Before you build your Marketing Plan, it is often helpful to conduct a strategic Marketing brainstorming session. In this session, everything gets thrown on the table (even the kitchen sink and in some cases the bathroom toilet). All too often, people jump right into their Marketing Plan without really knowing what they want to accomplish with it.
Here are some things you should consider in your strategic Marketing planning:
Step 1: Focus and Discipline Your Communications by Developing an Annual Marketing Plan
Through the development and execution of an organized marketing plan, a company can accomplish the following:
- Brand Building—an organized effort to build awareness and affinity for the company brand among current and potential customers
- Retention of the Base—reduce attrition rates through proactive communication
- New Customer Acquisitions—attract new customers through the successful communication of the company value proposition
In addition to identifying the exact Marketing actions that will be taken during the length of the Marketing Plan, it will also include the timing in which all actions are to be taken.
Step 2: Identify Prospective customers and Prioritize Their “Capture” Through Market Analysis and Targeting
- Profitable Customer Identification—conduct a full review of current and former customers to identify patterns that help determine success with a specific market target.
- Market Targeting—Once the attributes of profitable customers have been identified, a company can then determine which types of potential customers they would like to target
- Market Sizing—the first step in the market sizing analysis is to evaluate the overall potential for the company—given the tough economic times, it is good to revisit what the actual potential of new customer group is currently (i.e., in the short term). Once the overall market is determined, the company would then look to determine pockets of potential (overall and among the identified targets) throughout the target area.
Step 3: Demand Attention With Cutting-Edge Message and Creative Development
- Create Maximum Stopping Power – aim messages toward thought-provoking issues surrounding prospect concerns and needs
- Message Targeting—each prospect target group will be unique and thus requires messaging that is specific to its needs and wants. To be successful with each of the market targets, compelling messages need to be crafted that address the specific pain points for the target.
- Communication Media Strategy—Similar to messaging, the selection and possibly a blend of optimal media for communication is critical to success.
- Creative Development—Message delivery should be consistent with the company brand, so that the creative itself rounds out prospects’ belief in the value proposition.
Step 4: Marketing Plan Execution
The final step in the Marketing Strategy Planning is to execute an Integrated Marketing Campaign Strategy—the elements of the strategy may include, but are not limited to:
- Direct Marketing—mailings (letters), faxes, and e-mails
- Social Media—maximizing a company’s visibility through Social Media sites such as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter
- Network Marketing—personal contact (i.e. phone calls), presentations to associations and a presence at local business meetings
- Internet Marketing—increasing a company’s presence on the internet through a SEO (search engine optimization) of the the company’s website and blogging and keeping in consistent contact with current and potential customers through systematic lead management
- Affiliate Marketing—to the extent it makes sense, continue to build the value of the company services through discount programs offered to partner associations
Brainstorming is a critical component of building an effective marketing plan. Don’t cheat yourself and your company without spending the time to brainstorm.