A goal without a plan is just a wish!
This one quote encapsulates the significance of adequate planning before beginning anything. Whether you are renovating your home, traveling to the Maldives, marrying your long-time girlfriend, starting a new company venture, or releasing a new product, each of these events will necessitate careful planning to ensure success or maximum output.
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This blog is about creating the perfect marketing plan. We will go over all facets of how to create a marketing plan, such as the different types of marketing plans, marketing plan outline, marketing plan steps, what research should be done, how to enhance online presence, how to outline a content strategy, how to assess outputs, what KPIs to focus on, and much more.
We are certain that this information will significantly assist you in understanding the steps and importance of a marketing plan.
Let’s start with the basics: what is a marketing strategy plan?
What Is A Marketing Plan?
As the name implies, a marketing plan is a strategy that you design to promote your products, services, or brand. In layman’s terms, it’s a road map that firms use to organize, implement, and track their marketing strategy over a specified period of time.
A well-thought-out marketing strategy provides numerous advantages to the organization, including but not limited to:
- Planning helps in identifying potential marketing prospects as well as possible risks.
- Planning provides a unique decision-making framework and facilitates effort coordination.
- A well-prepared plan will assist you in minimizing risk by analyzing the internal and external environments.
- Planning can also help organizations in developing a sustainable relationships with the customers. And,
- Planning reduces resource waste and financial ruin while also ensuring optimum workforce utilization.
These are the 5 primary reasons why you need a comprehensive marketing plan. Besides, since there are many types of planning, it is critical that you select the best planning approach.
What are the various planning types, and what are they best suited for? Let’s find out in the following section.
Different Types of Marketing Plans
There are multiple marketing plans available depending on the industry, product, service, organization, and objective. However, the five most noteworthy marketing plans are:
- Paid Marketing Plan
- Quarterly/Annual Marketing Plan
- Social Media Marketing Plan
- New Product/Service launch marketing plan, and
- Content marketing plan
Businesses can select one or more plans based on their needs and goals. For example, if all you want to do is expand your online presence, all you need to concentrate on is a well-planned social media marketing campaign. To best achieve this, you should also consider hiring a social media manager.
Similarly, if you’re planning to add some new products to your product line and want a proper launch, you’ll need a well-planned launching marketing strategy. Overall, choose the plan depending on your needs and goals.
So that’s the fundamentals of what a marketing strategy is and the different types of marketing strategy plans. Let us now get to the heart of the blog– how to design a winning marketing strategy plan.
How To Create A Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide
The following are the 10 steps on how to make a marketing plan. Remember that each step of this marketing plan outline is necessary and has its own value. In other words, be sure you don’t skip any of them. Let’s get started.
1. Identify & List Your Goals
The first step in our “How to create a marketing plan” guide is to understand why you require a marketing plan and to list your goals. Because when you decide to create a marketing plan, you must have some sort of goal or vision in mind. It could be anything from improving your online presence to increase revenue or improving your company’s brand image.
Your objectives will ultimately serve as the foundation for the entire marketing strategy.
Moreover, it is suggested that you divide your goals into long-term and short-term business goals. For example, suppose you are creating a social media plan for your organization. In that case, you should set short-term goals such as how many organic followers you intend to get in a month and how many followers you expect to gain in a year. Similarly, if you are creating a launch plan, your plan should be broken into monthly and annual targets.
In addition to long-term and short-term goals, you should also set SMART goals, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This means that all of your goals should be specific and provide a time frame for completion. Once you’ve finished identifying your goals, move on to the next task– research!
2. Conduct Necessary Research
In order to create an efficient and well-targeted marketing strategy plan, you must conduct extensive research beforehand. Your plan will lack direction and efficacy if you do not do adequate research. Following are some of the topics that you should research thoroughly:
2.1. Competitor Analysis
The fact that you are looking for a marketing plan outline is the first indication that you are aware that your firm has potential competitors that must be outperformed. However, in order to get a competitive advantage, you must first thoroughly understand your competitors.
This is why competitive analysis is necessary. In marketing and strategic management, competitive analysis is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of existing and potential competitors.
Competitor analysis will assist you in understanding your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, USPs, products, and services, among other things. This study will eventually assist you in laying the foundations for an efficient sales and marketing plan that will help your firm stand out from the crowd.
2.2. SWOT Analysis
In addition to competitive analysis, you must conduct a SWOT analysis too. According to Wikipedia, SWOT analysis, often known as a SWOT matrix, is a strategic planning or strategic management approach used to assist a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competitiveness or project planning.
In contrast to competitor analysis, SWOT analysis is used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your own organization. A thorough and detailed SWOT analysis will provide you with insights into your organization’s current state and help you in assessing the organization’s overall performance.
For example, you’ll get ideas about whether your resources are being used efficiently, if you have the right workforce, if they require any training, if there are any gaps in the workflow, and so on.
2.3. Customer Analysis
The third area that necessitates extensive study for an efficient marketing plan is customer analysis. You must know your customers just like you know your competitors and your organization’s potential. This is why customer analysis is required. It is a critical component of any company plan at any level of growth.
