6 Steps To Create an Effective Marketing Plan

In Marketing by Alicia Frank

A marketing plan, like our MC Greenprint, is a document that optimizes your marketing strategies. As a company, these plans are necessary because they establish a paved path for your growth. The MC Greenprint and other marketing plans should include SMART objectives utilizing resources, insights, timelines, and other metrics to keep your business on track. It gives your business direction, lays out opportunities, and helps you make informed decisions. Like it or not, a marketing plan is a necessary part of planning for the future. Since our thing is growing businesses, here are six steps to creating an effective marketing plan.

Research

Research needs to happen before anything else. This is where you’ll figure out your current position as a business and where you want to go. This research includes a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your specific competition and industry. Once you have your SWOT completed, now you can start a competitive analysis. A competitive analysis allows you to see how you are doing compared to other companies working within the same field. When you understand your market and business’s strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out who your audience is and what they want.

Target Audience

Now that you know your market and where you stand as a business, it’s time to figure out who your target audience is and where to find them. When you know who your audience is, not only does targeting become more effective, but you can tailor your content to that specific audience. The better businesses understand their audiences, the better they can target them, increasing their reach and brand awareness. Knowing your target audience also allows you to find a new audience you may not have noticed or been able to reach before.

Objectives

It’s hard to track ROI if you don’t know where you started. Setting goals and objectives help track ROI, but it also challenges you to think outside of the box. How are you going to get there? What tactics and strategies are you going to use to get there? Most importantly, when setting these goals and objectives, make sure they are SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives to help push your business growth forward. Only when you have set your goals can you outline your strategies and tactics to get there.

Strategy & Tactics

At this point, you have done your research, know your target audience and your goals for your marketing plan. Now it’s time to plan a roadmap of strategies and tactics to get you on your way to reaching your goals. Tactics are your action items and detailed channels that are going to help you achieve your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase website visitors by 20% over the next quarter, a few tactics to help you reach that point include an advertising campaign feeding your audience to your website and implementing SEO practices into your posts and pages. These tactics can vary depending on your overall strategy and goals. However, when creating your plan each quarter, optimize your efforts. Figure out what is working and what is not working to save yourself time and money.

Timeline

With every tactic you plan, add a deadline for execution to ensure your plan is as effective as possible. Set a timeline for each action item and put that into a timeline for yourself. When you build a timeline, you are setting yourself up for success. No one knows how busy you will be in one or two months from now, so plan out when to have things completed. A detailed timeline sets clear expectations while also giving your entire team a guide to follow and ensuring everyone meets the deadline. It can also help plan out your budget here or in your tactics, but be sure you’re aware of the amount allocated for each initiative.

Report

Without a budget and knowing where you started, it can be hard to track your progress. With every initiative you put forward, track it. The whole purpose of marketing is to bring in an ROI. If you’ve followed the above steps, you’ll want to track and analyze your efforts to know your ROI. Is your budget working? Did the tactic work the way you thought it would? Did it bring in ROI? When analyzing and tracking your efforts, figure out what works best for you and what will help you achieve your goals.

Creating a marketing plan can seem somewhat daunting at first, but knowing what to include is half the battle. Try following these six steps to create an effective marketing plan, and if you still need some help, the Michigan Creative team is always here. Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, The Creative, for the latest trends and tips in marketing and business.