9 Steps to Create the Perfect Marketing Plan

Time to take good hard look at your team’s marketing strategy.

It’s worth it. An annual marketing plan helps you set your marketing on the right course to achieve your business goals. Think of it as a high-level strategy that guides the direction of your campaigns, goals, and growth.
It is nearly impossible to put a number on the budget you’ll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you’ll need over the course of a year if you don’t have a plan.

You need a different marketing plan based on your industry and your marketing team’s goals. Here are a few planning templates you can easily fill in where you can easily figure out what to include in your plan.

1. Synopsis of the business

The Business Summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the organization. It includes:

  • Company name
  • Headquarters
  • Mission statement
  • Business initiatives

The Business Initiatives element of a marketing plan helps you segment your department’s objectives. You shouldn’t include big-picture company initiatives, which are normally found in a business plan. Within this section of your marketing plan, you should outline the marketing-specific projects. The goals of those projects will be described, as well as how they will be measured.

2. Analysis of customer needs

is where you will do some basic market research. This section of your marketing plan might be easier to write if your company has already conducted a thorough market study.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Title
  • Goals
  • Personal challenges
  • Pains
  • Triggering events

3. Analyze competitors

There are choices available to your buyer persona when it comes to solving their problems, both in terms of the types of solutions they consider and the providers who can administer those solutions. In your market research, you should consider your competition, what they do well, and where the gaps are that you may be able to fill. For example:

  • Placement
  • Market share
  • Offerings
  • Price

4. SWOT analysis

Your marketing plan’s Business Summary will also include a SWOT analysis, which identifies the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You will write most of your business’s SWOT analysis based on the research you conducted in the sections above and your strategy down below.

5. Market Analysis

In your Market Strategy, you describe how your company should approach the market based on the information provided in the above sections. Is there anything your business can offer your buyer personas that your competitors aren’t already offering? As part of a full-length marketing plan, this section should include the “seven Ps of marketing”:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical Evidence

High angle view of busy young specialist in casual clothing choosing marketing strategies at meeting in office: unrecognizable man making notes on sticker while talking to colleague about plan
Inventories
Your marketing plan’s Budget should not be confused with your product’s price or other financial information. Budgets describe the amount of money allocated by the business to its marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above. Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you may want to itemize this budget by where you will spend the money.

6. Market Channels

You will also list the marketing channels in your marketing plan. As much as your company might advertise its products using certain ad spaces, your marketing channels are where you’ll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.

Discuss your social agency publishing (or plans to publish) here. In the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan, you should determine which social networks to launch a business page on, how you will use that social network, and how you will measure your success. One of the purposes of this section is to prove to your superiors, both inside and outside the marketing department, that these channels will serve to grow the business.

Businesses that have extensive social agency presences may even want to elaborate on their social strategy in a separate social agency plan template.

7. Projection of financial results

Based on the budget and analysis of the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to come up with a plan for how much budget to invest in which tactics. Then, you will be able to come up with financial projections for the year. While not 100% accurate, these can be helpful for executive planning.

 

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