Top five components of a marketing plan
When working with clients, the first thing I always hear is “we need boosted posts on our Facebook,” and “I want to be featured in the Calgary Herald.” Yes, those may seem to be important at the immediate moment, but they are tactics. Tactics are the fun things. Advertising, events, public relations, social media are all tactics. But before you get to all the fun stuff…what is your plan?
Too many small businesses are throwing away money on the “next best thing” and getting sucked in to whatever sales pitch comes their way. While promoting your business is important, what is more important is spending your money responsibly and achieving your objectives. In order to stay on track, you need a solid marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan? It’s a working document that connects to your business plan; containing goals, objectives, key performance indicators, tactical plans and benchmarking. It is basically a map that guides the direction of all marketing activities in a given timeframe.
Why do you need a marketing plan? Firstly, to identify a vision and as mentioned above and to develop clear goals and objectives. To keep both your timeline and budget on track you need to outline an action plan to achieve those goals and objectives. Secondly, its a guiding document that all staff can reference when making decisions. And lastly, the key is to track your progress in order to evaluate and make changes throughout.
What are the components of a marketing plan? Plans can be as intricate and detailed as you wish them to be.
However, to keep things simple here are my top five things that need to be in your plan.
Market research - this includes an audit of your current business state and an analysis of your key competitors.
Value proposition - what makes your business unique (if you don’t have a value proposition, I would recommend starting with this exercise as it will make developing the rest of your plan simpler.)
Target market - know your customer. Something that is popular right now is characterizing your customer. Giving your customer a name, a job, lifestyle, etc. This makes it easier to determine what that person wants and needs.
Promotion - this is the fun stuff. Advertising, content creation, PR, social media, etc.
Budget - yes, you do need funds directly for marketing. It requires a full section of your business’ operating budget and I recommend allocating 5-10% of your targeted gross revenue for marketing purposes.
Once you’ve gone through the process to create your plan it becomes quicker and easier each year to change, update and adapt. If you have questions or need assistance with putting your plan together, please connect with me. I am happy to help.