As the old saying goes, ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’. If you want your marketing efforts to drive real growth, having a solid marketing plan for 12 months ahead is as important as processing orders and answering the phone.
For many Kiwi businesses, marketing is a role that could sit on the sales manager’s shoulders. Or it might even belong to the general manager. Having a purpose-built marketing manager, who knows how to write a marketing plan, can be a luxury that only bigger businesses can afford. If your marketing plan is still in the ‘too hard’ basket because you aren’t a trained marketer, here are some useful tips.
Think of it as a blueprint
A marketing plan is a blueprint that keeps your marketing activities aligned with your business’ overall goals. It helps you see the big picture so you can spot new opportunities. Another benefit of having a marketing plan is that you can measure the effectiveness of your activities and adjust as necessary. Specifically, a marketing plan captures your goals and objectives, products and services, target customer groups, competitors, strengths and weaknesses, tactics and budget. It also outlines your advertising and marketing activities for the year ahead.
1. Begin with the truth
Before you can create a robust marketing plan, you’ll need some solid facts. Start by answering the following questions:
- What are your current products/services?
- Who are your customers?
- Who are your main competitors?
- How much can you afford to spend on marketing and advertising in the next 12 months?
You can gather the data to answer these questions by:
- Reviewing sales numbers and analysing what products and services perform best
- Completing personas for each target audience
- Researching your competitors instore and online
- Creating a customer journey map for each persona so you can determine the marketing projects you should invest in and how much money you’ll need to connect with them
Use interviews, customer surveys and talk to current customers. The more you know about your customers, the more accurate your plan will be.
2. Get some help from your team
Creating a marketing plan can, and should, involve members of your management and sales teams – especially if they’re dealing with your customers on a daily basis. Think about setting up a workshop to nut everything out. If your marketing plan is built collaboratively, you’ll get more buy-in from other decision makers in the company. You’ll also get more ideas for marketing campaigns to run in the future.
3. Use a template
Writing a marketing plan is a whole lot easier when you have a template that tells you what to do and offers suggestions of all the different types of information to include. To help you, we analysed a number of marketing plan formats to come up with one that works really well for Kiwi businesses.
Download your marketing plan template
This easy-to-use marketing plan template will help you to define your goals and objectives, product offering, key audiences, competitors and tactics. It’s in our free e-book that you can download now: 5 Templates to Drive Marketing Success.