It’s Planning Time!This is the fun part of the whole thing. Planning! Figuring out every action you’re going to take for the next six months and justifying your reasons for every single one. Fun!
No, seriously. It’s fun.
I love planning. Planning is the thing that makes everything else work, and when each step of the plan works you get to do a little happy dance.
Of course, you need to be flexible in your planning because, no plan ever survives contact with reality intact. So you plan in flexibilities and contingencies and hope you’ve thought of everything.
Before I start waxing eloquent on all that (which will be over the next several posts), I thought I’d use this post to define what a marketing plan is and does:
Marketing Plan – Short DefinitionA marketing plan is a detailed document that explains exactly what you will do to convince people to buy your products, and why you are doing it that way.
What a Marketing Plan DoesForbes puts it like this:
“The right marketing plan identifies everything from 1) who your target customers are to 2) how you will reach them, to 3) how you will retain your customers so they repeatedly buy from you.”
Sounds simple enough, right?
Elements of a Marketing PlanUnfortunately, the devil (and a lot of annoying perspiration) is in the details. And while Forbes definition is correct, there are a lot of things you need to do to get there.
Background: This section examines all elements of the environment in which a product is being sold, including:
- Date of product release
- Venues of sale
- State of the market for product
- Previous products
- Success/failure of previous marketing efforts
- Financial state of the organization
- Resources available for marketing
- Benefits of marketing the product for the organization
Marketing Objective: How much of what are you trying to sell by when? And yes, you need to have an end date. Otherwise it isn’t a plan, it’s a long, slow march towards obscurity.
Communications Objectives: What things do you want people to think, feel and do so they will buy your product?
Target Audiences: To whom are you selling your products? And which people do those people listen to who could help you sell your product?
Key Messages: What will you say to convince your target audiences to buy the product? What other messages can you use to support that message and who will you say them to?
Channels: What channels will you use to market your products? Note this is not where you are selling them, but where you are convincing people to buy them.
Communications Strategies, Tactics and Evaluations: This is the brass tacks stuff.
- Strategy: What you will do to achieve your communication objectives
- Tactics: How you will do it.
- Evaluation: How will you measure success for each tactic and strategy.
Critical Success Factors: Without these nothing else will come together. Example: you are selling a book, but you don’t actually write it. Marketing campaign fail.
Tactical Map: This is where you get to play with spreadsheets! Look at all your tactics for all your strategies and figure out:
- How are you going to do it?
- When does it start, when does it end? (timeline)
- Who is going to do it and who is going to support them?
- How much you’re going to spend on it? (budget)
Next Steps: Assuming all this works out, then what do you do?
So just a little bit of work to do, right?
I’ll be continuing on about marketing plans in 2 weeks. But first...
Next week: 10,000 Twitter followers. Now What?