What is a Marketing Plan and How to Write One?

SWOT Analysis

What is a Marketing Plan and how to write one? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered in this blog. There are many types of marketing plans but the best one is the one that is completed. A successful marketing plan is a written document that all business owners should have. Some organizations make it part of the overall Business Plan and some break it up into their own document so the marketing department and/or marketing team can manage it. An effective marketing plan lays out all the business goals, marketing strategies, marketing activities, marketing tactics, marketing goals, and marketing objectives while maintaining your business’s marketing budget.

If you already have a marketing plan, start with number 1. If you don’t already have a marketing plan you will start with number 2

1. Review of Marketing Practices for the Year

Before we can plan for the next year. It is imperative we perform a marketing audit of all the marketing efforts and marketing metrics for the year and see what worked and what didn’t. This includes all marketing activities. Marketing campaigns, social media marketing efforts, content strategy, sales promotions, digital channels, social media presence, and so on.  What needs to be revised for better marketing performance and achievement of marketing goals? Which initiative brought the business the best Return on Investment (ROI)? Take out anything that is not bringing the business the marketing dollars needed to achieve the marketing goals set by the leadership team.

2. Overview of Business and Marketing Strategy

A comprehensive marketing plan involves the leadership team taking a look at the business mission statement, vision statement, and value propositions, and ensuring that they still make sense to the business marketing plan and business objectives. Review your mission and vision statements and your value proposition. Do they still make sense for where you see your business going?

3.  S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S. M. A. R. T. goals stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

  • Specific – The objective clearly states, so anyone reading it can understand, what will be done
    and who will do it?
  • Measurable – The objective includes how the action will be measured. Measuring your
    objectives helps you determine if you are making progress. It keeps you on track and on
  • Achievable – The objective is realistic given the realities faced in the community. Setting
    reasonable objectives help set the project up for success
  • Relevant – A relevant objective makes sense, that is, it fits the purpose of the grant, it fits the
    culture and structure of the community and it addresses the vision of the project.
    Time-bound – Every objective has a specific timeline for completion.

Now that we have defined SMART Goals, create some! Some examples of marketing goals the business can set are the following:

  • How do we increase our market share? Do we need to increase or implement email marketing? If so, how many emails are you going to send to your clients monthly, quarterly, etc?
  • What marketing practices are providing the business with the best return on investment? If you have some that are not contributing to the overall return on investment – take them out.
  • Does the business need to increase the marketing mediums they are using for social media marketing? Maybe it’s time to create a social media marketing plan to address any challenges that may be occurring there.

I think you get the idea.

4. Establish Target Market and Demographics

In a competitive landscape, it is imperative that you establish a target market and define your demographics. A target market is a specific group of people with shared characteristics that a business markets its products or services to. Companies use target markets to thoroughly understand their potential customers and craft marketing strategies that help them meet their business and marketing objectives. An example of Elevate It Now’s target market is real estate agents 40+ in age.

Demographics on the other hand is statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it. For example, age, gender, family segmentation, race and ethnicity, family income, religion, employment status, living status (Home-owner, renter, living at home with parent), education level, marital status, number of children, political affiliation, and nationality.

If you are doing a mid or year-end review of your business marketing plan, do the target market and demographics still make sense for the digital marketing strategies your business has established? Do my current customers fit the marketing strategies? Is the business serving its ideal customer? Am I reaching my potential customer and customer base? Who am I going to serve? Look at your marketing data and current market situation and ensure your current target market and demographic are going to assist your business with the sales goals established.

If you are starting your marketing plan then establish these so that you are able to implement great digital marketing strategies, including your content marketing strategy and content marketing plan and how you are going to use your digital marketing channels to attract them.

Create some buyer personas. Your business can have more than one. Hubspot has a great resource for this.

5. Market Analysis

What are the factors that going to impact my business? All of them! The good ones and the bad ones. A clear definition of all of these factors will assist you in ensuring you are prepared for and adapt to the changes that may occur in these categories.

Target Markets – detailed in the section above
Demographics – detailed in the section above
Competitor Analysis – Do you know your competition and have done a competitive analysis to educate yourself about what they are doing and how your business is going to be different?
Market Trends – What are the latest marketing trends? Social Media Marketing is one of the best marketing mediums we have available to market our businesses and build customer awareness about our brand or business. Does it make sense for my business?
P.E.S.T. Analysis – Political/Economic/Social-Cultural/Technology – Which of these threats can impact your business operations? It may sound crazy that we need to incorporate these threats into our marketing planning but it is essential to document all the factors that can impact our business operations, goals, and any future plans.

PEST Analysis example

S.W.O.T. Analysis – Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats of the business. This could be as simple as a lack of a marketing team to execute the marketing strategies or a lack of customer service reps to support your customer segments. There are also the opportunities your business has such as a rockstar marketing manager and marketing staff that know their marketing environment in and out.
SWOT Analysis example

6. Marketing Strategy – 4 P’s of Marketing – Marketing Mix – Product/Price/Placement/Promotion.

How am I going to do all of this and what marketing mediums will provide me with the best results?

  • Product/Service Design – Branding
  • Pricing Strategy – How will I price my products and/or services
  • Advertising – Where will you advertise or market your business
  • Publicity – Public relations – radio, press releases
  • Online Marketing – Content Marketing Strategy, Social Media Marketing, PPC – Pay per click, radio, Ads,
  • Promotions – How will I promote my products and services?
  • Trade Shows – Is this something your industry does should you consider this as a marketing opportunity
  • Sales Teams – Do I have the right sales staff to accomplish this?

7. Marketing Budget

Last but not least – how much money will I need to carry out all the marketing strategies in this marketing plan and reach the business goals?

Please make sure that you document everything such as marketing materials, marketing staff, sales staff, supplies, software, subscriptions, imaging, and video costs. There are so many but just make sure that you document them all so that you don’t blow your budget before anything starts.

In conclusion, we know that running a business has many parts to it and that it’s easy to just start running it without a plan. But a great marketing plan keeps us focused as business owners. It holds us accountable for decisions that are going to impact the business. When you have a plan it is also much easier to navigate the operations of the business because it is all documented. Copy this blog and make your own marketing plan template. Start filling in as it applies to your business. Hubspot also has a fantastic marketing plan template you can start with.

If you need help creating a solid marketing plan, give us a call. We can help! Schedule your consultation today and get your 2023 planning done right!  Doesn’t your business and your clients deserve the best?






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