It’s that time of year when many of us begin causing a commotion in the kitchen as we dust off our Jamie Oliver’s or Nigella’s and start cooking for Christmas, sending delectable aromas wafting through the house.
Here at Challenge Marketing we love a mince pie or sausage roll as much as the next chef, but today we are turning our attention to how to cook up the perfect Marketing Plan in 5 easy steps!
The Marketing Plan is an essential document that informs the strategy and actions for the year ahead. It can apply to a whole business, a brand or even an individual product or service. So, let’s get cooking!
Where to start? Your marketing goals
The first step is to set your marketing goals. Tempting as it is to dive straight in and roll out some juicy campaigns immediately, preparation is everything. And first up is making absolutely sure you are clear about what the end result should look like. What are you trying to achieve here?
Set some clear and measurable marketing goals at the outset which you can then turn back to when you measure success.
Target market and competition – who are you catering for?
As with all recipes, it’s super important to understand who you are aiming at. Step Two is to thoroughly research and understand your target market, both in terms of demographics (age / location / income / gender) and what is important to them. It’s also a good idea to look at what competition there is out there – after all you don’t want to be upstaged by someone else!
Analyse – put some SWOT in the pot!
Next up is one of the staple ingredients of all strategic plans – the SWOT analysis (that’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). This exercise involves identifying all of the above elements that are relevant to your business or brand and setting them out in a clear format to help inform decisions about your strategy and campaigns.
Channels – the magic’s in the mix
Step Four is where you make some decisions about how you are going to communicate with your target market – which channels are best for you to reach them? There is a huge range of options here, some right for you and some less so. On your shopping list you will probably put a website, and perhaps add a good pinch of SEO and social media. Maybe a sprinkling of content marketing or a large dollop of radio advertising, direct mail and email, to name but a few. How you choose the best channels and mix them together in varying quantities forms the basis of your marketing strategy.
Detailed action plan
Finally, the icing on the cake is the detailed action plan, where you set down your activity and campaigns, complete with timings, budgets and management responsibilities. Et voila! You are now ready to turn the heat up and leap into action.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating – does it work?
Of course, you rarely get things done to perfection at the first attempt, so don’t forget to build in metrics to measure what works well and not-so-well, so that you can review and tweak your Marketing Plan at regular intervals.
Don’t worry if one campaign ends up with the equivalent of a soggy bottom, and another burnt to a crisp. Focus on the activities that have hit the spot and do more of those.
If you are in the process of writing a new Marketing Plan, Challenge Marketing’s Brand Review service is a great starting point – read more about how our team of director-level experts will work with you to understand your challenge.