These are the steps for creating a proper marketing plan:
- Step 1 – Situation Analysis
- Step 2 – Objectives & Issues
- Step 3 – Target Market analysis
- Step 4 – Marketing Strategy
- Step 5 – Marketing Programs
- Step 6 – Financial Plans
- Step 7 – Measurement & Controls
- Step 8 – Executive Summary
Step 2 – Objectives & Issues. In this next step you will be setting objectives for the marketing function and identifying issues that are already apparent or may become apparent as obstacles to achieving the objectives. Objectives will come from the higher level business mission, strategy and goals. Business objectives may center on growth, maintenance or profitability. Each of these drive different marketing objectives.
For example, growth could drive marketing objectives like; increase market share, promote a diversified offering to multiple target markets, or develop more products. Whereas increasing profitability may drive marketing objectives such as increasing efficiency of marketing activities and improving ROI of marketing tactics. It’s important to tap the senior managers who agreed to participate in the marketing planning process at this point to ensure the marketing plan is aligned with the business objectives.
As with any proper objective, the marketing objectives must be specific, measurable and have a deadline. The objectives should be realistic and the marketing team must believe the objectives can be achieved. Ideally, there should be an incentive plan in place to encourage individuals to strive to reach the objectives. Some examples of specific objectives:
- Grow the number of customers by 25% by the end of 2013.
- Increase revenue from existing customers by 30% in 2 years.
- Reach break-even by end of fiscal year.
- Participate in 3 community events during the next 12 months.
- Ensure average ROI on marketing activities of at least 75%.
- Contribute 25% to the sales funnel each quarter.
One important objective that should be in every marketing plan, but is often overlooked, is in support of communication to internal stakeholders. It’s very important that all internal stakeholders are aware of the critical strategic and tactical marketing plans. The Marketing Team should be promoting things like the positioning statement, value proposition, messaging, marketing objectives, tactics, activities, results and other issues. Internal marketing helps align the entire revenue team around the objectives which results in a very powerful execution of the plan.
The last part of this section is to identify problems or issues. If there are issues that may prevent achieving the objectives or activities that must occur to ensure the successful execution of the plan, they should be identified. For example, if achieving ROI of 75% is an objective, an issue may be it will be necessary to purchase a marketing automation platform to measure and report ROI results.
Next up; Step 3 – Target Market Analysis