Today, no matter the size of any company or business, whether it is large, small or medium, everyone needs a marketing plan. This is the only way to avoid taking meaningless steps and to establish clear objectives. So, there is no doubt about the importance of a company’s marketing plan for its success. Do you want to know more? Then you are in the right place, because we will tell you the 10 steps to create your own marketing plan, join us!
What is a company’s marketing plan?
If you are wondering what a marketing plan is, here we explain it in simple words: the marketing plan is a complete guide designed to guide the company in determining the steps to be taken at all times.
This requires a developed research, the deployment of its budget feasibility, the delimitation of short and long term objectives and the time of each action. From this, the company will make a decision and stick to the strategies of the plan to attract more customers and know which KPIs to measure.
Since these plans are usually valid for a maximum of one year, it is advisable to review and renew them after this time. This in order to establish new objectives, evaluate the competition, the consumer public, the objectives achieved and, finally, propose a new action plan that adapts to the new reality.
Not only does it sound like a lot of work, but it really is. Still, it is important to verify what worked and what didn’t of everything that was implemented. This will help to know where the company stands in the market and what to do to further boost its competitive advantage and growth.
Why do you need a marketing plan?
Many companies start out in business without understanding how important marketing is to their success. However, as soon as they start they realize that they need to promote their products, attract customers and establish a good relationship with them.
That’s when they start to act reactively and create a Facebook page, print some flyers or make business cards. And yes, these things are important to activate marketing, but they don’t have any strategy behind them.
Also, it often happens that there is a marketing plan, but it is only carried out by the manager. Then, the rest of the team simply executes actions without further action and does not feel committed to the company’s objectives, because they simply do not understand or feel part of it.
In either case, the chances of obtaining positive results are almost nil. Herein lies the importance of not only having a marketing plan, but making it a guide for everyone and defining a common path. Only in this way, the objectives will be achieved.
Instead of loose ideas, the marketing plan provides a clear direction on the objectives to be pursued by any company, the indicators to be monitored, the strategies to be developed, and so on. In this way, every action taken will be aligned with the objectives, from the smallest to the largest, of strategic planning.
In other words, it is important that you design a marketing plan for the following reasons:
It will help you understand your market share and gain a deeper and more comprehensive view of the industry.
It allows you to better understand your competitors and, above all, the needs of your ideal customer.
It allows defining a strategy based on communication and actions focused on accurate objectives, as well as ensuring that there is coherence between them.
Plan your actions over a whole year or a few months so that you can know how much budget and resources to allocate.
Avoid unexpected situations that hinder the achievement of the goals you set.
You will be able to carry out periodic evaluations to check the ROI status and make decisions to improve the strategy if needed.
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10 steps to create a marketing plan for your company
Surely you have asked yourself, and what are the stages of the famous marketing plan that my company needs? Well, here we detail the structure and all the steps to follow to create a solid plan that will guarantee your success, let’s see what they are!
1. Make a diagnosis of the company
Every marketing plan starts with a look inside the company. Try to summarize the current situation of your company, look at its structure, the number of employees, the volume of sales, the available resources, the current positioning, the turnover history up to the management objectives.
But it is not only a matter of describing the business, but also of making an in-depth analysis of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats present in the environment. In other words, everything that can influence its performance. For this purpose, the SWOT analysis is the right tool to advance in this first step.
A thorough analysis of the company ensures that the plan is in line with the business reality, according to its budget and alignment with strategic planning decisions to meet the objectives.
2. Analyzes the business environment
In this second step, it is time to look outward. The analysis of the business environment should gather the most relevant data from the micro and macro environment where your company operates in order to investigate the factors that may affect its performance while the marketing plan is being carried out.
When doing the macro-environment analysis, you should focus on the main changes and trends occurring in the region, in the country and around the world. These have to do with the business with respect to the following environments:
The microenvironment, on the other hand, focuses on the company’s operating sector and the main players involved in its performance. In this case, you can use Porter’s 5 forces to think about the key factors that drive it:
Business capacity of customers.
Rivalry among competitors.
Negotiating power with suppliers.
Threat from new products and/or services
Threat of new competitors.
The combination of all these factors will help you build future scenarios, whether optimistic, neutral or pessimistic, and create strategies that will make the company stronger. In this way, the marketing plan would fulfill its function of avoiding unexpected situations that would prevent the achievement of the goals you set.
3. Do a competitive analysis
Among the actors belonging to the microenvironment, there is one that deserves this section: competition.
It is important that you look for information about the performance of your competitors, the public they serve, how they communicate with them, how they present their products and what results they achieve.
This step will allow you to:
Find information that you can use in your strategies.
Anticipate market trends and your competitors’ next moves.
Identify opportunities for positioning and competitive advantage.
Identify your participation and place in the market.
You may think it is impossible to access your competitor’s data because they are confidential, that’s normal. But there are tools that allow you to be very close to them: monitoring their movements and knowing what they do. Of course, as long as it is done in an ethical way. Among these tools, SEMrush, SimilarWeb or Google Alerts stand out.
