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When to Write a Marketing Plan: 20 Tips
A marketing plan, as explained over at runrex.com, is a document that lays down the structure and helps develop the format of your marketing strategy over a given period. While marketing plans can include separate marketing strategies for the various marketing teams across the company, all of them work toward the same business goals.
Most people find themselves asking when they should write a marketing plan. According to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, as a minimum, every business should know how they are going to marketing and promote themselves for the next year. This means that you should write a marketing plan at the beginning of every financial year as far as your business is concerned, to guide your marketing activities for the next year. Below are 20 tips on writing a marketing plan.
Ensure that its key elements are clear and concise
As explained over at runrex.com, a marketing plan can be as long or as short as you want it to be, and as simple or as in-depth as is required, but the key elements or the structure of the plan should all be laid out clearly and concisely. This is a very important tip to consider when writing a marketing plan.
Make it accurate
Another important tip when writing your marketing plan is to make sure that it is accurate. According to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, your marketing plan is the foundation block that will determine your strategy for the next year, and, therefore, it must be accurate and precise.
Research, research, research
When it comes to writing a marketing plan, research is the key. Basing your plans and objectives on facts is a must when writing your marketing plan, which is why you should conduct thorough research on all the areas of your business before you start writing. Remember, if there are unrealistic expectations in your marketing plan, then it will be unachievable.
Assess your business’ strengths
When writing your marketing plan, you need to assess your business’ strengths. This means looking for how your products or services are better than your competitors’, knowing what your advantage is as well as what additional value you offer or can offer, and so forth. Identify your strengths and tune your marketing to them when writing your marketing plan.
Identify your weaknesses too
You should also identify any weaknesses as far as your business is concerned. This can a lack of finance, not having enough staff, bad customer reviews, lack of stock, and many others. You should identify your weaknesses and try to fix them, and if you can’t, make sure you account for them in your marketing when writing your marketing plan.
Don’t forget about threats
Even the best-laid plans can be ruined by an aggressive competitor or a shift in consumer behavior or technology. Therefore, as explained over at runrex.com, you should make sure that you understand all the threats that could potentially impact you and then prepare for them should the worst happen.
Ensure that your marketing plan is not static
According to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, a marketing plan is not a static document but is a document that always evolves and changes, and hopefully gets better as the year progresses. Therefore, when writing your marketing plan, you should make sure you come back to it and you review it as you learn more about your audience and as new information comes to light.
Determine your goals and objectives
You need to know where your company needs to go before you can decide on the marketing activities that will take you there as captured over at runrex.com. Therefore, you should determine your goals and objectives first when writing a marketing plan.
Define what success looks like
After you have set your goals and objectives, you need to define what success looks like to you. This means that you should use specific numbers. First, you should do this at a high-level, by stating, for example, that you are aiming to increase revenue by 20% within 6 months, then you can drill down to the specifics to show how you would do that goal, for example, adding 300 new customers per month for the next 6 months.
Understand your target audience
If you are not talking to the right people, then your marketing will not be effective. This is why you must identify the audience or customer profile for the specific goals indicated in your marketing plan.
Know what to include in your target audience profile
As outlined over at guttulus.com, your target audience profile should include demographic information such as age, gender, purchasing power, geographic location, and so forth. However, it should also include psychographic information which will help you understand how to appeal to the audience’s values, desires, and challenges. This can be informed by lifestyle choices like the TV shows they watch, the websites they visit, and so forth.
Conduct competitive analysis
When writing a marketing plan, you need to know all about your competitors, and especially what they are doing with their marketing strategies. As explained over at runrex.com, this includes digging for information on the keywords and key phrases they are using, the kind of content they are ranking for, and so forth.
Don’t forget about SWOT analysis
As is pointed out by the gurus over at guttulus.com, SWOT analysis is not standard practice in all marketing plans. SWOT strengths, weaknesses, and threats, all of which have all been covered earlier. Make sure you carry out this analysis as it will give you insights into how you can differentiate your products or services, and claim your unique positioning in the marketplace.
Know who your target buyer persona is
Your buyer personas define the details of the market segment you are targeting in your marketing plan, and inform how you can create highly relevant content or messaging to build awareness and drive traffic. They should be specific to achieving the goals and objectives of your marketing plan.
Know all about the customer lifecycle
To create copy and content that appeal to a specific audience, you will not only need to know your buyer personas but will also need to understand where they are in the customer lifecycle. You can select a series of stages that best reflects how your ideal customer interacts with your business to inform your planning and strategy, and after you have created your buyer persona and define the customer lifecycle, you can merge this information into a content map.
Create a unique selling proposition
If you are to create a marketing plan that works, then defining your unique selling proposition is key according to runrex.com. A unique selling proposition tells your prospects why you are different, sets your brand apart from your competition, and allows you to target a very specific audience that would most likely find your products or services relevant and valuable.
Measure your goals
As the experts over at guttulus.com point out, if you are not measuring the results of the strategies and tactics, you will not know whether your marketing plan is effective or not, and you will not be able to improve upon it as well. Your marketing plan needs to define the critical KPIs to track so that you can measure its effectiveness and ROI.
Use the right marketing tactics
Once you have defined your buyer persona, lifecycle stages, and unique selling propositions as covered above, you should then select the most suitable marketing tactics to help you achieve your goals as covered over at runrex.com. The key here is to focus on tactics that will move the needle the most rather than being distracted by the latest and most shiny objects out there.
Create a budget and update
It is important to set aside a dedicated budget for marketing and promoting your products or services. Once you have defined your budget in your marketing plan, it is important to revisit the same to make sure you can support the promotional efforts in a way that can bring results.
Create a schedule
Remember, your marketing plan must do more than just say what you want to happen as it must also describe each step required to make sure that it happens. This is why your marketing plan should include a schedule of key tasks as this sets out what will be done, and by when. You should then refer to the schedule as often as possible to avoid losing sight of your objectives.
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