What is Marketing?
Before we dive into the subject on how to write a marketing plan, let’s define what marketing is.
This is what Wikipedia says:
Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services.
Marketing today is focused on the needs and desires of the consumer. It is no longer about “shocking” them or reaching them indiscriminately, but about listening to them and adapting to what they demand.
Therefore, marketing should not be understood as simply a grouping of techniques, but as a philosophy or way of working that should influence all areas of a company. We use a holistic approach for this. But more later.
Furthermore, marketing and sales should not work in isolation. Rather, they are two areas that should be understood as one and work in a very intertwined way. Because without marketing, sales are not generated and without sales we cannot know what the real pain points of the end consumer are.
The true art of marketing is not knowing how to sell, but understanding the end consumer and offering them what they need at the right moment in the buyer journey.
Marketing strategies and types
Let’s divide this section into offline and traditional marketing strategies and digital and online marketing strategies:
Offline and traditional marketing strategies
Promotional materials, e.g. business cards, postcards, leaflets, brochure or even branded items. You can have a variety of cost-effective promotional materials to give people to make it easier for them to remember and find you.
Direct mail marketing is any physical correspondence you send to customers in the hopes of getting them to contact your business.
Print media, such as newspapers, magazines, or trade publications, gives you both visibility and credibility by establishing you as an expert on your topic.
We use a press release platform “Help a Reporter Out (HARO)” which connects experts with journalists and bloggers researching information for articles they are writing. This may be a valuable way for your business to gain brand publicity.
Digital and Online Marketing Strategies
Digital marketing is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel. Smartphone apps, television, and podcasts are all types of digital marketing.
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for your products and services. It aims to improve your website’s position in search results pages. Remember, the higher the website is listed, the more people will see it.
Social Media Marketing
In simple terms, Social Media Marketing means building a business through many different mediums, such as viral videos and blogs, in order to give exposure to a company and execute different purchasing processes.
Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, usually to a group of people, via email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a current or potential customer could be considered email marketing.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that aims to increase the visibility and ranking of a business or website in search engine results pages.
What is the difference between a marketing plan and marketing strategy?
In good marketing, you’ll think only of a marketing plan, and in great marketing, you will think globally and carefully about the marketing strategy as well. While the terms marketing plan and marketing strategy are sometimes used in the same way, they are not the same.
A marketing strategy will be the why behind all of your marketing efforts, and a marketing plan will be the how in terms of execution of the plan.
Are you looking to gain additional customers, build your brand, enter into new markets? A marketing plan will always fall within a global marketing strategy. Think of it like the tactics that help with an overall goal. Marketing plans can occur each month or quarter or year versus a marketing strategy may be a more fluid undertaking.
A marketing strategy will tie your marketing goals to your business goals and will help keep your entire marketing team focused on a greater idea.
Always begin with the marketing strategy.
If you don’t know the purpose behind your marketing plans, your outcomes won’t be as thorough or successful. Market analysis, understanding the size and demographics of your target market, and a competitor analysis, understanding what your brand competitors are doing or want to do helps inform a strong marketing strategy.
In addition, clearly laying out how your products and services are different from your competitors and how you’ll sell, and distribute, is part of the analysis. Your marketing plan will then be the clear roadmap of tactics and actionable ideas that will help you achieve your larger brand purpose.
You may have more than one marketing plan if you have different target demographics or markets that you like to break into and/or establish a clear foothold in. Try listing out a few marketing ideas that have come up recently for your marketing team or greater organisation.
Do they make sense within the greater brand? If you are at a loss for where to begin, think about what your competitors within your industry have successfully accomplished with their marketing efforts. Never be afraid to think outside the box. Are there interesting marketing campaigns that may be more useful for your brand, even if it’s in a different industry?
Strategy and Analysis
Get the most out of customer data across all channels and throughout your customer lifecycles. Using testing, machine learning algorithms, prioritisation, and predictive analytics, our strategists and data scientists can help you quickly generate actionable insights and deploy more personalised and targeted marketing campaigns.
Types of Marketing Plans
- Market Penetration Strategy
- Market Development Strategy
- Product Development Strategy
- Diversification Strategy
Market Penetration Strategy:
A market penetration strategy is when a company wants to increase the market share by increasing sales of products that are already on the market.
Market Development Strategy:
Market Development Strategy is the strategy to grow in a market that a company doesn’t currently reach or serve. A brand or business wants to introduce their product or solution to an audience they have not yet targeted.
Product Development Strategy:
Product development can often be as simple as taking an existing product, modifying it slightly and selling it into your existing market. This adds value for customers, who may well buy your new product, even though they have the current version.
Diversification strategy is the practice of introducing a new product into your supply chain to increase profits. These products could be a new segment of the industry your company already occupies, which is also known as business-level diversification.
How to write a Marketing Plan
The step-by-step process is as follows:
- Develop an understanding of the business objectives for the brands – there is no point in applying a strategy that is not critical to the business objectives
- In-depth keyword research and analysis including competitor positioning
- Offsite tasks – such as link building, article writing, local directory listings and social media
Your Business Objectives:
- Analyze and evaluate your marketing strategies, activities, goals, and results.
- Communication of a consistent message to the right customers
- Reveal new, unknown or neglected markets
- Fine-tune current strategies and plans to increase current market share
Overview of your company:
- Location, date established, sales history, number of employees, key personnel
- Write your mission statement
- An estimation of the current awareness level of the company as well as the perception of your company amongst your buying influencers
Describe your marketing goals and objectives (e.g. increase company visibility, increase audience size, differentiate from the competition, generate quality leads or increase usage within existing customers:
- Long term goals with priority what to achieve the next 2-3 business years
- Short term goals for the next 12 months
Current customer and buyer persona:
- Job titles, functions, industry, geographic location, company size, and behavioural descriptions
- Size of current customer audience
Preferred target customers:
- Reasons you are targeting a specific group
- Behaviour that needs to be present to target a specific group
- Size of the target audience
- Strength or weakness compared to the competition
- Changes to products and services over time
- Current perception and awareness level of your services
Past Marketing Encounters:
- What has helped you grow your business
- Not been tried but might help?
- What has your competition done to grow their business
Begin to Outline a Communication Plan. Begin to list current and future media sources as well if costs are fixed annual costs, and what funds are available for new efforts for:
- Advertising vehicles like broadcast, print, out-of-home and online advertising
- Promotional vehicles like the website, collateral, direct marketing, interactive and online marketing
- Media relation vehicles like media contacts, public relations and articles
- Event vehicles like trade shows, special events, seminars, and webinars
- Analytic vehicles like databases, market research, and tracking systems
- List any promotional medium that is considered to be the most effective to date
With this, you can then create a roadmap to achieve your marketing goals. Adjustments can be made along the way as changes might occur in sales, target groups or development of new products and services.
Don’t forget KPIs
Every good marketing plan describes how a business will track its campaign’s progress. To do so, you’ll need to determine your key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. This data helps you establish short-term goals within your campaigns and evaluate your progress and enable you to make decisions for future campaigns.
Hints and Tips
- Create a customer profile based on already existing clients. Ask them why they have chosen you and why they will choose you again.
- Stay focused on your niche.
- Focus on one group primarily and then try other target markets.
- Be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you might need to change your campaigns depending on the results.
- Don’t be afraid of failure. We always learn from our mistakes.