What to Include in Your Marketing Plan for 2017
With Q4 already underway, it is time to start looking ahead at the year 2017. You should allow yourself a couple of months to write the plan, even if it's only a few pages long. Developing the plan is the "heavy lifting" of marketing. While executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing's greatest challenge.
Business owners often rely solely on their intuition to make business decisions. While this informal knowledge is important in the decision-making process, it may not provide you with all the facts you need to achieve your marketing results. A marketing strategy will help you in defining business goals and develop activities to achieve them. Here are some areas to address in your 2017 marketing plan.
Evaluate Your Target Audience
Before you develop your marketing plan, you must first research the potential market for your product or service. Use the market research findings to back up statements in your marketing plan. There are numerous potential customers in most markets, but to succeed faster and better, a business must study the market and determine the characteristics of its best target customers. The target customer should be described in detail.
Choose specific demographics to target.
- Income level
- Education level
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background
Consider the psychographics of your target.
Conduct a Marketing Audit
After you’ve established customer insights, the next step is a comprehensive audit of the business. Most areas publish statistical data on businesses in the region. This can tell you the number of businesses in specific sectors, average numbers of employees, average earnings, average income per household and more. This valuable information highlights market values, market potential and opportunities. This enables you to understand where your business sits in its market sector and the market share available.
A highly used method of conducting a marketing audit is the SWOT analysis. The process of SWOT analysis evaluates your company's strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities and potential threats to provide competitive insight into the potential and critical issues that impact the overall success of the business. The primary goal of a SWOT analysis is to identify and assign all significant factors that could positively or negatively impact success to one of the four categories, providing an objective and in-depth look at your business.
Establish Objectives and Goals
The first step to any marketing strategy is to establish the objectives and goals that you hope to achieve. Having these objectives also allows you to quickly react when campaigns are not meeting your expectations. Without goals, you have no means of gauging success or proving your return on investment (ROI). If your marketing strategy is shown to support business goals, you’re more likely to get executive buy-in and investment.
You should also use the SMART framework when setting your goals. This means that each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Set a Budget
Decide on your budget. This can be month-to-month, quarterly, annually…whichever works for you. Throughout the execution of your marketing plan, keep an eye on the budget. If you go over, re-adjust the plan until you’ve hit your budget number (or at least very close to it). If you see results, monitor which strategies received the best response. If you don’t, go through these steps again and tweak until positive change occur.
Plan to Monitor Results
Creating a well-defined list of budgets, goals and action items, with appropriate personnel assigned to each item, can help make your marketing plan a reality. Think about how much you're willing to spend, the kind of outcomes you expect, and the necessary tasks to achieve those outcomes. Three key elements to help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts include:
- How you want to track your campaign
- The channels you want to track
- The metrics you want to measure
The metrics — the numerical data that allows you to see if you're reaching your goals — are the best ways to measure your return on investment, according to Cleverism. This can include website visits, lead conversion, click-through/bounce rates, social media effectiveness and referrals.
Don’t overlook the importance of your marketing plan. If done well, your marketing plan can easily become a rallying point for you and your employees; something to strive towards and succeed at. It can also be a way for you to focus if you ever find yourself uncertain about what to do next. Take the time to create a marketing plan that works.
About The Author
DIRECTOR OF INTERNET MARKETING
Tyler is the Internet Marketing Director at Farmore Marketing brings with him multiple years of internet marketing experience across a variety of industries. He loves to play golf, the UConn Huskies and travel to new places!