An Alternative to the Traditional Marketing Plan
Writing your first traditional marketing plan is hard. Actually, writing any complete marketing plan is hard. It’s not the writing that’s difficult; the hard part is taking the time to understand what the plan should address.
A good traditional marketing plan typically includes:
- Financial goals
- Positioning strategy
- Brand strategy
- Product/service overview
- Detailed goals by product, distribution channel &/or customer segment
- Sales plan
- Major marketing campaigns
- Detailed budget
- Dates to review progress
If you don’t have a full grasp of your long-term strategy, then it’s probably better to skip the traditional marketing plan and create a list of marketing campaign ideas and a campaign calendar.
A One-Hour Marketing Plan Development Process
Gather your marketing and executive team (who has responsibility for your revenue number). Address each step below quickly – aim for no more than 10 minutes. Have someone mind the time to keep you on track. It’s best if you lead the meeting and record the ideas on a whiteboard.
- List your business goals. What are your revenue targets, unit sales or number of customers to acquire? Do you want to increase new customers by x%? It’s ok to stay high level and use percentages here. You can define or refine the actual numbers later.
- Review the calendar and discuss the most important dates or events throughout the year. Do you have major industry conferences? New product launches? What dates are important to your brand, and to your audience?
- For each important date or event listed above, talk through all of the different ideas for connecting with your audience. What have you done in the past that worked? What does your top competitor do? Brainstorm potential campaign ideas.
- Then list the marketing mediums you can use for each campaign idea. Examples could be email marketing, SEM, direct mail, telemarketing, partnerships, publicity, online advertising, events and traditional media.
- Next, allocate portions of your budget to each campaign. For example, if you have $100,000 of budget for all of your marketing promotions, allocate portions of this to each campaign.
- Review your sales tools, presentations and existing collateral. If you’re B2B, do your salespeople have everything they need to move prospects through the sales process? Your job is to help them. List anything you should create or update.
The ideas from this marketing plan development session should get you halfway home. Then, take an afternoon to define the details of each campaign. Outline the creative concept, the resources to use, the timing and the actual costs. (You can use this detailed marketing campaign planning template).
Share your “final” document with your team, but remember, your plan will change. Keep updating it as things change throughout the year. They always do. You’ll improve your marketing and also improve your planning abilities.