There is an old saying from Winston Churchill, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” One of the biggest mistakes of marketers is trying to operate without a clear-cut plan. You can use the very best project marketing tools and still struggle to make progress without a solid marketing project plan in place.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan forces you to outline your goals, steps, and measurement tactics for any project. Rather than assume your team is on the same page, you should always outline a specific plan to drive success.
A marketing plan isn’t the same thing as a marketing strategy. Strategy is more high-level and included in the planning process. The marketing plan breaks down your strategies and goals with actionable tasks and outlines a schedule.
10 Easy Steps to Create a Marketing Plan
The more specific you get with the goals, budget, tasks, and tracking of your plan, the more you can see whether your plan is achieving what you want. Here are ten steps to help you create a marketing plan.
Understand Your Audience
If you don’t understand the people you want to attract to your business, then you will have a hard time addressing their pain points and concerns. Look at your existing customer base and establish profiles based on top customer groups.
If you don’t know basic information—like how they found your company or what drew them to your products—then now is the time to do some legwork and find out.
Research the Competition
What is your competition offering? What are they not doing? Knowing where you fit in the market will help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t go into your marketing plan without a clear understanding of what’s already out there.
Researching the competition can give you ideas on what’s working, what isn’t, and what audiences may be up for grabs. If you can find the right positioning in the market, you may not have to fight for your spot.
Consider Your Strategies
Part of your marketing plan includes understanding where you plan to go in the future. You need to define your company strategies so that your plan aligns with your goals for the future.
Strategies to consider during this stage should include your brand positioning, your mission statement, your value proposition, and the challenges you need to address.
Set Defined Project Goals
Break things down into smaller, actionable projects that clearly align with the strategies outlined in the previous step. Establish objectives and key results (OKRs) that support your overarching goals with smaller, bite-sized goals.
For example, if you want to start targeting a neglected part of the market, your initial project goals may include campaigns that address this part of the crowd with some A/B testing to see what is most appealing to them. Each project goal in your marketing plan should take a step toward achieving high-level business strategies.
Determine Your Budget
Everyone wants to trim the budget. You might be tempted to go in with an “as little as possible” attitude toward spending, but this can hamstring your plan.
Know what you can afford and how much you are willing to invest into your plans each month. Measure return on investment (ROI) and change up your plans if you don’t see a solid return. Your budget should include what you will spend on employee hours, tools, paid ads, content, design, etc.
Create a Resource Plan
What can you handle in-house, and what do you need to outsource? Your team may not be experienced or skilled in certain areas. It’s important to take stock of what you can own as a company.
You can change your resources by hiring new employees with skill sets your current team doesn’t have. You could also help existing employees upskill with new training. However, you need to know what tools, people, facilities, materials, and budget are available to support your marketing plan as it stands right now.
Clarify Employee Responsibilities
You don’t want to overload your team. Know what your team is busy doing before you ask them to support your plan. With an employee time tracker in place, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how employees spend their time. You can use time tracking software insights to choose which projects should be taken off their plates to make room for the tasks you want them to focus on.
Make sure employees are very clear on which responsibilities are theirs and which aren’t. Not only do you want your team to be efficient in how you divide and conquer, but you also want to make sure employees can manage what they have on their plate.
Build an Organized Schedule
Once you identify who you want to put on various tasks, it’s time to establish a planned timeline. Use your Time Tracker to build out schedules that show how many hours you expect employees to spend on various tasks. Include deadlines you plan to meet to hit certain project milestones. Don’t leave projects open-ended or you’ll never reach a point of assessment and reevaluation.
Clarifying how many hours are expected to be spent on a project and setting a deadline will help get your employees on the same page. If someone doesn’t think you are giving them enough time, they should feel free to speak up and discuss their concerns. This can also help you catch projects you might have forgotten when planning out responsibility breakdowns.
Establish Communication Lines
Determine how employees will discuss project completion, challenges, and needs as they work. It’s important to make sure conversations happen on specific channels to avoid missed messages. Poor communication and documentation could spell unnecessary failure for your projects.
Monitor Progress and Assess Outcomes
Finally, use your key performance indicators (KPIs) to see if you are meeting your project goals and succeeding in your marketing plan. As you monitor progress, track employee time to see if your team accomplishes tasks as quickly as you’d budgeted in your plan.
Time Tracker by eBillity can help you prioritize employee time and measure outcomes for your marketing plan. Get a 14-day free trial today.