How to Build a Marketing Plan

July 16th, 2013 No Comments

This post was first published on Gaia-VSM, a strategic marketing consultancy for Israeli start-ups.

When running any business, whether a startup or an enterprise business, don’t just start with random marketing activities. You won’t know where you are going. Instead, you need to build an integrated marketing plan.

After building a marketing and messaging strategy, you want to map your marketing activities with your business goals.

Don’t decide you want to be on Twitter or in the media or build a website without a plan.

Your marketing plan should integrate with your entire marketing activities. What does that mean?

According to one definition: “True IMC is the development of marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (paid advertising, public relations, promotion, owned assets, and social media) that are selected and then executed to suit the particular goals of the brand.” Don’t just think tactics but rather think of all of your marketing channels and how they can work together to meet your business goals.

Do that with a marketing plan.

In order to build a marketing plan, follow these steps:

  1. Determine your business goals: $200,000 in sales per month? 800 sales leads per month? 500 product downloads? 50 blog reviews? 50,000 website visitors?

    Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound

  2. Decide on the time period. You should build an annual or semi-annual plan, as well as in a monthly plan. While your plan should be flexible, taking into account change, it provides a good framework to make sure that you do not miss any important opportunities.

    In an annual or semi-annual plan, you may want to include:

    1. Holidays
    2. Conferences
    3. Industry events
    4. Industry trends
    5. Company events
    6. Maintenance events (website redesign, media lists created, set ups, etc.)
  3. Determine the marketing channels that you are working with. For example:
    1. Website
    2. Print
    3. Media and bloggers
    4. Industry analysts
    5. Social Media (such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stack Overflow, etc.)
    6. Community
    7. User Groups
    8. Conferences
    9. E-mail Newsletter and Announcements
    10. Internal Communications, such as other divisions within the company
    11. Sales Collateral
    12. Product
  4. It’s often helpful to create a theme for the time period. For example, a December plan may be End of Year.
  5. Start creating the plan. In the columns, write the time-frame. In the rows, write the MARCOM channels. For example, a monthly marketing plan may look like:
Monthly Marketing Plan for Reach Startup Co. Goals: $200,000 sales/month, 800 sales leads, 30,000 unique website visitors

Theme: Summer Learning

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Strategy Finalize conference messaging & positioning
Speaking Opportunities Presentation Finished & Practiced Speak at Briforum Email Briforum speech to leads
Public Relations Set up meetings with journalists & analysts Announce that Product Manager is speaking press release and media pitch

Publish bylined article about the challenges of IT in the cloud era in eWeek

Meet with at least 15 journalist & 3 analysts Follow up with reporters post-conference
Social Media 15 tweetable and quotable comments for conference Promote conference & articles

#ITChallenges campaign

Live Tweet conference, offer giveaway to registrants

Pre-confernence Google+ Hangout

Post video recording on YouTube

Comment on blogs of conference attendees

Web/SEO Keyword research for conference Create conference landing page Post conference recording
Sales Collateral Brief sales team about conference Ship brochures, rollups, and display to conference Tradeshow booth at Briforum (staffed by James and Michael) Post-event email to leads
  1. Implement – Start implementing the programs
  2. Evaluate – Evaluate progress

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