Your marketing plan should reflect your story, company, culture, brand, and goals. It shouldn’t be overwhelming, cost-prohibitive, or complicated. Think of marketing this way:
Market- The people who buy your product and services and the people most likely to.
-ing The things you do to get their attention and keep it.
Businesses tend to overcomplicate marketing—especially when following the latest gurus and their alphabet soup: ROI, SEO, ABM, PPC, KPI, CMS…OMG! But we think it’s best to start by answering the most foundational questions about your company or brand.
Who are you?
Who is your target market?
How can you connect with each other in a meaningful way?
It may seem like this is too simple, that it doesn’t immediately produce actionable and measurable outcomes. But by taking a few weeks or months to do the first two (if you want the technical terms, they are brand discovery and market research), you are much more likely to quickly see results from the third (strategy and tactics).
So how do you create a vision for your marketing plan? We can help you with this from the ground up. But you can also do it yourself (don’t tell the other marketing agencies—they don’t want you to know this!) and then connect with us for the strategy and tactics. In other words, you take care of the first two questions and we can help connect you with your market in a meaningful way.
Here’s how to begin:
First, find the facts.
Take your leaders and or staff through several information-gathering exercises, and start with the facts. The classic SWOT analysis is a great way to objectively quantify the current state of your company’s marketing and market position.
Strengths could include
Established website and social media accounts
Upward trending revenue
In-house marketing talent and tools
Weaknesses could include
New management or ownership
No marketing leadership
Opportunities could include
Consistent content on website and social
Fresh ideas from new leadership
Events and webinars
Use external marketing agency
Threats could include
Tight employment market
Supply chain challenges
Here’s a great template for a SWOT analysis focused specifically on launching or growing a marketing plan!
Even a quick brainstorm with department heads can identify an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in one particular area or overall. And you can use this information to dig deeper into your brand and what it needs.
Next, uncover internal perceptions
After you have the facts straight, ask leaders and staff to report their perceptions in a written survey or through individual interviews:
How do I relate to the brand?
How does it make me feel?
What is our culture?
What is our customer service like?
What do we portray to customers and prospects through our brand assets like logo, tagline, and colors?
And later, when you are doing your market research, that’s a great time to
sit down with your customers or prospects
and ask them how they see your brand in relation to the marketplace. You can do this with one-on-one conversations, group chats, social media, or email surveys. Clearly understanding internal and external perceptions will help you shape and unify your brand.
Then, look to the future
Now for the fun part!
Choose a timeline—for example, one, three, or five years from now—and dream big.
If our marketing plan succeeds, how many employees and locations will there be?
What is our annual revenue?
Who are our target customers?
What material and marketing assets will we own?
Then dig into desired perceptions:
How would I like to relate to the brand?
How do I want it to make me feel?
What could our culture be like?
How do we want to interact with our customers?
What do we want to portray to customers and prospects through our brand assets like logo, tagline, and colors?
Finally, research your market—or let us!
Once you know you, then you can explore your market using a mix of available and original market research, customer surveys, and competitor and geographic analysis. You can do this yourself, but assessing your market is more complicated than evaluating your own company. However, the information you get from a robust market analysis is invaluable and will save you time and money over the long term. You can use this data—and your intuition based on your years in the business and industry you serve—to:
Help prioritize projects
Target the most valuable customer segments
Refine equipment and material assets
Choose the most effective media
Create powerful logos, messaging, and campaigns
Proceed carefully and seek the expertise of a trusted marketing agency like Bubble and Hatch that is familiar with your niche.
Your Marketing Plan is Now in Focus
Once you know yourself and your market, let the fun begin!
Come see us and we’ll help you connect the dots between who you are and who you can be, between the customers you serve now and the market you could dominate.