It Pays to Know Where You’re Going

Today, more than ever, a focused and measured strategic and tactical plan are needed to navigate the abyss of communication options out there today. About half of all companies have a formal marketing plan, according to a study by Sagefrog Marketing Group.

Among those that monitor their online results, those with a plan attain 10% more growth according to the State of the Small Business Owner study by E-myth in 2013. That study also revealed that a business that monitored their brand without a plan grew more slowly than the average company in the dataset. That kind of reactive approach to marketing without larger goals is like going on a major road trip without a map. You will be able to set out faster, and it may seem exciting, but it will cost you more time, money and headaches to get to your destination.

A measured marketing plan will get you there more efficiently. The study also revealed that the real magic happened for those that combined a plan with measuring the plan’s effectiveness, achieving up to 60% faster growth!

A Marketing Plan is Different Than A Business Plan
Your Marketing Plan will be a carefully laid out strategy you’ll use to attract and retain your customers. This is similar to your overall business strategy, but there is one key difference. Your marketing strategy is focused externally on your customers, while your business strategy is focused internally on the business itself.

Marketing Plan = Strategic Plan + Channel (or Tactical) Plan

Your Strategic Plan will define what you want to say, to whom, when and how. Three key elements include:

1. Strategic Plan

  • Target Market Definition includes the typical geography, demographics and psychographics defined for each market segment, but most important are the key consumer insights–the truths about your target that allow you to communicate on a more intimate level.
  • Positioning Strategy with a description of your plan for positioning your business and its products, your unique selling proposition and positioning statement.
  • Competitive Analysis that identifies your key competitors, their positioning, strengths and weaknesses, and your standing among them.
  • Sensory Package will detail what you want your prospects and customers to think, say and do when interacting with your brand.

2. Channel Plan
A channel plan outlines all of the marketing activities your business will carry out to attract and retain customers, the timing and how they will impact your target to create a unified consumer experience. It is tempting to try to find the one thing that will be the “silver bullet” that’s going to drive all of your leads and sales. Sorry, but that doesn’t exist. In an efficient marketplace, no individual technique provides a sustainable advantage.

Studies have proven that the effectiveness of cross-channel campaigns, especially those incorporating both digital and traditional channels is highest. Even those with a somewhat limited budget need to implement more than one tactic. It’s like hearing advice from your spouse and thinking, “yeah, o.k., one person’s opinion,” but then when one or more other people say the same thing, suddenly you’re really listening.

3. Measuring the Plan
Measuring the plan in combination with having the plan is the final step to most effectively impacting your marketing budget’s ROI. The biggest challenge is harnessing all of the information from multiple sources on a regular basis.

It’s ideal to dedicate a resource to do this for you to first look at all data available to you that is free, such as:  Google Analytics for data on traffic to your Web site, inbound calls, lead generation, sales and anecdotal reports from the field. If these measurements aren’t able to accurately assess your key performance indicators, commissioned awareness and attitude studies can also be implemented. Whatever measurements you use, make sure you have set goals and a regular reporting method for your progress that is shared with key stakeholders.

In 2016, have a plan, measure it and reap the rewards.

Need help getting started? Research experienced marketing companies online and hire one who can help you with your strategic and tactical planning.

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