Analyzing your consumers will provide you with insights into their behavior, purchasing trends, likes and dislikes, and a variety of other characteristics. These data will eventually help you in the design and development of new products, as well as the modification of existing ones.
When done correctly, customer analysis has a lot of advantages, including attracting new consumers, improving customer retention and loyalty, strengthening customer relationships, and refining marketing campaigns.
So conduct the necessary research to know your target customer base before you proceed with creating the marketing plan.
3. Determine the KPIs
After you’ve established your goals and conducted all of the necessary research, the next step in your marketing plan outline is to determine your key performance indicators (KPIs).
KPIs are a set of quantifiable statistics that are used to assess a company’s overall long-term performance. Since there are multiple types and ways to create a marketing plan, as explained above, you must define a specific set of KPIs to gauge how successfully you have carried out the operations.
For example, suppose you’re creating a social media marketing strategy plan for your company. In that case, your KPIs should contain things like growth rate, post reach, average engagement, CTR %, conversion rate, and so on.
Ultimately, by studying these KPIs at the end of the campaign, you may assess how well your approach worked and whether or not you met the required objectives.
The 4th step of “How to make a marketing plan” is planning the budget.
4. Define Your Marketing Budget
The next component of a successful marketing plan strategy is adequate budget allocation. Make a list of every resource, subscription, and other things you’ll need to carry out this marketing plan. For example, your budget should include the costs of content creation, website building, influencer campaign fees, software subscription fees, logo design and branding, paid search advertising, and other expenses.
A well-defined budget not only gives you an idea of projected expenses but also gives you an idea of what your objectives should be or how well your campaign should perform to reach a breakeven point or a specific profit mark. Because spending hundreds of dollars just to score a few prospects is more of stupidity than a marketing strategy.
For this reason, ensure that you develop a well-planned marketing budget that includes all projected expenses, income streams, and an accurate income prediction out of that campaign.
The 5th step in our “How to create a marketing plan” guide is building a strong brand.
5. Ensure You Have A Strong Brand
A strong brand is the backbone of a company’s success. Although the brand building is a long-term goal that necessitates continuous efforts, it is worthwhile considering the benefits it offers. For example, having a strong brand increases the worth of your company significantly.
Along with increased brand value, you also gain various advantages such as improved customer recognition, increased customer loyalty, and better word-of-mouth exposure.
Moreover, a strong brand will assist your marketing plan in achieving greater success and attracting the right talent. Overall, it will have an impact both internally and externally. For these reasons, you must prioritize brand building as part of an effective marketing strategy.The steps to building a successful brand are as follows:
Step 1: Determine target audience
Step 2: Define the brand mission
Step 3: Research competition
Step 4: Create a value proposition
Step 5: Determine brand guidelines
Step 6: Market your brand
You’ve probably noticed that many brand-building activities are identical to marketing-plan development activities. So, if you’ve already carried it out once, there’s no need to do it again.
The 6th step in our marketing plan outline is enhancing online presence.
6. Find Ways To Enhance Your Online Presence
In today’s technology-driven world, having a decent online presence is critical. Businesses with little or no marketing presence can be easily wiped out from the business landscape by competitors with a solid online presence. Moreover, modern consumers favor firms with a better online presence over brands with a poor or no online presence. The following are some strategies for boosting your firm’s online presence:
- Optimize and make your website SEO-friendly.
- Update your website’s user interface with a modern theme.
- Publish a blog on a regular basis to target more keywords.
- Be active on most of the social media platforms your customers consume.
- Emphasize personalized content.
- Be consistent in your posting.
- Use advanced social media or digital marketing tools for greater outcomes.
- Use guest posting to reach out to new potential customers.
- Increase the number of images, infographics, and videos on your website.
- Register your firm in all local directories.
- Evaluate your performance and make necessary modifications to your marketing plan.
In addition to implementing these 11 tried-and-true tactics, you can hire a digital marketing agency to develop and improve your online presence.
Remember that having an excellent online presence not only helps your business get discovered quickly but also provides a range of other benefits such as giving your organization a professional touch, increasing conversions, establishing direct contact with your clients, and so on.
The next step in our “How to create a marketing plan” guide is outlining the content strategy.
7. Chalk-Out Content strategy
The 7th step is to create a content strategy. You should develop content for various platforms such as your website (products and services content), YouTube (product description videos), social media platforms (engaging posts), blogs (keyword-based content), marketing emails (lead generation), and so on.Moreover, any ideal content strategy consists of five stages, as outlined below:
- Content Alignment: Align your content to the customer’s journey. Determine which subjects, markets, and topics your content will cover.
- Content Audit: Examine your existing content to see what can be reused, what needs to be modified, and what needs to be developed from scratch.
- Content Creation: Determine the category and format of each piece of content. Decide who will be the subject matter experts, authors, and other contributors.
- Performance Evaluation: Define the goal of each piece of content and how success will be tracked and measured.
- Distribution Plan: Establish which online and offline methods will be used to reach customers, members, and contributors.
Make sure you go through all five phases for the best results. This will not only help you develop better content but will also improve the overall marketing plan.
