Building an Effective Marketing Plan…Keep It Simple

As some of you may know, I am one of the board members for the Society of Insurance Research (SIR), a really great group of insurance professionals.  My specific role for the SIR is VP of Marketing, which means first and foremost putting together an effective marketing plan.   Today we had one of the first of what will be several meetings about the marketing plan that I developed, in conjunction with others, for the SIR.  The format of the marketing plan is very simple and straight forward.  And, I like it that way.  Before working for my current boss, who is a top-notch marketing professional, I would have put together an extremely detailed and lengthy marketing plan.  Now, I stick with the basics like we do for the marketing plan for my company. 

So how do you build an effective marketing plan?  You need to focus on OGSM, and no the first two letters don’t stand for Oh God.  It stands for Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures.  There are more elements that go into the marketing plan.  The OGSM is really the frame work for the overall strategy of your marketing plan.  Here is an example of what an OGSM could look like:

Objectives:  To become the preeminent networking and educational resource for insurance professionals.  ßthink of this as what I want to be when I grow up.

Goals: Through this marketing plan, we will increase membership by 10% over last year and increase the annual conference attendance by 10% over last year’s attendance record.   ßthis is where you want to be very specific as to what the marketing plan is going to help you achieve.  Try to be realistic in your numbers, but you should have some stretch included in your goal.

Targets:  Our marketing efforts will be targeted on insurance professionals in the following types of employment: company and agency and in the following industries: life, health, property and casualty.  ßwhile there is no “T” OGSM, this is also necessary component of the overall marketing plan strategy.  Without this piece, your plan could experience significant scope creep.

Strategies:  Our marketing plan with have three overall strategies 1) build awareness, 2) increase consideration, and 3) build retention and loyalty. ßyou would have to define what each of these elements means to your marketing plan and your company.

Measures:  To determine the success of this marketing plan, we will measure unaided awareness of our organization, the number of leads received through the marketing plan tactical elements and the number of PR mentions. ßthese measures are your measures and should align with the strategies you laid out for the plan. This is the most often neglected piece of the marketing plan.  Many people build the plan with no way of measuring the success of each component of the plan.  Yes, you can probably determine if you achieved your overall goal or not, but unless you put down on paper specifically how you are going to measure success, you won’t really know if you were successful or not. 

Once you have these elements down, you can then work on the tactics behind each overall strategy.

Remember, marketing plans are only as good as the effort you put into them.  You need to have an overall strategy, not just a bunch of tactical elements you plan to initiate.

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