Planning for 2023? Here’s how to create a great marketing strategy for your business.
Put simply, a marketing plan is a document that outlines how you propose to create awareness and demand for your company, products or services.
Planning is crucial when it comes to marketing – without a coherent strategy in place a business can drift from one quarter to the next, or one year to the next, with no clear focus on how it plans to achieve growth.
Typically, a marketing plan includes:
- A clear understanding of the wider business objectives for the coming period
- A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
- An overview of your marketing and advertising goals
- A detailed outline of each element that will form a part of your strategy
- A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
- A description of how you will measure the performance of the strategy
At first it can seem a daunting task, but by breaking it down into smaller steps and following this helpful guide, you will be able to create an effective marketing strategy to set your business up for great success in 2023.
1. Work Collaboratively – Don’t Be a Hero!
Don’t lock yourself away and try to come up with everything yourself. Setting aside the high workload for one person, a marketing strategy will be more effective if it draws input and input from different departments.
Pool your team’s knowledge and resources to make sure everyone is on the same page and everyone’s ideas are heard. Break down the plan into actionable steps and assign tasks or sections to different parties.
Make sure though that everybody is aligned with the overarching objectives – if you stray from these then the plan can become disjointed.
2. Research, Research, Research
“Without data you are just a guy with an opinion”. It might sound harsh, but it’s true.
And data doesn’t just mean numerical data. It means information too. What information could be used to underpin your marketing strategy?
- What has worked in the past?
- What are our competitors doing?
- What are the current market conditions impacting upon us?
- What do our existing customer feel about us? What can we learn from them to enable us to better sell and position the services that we offer?
Data and information can be gathered via primary research, i.e. asking the questions yourself, analysing competitor activity etc. Or via secondary research, i.e. purchasing a report or data set that a research company has compiled. Both approaches have pros and cons. Consider both and decide which is best for you.
3. Summarise Your Objectives
Start from the beginning. What does the business aim to achieve in the short to medium term? Is it growth via new customers? Entry to new markets? Launching a new product? Is it greater brand awareness or a repositioning to change existing perceptions?
Like all goals, these should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed; and should be set after you have identified problems and opportunities.
Understanding these and setting them out at the beginning will give you a “North Star” to guide all of your actions and activities.
Also, if you haven’t done so elsewhere, create a summary of your brand.
A clear understanding of your brand will strengthen your ability to differentiate your company from the competition.
Describe the following: Why & how did the company start? What need did it fill? What are its values?
4. Define Your Target Audience
Who is your target audience? This knowledge is critical. Develop an ICP (ideal customer profile) for each customer segment and ensure that your comms speak directly to the pain points experienced by each segment.
To develop your ICP you need to truly understand who you are talking to, what is important to them, what their wants and needs are, what challenges and pains are they facing, and how your company can relate to them.
If you have done your research from earlier, you should have a good understanding of the perceptions in the marketplace around your company. By speaking to your existing customers, you can gain valuable insights to enable you to refine and tweak your messaging and positioning, identify growth markets and sectors, highlight new product offerings and make marketing decisions easier.
5. Create Your Marketing Strategy
Very simply, the strategy is how you will achieve your objectives.
The strategy should include the audiences to be targeted, your desired positioning, how you plan to allocate internal resources, and any external resources you require.
6. List the Tactics and Implementation Steps
These are the detailed, actionable tasks to help you achieve your plan.
Tactics include the collateral and creative required, digital marketing channels, social media platforms, your website and other owned online platforms like apps, public relations activity, industry trade press, trade shows and conferences, email marketing, direct sales, and lead generation.
List, in detail, all the things that you will do in order to achieve your objectives.
7. Budget and Timeline
This is where the meat meets the grinder. “The best laid plans…” and all that.
Very often you can come to this stage, begin putting costs and timings against various activities, and realise you’ve either over or undershot based on budgets and time available. So you might need to go back and adjust your plan. And that’s fine – you will likely have multiple iterations before you settle on your final version.
Each tactic should have a detailed budget associated with it. And it should be plotted on a timeline alongside any dependencies or conditions. A Gantt chart is a good place to start when developing your timeline. Be sure to list and sub-tasks and responsibilities that are related to the primary tasks.
Be realistic but strict with yourself here – very often we see marketing plans sit on the shelf because a business overcommits themselves to a strategy they cannot resource – either in terms of time or finances.
The best strategic marketing plan is one that clearly identifies the objectives, strategies and tactics and includes the resources to get it done!
And that’s it. Now it’s up to you to put it into practice!
For more help or advice, or to have a chat about your own 2023 plans, get in touch with us today.
We love talking strategies!