Uncomplicated Marketing Plan: What do you need to know?

When we talk about a marketing plan, there are many terms that get confused. In a brief research on the subject, you may become even more lost with so much cross-information and end up never leaving the place.

That’s why this post starts with a Disclaimer section.

Plan or planning?

Planning is a process, a plan is a document. This is the first clarification we can make. A series of tools and strategies are part of this process.

Buyer persona, target audience, brand territory, brand persona, environment analysis, market positioning, all of this is part of the Marketing Planning process.

The plan is a document. A map that tells you where you are and shows you the path to get to your goal.

Marketing plan and communication plan

Promoting your business is fundamental, but it is not the only variable that makes up marketing, which can also deal with product, distribution channels, and price. If you are a service provider, your marketing plan can be focused on people or processes.

Therefore, if you are an advertising agency, you are probably producing a communication plan that will fit into your client’s marketing plan.

But if you are a company, be careful not to just address the promotion part of your marketing plan.

Business plan

Depending on the size of your company, you may be handling multiple planning processes. This is because each department has its own plan.

Financial, HR, accounting, legal. Each of these sectors will make its own planning based on the company’s common objective.

This is where the Business Plan comes in, which serves as a guide for the company as a whole. This plan derives from the business’s strategic planning process.

It’s no different with marketing. It is essential that your plan is aligned with your company’s strategic planning and business plan.

Step-by-step Marketing Plan

Let’s go to what matters. After all, I know you came to this post looking for a step-by-step guide. If possible, a template where you just change some information and that’s it.

It’s become a cliché, but I have to repeat: there is no recipe for cake. Each business is a different universe.

As we have already seen, the size of the company influences the planning process. Startups, for example, very rarely create a marketing plan at the beginning. It is faster and more advantageous for them to create an MVP (Minimum Valuable Product) and validate the hypotheses in the market itself.

There are those who just make a Business Model Canvas and, believe me, there is even planning done in Lego. But we made an effort to put together a step-by-step guide that can suit most businesses. So, shall we go?

1. Diagnosis

The first step is to understand where you are. Evaluate audience, market share and your position in relation to competitors. At this time, information collected in your planning process will help.

If you have a history, use it. Understanding what your cost per lead was, how much you invested in media, what your conversion rate was, all of this will be fundamental to setting your objectives and goals.

Some matrices can help you understand where you are. This is the case of SWOT, or SWOT, which allows you to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities and threats in the market.

You can also use the Marketing Mix (the famous 4 PS of Marketing) to help you understand your current scenario. They help you understand which variable to focus on and fuel your creativity to define strategies.

2. Objectives and targets

Define what the destination of your map will be. Your Marketing objectives must be derived from the company’s strategic planning.

It seems simple, but a good objective is not just an intention like “increase revenue”. After all, the marketing plan is operational. You need tactics, strategies, and metrics. See some examples:

Wrong objective: increase lead generation.

Right objective: increase lead generation by 30%, using organic media to reduce CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) by 50% and increase conversion rates by 30% in the next 6 months.

Realize that your objective is a proposition, which generates tasks, which has people responsible, which can be measured and corrected over the stipulated time.

3. Strategy

There are several ways to the same destination. We’ve previously identified the beginning and ending points; now we need to plot the path we’ll take.

Can I improve my product? Can I expand or optimize my audience? Can I improve my pricing strategy? Am I attacking the right squares? What channels can I use (and optimize) to reach my audience?

These are all valid questions when determining your strategies and help you define the possible actions that will be present in your marketing plan.

4. Budget

Predict the financial costs that your actions will require. But also consider investment in media, technology, human resources and everything else.

Will you need to hire people, invest in equipment and infrastructure? What actions have you planned that will require extra resources? Take all of this into consideration when setting your budget.

Knowing the objectives you want to achieve, defining the actions you will develop and having your company’s cost history at hand, this task becomes easier.

Let’s assume you have a subscription-based fruit and vegetable delivery business (that was the first thing that came to my mind) and your goal is to double the number of subscribers in one year.

Baker’s bill alert!

Last year you invested R$50,000 in paid media, generated 100,000 leads through them and gained 1,500 customers. If your goal is to double the number of customers, a quick answer could be: let’s double the investment in media.

But have you ever stopped to think about the conversion rate of these leads? If you generated 100,000 leads and acquired 1,500 customers, your conversion rate was 1.5%. If you achieved 3% conversion, perhaps you would reach your goal with the same investment, right?

Of course, not everything is so black and white. I wish calculations were as rounded as that in real life. But these “baker’s bills” will give you a great idea of ​​how much you need to invest and what goals you need to achieve to reach your final destination.

Scrutinize your data on each channel, each action, measure everything possible and in the end give your budget a safety margin in case your cost per lead increases or you have other unforeseen events.

5. Schedule

When distributing actions on the calendar, take into account important dates for your business, such as Black Friday, Mother’s Day, Christmas and think about how much this will demand of your resources.

If you set your annual budget to be R$60,000, for example, it might seem reasonable to distribute R$5,000 each month, right? Maybe not. If you sell air conditioners, for example, you will probably prioritize the summer months.

So, pay attention to the seasonality of your business and special dates. Distribute each action on your calendar, defining those responsible and resources that will be applied.

Remember that this part of the marketing plan will be constantly consulted, so the more organized, visible and clear the information is distributed, the better.

6. Analysis

The only certainty in planning is that it will change along the way. So, pay attention to the metrics to adjust what is not working and reinforce what is working.

Ideally, you should choose the metrics that will define the success of your plan before you even put it into practice.

Periodically monitoring the progress of your marketing plan allows you not only to correct the course, but to prioritize the actions and measures that are working to optimize your final result.

Have weekly or fortnightly meetings with your staff to evaluate indicators and engage your team in pursuing goals and objectives.

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