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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Use influencer marketing by reaching out to bloggers
- Use sales promotions to attract new customers
- Use search engine and social media marketing to expand customer reach
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.