Making Marketing Plans Manageable by Going One Step at a Time
The concept of creating a marketing plan may seem like an insurmountable mountain for the unindoctrinated but truth is anyone can be a marketer. By understanding a simple five-step process for marketing plan development, novice marketers can generate results by climbing the mountain one step at a time.
Step 1: Organizational Overview
Not simply an org chart or company history, an Organizational Review is more than anything about establishing who you are and why you do what you do. This first step of planning is about defining your purpose and making sure that everything else that follows is done with conviction. Ultimately, this step will help you determine who you’re speaking to, who you’re competing against, and what kind of strategy you will prioritize.
Step 2: Market Research
Once you have defined who you are and why you exist, you will need to survey the market to determine what your customers want from you, who you’re competing against, and what opportunities or threats may be out there. Layering on top of your internal research, this external research will allow you to begin charting both potential routes to the top and pitfalls that can impede your success.
Step 3: Strategizing
In a previous post, we discussed how you can look beyond the Four Ps of Marketing as you expand your marketing strategy. However, the Four Ps still hold immense value in their ability to set the foundation for Marketing Strategy. The best way to understand this is to think of the Four Ps as the four levers a marketer can pull in order to change the direction of a company. You must decide which of these levers makes the most sense for any given marketing plan. Perhaps your product could benefit from new distribution channels? Maybe you can adapt a product’s features to appeal to an untapped audience? What if you have a solid product, at a strong price, with good placement, but you just need to drive awareness with promotion? Asking these kinds of questions will point you in the right strategic direction.
Step 4: Execution
Once you know who you are, what you’re up against, and what your course of action is, all you have left is to execute your plan. Effective execution will take organization and coordination in the form of skilled project management to ensure that all your previous effort pays off. This means efficiently creating your strategic elements, testing them to optimize their effectiveness, and launching them off. Perfecting your execution will take time but become much easier with enough reps.
Step 5: Analytics
Lastly, you must look at each marketing plan you launch as an opportunity to learn for the next one. Effective analysis involves tracking the right data and comparing it within the right context. This will allow you to determine exactly how you did at each level of the marketing plan and ideally even at each level of your chosen strategies. Taking key learnings from each plan will help you to work towards perfecting your marketing abilities.
Reaching the Summit
Ask any mountain climber how to reach the summit of a mountain and they’ll tell you, “One step at a time.” Just like climbing a mountain, anyone can create an effective marketing plan by taking it step by step.