8. Define Distribution Channels
Distribution channels are the routes that items take from organizations to end-users. For example, suppose you own a physical store. In that case, your distribution chain will begin with a manufacturer, then proceed to distributors, then to retailers who advertise and sell the products, and eventually to end customers. However, if you run an e-commerce site, you will have a direct-to-consumer sales distribution channel.
Again, there are five different types of primary distribution strategies, as listed below:
- Direct distribution
- Indirect distribution
- Intensive distribution
- Selective distribution
- Exclusive distribution
The first step in increasing distribution efficiency is to choose the best distribution channel. But keep in mind that, regardless of the distribution strategy you choose, streamlining product movement is also critical for your business.
Customers’ loyalty is severely harmed when deliveries are late or incomplete, and the relationship suffers as a result. Consider the following precautions to prevent losing customers due to inefficient distribution:
- Optimize warehouses
- Utilize direct vendor shipments
- Deliver to parcel lockers
This will result in faster delivery times, a more productive workforce, and happier customers.
The 9th step in our “How to make a marketing plan” guide is– breaking down the marketing plan into multiple small tasks. Let’s find out how to do this.
9. Divide The Marketing Plan Into Multiple Strategies
As we discussed in the previous section, there are several marketing plans to choose from, including Paid Marketing Plans, Quarterly/Annual Marketing Plans, Social Media Marketing Plans, New Product/Service Launch Marketing Plans, and Content Marketing Plans.
For this reason, implementing them all at once would be a quite difficult task. However, you can divide the overall marketing strategy plan into smaller tasks to ensure proper execution and better results.
Let’s understand this by an example. Assume you are a bakery entrepreneur who wants to introduce a new line of plum cakes in time for Christmas. This will require the marketing department to create a marketing plan to help introduce these new products to the market and drive the necessary sales.
The marketing team will divide the launching campaign into several strategies, including social media content creation, a YouTube video campaign, and flier distribution. All of them are distinct marketing tactics, yet they are all part of a larger marketing plan.
So, breaking down a broader marketing plan into smaller marketing strategies will help you implement and execute the marketing campaign more effectively, resulting in greater results.
10. Regularly Measure The Outcomes
Assume you have performed all of the things listed above. You conducted an excellent competitive analysis, created highly engaging content, improved your online presence, strengthened your brand, and devised an appropriate distribution strategy.
But how will you know if all of this is working in your favor or not? What if they don’t work as you expected? Isn’t this going to cost you money and resources? Certainly, it will. That is why you must track the progress of your marketing strategy plan on a regular basis.
Leverage modern marketing tools to track how well your strategy is working. Check to see if you’re getting the desired results. If not, identify the gaps or flaws in the strategy and take the appropriate action. For example, if your email campaign does not generate the expected number of leads or the results are unsatisfactory, you can improve the mail content, subject line, and CTA.
This may help you steer the marketing campaign in the right direction and attain the best results. Moreover, regular performance analysis can help determine what is working in your favor. You can make a note of these positive strategies and use them in your future campaign.
In short, ensure that you monitor and measure your performance on a regular basis in order to achieve the desired results from your marketing plan.
This brings us to the end of the blog on “What is a Marketing Strategy Plan and How to Create One.” We are sure that each of the marketing plan steps, each section, and sentence has improved your understanding of the marketing plan outline. It’s now up to you to put these tips and knowledge into practice!
We are also very much positive that implementing these suggestions or marketing plan steps will considerably benefit your business and provide you with a competitive edge.
The Bottom Line: Every firm requires a well-designed marketing plan in order to thrive in today’s cutthroat competitive market. However, in order to enact the best marketing plan, you must consider a number of factors, including long-term and short-term goals, proper budget allocation, selecting the right plan, thorough research, brand building, expanding business presence, and regular monitoring and performance analysis. Above everything, put forth your best efforts while remaining patient and consistent. You will definitely notice the benefits!
Frequently Asked Questions
An effective marketing strategy plan must include the following seven elements: 1. Market research 2. Goals and Objectives 3. Customer Segmentation 4. Branding and Strategy 5. Budget Distribution 6. Performance Evaluation and 7. Strategy Refinement
The four steps that every successful marketing plan should include are as follows: 1. Setting Objectives and Goals 2. Evaluating The Current Situation 3. Develop a Tailored Strategy. 4. Put the strategy into action. Always follow these four marketing plan steps to get the most out of your campaign.
It is critical to remember & follow these 7Cs of marketing while developing a winning marketing plan outline– Customers, Convenience, Competition, Communication, Consistency, Creative content, and Credibility.
The four Ps of marketing are product, pricing, place, and promotion—also referred to as the marketing mix. These are the key components of marketing a product or service, and they intersect extensively with one another.
Guerrilla marketing is a marketing type that uses creative or unconventional ways to boost sales or generate consumers' interest in a brand or business. Guerrilla marketing focuses on surprising the consumer in order to leave a lasting impact about the product or brand.
The three major phases of every efficient marketing plan are A. planning, B. Implementation, and C. Evaluation. All these phases are further divided into multiple small tasks and activities.