What to look for in a marketing plan

By Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens is a mentor for the 2020 Impact programme. During the Learn & Dive week, Dave led a session with the cohort on how to get customer pull in the UK, and he also worked with Urbest & Neo nomade on their UK marketing strategy. In today’s guest post, Dave shares his keys to a successful marketing plan.

Ask three people for a marketing plan and you’ll get three different documents doing three different things. You will want to debate what the plan proposes but instead you frequently find yourself debating what the plan looks like.

So as to help things along, here’s my view of just what should be included in a decent marketing plan…

(1) Executive Summary: what are the (up to) five key things that your marketing plan says you will do?

This is your elevator pitch to the business and will be at marketing objective or marketing strategy level. Write this at the end.

(2) Background: your marketing audit.
These are the things you need to take note of when writing your plan. Anything going here should be factual — ie it will have a quotable source. The temptation is to use this section as a dumping ground — only note things that will impact the way that you market the product or service. It is likely that you will be writing about a customer — which means you should be clear who that customer is: decision maker, product expert, prospect, etc. If you don’t know the answers, ask yourself if it’s important; how can you find out; is it a risk if you cannot?

(3) Objectives: your marketing objectives.
No more than five things you will do to use marketing to deliver the Product or Business management objectives, taking advantage of or overcoming the points you noted in section 2, in the time and with the budget you have available.
Each objective will be clear so you know exactly what needs to be achieved, its completion will be measurable so you can tell when it has been achieved. It will be possible to achieve it in the timeframe and with the budget you have. It will have a clear timeframe to be delivered in.
At this point, your objectives will be strategic — ie they will be about what you will do not how you will do it (websites, brochureware, events, etc come later!!).

(4) Strategy: the segmentation, targeting, and positioning you will use.
To achieve your marketing objectives, who will you target and how will you position our offering to them?
What’s the best way of looking at your audience (location, ACORN, age, gender, occupation, socio-economic group, job title, benefits sought, etc)?
What is the position you will market to this target audience that gives you clarity, uniqueness, and advantage?

(5) Messages: up to five key messages in order of importance.
These are the points you want to get across to your target audience — as close to the actual words you will use as possible. They would be the points you’ll use in all of your marketing.

(6) Tactics: the things you will practically do (written as an objective), how much money you will spend, and when you will deliver it
Group these by channel: advertising, digital, events, guerrilla, incentive schemes, personal selling, PR, and sponsorship. Bullet each point.

(7) KPIs: how will you measure your success in delivering your tactics?What are your targets for each tactic? How will these help you deliver your marketing objectives?

(8) Implementation Plan: a GANTT chart or equivalent for who needs to do what by when

Dave Stevens is a B2B marketing consultant and can be contacted at DaveStevensNow@gmail.com. He is Chair and Co-Founder of the Business Marketing Club, a not-for-profit community network of B2B marketing professionals and people interested in B2B marketing.

Find out more at www.businessmarketingclub.org.uk.

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