Answer These 7 Questions to Craft a Strong Marketing Plan

When a company is developing a marketing plan, it’s crucial for the marcom team to think through key considerations involving the business, brand, audience, budget, metrics, and more. Taking the time for thoughtful evaluation and analysis dramatically improves the marketing plan’s odds of success. Marketers should answer these seven questions as they are developing their marketing plans.

1. How will the marketing plan support the overall business plan?

Marketers need to analyze their company’s business goals and objectives to create a marketing plan that will drive the company toward those goals. An organization’s goals may be to increase sales to existing customers, draw in new customers, or launch new products. Marketing plans will vary greatly depending on the business goals they support.

2. What is the brand or product, and what makes it unique?

A marketing plan will support a company’s overall brand or one or more of its products. Before a team formulates a marketing plan, it needs a clear understanding of the brand persona and the qualities of the business and product that differentiate it from others on the market.

3. Who is the audience?

Marketers may think they know their audience. However, it’s critical that marketers analyze their data to ensure marketing plans effectively target (and reach) their audience.

For example, a company that sells services to people who take fitness classes might discover that its true audience is fitness instructors and gym owners rather than the class participants themselves.

When marketers know their audience, they can create buyer and user personas and tailor their marketing plan appropriately. Building more personalized marketing tactics into the plan can encourage buyers on their journey and lead to a higher conversion rate.

4. What has worked in the past?

Smart marketers will rely on their own experience, institutional memory, and existing data to build on their success and learn from their mistakes. Fresh ideas and strategies are valuable, but tried-and-true tactics are also crucial for a successful marketing plan.

When marketers look at historical marketing campaign outcomes, they should also analyze what worked—and what didn’t—for their competitors and for businesses in related industries. It’s important to cast a wide net, as competition resides in many different areas.

For example, consider a company that sells language-learning apps and software. They compete with other companies in that field, of course. But they also compete with anything else that customers use educationally and anything that pulls on their customers’ attention.

5. What is the budget?

A strong marketing plan needs to reflect the funds that are available to support it. After all, most companies aren’t financially positioned to take out Super Bowl ads or pay for celebrity endorsements.

But regardless of their organization’s budget, marketers can—and should—make a case to C-level executives about why they need a viable marcom budget. Once the numbers are in place, marketers must ensure that their funding can support the strategies they plan to employ. When calculating the budget, it’s essential to include the time the marketing team spends on any initiatives that aren’t already included in their regular job responsibilities.

6. Who is in charge?

As teams implement their marketing plans, questions will inevitably arise. Decisions need to be made on everything from fonts and color choices to budget allocations to turning down opportunities that don’t fit into the plan. One person needs to take responsibility for final decisions. (Of course, this person may choose to delegate some of the more minor decisions.) Otherwise, plans may languish, and time may be lost while people hash out the pros and cons.

7. How will success be measured?

Marketing plans need to build in realistic, measurable targets linked to their goals, and these targets must tie to a timeframe. Here are a few examples:

  • Web page views will increase by 30 percent in the next fiscal year.
  • Social media strategies will drive a 10 percent increase in sales in the next quarter.
  • A new product will be responsible for 12 percent of sales by year-end.

Once marketers quantify their goals, they need to ensure they have tools to measure metrics and track progress. For example, if a goal is to drive sales via social media, marketers need to make sure that sales linked to leads that came from social media are correctly tracked, analyzed, and credited.

Connect with experts in building marketing plans

Imaginari’s full-service marketing team can help companies build strategic marketing plans, or to answer questions that will help guide the development of in-house marketing strategies. Contact Imaginari for more information.

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