the marketing planit’s the roadmap that guides your marketing strategy.
This document describes the operational marketing actions planned for the coming period (often a year) and their different methods, while quantifying their cost.
It is also an element that can be very interesting to integrate into a business plan.
So, how to make a solid and well-structured marketing plan ?
Here is a complete file on the main steps to follow to succeed in this process and meet the challenges of the marketing plan, plus several resources and templates to complete.
1) Perform an internal and external analysis of the company
It is high time to take stock of the situation of your company and the environment in which it operates:
Getting to know yourself better, but also getting to know your competitors and the world around you better, is the best way to make informed marketing decisions.
An essential first step in your plan, therefore.
SWOT analysis (which means “Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats”) makes it possible to diagnose the situation of the company on the internal and external levels:
Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the company allows you to detect qualities and skills that can help you gain an advantage in your market, but also gaps that need to be filled or protected.
Opportunities and threats represent the possibilities of growth and development of the company or, on the contrary, the obstacles that can harm it.
To carry out your SWOT analysis with ease, we offer a blank matrix to fill indownloadable for free:
For even more efficiency, the SWOT matrix can be supplemented by a PESTEL analysis.
The latter focuses on external analysis, evaluating 6 areas of the business environment:
It gives a more complete and more structured view of the organization’s environment, allowing more informed decision-making.
To save time, download our free PESTEL table to fill in :
To go further than the SWOT and PESTEL matrices, it can be very useful to carry out a competitive analysis in order to :
- Get to know your competitors better;
- Determine the key success factors in your industry;
- Identify a competitive advantage that will help you grow.
Market research more often finds its use when launching a new product, but it is nevertheless an important source of information for your marketing plan, especially if you use it as part of a business plan.
The study informs you about the viability of your project, but also and above all about the characteristics of your market, which will help you in the targeting phase (see below).
2) Define your goals
Developing a solid marketing plan is based on concrete objectives, which can take many forms:
- Increase your sales;
- Gain market share in a target market;
- Retain your customers (or a customer segment);
- Increase your notoriety;
- Improve the perception of your brand, your products or services by the public;
- Increase your website traffic;
- Get subscribers to your mailing list…
Depending on the lessons you have learned from your internal and external diagnostics (but also from your sector of activity and other factors), set the most appropriate business goals to grow your business, protect yourself against the threat of a competitor, or take advantage of a new economic opportunity…
Read also : 6 Writing Tips to Achieve Your Marketing Goals
3) Describe your target market
Marketing actions are effective when they are judiciously targeted :
Aim too wide or miss the target, and you’re sure to fail.
Hence the importance of this step, which consists of determining one (or more) market segment, i.e. a particular category of customerswhich you want to achieve.
To perform a good segmentation, we generally rely on 3 types of criteria (although many others can be considered):
- Criteria socio-demographic: age, gender, income level, level of education…
- Criteria geographical : place of residence, type of residence, climate, etc.
- Criteria psychographics : opinions, lifestyles, attitudes…
The idea is to portray the consumer who is likely to buy your range of products or services, and to whom your marketing actions will be aimed.
Crucial for building a coherent and essential strategy for the rest of your marketing plan.
The concept of buyer personas can also help you build very personalized and relevant buyer profiles to target.
Read also: 5 tools to create your buyers persona
4) Choose your marketing channels
Another decisive step: the choice of marketing channels that you are going to use for your promotional actions.
Depending on your objectives, your target and the other information gathered through your analyses, choose the most appropriate tools from the many options available:
In addition to digital tools, “traditional” channels should not be ignored either:
- Advertising (radio, TV, press, etc.)
- Brochures, letters and other paper communication media.
- Press relations
Also consider more original techniques such as street marketing or guerrilla marketing.
5) Plan your marketing budget
At this point, your marketing strategy is already well put together… At least, on paper.
To achieve all this, it is essential to quantify actions that you have planned and well plan your marketing budget.
Each distribution channel selected represents an expense item in its own right and you should have an overview of the distribution of your budget over the coming period (usually over a year).
That’s good, we’ve created a free marketing budget template that will allow you to plan your expenses for an entire year, saving you a lot of time.
6) Measure the performance of your marketing actions
Marketing actions only make sense if their impact can be measured using reliable and well-defined indicators.
With the Internet, the measurement of marketing effectiveness has experienced a turning point: the majority of online marketing channels can be easily analyzed and quantified.
If the choice of indexes measuring your performance is up to you, there are “classic” indicators, starting with the statistics of visits to your website (which can be viewed using Google Analytics):
But there are many other indicators not to miss, for example for social networks :
Or for emailing:
If it allows you to identify areas for improvement and improve as you go along, performance measurement also has the advantage of helping you report on the performance of your marketing strategy, at regular intervals.
This is a mandatory prerequisite for writing a marketing report.
Learn more: How to make a marketing report?
This guide will help you build a complete and relevant marketing planessential to realize your strategy.
But, as well designed as it is, this plan will not help you to obtain a good natural referencing, to perform on social networks or to succeed in your AdWords campaigns.
It is therefore very important to consider outsource your digital marketing.
Find now a freelance internet marketing consultant on codeur.com.