What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter or month. Typically, a marketing plan will include:
-An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals
-A description of your business’s current marketing position
-A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
-Key performance indicators you will be tracking
-A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
Learning how to write a marketing plan forces you to think through the important steps that lead to an effective marketing strategy. A plan will also help keep you focused on your high-level goals.
Whether you’re a team trying to set smarter marketing goals, a consultant trying to set your client in the right direction, or a one-person team trying to introduce structure, a solid marketing plan shows that your marketing strategies are backed up by research.
How To Create A Marketing Plan: 7 Essential Parts Of A Marketing Plan
Before you start writing and designing, you need to know what the necessary parts of a marketing plan are. There are seven sections that every marketing plan should have.
1. Simple Executive Summary
Starting your marketing plan off on the right foot is important. You want to pull people into your amazing plan for marketing domination. Not bore them to tears.
One of the best ways to get people excited to read your marketing plan is with a well written executive summary. An executive summary introduces readers to your company goals, marketing triumphs, future plans, and other important contextual facts.
Basically, you can use the Executive Summary as a primer for the rest of your marketing plan.
Include things like:
-Simple marketing goals
-Important company milestones
-Facts about your brand
-Future goals & plans
2. Metric-Driven Marketing Goals
After you perfect your executive summary, it’s time to outline your marketing goals.
This is one of the most important parts of the entire marketing plan, so be sure to take your time and to be as clear as possible.
As a rule of thumb, be as specific as possible. Try to set goals that will impact your site traffic, conversions, and customer success–and use real numbers.
Avoid outlining vague goals like:
-Get more Twitter followers
-Write more articles
-Create more YouTube videos
-Increase retention rate
-Decrease bounce rate
3. Target User Personas
Now, this may not seem like the most important part of your marketing plan, but I think it holds a ton of value.
Outlining your user personas is an important part of a marketing plan that should not be overlooked.
You should be asking not just how you can get the most visitors to your business, but how you can get the right visitors.
Who are your ideal customers? What are their goals? What are their biggest problems? How can your business solve their problems?
Answering these questions will take lots of research, but it’s essential information to get.
4. Accurate Competitor Research
Next, on the marketing plan checklist, we have the competitor research section. This section will help you identify who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you could carve yourself a place alongside them in your niche–and ideally, surpass them.
Competitor research is also incredibly important if you are starting a blog.
Typically, your competitor research should include:
-Who their marketing team is
-Who their leadership team is
-What their marketing strategy is (this will probably revolve some reverse-engineering)
-What their sales strategy is (same deal)
-Social Media strategy
-Their market cap/financials
-Their yearly growth (you will probably need to use a marketing tool like Ahrefs to do this)
-The number of customers they have & their user personas
Also, take as deep a dive as you can into the strategies they use across their:
-Social media marketing
-And any other marketing tactics they use
5. Key Baselines
It’s pretty hard to plan for the future if you don’t know where your business stands right now.
Before we do anything at Venngage, we find the baselines so we can compare future results to something. We do it so much it’s almost like second nature now!
Setting baselines will allow you to more accurately track your progress. You will also be able to better analyze what worked and what didn’t work, so you can build a stronger strategy. It will definitely help them clearly understand your goals and strategy as well.
6. Actionable Marketing Strategy
After pulling all the contextual information and relevant metrics into your marketing plan, it’s time to break down your marketing strategy.
Once again, it’s easier to communicate your information to your team or clients by using visuals.
7. Results Tracking Guidelines
Close your marketing plan with a brief explanation on how you plan to track or measure your results. This will save you a lot of frustration down the line by standardizing how you track results across your team.
Like the other sections of your marketing plan, you can choose how in-depth you want to go. But there need to be some clear guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan.
At the bare minimum, your results tracking guidelines should specify:
-What you plan to track
-How you plan to track results
-How often you plan to measure
But you can more add tracking guidelines to your marketing plan if you see the need to. You may also want to include a template that your team or client can follow, to ensure that the right metrics are being tracked.
For advice and assistance in relation to discussing the topic covered above or queries concerning an ongoing investment, fundraise, writing a business plan or information about starting or growing your business; please contact our team in London on 0203 637 6365 or via our enquiry form.