The Key Elements of Your Marketing Plan
Marketing creates the opportunities for your brand to engage with your preferred audience and build trust.
In order to achieve a good level of engagement and trust for your brand, you need to align your marketing with your business objectives and follow the guidelines that you have set in your marketing plan.
When designing your plan, you might want to consider elements such as your branding, internal and external corporate communications, collaboration with support teams, the type of agencies you will utilise to achieve your goals and, most importantly, how your marketing team will work with your salesforce on your lead generation strategy.
To help you make your life a bit easier, here are the elements you can include in your marketing plan.
PEST stands for political, economic, socio-cultural and technological. You can start your plan by providing a general view of the environmental factors that are more relevant and might have the biggest impact on your brand and business.
You can consider, for example, the state of the economy in your markets of operations, the demographics of your customers and how these elements are changing.
In this part of your plan you can include the performance of your direct and indirect competitors, how their brands are positioned against yours, if there have been new products introduced to your markets and if there have been mergers and acquisitions that might pose a threat to your products or put your company at risk of a takeover.
This is where you focus on your own brand and assess the level of awareness you have achieved among your audiences, how your brand is perceived, what the reputation of your organisation is, the degree of loyalty towards your brand and how you are positioned in terms of credibility, relevance and uniqueness.
Products and Services
Once you have made a general assessment of your brand, you can move on to analyse your products and services and identify which ones have performed better and which ones you will focus on going forward. You might want to consider not only revenues generated, but also added value per transaction, capabilities to develop products and services and potential market opportunities.
Once you have identified the products and services you want to focus your marketing efforts on, you can then start thinking of your pricing strategy. Do you want to maintain, decrease or increase your prices? Factors that can influence your pricing strategy can be operational and production costs, a competitive price war, price differentiation among geographies and demographics, market supply and demand and distribution channels.
This is where you choose the channels you want to use to distribute your products and services. This element can also influence your pricing strategy as there are distribution costs associated to each channel.
There are many channels to choose from. You might want to distribute exclusively online, or you might want to combine online and offline distribution and still have the support of a salesforce. Many companies today use a combination of online and offline. They use online channels to start engaging their brand with potential customers and use offline distribution to help consumers test the product and make the final decision. The more expensive the product and service are, the more important the offline distribution channel is. Think, for example, of car sales or, in B2B, enterprise software.
Once your pricing and distribution are identified, the next element to consider is how you will promote your products and services across different media channels. You might want to consider all earned, paid and owned media. For a definition of earned, paid and owned media you can watch our video here.
These channels are important both to build credibility and trust for your brand - as in the case of owned and earned media – or get a boost for your leads in a short time – as in paid media. Add to the list public relations to gain publicity for your brands and products.
Whether you operate in B2B or B2C, writing a marketing plan can be quite challenging as it requires strong collaboration across different business functions, leadership, a good dose of stakeholder management and an analytical mind that can cohesively bring all elements together.
If you need advice on your marketing strategy and how to write your marketing plan get in touch today.