Every year, do you take a close look at your team’s marketing plan? You ought to. Without an annual marketing plan, things can get messy. If you don’t have a plan, it’s almost impossible to figure out how much money you’ll need for projects, hiring, and outsourcing over the course of a year.
We’ve put together a list of things to put in your plan and a few planning templates where you can easily fill in the blanks. This will make it easier for you to make your plan.
First, let’s talk about how to make a marketing plan. Then, we’ll look at what a high-level marketing plan looks like.
Marketing Plan Outline
Marketing plans can be very detailed, depending on the industry you’re in, whether you’re selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how big your digital presence is. Still, here are the things that are in every good marketing plan:
- A Summary of Business
In a marketing plan, the Business Summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the business. Among these are:
- The business’s name
- Where its main office is
- Its statement of purpose
- Plans for business
The Business Initiatives part of a marketing plan helps you divide up your department’s different goals. Be careful not to include big-picture business plans, which you would normally find in a business plan. This part of your marketing plan should list the marketing-specific projects. You’ll also explain what the projects’ goals are and how you’ll measure them.
- Analysis of the customer
Here is where you will do some basic research on the market. If your company has already done a thorough study of the market, this part of your marketing plan might be easier to put together.
In the end, this part of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you’re selling to and the type of person who will buy from you. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer that focuses on traits like:
- Analysis of competitors
Your buyer persona has choices when it comes to how to solve their problems, both in terms of the types of solutions they think about and the companies that can help them. During your market research, you should think about your competitors, what they do well, and where there might be holes that you could fill. This could mean:
- SWOT Analysis
The Business Summary of your marketing plan also has a SWOT analysis, which looks at the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Be patient with your business’s SWOT analysis. You’ll write most of it based on your market research from the sections above and your strategy from the sections below.
- Market Strategy
Your Market Strategy tells how your company should approach the market based on what you’ve learned in the sections above. What will your business have to offer your buyer personas that your competitors don’t?
This part of a long-term marketing plan can have the “seven Ps of marketing”:
Things we can see
(Our free marketing plan template, which you can download below, has more information about these seven sub-parts.)
Don’t confuse the Budget part of your marketing plan with the price of your product or other financial information about your business. Your budget shows how much money the business has given the marketing team to work on the above-mentioned projects and goals.
Depending on how many different costs you have, you might want to break this budget down by what you’ll spend your money on. Some examples of marketing costs are:
Costs of hiring a marketing agency or other service providers
Software for marketing
Promotions for money
Events (those you’ll either host or go to)
- Marketing Channels
Lastly, your marketing plan will have a list of the ways you will promote your business. Your company might use some ad space to promote the product itself, but your marketing channels are where you’ll post content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and gets the word out about your brand.
This is the place to talk about what you publish (or plan to publish) on social media. Use the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan to map out which social networks you want to start a business page on, what you’ll use this social network for, and how you’ll measure your success on this network. Part of the point of this section is to show your bosses, both in and out of the marketing department, that these channels will help the business grow.
Businesses that use social media a lot might even want to use a separate social media plan template to explain their social strategy in more detail.
- Making plans for money
If you know your budget and do some research on the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to make a plan for how much money to spend on which strategies based on the expected return on investment (ROI). From there, you can make predictions about your finances for the year. These won’t be perfect, but they can help executives make plans.
Plan for a marketing campaign
Your marketing plan is a high-level look at the different marketing strategies you’ll use to meet your business goals. A template for a marketing campaign is a focused plan that will help you reach your marketing goals.
A template for a marketing campaign should have the following key parts:
Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Figure out the end goal for each campaign you’ll run and the metrics you’ll use to measure how well it did when it’s over. For example, conversion rates, sales, sign-ups, etc.
Channels: Make a list of the different ways you’ll use to reach your audience with your marketing campaign. You might run a Twitter campaign to spread the word about your brand or a direct mail campaign to let people know about upcoming sales.
Budget: Figure out how much money you’ll need for your campaign and how it will be spent, such as how much you’ll spend on making content or putting ads in different places. Having these numbers will also help you later when you try to figure out how successful your campaign was, using things like ROI.
Content: Decide what kind of content you’ll make and share during your campaigns, such as blog posts, video ads, email newsletters, and so on.
Teams and DRIs: Figure out the teams and people who will help you put your marketing plan into action from start to finish, such as those who will make your marketing assets, budgets, or analyze campaign metrics when they are done.
Design: Figure out how your marketing campaigns will look and how you’ll use design to get people’s attention. It’s important to remember that your campaign’s goal should be reflected in your design.
Start making plans for marketing right now
The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins. This way, you can ramp up quickly and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more difficult goals and take on more complex projects by Q4. So, what do you say? Do you want to try it out?