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How to Start Your Marketing Plan – Part 2: The “Dreaded Marketing Objectives”
What is your goal?

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Great! So, here we are. We have done our initial homework and really have wrapped ourselves in our customers skin (well, not literally, that would be very creepy and take away some of the people we could sell our “Cool Thing” to). We have a great understanding of who our customers are and what they are really in need of. We may have done interviews and even come up with some very detailed personas. (See Part 1: Know your audience!)

Now, I’m going to skip defining our branding and unique value proposition, as I’m going to pretend we already have those little bits of business goodness already completed. They each deserve a post of their own anyway, so let’s just move….

on to our business and marketing objectives!

Now (and this can be done while you are still working on your customer research) we get to do the fun stuff! We get to map out the goals and outcomes we are looking to accomplish and create a timeline as to when we expect to meet them. Let’s not forget that we need to create the right KPIs (Key Point Indicators for our newer marketing friends) that will allow us to really track if we are on the right path and able to hit those targets.

What does that mean?

For example, if we want to sell 1000 “Cool Things” a month to start, we might consider “conversions by channel” strong KPIs to watch. In turn we need to track what we are doing for marketing those channels. This way we can adjust what we are doing as we need to try to hit our goals. Are we lagging on getting affiliates signed up? Is our email list way too small? Is our SEM (Search Engine Marketing) budget too low for the keywords we are targeting? Are we using retargeting to our best advantage? (More to come on that, my friends, in a later post.)

We then need to plan out exactly what has to happen for each of the best marketing areas to get the fastest result as well as the long-term gains. Pre-build and automate as much as possible with the understanding that we will need to adjust accordingly based on market conditions, industry changes and testing results.

Now Get Busy!

After that, it’s a matter of doing the work – and it can be a lot of work depending on what you have put in that marketing plan! All the while tracking, analyzing, testing, tweaking and going back around again with our new knowledge to keep hitting and exceeding the goals we set for ourselves.

We get to set up our paid search, display, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, social marketing, email and whatever else we think we need. First do the things we think will work easiest and fastest with the lowest cost to enter the game. Then move on to the more complicated. All the while watching those KPIs and tweaking as you go. A great thing about the digital space is that it’s easy to make changes very quickly, so as soon as you see something not working, you can move on it.

Some basic steps to come up with the marketing plan.

  1. Define our target audience (using demographic and psychographic research, surveying and market research, personas, etc.)
  2. Define our brand
  3. Define our complete value proposition (usually taken from business plan)
  4. Define our business goals (usually taken from business plan)
  5. Define our marketing goals (ie: goals, desired outcomes, timeline)
  6. Define our marketing channels (online and offline and changeable based on target/persona demographic/psychographic differences)
  7. Decide on the highest marketing return opportunities and create strategies surrounding them
  8. Create an annual marketing calendar
  9. Build out and automate as much in advance as possible for each channel (with the understanding it will change as events unfold and technology and the business model evolves)
  10. Create a plan for ongoing requirements and steps to track and test each marketing area
  11. Adjust and tweak based on testing

Your marketing plan may need or call for more or fewer steps depending on a variety of things like budget, product or service and timeline, but you get the idea.

Just make sure when you are starting your marketing plan, you have your customer in mind and you are going in the right direction!

(See also:Part 1: Know your audience!)

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