How To Develop A Marketing Plan

develop marketing plan

By Michael Culp

October 24, 2022

Hey, I’m Michael Culp, a business Master’s student, and today, I’m going to teach you how to develop a marketing plan.

In this article, you’ll learn how to develop a bulletproof marketing plan, so you can generate more leads, and sales, to increase your business revenue.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you don’t need to build a 100-page document that will never be used. I’ll teach you how to build a plan in 6 easy steps to guide your business forward and that you can use as a reference when making marketing decisions.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the step-by-step!

1 – Analyze your competition

No matter what kind of business you’re in, it always starts with the market. You need to study your competitors, to see what they’re doing. This will allow you to see how you can do even better, to outperform them.

If your biggest competitors are doing something for a long period of time, chances are high that it’s working for them. You can even use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to break down what they are doing on their websites.

You need to research your top competitors and make a document to put in all your findings. This will give you insights into pricing and promotional channels. The goal isn’t to copy them, but to give you inspiration and do things better than them.

A great way to analyze your competition is by doing a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Your strengths and weaknesses are things that are internal to your company and that you have direct control over. The opportunities and threats are external things, are in the market, and you cannot change.

The SWOT analysis will give you a complete overview of your business.

2 – Define your target audience

You need to identify your ideal customer avatar. Your customer avatar details all the most relevant characteristics of your ideal customer. Your job as a marketer is to try to know them better than they even know themselves.

The more you resonate with them, the more effective your marketing messages will be. So, you need to identify all the relevant characteristics. Here are all the things you need to identify:

  • Demographics: age, gender, income, and occupation.
  • Geographics: where do they live?
  • Psychographics: attitudes, interests, beliefs, fears, frustrations, desires, and aspirations.

3 – Define your marketing strategy

Once you know the market and know your target audience, you can start developing your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy is composed of the 4 P’s of marketing. The 4 P’s are product, price, place, and promotion.

Product is what you’re offering to your audience, it can be products or services. You need to understand what your product is and what it does before you start selling it.

You must sell something that people actually want to buy. If you have a bad offer, no one will want to buy it. Your product or service needs to be appealing to your target audience.

You need to know clearly what are the benefits of your product, what problems it solves, and how to communicate that to your consumers.

Price is what your customers are willing to pay for your product or service. This is also influenced by your competitors’ prices.

The place is where you’re going to connect with your customers. The place is the access your customers have to your business. Will you be selling online? Or will you be selling in a brick-and-mortar store?

Lastly, promotion is how your product or service is communicated and promoted in the market. This includes advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and other channels you may use.

4 – Define your marketing channels

Your marketing channel is part of your promotion, inside the 4 P’s. To be effective with your marketing you need to find out where your audience hangs out online. Your market isn’t everywhere, so you need to find out where they are.

For example, if your target market is younger people, you’ll probably go after TikTok. If your target audience is B2B professionals, you’ll probably want to be present on LinkedIn.

The fastest way to achieve results with your promotion is via paid advertising. There are a lot of places online in which you can place your advertising campaigns such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing, LinkedIn…

The disadvantage of paid advertising is that you need money to invest in it. And if you still don’t have a proven marketing message, you can end up burning a lot of money without getting results. But once you have a message that resonates with your audience, advertising can be a gold mine of opportunities.

To build an advertising campaign you’re going to need to opt-in to some funnel software. The software will allow you to build pages to send the traffic to.

Organic channels such as SEO, Youtube, and social media are a great way to reach a lot of people and it’s free. The disadvantage is that it will take time and effort to start seeing results. But once your results start to come, the momentum only grows.

You can also take advantage of other people’s existing audience to sell your products. This is called Affiliate Marketing. You can set up an affiliate program, in which you pay commissions to your partners, for every successful referral they make.

5 – Budget

It’s also very important to define your budget. How much is it going to cost to reach your goals?

And the real question is how much you have AVAILABLE to spend. If you’re just getting started chances are high that you’ll not have much money.

Your budget will directly affect your marketing goals. So, you’ll need to be realistic.

If you don’t have a budget you’ll need to grind more, investing time in organic channels and direct outreach. If you already have a profitable business, you need to decide the percentage of your revenue you’ll direct to reach your marketing goals.

You also need to think if you have the budget to hire a marketing manager or an agency, or if you’re going to do it yourself.

Either way, marketing is one of the most important activities in your business. So, even if you plan to hire an employee or an agency to take care of it for you, I strongly recommend that you also learn how to do it yourself.

This will allow you to judge the quality of the work you’re getting if you decide to outsource.

6 – Define your goals

Based on all the steps detailed above, you need to define your marketing goals. The best way of setting goals is with the acronym SMART.

Smart stands for smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Keep all these 5 things in mind when setting up your marketing goals.

So, what are your goals? Increase revenue? Increase website traffic? Grow an email list?

Conclusion

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business. If you can’t get your product or service in front of your audience, they will not buy it. The first step in developing an effective marketing strategy is by developing a marketing plan. And today, you learned how to build your marketing plan in 6 steps. To recap:

  1. Analyze your competition
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Define your marketing strategy
  4. Define your marketing channels
  5. Budget
  6. Define your goals
Featured Image credit –> https://unsplash.com/photos/gcsNOsPEXfs