How to Write a Business Marketing Plan — Step-by-Step Guide
Every digital marketing agency should understand the importance of a marketing plan. Small, medium and even multimillion dollar multimillion-dollar corporations should start with a digital marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
Not everyone has a good grasp on how to make a marketing plan so we’re making a guide just for you. You will learn how to make one and get you or your clients’ marketing plans off the ground now!
A marketing plan is divided into different parts. Moreover, these parts are divided into different segments. It’s kind of like an orange; think of the orange as the whole — that’s your marketing plan, then when you peel the orange there are different segments inside which is the same as a marketing plan (or any real business plan for that matter) does that make sense? If so, let’s start.
1. Marketing Plan Executive Summary. The first part of your report is the executive summary, but this is the last thing that you should write. This part will summarise the content of your report and explicitly identify the value that the report provides (we will assume that you are doing this for a client).
Included in the summary is the financial value of the plan when implemented accordingly. Also, add the timescale of the strategy, budget, and outcome of the plan if it will be applied or not by the client.
Make sure you get a copy of the company’s ambitions for one, two, three and five years, this will give you a good idea of their expectations at critical timelines.
• Often people miss this or rush it, don’t it really is important. Remember the reason why you started this? <pause> then get writing.
2. Introduce the Brand. The first part of any report is to introduce the brand or company. Provide here an overview of the company, competencies, and a brief description of the product or service of the business you’re working with.
Do they have a mission statement? If the answer is no, they should, but let’s keep that conversation for another time.
Identify the competitive advantage of the company. What are the unique benefits or the USP, offers, or proposition that the company offers the consumer?
• Depending on the size of the organisation you could include the executive summary and the introduction together.
• The details here should be pretty apparent to the client, but may never have been be recorded or written down. The ability to reiterate or confirm this information to the company’s stakeholders means that you have studied them thoroughly and that’s how you start to gain their trust. It also says that you are invested in providing a thorough report to the client.
3.Situational Analysis and Strategic Development. This is where things start to get juicy, it’s where you should START, it describes the state of play for the client and any possible changes that may affect that. Even a simple marketing plan example or presentation should include the 5Cs which are the following:
5’Cs where things stand
Company — Create a situational analysis and include a SWOT report of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the company. The SWOT analysis will give you an overview of the internal and external factors affecting factors affecting the current marketing strategies of the company.
• Start with what is the business is good at? What are they known for?
Customer — Develop analysis that includes the market segments, customer channels, price sensitivity include the latest demographic data (income, household distribution, postal code, location, etc.) of their customers or target audience. You can make use of their buyer persona (avatar) to get a good grasp on who their customers are. This will also reveal who in the past was the most profitable segment.
Understand the psychography or the attitude and feelings of the customers about the brand and their product or service. This data analysis also gives you a background on how they react to the current marketing strategies of the company, i.e. churn rates, loyalty programs, social media marketing and any outbound marketing that’s occurring.
Purchasing behaviours of the customer is also vital for you to know. The frequency of their purchases, purchase location, and other similar purchasing actions such as price sensitivity. What marketing activity has delivered the best ROI? Where are each of the customers in the customer lifecycle? Are they receiving the ideal experience?
Customer satisfaction is the last but definitely is the most crucial aspect in knowing the brand’s customer. This allows you to measure the purchasing trends from the past and can help forecast their satisfaction and behaviour towards the company in the future, for example, why don’t non-buyers buy? How to do customers interact with loyalty programs, what changes do you see for the company in the future for buyers?
• Fresh is best in all things and most importantly in data collection for analysing demographics, psychographics, buying behaviour and satisfaction.
Context — This is the macro-environment of the company or its industry. Include in your report the regulatory and political environment of the industry or the country where the company operates.
The economic environment must also be included in the report. This could consist of the interest rates, business cycle, and other issues that the brand will or could face.
The social and culture of the society where the brand operates must also be included, allowing you to understand the customers at a cultural level and how it affects their consumption choices.
Technological environment is also essential in this aspect of the report. This includes existing and new technical knowledge that could affect the brand.
• Consider threats quite seriously, there is no point suggesting something that may be affected by an unstable economy or the chance of war, flood, etc.
• Technology threats can be huge for a company which is based online so consider security protection etc.
Collaborators — These are the supply chains of the company. These are a group of people or entities that help brand development, design, produce, enhance, sell, or market their products and services.
Knowing the collaborators of the company allows you, as the marketer, to understand who their networks are and how they distribute their products or services.
• Check for retention issues with downstream channel.
