How to Make A Strong Marketing Plan - Part I
Learn how we can help create a strong marketing plan for your business in the first part of our "how to" guide.
Our marketing team love a good marketing plan. Of course, that’s because as a marketing agency based in Dublin, we are all about getting our clients results, and marketing plans are essential to that.
However, not all businesses recognise the need for a strong marketing plan. Unfortunately, sometimes marketing tends to be overlooked and neglected by management when it comes to budget and company cuts. Some businesses think that running the occasional advert here and there will suffice for a ‘marketing strategy’. This is wrong. Every business needs to create a marketing plan before they attempt to market their brand. Have we got you interested yet? Read part one of our 2-series blog to learn how we can help you with this…
In our marketing strategy planning workshop as part of our Growth Marketing Programme, we ask our clients the following questions:
- What is your brand positioning statement?
- Who are your customers? What do they need?
- What is your value proposition?
- What is the typical customer journey for your target audience?
- What are your business's current marketing activities? (offline + online)
To begin creating this mighty marketing plan, let's explain these questions further.
So, just what is brand positioning? In simple terms, brand positioning is your audience’s perception of you. To be attractive to your customer you need to deliver a product or service in a meaningful way which elevates you in the market and clearly distinguishes you from your competitors.
You must first intimately understand your competition from both a competitor and customer perspective. Who are they? What do they say they deliver? What do they actually deliver? How do you measure up against this? Identifying their weaknesses and combining them with your strengths will produce a set of unique opportunities with which to promote yourself.
These opportunities then translate into unique selling propositions or USPs, but only if there is real substance to support them. A competitor's weakness can only be your strength if it is a quality which you actually possess. It is not an aspiration.
From your USP's a set of brand values which support them is derived. It is these values which you want your audience to associate with you. Your brand positioning statement is the summation of these values and the USPs. It is the absolute essence of what makes you and your business unique.
Defining your Customers
Customers are core to your marketing strategy. In order to sell to your audience, you have to understand their needs, their problems and who exactly they are. It is vital to know everything you can about them.
This information can include anything from their age, their gender, their jobs, the type of lifestyle they lead, their interests - basically you want to set up a full profile of exactly who these guys are. Once you have this, you can target them effectively using the appropriate channels.
Understanding the journey your customers take is also essential for your marketing plan. A good idea is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes for each of the stages in the customer journey and identify what usually happens at this stage of the process.
For example, the awareness stage of the customer journey usually consists of the user finding your brand online or getting a referral from someone else about your business. By recognising this customer behaviour, you can then target the customers at the different stages with the appropriate marketing tactic (e.g Google PPC ads can be used at the awareness stage / Email marketing at the Interest Stage).
You’ll be nurturing the prospect at each stage of the sales process. You’ll be creating content and implementing tactics that answer their questions and reach them in the most relevant channel with the most relevant information. This will help convert your target prospect into a new customer.
Interested in reading further?
If you are finding this information useful (which we hope you are), we have much more to offer you!
Read Part 2 of ‘How to make a strong marketing plan’ where we help you understand your customer journey and the best way to outrank your competitors.
In the meantime, if you are interested in our Growth Marketing programme, get in touch with us and we can arrange a meeting to talk about the best way to approach a marketing plan for your business.