10 Things Every Marketing Plan Should Have

The first step in developing any marketing strategy is to start with a plan. Developing a plan for your marketing strategy may seem overwhelming. Plans can range from super simple to extremely advanced and complex. However, all marketing plans, big or small, have a few things in common. We will go over ten necessary elements that all marketing plans must contain in order to be successful.

1. The Product

Possibly the most important aspect of your marketing plan is the product. What makes your product superior to others in your industry? Why would someone choose you over someone else? Find what makes your product unique and go with it. Emphasize what you can offer that others can’t.

2. The Research

Okay, so now you know why your product is the best, but whose going to buy it? You need to conduct market research to analyze buying trends in your industry. Collect, organize, and analyze data regarding the demographics of customers, your competition, current sales in your industry, suppliers, and market patterns. This valuable knowledge can help you successfully market to the right people in the right ways.

3. Define

Once you understand the market, you need to define the target audience. Instead of trying to please everybody, zone in on a specific group of people who will be more likely to purchase your product. Describe you ideal customer in detail. Be sure to get more specific than women in their 30s-60s. Really dig deep to decide who your ideal customer will be.

4. Goals

Don’t just keep your goals in your head. Writing them down can help you more clearly define them and set realistic, but ambitious goals. Write full sentences that state what you want to accomplish in your business overall and through your marketing strategy specifically. You can break up your goals into specific mission statements, and it may be helpful to make them quantifiable. For example, a mission statement could be to gain two new clients a month.

5. The Medium

Where is you marketing strategy going to take place? Will your company benefit most from social media or a more traditional approach? Think about which mediums appeal to your target audience and how your product will best be displayed.

6. The Promotion

Putting your product on social media or on television is not enough; you must also promote it. Promotion could be consistent branding on social media, events, giveaways, etc. There is no right or wrong way to promote your product. You just need to make sure you are consistent with your brand and reaching the right audience.

7. The Positioning

Where your product will be positioned in the market? You must decide if you are going to be top-of-the-line or if you want to seem more casual and appeal to the masses. Decide a position for your product and make all of your advertisements surround it.

8. The Schedule

Once you have all of your ideas mapped out, you need to place them on a schedule. Keep the schedule brief and organized, as it will likely need to be changed frequently. Having a schedule can help you keep yourself on track and better monitor how your strategies are doing.

9. The Budget

Of course, in running any business budget is important. See what strategies you can afford and which may be better saved for a later date.

10. The Analytics

How are you going to monitor your results? You need to ensure you can test and analyze to identify the strategies that are working. You can use tools such as surveys, database management tools, and number of engagements to measure your success.

Now you are ready to begin your marketing plan! Be sure to consistently compare your actual marketing strategy to your plan and make sure you are reaching your goals.

How Do I Come Up With More Marketing Ideas?

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? You’re sitting there staring at a blank screen about to pull your hair out because the ideas are just not flowing. The same can be true when trying to come up with creative ideas for content marketing. How are you supposed to keep the ideas fresh and creative? After all, there are only so many ideas out there (and a lot of the good ones have been taken by Oreo and Doritos)! So how do brands like Oreo and Doritos keep coming up with one good idea after another? We’ve put together a few tips to give you a hint at what you can do to have a continuous flow of marketing ideas.

1. Creativity

There is no such thing as “wrong” creativity. Let your ideas flow no matter how ridiculous they may seem in your head. Sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves and shut down an idea before we even get it fully developed. Allow your mind to go places you may normally be critical of. Brainstorm any and every idea you have. This will give you a long list to choose from, and you just may have written down the needle in the haystack.

2. Teamwork

Of course you want to be the person to come up with an idea, but we can’t all be on our A game 100% of the time. Allow others to add their input, even if they aren’t on the marketing team! If your business is designating only a handful of people to add creative content to the marketing department, then you may be missing out on tons of creative ideas! Allow anyone to pitch an idea to you at any time. Just because your accountants sit behind a desk crunching numbers all day doesn’t mean they don’t have creative juices too! Collaborating allows you to bounce ideas off of one another and can often produce the best ideas. You know what they say – two heads are better than one!

3. Current

Be current and stay on top of trends. Get your brand involved in the trends early. You have to do it before everyone else can. Take the ALS ice bucket challenge, for example. If your brand does it, it shows that you support a great cause and have a fun company environment. However, timing is everything. Be one of the first to do it and you get tons of attention and publicity. Be one of the last and you are just another piece of the puzzle.

4. Steal

Okay, we don’t mean you can literally steal. But you can steal ideas, sort of. Read book, watch T.V., look at magazines, anything to get your creative juices flowing. You never know what may trigger an idea. Once you find an idea, you can incorporate your own product and use your own voice to make it original. Of course, you can’t copy the idea exactly, but seeing one thing may trigger you to think of another.

We would love to hear any other tips and tricks you have for being creative and how they worked for you!