Welcome back to our blog series: Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan!
In case you’ve missed them, you can catch up with our previous posts by clicking the links below:
Now that we’re actually building our marketing plan, it’s time to define your target audience. We hear quite often, “Everyone is our target audience!” As much as we wish that were true, it’s not. Check out a recent post we did specifically about this topic!
Identifying your target audience(s) in your marketing plan enables you to align your tactics with that audience for a better marketing spend ROI. Think of it as the rifle vs. shotgun approach. Knowing your audience will make you a smarter marketer, attracting the same audience to achieve your business goals.
Let’s walk through an example.
A business goal is to increase attendance at a specific event. From your research, you know that the majority of attendees to your event are females between the ages of 35 and 55.
You want to find more attendees like these (we refer to them as “clones”) to increase those event registrations. So “females between ages 35 – 55” is a target audience.
Your research may or may not have also told you how these individuals like to be communicated to or their interests. If it did not, you may need to do some additional research to find these things out. For instance, do they read specific publications? Which publications? Do they prefer snail mail to email? How much time do they spend on social media and which channels?
The more you know and can pinpoint about your target audience, the smarter you can be with your marketing dollars and attracting them into the sales funnel as a lead and potential new customer.
You may have one target audience or many depending on the business goals identified. Regardless of the number, make sure to include who they are within your marketing plan as a reminder of who you are trying to attract.
Stop by next week for part five!
Welcome to our blog series: Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan! If you haven’t been following along, we’re walking you through the importance of having a marketing plan and how to best create, implement and measure marketing success through a strategic plan.
Check out our first few posts to catch up!
On to part three! You’ve completed your research and data analysis. Now you get to start building your strategic marketing plan.
Before getting too excited about what tactics you’re going to use, you need to identify your business goals. There could be one overarching goal, or many, smaller goals. Regardless of whether you have one or many, they need to be outlined in your marketing plan.
Some of these business goals you may have already known before you even conducted your research. Maybe you wanted to increase revenue (who doesn’t!) or enter a new market.
Other goals you may have been unaware of and were gleaned from your research and data analysis, such as improving a specific product/service or building a better sense of community for employee recruitment purposes.
Ask yourself (or your team) the following questions when reviewing and determining your business goals:
- Are these short-term or long-term goals?
- What metrics are we going to use to determine if we succeed at these goals?
- Are these goals tangible (selling actual products) or perception-based (increasing brand awareness or feelings toward a product or your company)?
Below are a few examples of some different types of business goals:
- Increase number of registrants from 10 to 20 for class or event.
- Increase brand awareness of product XYZ in X market by end of year.
- Become top 3 in market for XYZ product.
- Increase annual sales revenue by XX%.
Once finalized, write these business goals into your marketing plan along with the metrics that will be used to track them.
Make sure to stop back next week for the next part in our series: defining your target audience!
If you haven’t been following along, you’ll want to check out our first two posts:
We’re now on to “part two” of building a strategic marketing plan, but we’re still not ready to put pen to paper. In our last post, we discussed the importance of research. Research is meaningless if you don’t analyze and draw conclusions from the data collected.
What do people like about your company, your product or your services? What don’t they like?
Once you’ve collected all of your research you need to start identifying trends and patterns. These are items that may or may not be included in your marketing plan, but all should be addressed.
Maybe 60% of your customers surveyed state that your customer service is lacking and unhelpful. This would not necessarily be something to include in your marketing plan, but should be addressed within the company and investigated. Does your customer service department have proper training to handle customer demands? Are expectations and reality in alignment?
So what should you be looking for in your data to include in your marketing plan?
- Specifically, common phrases or ideas that continually come up
- Testimonials for use in marketing materials
- Possible awareness campaigns needed
- Preferred methods of communication of your target audience for media placement
- Associations your company should get involved in (association integration)
- Influential individuals or groups your company should connect with for referrals, collaborative efforts, etc.