4. Define your audience and your ideal customer
Once you analyze the market and your competitors, you have a more solid basis for defining the target audience you want your strategies to reach.
The target audience is a group of consumers who share psychographic, demographic and behavioral characteristics. Once you define yours, it is to them that you will direct your marketing strategy.
To define it, you will need to segment your consumers by common characteristics and identify those whose needs your business satisfies.
From the definition and description of your target audience, you can create your buyer persona. This, unlike the target audience, has a study of their deeper behaviors, defined values, expectations and pains. All synthesized in a single character that represents the company’s ideal customer.
You can then track the buying journey of this ideal customer, thinking about everything they have to go through to make a simple contact or purchase with you. Study their basic behaviors and questions and leverage that to improve their experience.
In conclusion, marketing strategies are designed for your target audience, but they speak to your buyer persona.
5. Define your positioning
Once you have defined your target audience, the next step is to enter into the strategic definitions. To do this, we start with positioning, which must be defined for each target audience.
Defining your position in the market means thinking about the ways in which the company is perceived by consumers. Positioning contributes to the creation of a unique and outstanding image in the public’s mind.
However, it is essential that you study your competitors very well in order to differentiate yourself from them. Remember, positioning talks about your attributes as a company or about the products and services you offer: price, size, quality, design. But it also focuses mainly on subjective aspects, such as the values and meanings with which your brand is related.
Therefore, when you create a marketing plan for your company, positioning must be reflected in the advertising, content and visual identity you create, as well as the points of contact with your consumers. That way, they will assimilate the image of your company that you want to convey.
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6. Set your goals
Although this is the heart of any company’s marketing plan, it is important that none of the steps mentioned above are left out. They provide the basis for all the established objectives to be aligned with the reality of the business and the demands of the market, thus targeting the right audience.
When it comes to setting objectives, it is best to use the SMART methodology, a very useful ally. Its acronym names the characteristics that the objectives you propose must have:
Relevant or Realistc (Relevant or Realistic)
When you follow these guidelines, the objectives become clearer, not only for you, but for your team. They also define a common path that everyone should aspire to and feel a part of.
That said, it is important that you consider that it does not make sense to set ambiguous objectives such as “sell more”, “get more followers” or “have more participation in networks”. They must be clear, for example:
Generate 1000 e-commerce purchases in 1 year.
In 3 months, increase the participation rate by 15%.
Reach 1000 followers in 6 months.
Don’t you think they are more specific and measurable, as well as have a deadline? Now, to say if they are realistic and achievable, it is necessary to review the diagnosis of your company and the market to know if they correspond to what is being evaluated.
7. Define KPIs
Once you have established your objectives, following the above recommendations, this step will be much easier. After all, when something is measurable, it means that you can apply metrics to track its performance as part of your strategy to prove that you are achieving the expected results.
But, we are not talking about metrics, but rather indicators of success. That is, KPIs. Okay, so what’s the difference?
After all, metrics are measures to evaluate the performance of an action. For example, measuring the number of visitors to the website or interactions on networks compared to previous months.
Although KPIs are also a kind of metric, they are directly related to the objectives. In short, they are responsible for letting you know if you are on the right track and if you have achieved the objectives you originally described in your plan.
By this we don’t want to tell you not to use metrics, because they are a fundamental part of the plan’s success. But KPIs tell you that the plan was successfully executed, so they should be closely monitored. This will help to detect in time possible adjustments to improve results or if you have deviated from the established objectives.
8. Define your strategies
This is where the tactics of a company’s marketing plan begin; that is, how definitions are implemented into specific strategies that are then broken down into operational definitions.
In this step, you must define the strategies that will be involved in achieving the objectives. For example, if you want to gain 1,000 followers in 6 months, then you need a content marketing strategy, SEO, etc.
Also, it is important that you define the strategies of the 4 Ps of marketing:
This type of strategy is in charge of making your brand visible in the market and giving it a place. To do so, they must be aligned with the positioning of each target audience you have defined.
9. Budget and resources
You will have to think, what tools and what equipment will you need to carry out your marketing plan? How much do you need to invest for each strategy? This is when you become your own manager.
Among the basic expenses you can consider are:
Hiring of employees.
Acquisition of tools.
Hiring of services.
Internet, energy and telephone expenses, among others.
Marketing is usually one of the most expensive areas for companies, so every investment must be very well planned so that there are no losses.
10. Timelines and responsible parties
At this point, you must define a timeline that will lead to the execution of each part of the plan, as well as those responsible for each strategy.
This part is of utmost importance in order to be able to verify and monitor the deadlines of the objectives and to keep in mind the people involved and their responsibilities. In this way, they will be committed to the plan.
Since you are formulating a strategic plan, you can establish general responsibilities and long-term dates. Now, in tactical and operational plans, it is advisable to detail tasks and responsible parties, as well as deadlines.
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Now that you have enough information to create your own marketing plan for a business, are you ready to do it? Don’t forget that this is an essential tool for your business.
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