“Fail to plan, plan to fail” as the old saying goes, and marketing is no exception.
It is the time of the year when our thoughts turn to the marketing plans for next year. If you are about to sit down and write your plan here are our tips for you to think about: –
- Marketing plans don’t exist in a vacuum. They need to support your business objectives. Check your overall business objectives before setting pen to paper for your marketing plan.
- Know your timescales and who is involved. Timing your planning cycle correctly can help you to produce the plan effectively and with minimum impact on your day job. Decide who the stakeholders are and make sure you factor in extra time for any sign off.
- Perform a SWOT – A SWOT analysis is an important first step in your marketing plan as it will help you understand your market position and the insight will be invaluable when it comes to setting goals.
- Goal Setting – Combine your business goals with the outcomes of your SWOT analysis to create SMART objectives for your marketing objectives. Think about, how do you want your business to be perceived? What level of growth are you trying to achieve? Where is your new business coming from? What types of clients do you want to attract?
- Do some research – This doesn’t need to be costly or time consuming and can usually be done from the comfort of your own desk. A combination of primary and secondary research should give you a clear idea on customers, prospects, competitors and the marketplace.
- Growth areas – Once the high level goals have been set take a look at where the desired growth is going to come from. Refer to your SWOT analysis and map growth areas in your marketing objectives against your strengths and opportunities.
The result of this will be that you plan to market the things you do well to people that need your help.
- Create your message – Use the research you conducted in the previous step to reveal the differentiators that lead your clients to choose you. This means expressing what is unique to your business? What are you good at? What your clients need you for? You should end up with a statement which you can use as a guide for creating your marketing content.
- Select the best online and offline tactics to deliver your message to the right customers and prospects. This could be how you use Social Media, Content Marketing,
- Measure, measure, measure! It’s important to make sure your goals are realistic, and to demonstrate how you will measure success. Some metrics you may want to think about are your win ratio, Long-term client value, leads generated and proposals generated.
- Don’t forget about the plan. It’s easy to get distracted by the day to day job, but make sure you check in with your plan on a regular basis to ensure you are on track.