Introduction: Why A Plan?
If there’s one thing that unites all marketing managers, it’s that we all want to have a plan. However, many of us aren’t sure where to start, which leads to the creation of half-baked plans that never get executed. There’s also the issue of continually changing goals and objectives. To combat this, we need to lay down a solid foundation before we start seeing results. That’s why we’re going to lay out a plan for a strategic marketing and email marketing plan. We’ll do this by defining key terms and principles, and by establishing a process for creating the plan. By doing this, you’ll be able to get a head start on your marketing plan, and to start seeing results faster than you would have otherwise.
Define Your Key Terms
One of the first things to do in order to get started is to define your key terms. This is especially important if you’re using marketing terms that aren’t common parlance. For example, when talking about social media, you might say “brand awareness,” instead of “market awareness.”
These are the words that your employees, customers, and even your competition might use to describe your brand or business. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it. So it’s important to nail down the definitions of these terms so that you can begin using them correctly.
Create An Outline Of The Plan
After you’ve defined your key terms, it’s time to craft an outline of the plan. This is simply an informal list of the steps that you’ll take to implement the strategy that you’ve developed. In order to craft an effective plan, you’ll need to look at all of the aspects of your marketing strategy, and you might end up with a very detailed outline. That’s why it’s important to collect as much information as possible before you start writing. The more you know, the more you can include in your plan. You can also refer back to this list as you progress through the process of developing your plan, and you’ll have something to return to when you run into unexpected roadblocks.
The Marketing Mix
The first part of our plan deals with the marketing mix, which we’ll define as the methods that you’ll use to achieve your marketing objectives. As noted above, the term “marketing” might lead you to believe that all you need to do is throw money at a campaign and wait for results to appear. While that might work for some businesses, it’s not an effective strategy for a high-growth business like yours. What you need to do is develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that will bring you the best results you can obtain. To make this a bit easier, we’re going to define some key marketing terms that you might not be familiar with:
- Branding: This is your business’ overall identity, the sum of its design, packaging, and communications. When thinking about branding, you might want to consider how your business is perceived by consumers at large. That is, your business’ brand is the sum of everything about your business that a consumer might perceive or understand. This could include your company’s mission statement, values, and vision. When a business has a clear and easily communicated brand, the customer has the ability to associate certain qualities with that brand. For example, if I asked you to think of a fast-food company, you would probably think of McDonald’s or KFC. Now, ask yourself: Does McDonald’s make delicious food that is both nutritious and serves a needed social purpose? Does KFC help animals and the planet? If so, you might have stumbled on a brand with a clear message and an easily understood identity.
- Positioning: This is the way that your business presents itself in the mind of the consumer. For example, a luxury goods company might position itself as the best in its field, or the most stylish company. The goal is to present your business in a way that makes the customer think of your business when they think about your product or service.
- Promotion: This is how you get the word out about your business; the methods that you’ll use to get the attention of customers. Your focus here might be on traditional and social media, email marketing, or even radio advertisements. The key is to choose the method that you think will work best for getting the message across.
- Product: This is the goods or services that you’re selling to generate revenue. For example, if you’re a lawn mower company, you might have a garden tool product line that you’ve developed. Alternatively, if you’re a clothing retailer, you might have jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies that you sell to generate revenue.
- Selling: This refers to the process of getting someone to buy your product or service. This could include things like lead generation, customer acquisition, and customer retention. You’ll have to decide how you’ll go about attracting potential customers to your business.
Once you’ve defined your marketing objectives, you can begin to think about the channels through which you’ll pursue them. When developing a plan for your marketing strategy, it’s important to choose these channels wisely and with forethought. This is especially important if you’re using social media channels, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, because you might end up with many options to choose from, and it’s easy for your plan to get cluttered. You should also consider how you’ll measure the results of your different channels; for example, will you track how many leads you generated through email marketing, or how many sales you made through your social media channels?
In the next part of our plan, we’ll discuss how you’ll execute your strategy. As a business manager, you might be used to making decisions on a daily basis; in fact, your job might be dictated by something as basic as the budget that you’ve been given. However, when it comes to marketing decisions, you should feel as though you’ve got some control over what’s going on, even if it’s just a small amount. This is why we’re going to start by laying out some guidelines for the process; we want to create a level of consistency that will allow you to get the most out of your marketing strategy.