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How to Write an Eight-Step Marketing Plan
Interested in learning how to write an effective marketing plan for your business?
There are eight easy and essential steps!
The eight steps include: identifying your target market, creating a SWOT analysis, understanding your competition, establishing SMART marketing goals, listing corresponding marketing strategies, selecting the most effective marketing strategies, tactics and related budget, implementing the selected marketing strategies and tactics, and evaluating effectiveness.
- Identify Your Target Market
Who are your ideal customers? Take into account your business’ target demographics, and where those demographics will be found.
For example, the demographics for a consumer business (B2C) would include geographic location, gender, age, income, education level, etc.
- Create a SWOT Analysis
Create a written assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal. Opportunities and threats are external meaning they include the entire market for your business. They answer the question: “What do you view as opportunities and threats for your business in the market?”
- Understand Your Competition
Create a written assessment of your competition including their strengths and weaknesses. Using your SWOT analysis, compare them against your own strengths and weaknesses.
Competitors include both direct competitors and indirect competitors (e.g., Internet companies). This assessment will give your business a better understanding of how to differentiate itself in regards to marketing.
- Establish SMART Marketing Goals
SMART marketing goals are marketing goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
HubSpot Blogs is a good resource for establishing SMART marketing goals. It offers a step-by-step process.
An example of a SMART marketing goal could be: “Generate 20 new leads in the < insert industry> by the end of the first quarter.”
- List Corresponding Marketing Strategies
How will your business achieve its goals?
The answer is listing corresponding marketing strategies. Some marketing strategies include direct marketing (i.e. brochures), advertisements in print media, online marketing, personal selling, and networking.
One strategy that could be used to achieve this goal could be participating an industry trade show.
- Select the Most Effective Marketing Strategies and Tactics, and Determine Budget
Once the most effective marketing strategies and tactics are selected, your business should determine how much it is going to cost. It is important to stay in line with your business’ desired budget without compromising key strategies and tactics.
- Implement the Selected Marketing Strategies and Tactics
After determining your business’ budget, you can implement your business’ marketing strategies and tactics to see results. For example, this may involve having a few employees manage a booth at an industry trade show if an industry trade show is your business’ selected marketing strategy. Be sure to include other tactics to get the most out of your trade show participation, such as social media, press releases, collateral, direct mail and email campaigns, website landing pages, advertising, etc.
- Evaluate Effectiveness
What was the result of the marketing plan? Did your business achieve its goals?
Evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing plan will help you determine how to best adjust your strategies and tactics relative to its goals. Perhaps, your business experienced difficulty achieving one or more its goals. In that case, similar goals can be modified in the future to be more attainable.