Marketing Planning 101
Are you in the midst of pulling together a new marketing campaign but don’t know where to start? You are not alone. The key to success is to establish a concrete marketing plan so that you have a road map of where you want to be and how you want to get there.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES – Start with your goals and objectives. What is it you’d like to see at the end of the campaign? What will it take to reach those goals? Clearly define what it is you are trying to accomplish. This step is crucial to keeping you on track and ensuring you are clear on what it is you want your audience to know. Marketing campaigns can be defined as anything from a product launch, media announcement or perhaps a 6-month campaign with multiple components. A marketing plan will help guide you and keep you in check along the way.
AUDIENCE – Define your audience prior to starting. Who’s your target market? Once you decide who that is, you can zero in on some specific off-line tactics as well as digital marketing that will cater to that audience. Remember just because there’s an abundance of social media platforms out there doesn’t mean you have to do all of them! Find what’s best for your audience and what’s best for your business before embarking on a number of venues for marketing.
TOOLS – Off-line tactics are just as important as the on-line tools. Off-line marketing includes events such as media announcements, product launches, special seminars and even Flash Mobs! Your on-line products range from Facebook, Twitter, websites, Youtube and on-line contesting. An integrated plan will help you decide when and where these tactics will best fit.
COMMUNICATIONS – Within your marketing plan, you should include plans for communications, advertising and media. When do you plan to launch your product or event? Work backwards from the launch date to establish your timeline in your marketing plan. The timeline will have everything laid out day-by-day and week-by-week so you have something to follow and guide you.
KEEP IT SIMPLE – You might be thinking what’s the difference between communications and marketing? Marketing is your overall plan whereas communications is how you tell people what it is you are doing. Communication materials include media releases, backgrounders, speaking notes, key messages, media advisories and anything that you are using to communicate to your audience. Remember the rule of thumb…keep it simple and engaging for your audience. The more you simplify and work on establishing sound communications materials, the easier it will be to develop your advertising plan or even your website.
RESULTS AND EXPECTATIONS – Finally, what kind of tangible results do you want to see at the end of your marketing plan? Is it more hits on your website or Facebook page? Is it more people buying your product? It goes back to your objectives and goals again to clarify the kinds of results you want to see. If it’s primarily brand awareness then you can’t be expecting big money results at the end (not that it can’t happen simultaneously). It may be that your plan is to get your name out there and engage a broader audience or perhaps a new segment of the population. That’s still a great plan and perhaps your following phase will be about increasing sales.
Remember that a marketing plan is an evolving document. Changes can happen daily or every few days. Think of it as fine-tuning your business. Success will happen to those who plan!
(If you are interested in receiving a free marketing plan template, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)