Developing a marketing plan: 6 essential steps

by | Oct 14, 2016 | Business, Marketing, Public Relations

Developing annual marketing plans and successfully executing them are main tasks of marketing professionals. However, even for experienced marketers, figuring out the steps involved in crafting a flawless marketing plan can be challenging, not least because so many similar terms seem to confuse things.

Terms like “marketing objective”, “marketing strategy”, and “marketing tactics” have an important place in how we assign meaning to our marketing efforts, but to the uninitiated, they can appear to mean the same thing.

Even savvy marketing vets use these words interchangeably without thinking about their difference, but when it comes to developing a marketing plan, we should pay extra attention to the distinctions between these words; doing so will be invaluable in taking your marketing efforts to the next level.

Here’s how you can create a marketing plan in six simple steps:

1. Start with situation analysis

Your marketing plan needs a marketing objective, but how do you know what this should be? Starting with a situation analysis will allow you to understand your company’s position, from where you can determine what steps you need to take to build your marketing objective.

Situation analyses can involve several steps, such as an environmental scan, key competitor analysis, market research, and SWOT analysis. This is a major function in your marketing plan and it can be pretty time consuming, but without data, it is impossible to make the smart decisions that will make your plan a success.

2. Set your objective

The marketing objective is an extremely significant part of your overall plan. All the data you have collected from your situation analysis will help you determine your objective.

And don’t forget: your objective must be clear, measurable, and have a specific time frame.

Examples:

  • Increase sales by 10 percent by the end of the year
  • Get X new clients signed on to your service in the next three months

3. Determine your strategy

Your marketing objective is what you need to achieve, and your marketing strategy is how you get there.

To achieve your goals, you can have more than one strategy with each one relying on data collected from your situation analysis. But no matter how many strategies you devise and execute, all that matters is to achieve your marketing objective. So, you have to ask yourself, will the strategy you choose help you do that?

Examples:

  • Increase customer reach by focusing on Canadian market (to increase sales)
  • Focus on X target audiences (to get X new clients signed on to your service in the next three months)

4. Figure out the best tactics to accomplish your marketing strategies

Although they sound very similar, marketing strategy and marketing tactics are totally different things. Marketing tactics are the ways you actualize your marketing strategies. It’s a very important section in your marketing plan because marketing tactics will determine the amount of time and money you will spend executing your plan. Again, rely on the findings from your situation analysis and figure out the best tactics to fulfil your strategy and achieve your objective.

Examples:

5. Measure your results

If you’ve done a good job, this is the fun part.

You’ve worked hard to develop and execute a marketing plan. Now it’s time to measure the results of your efforts. There are several metrics you can look at to evaluate your success, such as increased sales, increased web traffic, and lead metrics, depending on your objective. Your results will help you identify future objectives, strategies, and tactics for subsequent plans.

6. Make sure to have a contingency plan

Marketing can be highly unpredictable and you will likely encounter unexpected problems along the way. It’s a good idea to have few “Plan B” tactics in case things don’t go as you expect.

Have you completed the steps above? And is there still something wrong with your results? Explore how media monitoring and analysis can help you understand your customers and make important decisions in every aspect of your marketing and communications efforts. Schedule a demo with Agility PR Solutions.

Daily PR Updates

Essential PR industry news, opinion, and analysis delivered to your inbox daily.

Agility PR Solutions
Agility PR Solutions provides powerful, yet easy to use media database, monitoring, and analytics solutions for tomorrow’s communicators. Since 2003, clients have trusted our tools and services to help them identify and connect with influencers, capture coverage, and measure impact of everything they do. Whether we do it for you or help you do it yourself, our team of media experts make it easy to monitor and measure traditional, broadcast, social and online coverage.

RECENT ARTICLES

Crisis communication principles: 4 benefits of having a solid plan

Crisis communication principles: 4 benefits of having a solid plan

The plan that companies create to ensure that they have effective and efficient communication during a PR crisis is essential, which is what crisis communication entails. This plan is crucial in ensuring that a company remains functional even when going through a...

Crisis control: Why response plans need a designated spokesperson

Crisis control: Why response plans need a designated spokesperson

When an adverse event rotates the spotlight of public attention to your business or that of a partner or client, does your response plan include a designated spokesperson? Does that person have a back-up? If either answer is no, then your crisis response plan has a...

Press Moves – Week of March 8

Press Moves – Week of March 8

Here you have it! The most notable journalist and media industry moves of the past week. USA AND CANADA Follow us on Twitter @Press_Moves News and Media Atlantic, The: Tim Alberta (@timalberta) has joined as a Staff Writer. Greenville News: Genna Contino...