Does your business have a marketing plan you’re looking to adjust? Are you just starting out with developing your first marketing plan? Without one, you will waste time and money trying to achieve a goal that isn’t clearly set. Poor marketing plans are a reason many companies fail to achieve their business goals. So, how can you make sure you come on top?

In the following article, we discuss methods you can use to create a strong, strategic marketing plan to lead your business to financial success.

Lay Out The Goals Of Your Marketing Plan

Person Aiming Bow Toward Target Audience

Creating specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based goals will ensure you stay on target with your marketing plan.

Prior to thinking about strategy or implementation, establish your business goals. This will help you define aspects of your marketing plan throughout the development process and guide you to a clear and strategic execution.

Think about where you want your business to be in several years. How much do you want to grow? What kind of revenue do you want to see? Now that you have the answer to those questions, you will want to make sure your path ahead is clear. For the best chance of success, make sure your goals are SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.

Specific – Your goals and objectives need to be clear and concise. It is critical everyone involved has a clear understanding of what the expected outcomes are. Avoid general objectives such as “generate more sales.” A more specific objective would be to “increase sales by 12% over the next six months.” This allows for everyone to picture the goal in a concrete manner. This will help your marketing plan develop smoothly in the long run.

Measurable – Your goals must have some form of quantitative unit for measuring progress and success. This can be in the form of KPI’s or ROI’s. If you’re implementing a social media strategy, you can measure success through engagement analytics, such as the number of likes, followers and shares. If your marketing plan includes ad tech or mar tech, you will have access to a wealth of analytics. Your units of measurement will differ depending on what sort of marketing strategy you are implementing.

Attainable – Your goals also need to be attainable. This means being realistic about what you can accomplish. If you’re a small business that’s just starting out, making a goal to “be a multibillion-dollar company in less than two years” is probably unrealistic. A more reasonable goal might be, “In two years double our current revenue.” To decide what’s attainable for your business, you will need to analyze your current financial state. What’s attainable for each business is going to be different depending on the size of your business, your organization’s niche and your financial capabilities. So, don’t sell yourself short when planning your goals for your marketing plan, but also keep in mind what’s manageable.

Realistic – Forming realistic goals is very similar to making attainable goals. The difference is that here we are focusing on what’s realistic financially for your marketing plan. Now that you are going to lay out your budget, how much are you willing to spend on it? Also, what do you hope to gain from your marketing plan in terms of revenue? Notejoy offers a list of realistic SMART goals in their blog post.  One example they give for a mid-size company is, “Increase the reach of the business Facebook page from 35,000 likes to 100,000 likes by July 31 through ads, events and video.”

Setting these types of goals will clarify the financial aspects of your marketing plan.

Time-based – Your goals need a time frame with solid deadlines to help you measure your success. Set time-based goals, both short-term and long-term. What do you want to complete six months from now? What about this month? You should also set daily goals to keep you and your team focused. Setting a time frame for your goals will help keep your marketing plan focused and on track.

Develop A SWOT Analysis

Develop A SWOT Analysis For Marketing Plan

Use SWOT to analyze the performance of your marketing plan.

SWOT analysis is an analytical system first developed by Stanford University researcher, Albert S. Humphrey, to analyze the data of major corporations. The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to determine the internal and external factors contributing to the functioning of an organization. By identifying the opportunities for growth and the obstacles that stand in the way, organizations can determine what their next steps forward should be.

SWOT is an acronym that stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By analyzing these four aspects of your business, you can take advantage of your strengths without losing sight of your ability to counter threats. Performing a SWOT analysis will help you strategize for potential risks and improve your marketing strategy.

Identify Your Target Audience

Every marketing strategy needs to clearly identify its target audience. Start by creating fictitious buyer characters to represent your target audience. These are referred to as target personas. This will help illustrate the potential market for your business. When devising your target personas, take into consideration demographic data, education, online activity and personal history.

Use this information to determine how your content is meeting your audience. Use your target persona to stay involved in the community. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What do the people you want to reach care about right now?
  • What platforms are they on?
  • What does this persona get from my business?
  • What trends are they following?
  • Which of my competitors are they being targeted by?

These questions will help you make the most of your target persona. Just remember that when you’re interacting with them online, they are people. Treat them like it!

Create A Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, conducted a SWOT analysis and identified your target audience, you are ready to create your marketing campaign. This is the final step of developing your marketing strategy.

Start with the specifics of your campaign.

Set Your Budget: You’ve already brainstormed your potential budget in your SMART plan, but now you’re going to set it for real. Be realistic about your budget. You want to put in enough to get results, but you also must consider your company’s financial situation. Set a budget for your marketing plan that is reasonable and will yield results.

Craft Your Message: What do you want to tell your audience? You want your message to have a punch so that your audience will remember you. Simultaneously, your message needs to have a clear call to action. It’s a good idea to brainstorm many ways to convey the message you’re trying to tell.

Ads Image For Marketing Plan

Many organizations take a media mix approach to their marketing plan.

Choose Your Media: Where do you want to market your business? There are many channels, such as social media, email marketing, printed advertisements, etc. You’ll need to choose media platforms that are relevant to your target audience and fit within your budget. According to the International Federation of Independent Businesses, “most businesses set aside between 2% and 5% of annual revenues for advertising.”

Most businesses utilize multiple platforms for optimal results. According to HubSpot, this can have the added benefit of, “[providing] businesses with an understanding of how their messages are coming across to customers. It allows a brand to invest more time and money into marketing strategies that are best suited for their audiences.”

Ready To Create Your Strategic Marketing Plan? 

Now that you have a better idea of how to create a marketing plan, let us guide you through the process and help your business thrive. Give us a call at 408-218-2391 or visit our website for more information on our business and marketing services.

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