What should your marketing plan include?
The essentials to creating a marketing plan that is designed for business growth
A marketing plan is an essential tool for any business – small, medium or large. Think of it like you would a local tourist map for a destination you visit while you are on holiday – there’s likely a lot to see and do, but the map will help tell you where it is best to spend your time and money for the ultimate experience (and in the case of a marketing plan, best business results).
It might seem like a lot of work, however a well-prepared marketing plan can save you time and money, give your business the mojo it needs to thrive and put your team on a trajectory of growth.
It will also ensure you don’t spend the last days of your holiday at the overpriced pizza joint that everyone’s visiting because… that’s just what you do… but rather invest in the quality pizza that’s actually right for you.
Yep, we’re using pizza as a metaphor for marketing tools here. Are you hungry for more?
What should your marketing plan include?
Your marketing plan should:
- Clearly define your business.
- Outline what you want to achieve from your marketing activities.
- Review and understand internal and external factors impacting your business (including your competitors).
- Determine who your target audience is.
- Pinpoint what you want to communicate.
- Define how much money and time you want to (and realistically can) spend on marketing.
- Identify what actions you will take and what tools you will use.
- Include a clear strategy to review your marketing successes and failures – your marketing plan should be a living document.
At its very core, marketing is about telling potential customers and clients what your business offers, why it would be of value to them, and of course, why your pizza is better than the other guy’s down the road.
Like any business process, marketing should have a planned and strategic approach (and should tie in seamlessly with your business plan – yep, you should probably have one of those too).
Don’t worry, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a marketing plan.
Crafting a marketing plan for your business can be insanely simple – as easy as making a cheese pizza in fact.
We recommend that your marketing plan should cover the key areas below:
- Situational Analysis
- Target Market
- Key Messages
- Marketing Tools
- Measurement & Review
Now before you throw your hands in the air and get distracted with your day-to-day work or head out for Friday arvo drinks, hear us out!
We’ve outlined each area below to make the process of building your plan easy.
In this section it is important to take a step back and look at your business as it is now and where you want to take it.
Be clear about what it is your business does, what its unique position in the marketplace is and why people would want to buy from you.
What makes your pizza (product), customer service and restaurant experience (value-add) that much better than Joe Bloggs’?
Do you have years of experience behind your craft, do you have your own unique and special ingredients, are you offering more value for money?
The time to sell your assets is now.
This is also the time to highlight your intentions – be specific about what you want to achieve. Be realistic, but also make space for your BHAG – big hairy audacious goal – so that you don’t set the bar too low.
Look around you and identify all the barriers to success as well as all the opportunities that are just screaming out to be harnessed!
The first step is to undertake a SWOT Analysis. If you have created a business plan, you probably already have a SWOT in place – say thank you to your past self.
But it’s also important to understand your marketing SWOT.
Take the time to understand your competitors and assess what it is you think they do well and what they do poorly. Where do you fit in across this spectrum? Is your pizzeria on the smaller side? Can you make pizzas faster than others? Could your cheese quality improve?
If you can identify the areas your competitors fail to deliver, you can learn and build your business from this and become an empire greater than any pizza franchise.
This type of information can be invaluable and stop you from making unnecessary errors yourself.
Is your target market male and females aged from about zero up?
Hate to break it to you, but unless you have the financial resources of Apple, you are going to struggle to get results from a limited budget that isn’t focused towards a specific audience.
It is vital that you have a clear understanding of what type of customers you would like to target.
Remember, defining your audience isn’t about excluding people. It means investing your marketing resources and targeting your message towards an audience that is more likely to buy your products and be loyal to your brand.
Take pizza for example…as wild as it may seem, some people just don’t love the cheesy goodness of a slice of pizza. It’s those groups, who probably won’t purchase your produce or service anyway, who you shouldn’t be focusing your time and effort on.
Here’s where the magic happens!
Now that you understand your target customers, you’ll be able to communicate and respond to their needs and fears through your marketing efforts.
Deciding on your key messages is important as it has a flow-on effect on how and where you communicate about your business.
You can have one key message, or you can have a few, but what’s important is framing these messages so they are easy to understand and interpret.
Think about your key messages as your ‘elevator pitch’. They are the key messages you want your target audience to hear and remember.
Take Pizza Hut’s genius slogan – Gather ‘Round the Good Stuff – Pizza Hit as an example. Now that message really hits home fast!
This is the bit that most people jump to first – because it’s the fun bit!
Your marketing toolkit can include anything from social media and websites, to email marketing, events, public relations, networking, advertising and more (yep, this includes those youngsters you see standing on corners with pizza signs – just make sure they have some good dance moves so they grab the attention of the probably fuming – and hungry – work commuters).
But again, a broad approach won’t work here. Don’t try and be everywhere and do everything at once – you’ll be doomed to fail and waste money in channels where your ideal customers aren’t.
To understand what marketing tools you should be using (i.e. where your ideal customers are likely to be), work through all the steps of your marketing plan.
And remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your marketing toolkit. It depends on your business, products, goals and target audience.
Every organisation has a marketing budget – even if they don’t realise it!
If you really want to get serious about your marketing, a smart move is to understand your budget upfront. This will allow you to be more strategic about where you spend your money for a better result on your marketing investment.
From everything you’ve researched and decided for your marketing plan, you now need to decide what will happen, when it will occur and who will action it. Set goals that are specific and achievable so that you can keep the momentum up over the long-term.
All businesses have their ups and downs, even million-dollar industries, but having the right actions in place to handle the momentum is the key to success.
Not all elements of your Marketing Plan can be easily measured, particularly if one of your objectives is to increase brand awareness and you are a small business. Forking out cash for a market research company to check how you did often isn’t plausible for small to medium businesses.
But don’t let that hold you back. You can review your efforts by looking at things like your online metrics, asking your customers for feedback, reviewing your sales data and so on.
Make sure that the things you measure, you do. And allocate some regular time quarterly, half yearly or annually to review your marketing successes against your marketing plan, so you know where you need to adjust.
Beside probably leaving you with a growling stomach, we hope you now have a clear idea of how to implement a marketing plan for your business.
Need a little help structuring your marketing plan for success?
Get in touch with our team today for a free 15min chat about your marketing approach.
*Pizza not included 😜