7 Steps to Build a Solid Marketing Plan

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” can be applied to many areas of life, including marketing. We agree with his sentiment, which is why we always start with a plan.

A marketing plan provides direction and a measurable framework which makes a business much more likely to succeed in marketing efforts. But building a marketing plan from scratch is no easy task and can be very overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.

Here are seven steps to build a solid marketing plan to help your business succeed.

1. Know your business. Before you start marketing, you need to know what you are marketing. Know your business and how you stand out. A basic SWOT Analysis will help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and give you a starting point for your marketing plan.

2. Know your competitors. Once you better understand your business, you need to know the market. A competitor analysis will reveal valuable insight and help you see how you compare to others in your industry. How are your competitors’ products and services? What are they doing right? How can they improve? What can you do better? Answering these questions will help you determine your key differentiators, a vital step to building an effective marketing plan.

3. Know your audience. After completing the first two steps, you should already have a general idea of your target market. Now it’s time to focus on your audience in greater detail by building personas. Personas are fictional customer depictions based on market research. They should include demographic information, behavior, pain points, and preferences of your target audience. Once you know what motivates your audience, you will be better equipped to set marketing goals.

4. Set goals. Once you have gathered vital information, it’s time to set some goals. Make sure your goals are SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. SMART goals set up a solid foundation by pinpointing exactly what you want to accomplish in both the short and long term.

5. Determine your budget. While you are setting your goals, you will also need to determine your budget. Consider how much of your annual revenue will be set aside for marketing. Your budget needs to include costs for tactics and any additional expenditures such as outsourcing, software, advertising, or events.

6. Choose tactics. Now comes the fun part. Once you have goals, you can move on to objectives, strategy, and tactics. For each goal, create measurable objectives to establish the framework for your strategy. Create a strategy that supports your goals and choose the right tactics, visible action steps that will bring your marketing strategy to life and help you accomplish your goals.

7. Create a written marketing plan. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Put all your information together in a written marketing plan. A written plan provides a solid framework for your marketing efforts, keeping you on track to meet your goals.

If you have followed all these steps, you should have a solid marketing plan, but remember that it is not a once and done process. You will still need to regularly check in and make sure the plan is still working.

If you still feel overwhelmed or have questions, we are here to help. The team at The Social Bullpen can create a custom plan for all your marketing needs.