Marketing is the set of strategies and tactics by which potential customers know about a business, and know enough about it to consider purchasing the product or service. A marketing plan is one critical component of any strong business plan. Planning marketing activities does not have to be complicated. One page can create focus and efficiency, and enough data to make better decisions next year.
This process presumes clarity about the business and the target customer.
On This Page
The one page format requires a three row by three column grid. The three columns are Strategies, Tactics and Measures. The three rows are Objective 1, Objective 2 and Objective 3. Put the BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) for the year at the top of the page, and make it a measurable goal. Remember, measurable doesn’t necessarily mean numbers- getting on the front page of Fast Company is just as measurable as achieving a huge sales goal.
The Power of Focus
The one page marketing plan format allows for only three major objectives or areas of effort and focus. It’s critical, particularly with limited resources and in times of economic uncertainty, to focus investments of time and money where they have some chance of generating a return rather than spreading a little money across a wide range of activities.
The one page plan requires that the list of wishes is culled such that there is focus on the big ones. The titles of the rows are the top three objectives that will be pursued to achieve the big goal. If the BHAG is a big sales goal, the objectives might be “steal market share from Competitor A, expand sales in new customer group and build awareness amongst influential media.”
Strategies are the general descriptions of the approach that will be taken to achieve an objective. Let’s say the objective is to cross a river, for example. Three possible strategies for crossing it might be 1) build a bridge, 2) swim, or 3) row a boat across. These are very general descriptions that allow visualization of achieving the desired outcome. So in the previous example for the big sales goal, a strategy for getting known amongst influential media might be to discover and create a presence for the business on the research sites and blogs that they use for reference.
Tactics are the very specific actions that will be taken to achieve the objectives or by employing the tips from the best web design company. Following the sales example, for the strategy of getting known amonsgst influential media, the tactics might specifiy the names of the appropriate blogs and the method that will be used to reach them (write an article, send a product sample).
Measure the Results
At the end of the year, and ideally at a couple of check points throughout the year, the results must be examined. Did the expected number of calls come in? Was there any media coverage, and if so how much and where? Be rigorous in the analysis, and be sure to reflect what the results are telling saying both about the activities, but also about the goals that were set. That weekly column written in the community newspaper may not have generated a hundred sales leads, but it did get the keynote address at the local board of trade which resulted in a big contract.
Plan for Next Year
Before making any commitments to marketing activities next year, take a look at what worked and what didn’t this year. What lived up to expectations and what didn’t? What exceeded the anticipated results? Be sure that reinvestment occurs in tried and true tactics before throwing good money after bad.
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