customers choose your product/service over others?
– Place – where is the first place buyers will see your product? Are there other avenues you could sell your product?
– Promotion – where will you promote your product – online advertising, email marketing, blogging?
What to include in your Marketing Plan
As the Marketing Plan, by its very nature, is more detailed, here are some best practices to consider when putting yours together:
- Website and branding – does the messaging resonate with your buyer personas? Is the content helpful to prospective buyers, will it attract leads?
- Content Strategy and Plan – what content do you already have? Does it need updating to captivate and engage your audience?
- Channels – which channels will you use to reach your audience? Where do they hang out?
- Social Media Plan – how are you using social media? Are you engaging with thought leaders? Are you engaging with happy customers? How often are you posting? What KPIs are you tracking to measure success?
- Timeline – set a timeframe over which to measure the success and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- Resources/Budget – how much are you going to allocate to your marketing efforts?
- Responsibilities – who is going to be responsible for what? Do you need to delegate or outsource?
Of course, as with any MOT, we couldn’t do it without a set of tools and a bit of Technology. Here are a few things you might want to take a look at…
Once you’ve decided where you’re headed and you’ve planned your steps to get there, it’s time to create and publish that content. A bit of online research will come up with various content planners but a simple spreadsheet will suffice. You can track your content, plan where you’re going to share it and how often. It can be as detailed as you want it to be, as long as it helps you achieve your plan. It can be used for email marketing too, not just social media posts.
Working out which software to use can be difficult but it’s important to choose something that’s easy for you to use and that you can master quickly. As with scheduling platforms, there are lots of options, MailChimp is one of the most popular but others include Campaign Monitor, Aweber, Constant Contact, Hubspot, and Active Campaign.
If you decide to share the load and work with others on your marketing, the ability to share and update documents you have created in an easy way is important. Google has a suite of useful tools including Google Drive, if you’re using Office 365 you have Sharepoint and of course, there’s always good old Dropbox.
With a fully equipped toolkit you should be ready to go but before you do, here are some take-away ‘Top Tips’.
- You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you have a plan. Once you’ve finished your plan go back and take out all those things you know you’ll never get around to and make sure you prioritise the things you absolutely have to do.
- Make sure your plan is manageable and realistic so you have the time to do it. Make it fun and exciting so you’ll actually get it done.
- Think about who you’re communicating with and how often they want to hear from you.
- Have a swipe file somewhere to keep good ideas or suggestions from others. Rather than rushing off to start something new, park it in the file and come back to it when you have time.
- Ask for help when you’re stuck. Speak to those around you or invest in specialist advice.
Good luck on your journey and let us know how you get on.
In the meantime, you can watch the fifth and final video in our series ‘Power Steer Your Marketing into the Future with the Latest Tech’ . And of course, if you haven’t already, you can download our Marketing MOT e-book here.
In addition to our free resources, we have also put together a workbook which can be purchased here, which will take you through the various tools and models mentioned and help you formulate your marketing plan and strategy.