5 things to remember before constructing a marketing plan
- Plan by revenue stream rather than by business
Since 2003, we have written and executed marketing plans for businesses in many sectors all over the world. I can’t remember a single occasion where we have actually promoted a business as a whole – most businesses have multiple revenue streams, which are frequently targeted toward different markets or buyers.
This is why we always plan our marketing strategies and campaigns around revenue streams. A typical example is our work for a client of ours that sells machines in the manufacturing industry. While they do have a product to sell to new users, they also have a maintenance program and training packages that can be sold to existing clients. We treat these as different revenue streams, and as such we tailor the content of campaigns and take slightly different approaches in their delivery.
Once you are involved in executing your plan, you are able to assign more or less emphasis onto each revenue stream depending on the results gained.
- Use a mix of quick win and slower burning activities
The implementation of any marketing plan will always involve some kind of investment before you can hope to gain any return. With every single plan that we create, we always ensure that our clients enjoy some quick wins in the first month or two. These can include direct marketing activities such as telemarketing, email marketing, and direct mail. Social media has also fallen into this category recently, with the advancement of how businesses use social media (please see our social media blog piece http://tinyurl.com/pua62aj ). A telemarketing campaign could potentially bring you enquiries on day one of the marketing plan, and therefore give you an instant return on investment.
Medium burners generally include activities such as press releases and events. It can take a few months to organise, plan and execute these activities before any leads are cultivated from them.
Slower burners are items such as organic search engine optimisation (SEO). This is nothing to do with anything other than Google’s algorithm. Google works incredibly slowly in terms of moving a site’s ranking – typically from 6 months onwards you should start to see positive results which will climb as time goes by, as long as there is an effective SEO strategy in place.
The final items are not really business winning activities, but they are great credibility builders. These include case study videos, written case studies, infographics, and building your website content with information such as testimonials. All of these help build the credibility of your offering.
- Don’t try to do everything at once!
A common mistake that we see businesses make is to try and have myriad activities occur in a very short space of time. This is very common with entrepreneurs who want to maximise their potential almost in an instant. For this type of business owner, everything is important all at the same time and therefore their plans may be heavily loaded, resulting in many items failing to be delivered on time or with any real purpose.
With our marketing plans we ensure that we hit your main objectives first – these may be either an objective linked to your business plan or an activity intended to bring you in a quicker return on investment. Our plans are geared to create a campaign funnel with quite a lot of activity and collateral built into the front end of the revenue stream, followed up by a maintenance programme of distributing messages throughout the year. For example, with revenue stream 1, we would create several marketing items while enhancing current collateral (such as websites etc) and then start to deliver campaigns to their target market through different media. Once we start delivering the collateral to market for revenue stream 1, we replicate the process for revenue stream 2, so that on the plan you see a staggered strategic approach to marketing delivery and execution.
This is a fairly famous but simple business theory relating to anything you do in business, which holds true for marketing activities. When you have built a campaign – let’s say that it’s a three-pronged email, telemarketing and press campaign – you would plan the campaign message and delivery, then execute (do) the campaigns, and the final and most important step is to review its success by using the wonderfully detailed statistics available to us in modern marketing activities.
As the graphic above represents, the whole thing is a continuum; so once you finish planning, executing and reviewing, you start from the top and repeat the whole process. This gives you the ability to see what went right (and wrong) with your recent campaigns and improve them going forward.
- Don’t leave the plan behind
Many businesses get all excited when they have something new to look at, and creating a marketing plan for the first time is no different! As with most things in life, the excitement can generally wane after the honeymoon period and people tend to slip back into their old ways.
The plans that we execute for our clients are intended to deliver everything within the month represented on the plan, the following two months are also accounted for, so we are working a quarter at a time. This keeps us focused on the immediate and upcoming deliverables without becoming waylaid with other business activities.
This is often easier said than done as marketing can be seen as a fairly low priority in several businesses – often due to the lack of in-house skills – but please remember this is what we’ve done for a living, day in day out since 2003! Why not give us the opportunity to show you what we can do and join the list of businesses that GMA has helped to grow.
Contact us at email@example.com or on 01773 525200.