Competitors — As a marketer, you will be able to encounter the competitors of the brand early in the report, especially when you create the SWOT matrix for the brand. It is essential to identify both high and low competitors of the brand you are working with to be able to understand their market.
This also allows you to identify the weaknesses of the competitors which you can use to your advantage. More importantly, understanding their system can also help you enhance the brand’s marketing plan or your proposed marketing approach.
• Use the BCG matrix to find out where the client sits within the marketplace regarding an analysis of market growth and relative market share.
• With the 5’C’s nailed down we should have a good background for understanding customer segments, draw on this information to help develop the segments to target.
Then Do This
At this point you have the situational analysis nailed down, and you are moving forward to create the strategic development plan which is part of your overall marketing report.
4. Strategic Development
Segmentation — from your SWOT and customer analysis, create at least three segments for the company. Consider what strategy what strategy will be used to reach each profitable segment?
Targeting — once you’ve narrowed down the market (who you are segmenting), identify targeting approaches — don’t target every market, consider the fit with the most appropriate goals; audiences, clusters, and segments and if online usage, online activity. Consider how is the company going to locate each segment them segment them, online? Purchased lists? Existing user?
Positioning — product, advertising, locations, and price are all part of the brand positioning. In here, you introduce the advertising strategies for the brand which you can identify by understanding the company’s buyer personas. Understand the current positioning via perceptual maps and map distribution such as wide or exclusive. Choose pricing strategies such as quality / high price or base / low price and ask yourself does the company need to adapt to current market conditions by product or pricing changes?
This contains the big picture of the strategy and the nitty-gritty detail — marketing positioning, strategies or targets.
Product — The product is the goods the company is selling or providing to understand the product using the 5Cs and SWOT analysis for you to identify the trends, strategies, and even competitors thoroughly. What did the product analysis tell you; how is the product distinct or competitive, if the clients are launching new products how will they be supported? What did the perceptual map tell you? What are the brand associations? Where is each product in its life cycle?
Price is also part of positioning which tells the consumer about the product. Remember, the higher the price, the higher the perceived quality or luxury the customer’s customers perceives the product to be.
Information to consider: keep price constant or allow for changes; coupons, discount perks, does the product demand elasticity when it comes to price decisions, does the company break even? High quality and skim prices or value products with low penetration pricing?
Place — Locations matter because this dictates how you spend your marketing budget. Consider geographical coverage and distribution; physical, retailers, channels and the processes in place for them to work efficiently. For example, if your target markets are commuters, then place ads on public transportations, which can then be further refined. Is the distribution network — intensive or selective? Does the company have a good relationship with channel partners are there potential conflicts needing resolution? Does the consumer have sufficient access to the product and to the company? Are the company’s sites consistent regarding positioning and are they mass or exclusive?
Promotion — Investigate what are the company’s goals, do they know what they are? What media is being used, and monitor effectiveness? Do they need to reposition or promote their current promotions, are promotions push or pull?
This is already a great marketing plan example because we’ve narrowed down and explained the details of every slice of the marketing plan. If you do the work you should be able to describe easily; Your customers (potential or otherwise) and what they buy, why and where. Concerns or threats that may be looming. Collaborators or address modifications to them. Your competitors — these are important, their strengths and the threats they pose — you can always adjust or adapt to them. Where and how they should sell their product or service and marketing goals. Plus,the distribution channels and strategies in place.
4. Marketing Budget. Present to your client the operational cost of your proposal. If possible, identify the price for every customer that you want to reach; cost per customer contact. Break down the proposed marketing budget into sections. Also, include the forecast sales if the strategy is implemented within the timeframe, even the break-even analysis. Include the market share forecast and net revenue of the brand, too! Don’t forget to add in your budget for the marketing team.
5. Marketing Implementation Plan. Take into consideration how you are going to implement the plan, don’t just hand it off and assume that the client will know what to do with it.
Take into consideration:
· Who will be responsible for implementation?
· What resources will be used — external or internal?
· Will, there be training required by team members?
· How will the strategy be recorded: project management software, timing plan, etc?
· Is there campaign plans that work alongside the marketing plan?
· Make sure to included contingencies
6. Evaluation Strategy. However, this isn’t the end, and just like a business plan, the marketing plan must be updated regularly. Depending on your strategies, approach, and timeframe, update the marketing plan based on the assessment, success or failure, of the strategy. We suggest that at every quarter the marketing plan is looked at and the results over the past 3 months efforts are analysed if any changes are needed then update the plan to reach your business goals and to further gain business results. Include in your report what testing and measurements you will use for assessment.
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