What is a marketing plan and why should I have one?

Posted by Tiger Marketing on 26 November 2020

Marketing Plan

We are sometimes asked by people… “What is a marketing plan and why should my business have one?” This is a very sensible question as marketing requires investment and ‘buy-in’ so it’s essential you and the rest of your team understand the benefits to the business. After all you want to make sure your marketing budget is being spent in the most productive and cost-effective way possible.

What is a marketing plan?

At top level, a marketing plan is a tool that pulls together the marketing strategy for your business, your products and your services – it’s an integrated plan that will ultimately help you stand out from the crowd, tell people you exist and increase sales, revenue and growth.

It’s a document that will keep you on track with your marketing strategies, goals and objectives but also within your budget. It covers everything about your business and how you will market it; from information about your target market (who your audience is and what they want) to the tools and channels that you are going to use to reach your target market.

Why is a marketing plan Important?

Once you have built your plan and created a strategy, it will lay out the foundations of where you need to go to build a successful business. It provides the link between strategic direction of the business and how you are going to deliver the results. By having a marketing plan, it helps you plan for the year ahead… or 2 years, or 5 years or even 10 years ahead and ensures you keep your focus on your end ‘marketing goal’ whilst progressing forward.

Marketing planning is not always easy and may take practice to get it right. Expect some trial and error before you reach the right people in the right way, but by constantly reviewing and analysing the impact that your marketing activities are having, it won’t be long before you start seeing positive results.

Here are our 6 key reasons why a marketing plan is so important:

  1. Your plan will help you to achieve your overall business goals and objectives.
  2. It will help your business successfully grow in terms of sales, size and revenue.
  3. It formalises ideas and concepts that you may have been thinking about for a while.
  4. It keeps you focused on your marketing activity, ensures consistency and stops you from losing sight of the end goal.
  5. A marketing plan will help you to establish tasks within your team and manage resources and timelines effectively.
  6. Marketing plans help you stick to your budget and source financing if required.

Types of marketing plans

The scope of your marketing plan will depend on whether you are looking at your business overall or focusing on specific marketing channels such as social media marketing, content marketing or search engine optimisation (SEO) for example.

Here are just a few marketing plan examples:

Annual marketing plans (or quarterly):

An all-important document that helps you set your marketing goals for the next 12 months. It will guide your team, the direction of your marketing, goals and growth.

Digital marketing plan:

This marketing plan will look at everything digital including SEO, web analytics, web positioning, email marketing, digital advertising, marketing automation plus all their goals and metrics. As you learn more about your customers online preferences and digital footprint you’ll be able to adjust your plan accordingly to improve your results.

Social media marketing plan:

This plan will help you and your team decide what social platforms to be on, what content to post and when and how best to achieve your objectives on this channel. With social platforms constantly evolving it’s a good idea to check in on a regular basis make sure you’re still producing the most relevant social content on the right platform for your audience.

Content marketing plan:

This plan will show you what marketing content you need to create as well as how you will distribute it and who will manage the process within your team. It should include details such as key topic areas to focus on, who you will share the content with plus when and how you’ll share it and the specific calls to action.

SEO marketing plan:

An SEO plan will ensure you tackle the right things in the right order to drive more traffic to your website. Your plan should document every tactic, asset, execution and analysis of your website, plus it’s content and reach.

How to write a marketing plan

Be prepared to spend a lot of time, hard work and research when writing your marketing plan. You’ll need to think through the important steps and make sure your plan is built to succeed but most importantly is achievable based on the budget and resources available to you.

What you need to include when writing your plan:

  • Business overview – assess where your business is currently
  • Confirm who your customers are – customer personas are perfect for this.
  • Research and analyse your competitors
  • Set marketing goals and targets
  • Decide your marketing budget and how it will be allocated
  • Outline marketing tactics, channels and resources that are available to you
  • Set up measurements and KPI’s to track and report success

It’s important to remember the long-term gain when writing a marketing plan. By going through the planning process, engaging in valuable research and asking yourself important and sometimes difficult questions about your business it will provide invaluable new insight and direction for your business.

We hope that this guide helps you to understand the importance of having a plan within your business to help it thrive, no matter where you are in your business lifecycle. It’s no coincidence that the most successful companies nail their marketing by effectively implementing a marketing plan.

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