5-Steps To Effective Marketing Planning
In this post I want to introduce the concept of marketing planning. This topic usually requires a little time to cover which could be spread across several weeks of this blog, however, I have found a solution. Today I want to introduce you to my 5-step marketing plan, the 5As of marketing planning. You won’t find this information anywhere else as I have crafted this framework exclusively for you. This framework condenses the more in-depth marketing planning process but will still be of great value to you. Let’s take a look at the 5-step process:
1. Define Your AUDIENCE
Defining your audience can be a struggle especially if you’re in the early stages of starting your business which is why most businesses start-out trying to reach everyone. My advice is to resist the urge to adopt a broad view of your target audience, rather do an outline of your ideal customer(s). What I often use is a concept call personas—which are fictional representations of your ideal customers. When you create your persona, try to think about your products and services through the eyes of your ideal customer(s). This will definitely improve the way you plan your marketing tactics and approaches in a way that will be the most appealing to your audience.
The key is to move away from viewing things through the company’s eyes, to seeing things through the eyes of your audience.
To achieve this, ask yourself these 10 questions about your audience:
- Who are they?
- What are their ages?
- What is their gender?
- What is their income bracket?
- What is their education level?
- What is their profession?
- What is their typical day like?
- What are their likes and interests?
- What are their goals, aspirations, and ambitions?
- What platforms do they frequently visit?
2. Think About Your APPROACH
Now that you’ve thought about who you want to target, you will then need to ascertain just how you will approach them. Whenever you are trying to reach a new person or organisation, you first need to consider the best avenue to reach them. Truth is, we sometimes miss this step when we are thinking about marketing. Ask yourself what’s best:
- Are you leaning towards a more direct approach e.g. email, or one-to-one meetings?
- Or a broader approach e.g. events and advertising?
The key is to use the approach that is most effective. Don’t discount simple and straight forward ideas, Often we get extremely technical with marketing when a simple phone call and email may achieve the same or better results.
3. Determine Specific Tactics and ACTIVITIES
Activities in this sense are the various methods you’ll use to promote your business. You will need to decide what set of activities and tactics you will employ to meet your customer’s needs. Perhaps you will use webinars to reach people, or maybe you find social media more favorable. Whether its video conferencing, face-to-face meetings, phone calls, direct mail, speaking engagements or print media, choose the best three and get your message out. The fact is that we don’t have enough time to use all these medium effectively, thus, focus on 1-3 channels initially and then work your way up as resource grows and your customer base expands.
Make sure the marketing methods you use are a good fit with the people that you want to reach
4. Determine a specific Plan of ACTION
Quite often, we have a comprehensive plan and sometimes we even have it laid out in our minds. However, on a day-to-day basis how does this plan translate to activities? Exactly what actions will you take and when? This doesn’t necessarily need to be very in-depth. You may want to use your calendar, a spreadsheet, a word document or software application. The key is ensuring that you are informed of what must be done at specific times. I use the Google app on my phone as a means of scheduling my daily activities which will then help me to carry out my overall plan of action. My advice is to constantly think about how your daily activities contribute to your overall plan of action.
You can have the most innovative idea in the world but without actions, they will amount to naught.
5. Assess Your ACHIEVEMENTS
Now that you’ve done the hard part, you have selected your target audience, decided on a set of activities and actually executed your plan of action. So what comes next? You may be asking yourself; do I really need to assess my plan of action? Do I really need to monitor my success? The answer is yes, you do need to assess your achievements.
However, you must first decide what success means to you.
For instance, you may have over 10,000 social media followers, still, this may not amount to anything of substance if you are not engaging them and converting them to customers. So gaining 2000 additional follower on Facebook cannot be classified as a success if we then do little or nothing with them. My advice is to clearly state what metrics will be used to quantify achievements and constantly monitor them whether monthly or quarterly.
Download your free 5-step marketing plan template here