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If you happen to be struggling with your marketing plan – what a marketing plan actually is and where to start with building one or what to make sure that you include within it – this blog is for you. How does a marketing plan differ from a marketing strategy? I am going to explain to you what a marketing plan actually is. I’ll break down what you should include within your marketing plan in order to ensure that it is successful for your business, and helps you achieve the important goals that you are aiming towards.
All of those words which marketers use and don’t really explain properly, that stops here! Marketing plans and marketing strategies could easily be confused due to the similarities within their names. However, they do have some significant differences that will help you identify what is part of a marketing plan and what is part of a marketing strategy.
One of the main differences between the two is time. A marketing plan supports your overall business roadmap. According to Hubspot, a marketing plan is the strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given time period.
Your marketing plan is your overall marketing framework, and connects to your business goals It tends to be quite conceptual rather than focused on the outputs.
In contrast, a marketing strategy describes how you’re going to achieve a particular goal/mission within your overall marketing and business plan. This describes more of the ‘deliverables’, rather than being conceptual.
Writing your marketing plan may be difficult to begin with, especially if you do not know what bases to ensure you cover. Each marketing plan you see may vary depending on who created it and their experience within marketing and their knowledge of what goes into a plan. This doesn’t even consider then the objectives that business has which drives this marketing plan. So, here is a list (in no particular order) of things that should be included within your own plan, to ensure you’ve covered the basics.
Budgets will vary depending on how much funding you have within your business and what you can spend on each marketing strategy based on the predicted returns. More established businesses may have more funding for the resources they can use within marketing whereas someone who is just launching their business typically has less funding for their resources. If this is you, now is your time to research!
There are multiple ways in which you can calculate your budget,. For example, you could divide the total amount spent on marketing by the number of leads generated – West, 2021.
The amount of leads you have, refers to how many contacts you have with potential customers for your business. ideally these leads would be qualified, meaning that you have had some form of conversation with this prospective client to ensure that you’re the right fit for them, and vice versa.
According to other research, your marketing budget should be 2% (minimum) – 12% (maximum) of your annual budget, smaller businesses typically use a smaller percentage of their annual budget meanwhile a more established business may use a higher percentage as they can afford the risk and may have enough money already to pay their employees etc.
Have you ever spent some time scoping out the competition?
Your competitors are organisations within your industry who are potentially more established than yours, their audience has a history of purchasing their products. They may provide a similar product or service; work with the same customers – the main thing being that competitors are any companies who your target audience have the capacity to spend with, other than yourself.
When researching your competitors, a great place to start is with the big industry players. Once you know who these are, narrow down your field of play to more regional/local players, or those who are most directly comparable.
Gather information such as:
Top Tip: Use a tool like Not Just Analytics to assess the level of engagement your competitors have on social media.
Your target audiences is arguably the most important aspects of marketing and advertising. You need to know who to market your product towards in order for it to be purchased. Moreover your audience will heavily affect your product and service development.
To break down your target audience, think about who would most likely purchase from you based on their interests and behaviour.
For example, if you were a business that sold candles, you could do research into their demographics like age range and location, which will help you when creating advertisements to appeal to your audience.
The final part of your marketing plan should indicate the marketing strategies you intend on using to meet the goals of your marketing plan. Are you thinking social media, email marketing, networking or events and webinars?
Before launching your marketing strategies, you should set out what your vision is and what objectives or milestones you will have to reach in order to achieve this end vision. This will give you the basis of what your overall marketing plan should achieve and therefore a sense of direction. The next step: detailing the tools and techniques you are going to use (your strategy). Below are some examples of things to consider when developing these strategies.
Social media platforms like TikTok are becoming increasingly more popular with consumers, and social media is still one of the most effective ways to inform and advertise to an audience as people are constantly refreshing their phones for entertainment. Statistics show that in 2019-2020 95% of UK citizens owned a smartphone and the chance that the majority of these people have social media is highly likely. Social media content costs less money in comparison to typical advertising, and is a viable route to market for many entrepreneurs.
Another example of a marketing strategy that could be useful for your business is email marketing. Email marketing is effective because most people have email platforms on their mobile. Email marketing provides a direct method of getting into your audience’s pockets. An example email campaign could be if your business has a new service or product on offer. You could send emails out to announce this to you current customers.
As I mentioned before, this blog covers only some of the ideas and concepts you could include within a marketing plan – hopefully enough to get you started.
If you want to talk through your ideas with someone, lets grab a coffee! Book one now via our calendar link.