- Key publications, websites, and media outlets you should submit articles/blog posts for
- Conferences you should attend/exhibit/sponsor
- Key motivators and behaviors of your audience (i.e. if the audience is potential workforce, what motivates that particular target audience when they are seeking employment, if the audience is customers what are they looking for in a vendor/supplier, etc.)
After you’ve completed your research and data analysis, you’re ready to start building your marketing plan!
Make sure to follow our blog for the next post in this series and other helpful marketing and sales information!
If case you missed our last blog post, we’re starting a series about how to build an effective and successful strategic marketing plan. Click here to read why this should be in every company’s marketing arsenal.
The first, and most often ignored, component of a successful marketing plan is the research.
Before you even begin to build out your plan, you need to conduct research. Why? Because you need to know the current state of the industry, your company, your employees and your products and/or services.
Research confirms or eliminates suspicions and assumptions and almost always uncovers additional unknown tension points or business challenges. Knowing this information helps define problems to build effective solutions and tactics to tackle those challenges, building a better business.
For instance, a company may assume that their high employee turnover is because of lower wages, when in reality the research shows it’s because employees want a better workplace environment and more growth and training opportunities.
Additional benefits of conducting this initial research include:
- Identifying key phrases, word or attributes to use in marketing messaging
- Identifying employees or customers that could be brand “Captains” – those that would share positive testimonials and insights
- Builds community and respect with your customers and employees – they will appreciate you seeking their opinions and input on your business
- Will be the first building block of your strategic marketing plan
Now that we’ve covered why it’s important, we need to discuss “who” should be conducting this research. Who is broken into two categories:
- Who is conducting the research?
- Who are we asking to be part of the research?
Let’s quickly review each.
Who should conduct research?
All research should be conducted by an objective third-party individual or company to ensure honest and non-biased data is collected. People will be more honest with someone they do not know and who does not have any direct influence on their position or what they say.
Who should participate in the research?
This depends on what your challenges and goals are, but you should consider the following audiences:
- Past, current and potential new customers (potential being someone you think would be your “ideal” customer)
- Current employees – this includes everyone from production, sales, marketing, etc. all the way on up to management and leadership teams
- If you have contacts available, past employees should also be considered
So we’ve covered the why and who. What about when?
In regards to timing, there’s no good or bad time to conduct research, but it should be an on-going marketing tactic. Whether you’re creating your annual marketing plan, launching a new product or service, or just want customer feedback, it’s important to keep open communication and ask for insights from those that build your success alongside you.
Lastly, but most importantly, what are you going to ask? Think about what you are trying to accomplish and make a list of relevant questions. When we conduct research through various methods we use the questions as a guide; however, the real “truth” often comes out during open dialogue. This “truth” is the difference between a so-so interview and an interview that will help you drive your business forward. As an experienced marketing company, we understand this research process and know how to get the real “truth”.
Ready to learn more? Contact us to find out how to implement effective and successful research to grow your business and make sure to follow our blog for the next post in this series!
Why is it so important to have a marketing plan? You have a budget. You know tactics that “work”. Why do they need to be developed into a “plan”?
The short and simple answer: you need to measure what you’re doing to be sure it’s effective and adjust where necessary.
A strategic marketing plan is the framework for how you’re going to reach your business goals. Think of it as a marketing and sales blueprint.
Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) to develop a marketing plan, there are a couple items that should be completed:
- Data analysis
Once the above are complete, then you can start building your marketing plan, which should:
- Identify your business goal(s)
- Define your target audience(s)
- Determine effective tactics to reach your audience(s)
- Determine how and/or who is implementing those tactics
- Include how you will measure effectiveness
Now that you have a general outline of what a marketing plan should include, how do you go about creating an effective one?
That’s exactly what we’re going to focus on in the next few weeks with this series. Each week we’ll tackle one of the above components of a marketing plan, with examples included!
Make sure to follow our blog so you don’t miss out on each part of this series.