Step 1: Conduct a Situation Analysis
Before you start on your marketing plan you need to understand your current situation.
An easy way to do this is a SWOT analysis. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats? Things to think about are:
- Target market: What is the market? What are the trends?
- Environment: What’s happening in your market, the wider environment, and what is the potential impact to your business?
- Product review: What are the key features of your product and how you are different from your competitors – what is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? What is most important to your buyer: quality, price, ease of purchase? You can’t offer it all.
- Competitive review: Who are your main competitors. How do your company and products compare?
Step 2: Define your Target Audience
This section describes your ideal customer. Include demographics such as age, gender, earnings, geographic location, and lifestyle. Ideally, you will also include information about their behaviours and decisions. How often do they buy the type of products that you offer and in what quantities? What social media channels do they use? How do they find out about products and services that interest them?
If you are a business-to-business organisation define your target audience based on business type, job title, size of the business, geographic location, etc.
Gather any intel you can find, and include it in this section. Knowing your customer inside and out will be helpful when defining your goals, tactics, and strategies.
Step 3: Set SMART Goals
Marketing is all about goals. If you don’t goals you have no way of knowing whether or not your work is worthwhile. Think of it like planning a trip, To know when you’ve arrived, you first need to know where you are going.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means all your goals should be precise and have a timeline by when you want to complete them. For example, you may want to double sales by the end of the financial year, increase your Instagram followers by 15% in 3 months, or simply start a blog in the next 30 days.
Remember to make your goals motivating and far-reaching but not so difficult/unattainable that they just becoming discouraging.
Step 4: Outline Strategies
Now you know what you want to achieve and by when you can look at what strategies and channels you will use to achieve them.
For example, if your goal is to increase your followers by 15% in 3 months, one of your strategies may be to offer a giveaway, posting three times a week on Instagram and responding to every comment.
It’s good to think about several tactics to reach your goals, but remember to keep your budget firmly in mind, which brings us to step 5.
Step 5: Set your budget
In your business plan, you will already have detailed your entire business financials. Your marketing budget should focus solely on marketing related activities. How much you plan to spend on marketing and promotion across the year and how much the tactics in your marketing strategy will cost. Most importantly, where will this money come from?