“A goal without a plan is just a wish”.
This is a quote many of us will have heard of, and one I totally agree with. It is a concept and a philosophy I abide me and advocate my clients do so too. In this guest blog, I will talk about marketing planning, why have a strategy and the benefits, when to have a plan and where does your website and SEO come into play in this whole marketing planning mix.
Why do you need a marketing strategy and plan?
The strategy piece is your foundations of the business eg your target audience, your messaging and what you want to achieve. Once you know who and what, you need to look at the how: e.g. the marketing channels to use, including online and digital such as websites and SEO. Then the strategy needs to convert into a plan of when and by whom.
In my opinion, a lot of growth is down to planning and down to knowing these basics. Marketing shouldn’t be seen as a tick box exercise, and it is important to know your business why and to know the purpose of your marketing. Time and attention need to be given by you the business owner to your overall business and its marketing and as such, a plan is the way forward.
Some of the benefits of a plan include:
- Being more organised
- Being logical
- Building the foundations
- Saving time, money and resources
- Making informed decisions
What is included in a marketing strategy and plan?
There are 7 stages to a comprehensive strategy and plan document, or a roadmap if you will. These are:
Objective Setting – setting goals and knowing your why (including competitor analysis, keyword review, market research, website review, social media profiles review and SMART goal setting)
Defining the messaging – the wording used to attract your audience and understand your niche/USP
Pinpointing a strategy – this is the blue sky thinking by us before the doing
Refining the target audience – your ideal client avatar, plus your prospects, leads and then your customers
Developing the tactics – what marketing channels to use plus collaborations
Implementing the plan – this section is split into 3 phases along with outline budgets. Phase 1, the foundations. Phase 2, the one-off campaign and 90-day marketing activity. And phase 3, a 30-day mini marketing plan
Measuring and evaluation – knowing the results then the ROI
What is the general marketing planning process?
An agency like myself or you current provider, should/will work with you the client by brainstorming where the business is now and where it wants to go, what you/the business is doing and not doing and what marketing is being done already and what isn’t. They/we will also ask questions and seek out answers and the current state on play on areas like competition, USP, messaging, trends, markets, target audiences, lead sources, budgets, resources available and more. These findings are then collated, analysed and turned into a bespoke marketing strategy and a plan to implement.
Where does a plan fall into the overall marketing journey?
Is there such a thing as a right time? Not really, but a good time or situation to create and write a strategy and plan are at the beginning/start-up of a business or when the business has grown or is planning change eg post pandemic or when a new service is being launched, or when the business owner, you, realises things are ok but they could be better. The reason for these times being optimal is before decisions are made and at the start of things to enable the groundwork to be laid out, the foundations set and things to be well thought through before taking action.
Where does your online marketing presence fit it?
Looking at your online presence or your digital marketing fill fit into the last stage of the strategy which is the tactics and the first stage of the plan which is the implementation.
The strategy paints the picture of your audience, their needs, your goals and the messaging which is vital to know before building a site and to also use in keywords and SEO. And for your CTA’s (calls to action) on the pages too.
The review of the website and its performance is part of the groundwork/initial phase of the marketing, and/or so is the setting up and launching of a site if you don’t have one already. And the maintenance of and the posting to/updating of the site via regular blog posts and content is part of the ongoing/30-day marketing plan. Without a website and online presence, it is very hard to prove your existence, prove your credibility and to generate awareness for your brand and your business.
“Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone.” – KB Marketing Agency
Who a plan is for AND who a plan is not for
A plan IS NOT for you if you don’t mind making poor decisions and if you have time and money to waste. This isn’t many of us by the way! A plan may also not be for you if you haven’t got the time or resource to implement it nor have the budget to outsource the implementation.
A plan IS for you and your business if you want stop wasting time and money on the wrong marketing. And a plan is for you is to avoid overspending, wasting time and making poor decisions and if you want the desired outcomes and ROI.
What else do you need to know about marketing planning
Without a plan it will be harder, longer, more expensive, and stressful to grow your business, it is that simple.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” –Lawrence J. Peter
About Nicole Martin
Nicole is a marketing strategy and planning specialist supporting businesses with all aspects of marketing including lead generation, sales, implementation, measuring, consistency, and hands-on support to help her clients achieve more consistency and less overwhelm.