Without an annual marketing plan, things can become chaotic, making it nearly impossible to estimate the budget needed for projects, hiring, and outsourcing over the course of a year.
To facilitate the creation of your plan, we've compiled a list of what to include.
Let's delve into how to create a marketing plan and explore the components of a high-level marketing plan.
1. Conduct a situation analysis
Before embarking on your marketing plan, understanding your current situation is crucial. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Conducting a basic SWOT analysis is the initial step in creating a marketing plan.
Additionally, understanding the current market is essential. How do you compare to your competitors? Conducting a competitor analysis can assist in this regard.
Consider how other products may outshine yours. Moreover, identify the gaps in a competitor's approach. What are they lacking? What can you offer to gain a competitive advantage? Reflect on what sets you apart.
Answering these questions will help you discern what your customers desire, leading us to step number two.
2. Define your target audience
Once you comprehend the market and your company's situation, ensure you know who your target audience is.
If your company already has buyer personas, refining them may be necessary at this stage. If you lack a buyer persona, creating one is imperative. This may involve conducting market research.
Your buyer persona should encompass demographic information such as age, gender, and income. Additionally, it should include psychographic details such as pain points and goals. What motivates your audience? What challenges do they face that your product or service can address?
Once this information is documented, it will aid in defining your goals, leading us to step number three.
3. Write SMART goals
You can't enhance your ROI unless you clearly define your goals.
After assessing your current situation and understanding your audience, you can start outlining your SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This implies that all your goals should be specific, include measurable criteria, be achievable, relevant to your overall objectives, and have a timeframe for completion.
For instance, a goal could be to increase your Instagram followers by 15% within three months. Depending on your overall marketing goals, this should be relevant and achievable. Moreover, the goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound.
Before implementing any tactics, outline your goals. This will allow you to analyse which tactics will help you achieve these goals, leading us to step number four.
4. Analyse your tactics
At this juncture, you've documented your goals based on your target audience and current situation.
Now, you need to determine the tactics that will help you attain your goals. Identify the appropriate channels and action items to focus on.
For instance, if your goal is to increase Instagram followers by 15% in three months, your tactics might include hosting a giveaway, responding to every comment, and posting on Instagram three times per week.
Once you have your goals, generating multiple tactics to achieve them should be straightforward.
However, while formulating your tactics, bear your budget in mind, leading us to step number five.
5. Set your budget
Before implementing any ideas generated in the previous steps, you must be aware of your budget.
For example, if your tactics involve social media advertising, but you lack the budget for it, you might struggle to achieve your goals.
While outlining your tactics, make note of an estimated budget. Include the time required for each tactic and any assets you might need to purchase, such as ad space.
Now that you know how to create your marketing plan, let's explore creating a marketing campaign outline to help you achieve the outlined goals.
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
Marketing Plan Timeline
Implementing a new marketing plan is a substantial undertaking. To ensure smooth operations with all your projects, it's essential to create a timeline outlining when each project will occur.
A marketing plan timeline allows your team to view all projects, campaigns, events, and related tasks in one place, along with their deadlines. This ensures everyone on your team is aware of what's due, when it's due, and what's up next in the pipeline.
Typically, these plans cover marketing efforts for the entire year, although some companies may operate on a bi-annual or quarterly basis.
Once you've completed your analysis, research, and set goals, it's time to establish deadlines for your assignments. Everything, from new blog posts and content initiatives to product launches, should have a set deadline. Take into account any holidays or events occurring throughout the year.
While setting deadlines for the entire year may seem daunting, start by estimating how long each task will take and set a deadline accordingly. Keep track of the time it takes to complete similar projects. After completing a few, you'll have a better idea of the time required and can set more accurate deadlines.
For each project, factor in time for:
Brainstorming: This initial phase involves bringing your idea to life in a project outline.
Determine your objectives and identify stakeholders who need to be involved in meeting your goal. Set a due date and schedule any necessary meetings.
Planning: This phase may involve defining the project's scope, determining the budget allocated, finalising deadlines, and assigning tasks. Map out any campaigns needed for each project (social media, PR, sales promotions, landing pages, events, etc.).
Execution: This phase focuses on launching your project. Decide on a launch date and monitor the project's progress. Establish a system for tracking metrics and KPIs.
Analysis: In this final phase, analyse all performance data to determine whether your marketing efforts paid off. Did you achieve your goals? Were your projects completed on time and within budget?
All projects and their deadlines should be in a central location accessible to your team, whether through a calendar, a shared document, or a project management tool.
A marketing plan can be an extensive document. When you need to share information with stakeholders or want a quick reference overview of your plan, having a shorter version can be helpful.
Your marketing plan is a high-level view of the different marketing strategies you’ll use to meet your business objectives. A marketing campaign template is a focused plan that will help achieve those marketing goals.
Start the Marketing Planning Process Today
The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins first; that way, you can ramp up fast and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more challenging goals and take on more sophisticated projects by Q4.
So, are you ready to give it a spin?