Write Your Marketing Plan with the End Goal in Mind
Developing a marketing plan is one of the most challenging decisions for a marketer or business owner. It can be time consuming and require some difficult evaluation but with a plan in place, you’re laying the groundwork for future success. When we create marketing plans, we start by answering, “what is the goal.” So we always suggest planning with your expected goal and ROI ahead of time. You can predict steady growth towards your goals, whether they are increase sales, decreased marketing expenses, brand awareness, etc.
Here are 7 easy steps to start your plan:
- Identify Objectives
What am I trying to achieve this coming month, quarter, or year?
Is it a revenue goal? (It usually is.) Is it an awareness goal?
Does that set you up to meet goals for the next 2 years? 3 years?
- Use Past Results
Take a look in the rear-view mirror and assess the results from this past year and previous years.
Establish a baseline of what efforts were made, and what was spent in each area.
What worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? And why?
Identify the source of your current client base. Did most of your clients find you online? Then invest in more online marketing.
- New Methods/Testing
Try to resist the urge to just go with all of the marketing channels you used last year. Think about your target audience and their behaviors. Technology is always changing, and there may be new, better ways to reach them.
A small portion of your budget should be allocated for testing. My rule of thumb is to allocate 10% of the budget each month into trying new things. If they work, then replace things that didn’t.
- Attract New Clients & Maintain Engagement
What methods will you use to attract new clients? How are you going to maintain engagement with your current client base? What are some ways you can increase their engagement?
- Identify Resources
What resources do you need to accomplish your goals and objectives? Do you need an increased budget, staffing, focusing on new areas, or updating software?
- Total Marketing Budget
Overall budget depends on the size of the company. Sometimes the budget is delegated by your CFO with little flexibility, while many marketing departments get to present an appropriate budget for approval. The most common “top down” formula for creating a marketing budget is percentage of revenue. About 15% of annual revenue is about average for an established company. Startups wanting high growth may be spending 25%+, of their overall revenue on marketing. Think about your objectives for the year. If you’re aiming for 300% growth over last year, last year’s budget probably won’t be sufficient.
- Budget Allocation
How budget gets allocated to specific marketing channels depends on the size of your company and how to reach your target audience. A tech startup marketing their new mobile app to consumers will be using different media than a healthcare B2B company.
You’ll want to build a case for how your programs are going to support the overall goals. Use your benchmarks and estimates to demonstrate how each investment translates into more revenue. You want to find the media mix that will get you the best ROI.
Regardless of how you look at it, marketing is an investment of time and money. It’s all about return on investment. Focus on your end goals (break them into monthly, weekly or even daily targets) and use your expertise on your audience and you’ll have a winning marketing plan. Two things to remember once your plan is done: First, make sure you’re able to track your results. And second, be ready to change your plan to take advantage of what’s working and cut what isn’t.