7 Expert’s Advice On Vital Pieces of a Marketing Plan
Every business needs a plan. Even if it’s a one pager. Without a plan, the truth is, we plan to fail. Unfortunately, many businesses think their product will sell itself and while they may have a good product, it’s important that they have a strategy to sell and market their product or service to the public. Without a comprehensive marketing plan, the business will eventually plateau. We have put together some of the best marketing minds we know to weigh in on what they think are the most vital pieces to include in your marketing plan.
“Every business marketing plan needs to include a comprehensive approach. In the beginning, the focus should not just be on one particular channel, but on a broad strategy to gain the most exposure for your product or service. A business should also not only be thinking about creating a great product or service, but also about developing a long term brand experience that will keep its products or services top of mind for its target audience.” – Rusty Wimberly, Creative Direction and Owner, Severity Design
“SWOTT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat and Trends) is a powerful technique for understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses, and for looking at the Opportunities and Threats you face. Used in a business context, it helps you carve a sustainable niche in your market. What makes SWOTT particularly powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you are well placed to take advantage of. And by understanding the weaknesses of your business, you can manage and eliminate threats that would otherwise catch you unaware.” – Kim Gilmore, President, Gilmore Marketing Concepts, Inc.
“The most important key components of the marketing plan are to define the audience, key messages and the right vehicles. I also believe that every marketing plan must incorporate the 5 types of marketing as we define them: foundational, executional, time-bound, innovative and cause marketing.” – Jackie Camacho, CEO, JJR Marketing, Inc.
“A pro is going to dish out the foundational, tried-and-true elements of a marketing plan, such as knowing your audience and properly funding your ideas, but what is often left out, and what I think is equally a vital element to a marketing plan is planning for the unknown. How can one plan for something unknown? Simple: when budgeting time and cash for the marketing plan, set aside a cache for opportunities, ideas, and moments that will present themselves during the plan. Budget for surprises!” – Dan Crask, Creative Director and CEO of Brand Shepherd
“All marketing plans should be based on the companies ability to have operational integrity with what is used in marketing. When you make a claim in your marketing, it is imperative that your operations can support your assertions. To fall short operationally is the same as having a marketing plan that does not work.” – Brian Smith, Senior Managing Partner, IA Business Advisors
“Because your marketing plan needs to incorporate every aspect of outreach to your audience and ways to increase brand visibility, you must include a section specific to managing your social media platforms. Social media is it’s own unique aspect of your marketing plan because your audience has very different expectations of you in that space. They want constant value from you and they want relationships that are far more intimate than the experience they have when viewing your billboard or visiting your website. As a small business owner, you can’t successfully manage your social media without a strategy in place to provide valuable and engaging content that builds relationships, increases visibility and further builds your brand.” – Bobbi Baehne, President, Think Big Go Local
“Inbound, web-based marketing typically provides the greatest roi for a small business with a modest budget. (Inbound= the customer comes to you.) Some practical tips:
Small business can get started by increasing their search-ability:
a) Place a video on the home page.
b) Add landing pages that include a video on them.
c) SEO & SEM: Key Words, and Google Ad Words are a good place to begin increasing search rankings.”
The next step is to make it easy for those who found the business to become customers.
a) Add call to action button(s) on the first page customers see, for example ‘Call Now’ ‘Shop’ ‘Chat’ ‘Make a Reservation’ ‘Speak to a Representative’ ‘Place an Order’
b) Fully develop social media platforms utilizing click-through features so customers can easily get to the website where they will see the call to action button(s) on the first page.
c) Most searches are done on a mobile device, so make sure the website is easy to read and navigate on a variety of mobile devices.
Heidi Brelsford, Marketing Strategist, Advanced Data Analyst
There isn’t just one way to create a marketing plan and these strategies only scratch the surface. Each business needs to study their target market and understand who they are servicing and deliver. Only then will they be able to put together the power packed punch that will make an impact in their market place and see the results they are looking for.