Top 5 Tips to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

An effective marketing plan grows with your organization. People may come and go and approaches may change but a written, detailed plan keeps everyone on the same page. A problem for B2B businesses is when a marketing plan is written and left to gather dust. Insights from key parties are not taken into account during development and data is not collected nor a proper analysis completed to ascertain the results of various campaigns and the selected marketing mix. Learn what your organization can do to create a marketing plan that benefits the organization.

 

  1. Perform a SWOT Analysis.
    A SWOT analysis evaluates company strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. Information is taken from an analysis of the competition. Look at what they are doing well and where they may be falling short of the mark. Performing a SWOT analysis will help the organization identify areas where they can offer more than competitors, tailor their message to the niche market and have a firm grasp of what they are up against. Get a few free SWOT templates to start off your thought process.
  2. Identify Action List Tasks.
    It is a priority to identify what you need to do and when it needs to happen. An action list keeps team members on track during their daily activities towards larger objectives. Break down the larger goals to smaller sequential quantifiable tasks to be completed. Include the due date for each action item.
  3. Establish Benchmarks and a System of Measurement.
    Expectations need to be concrete and measurable. Otherwise, how do you know what works? Your marketing strategy is informed by the larger marketing plan. It should entail monthly reviews, sales forecasts, financial tracking and non-monetary metrics, and expense budgets. Standardize your system for tracking. In addition, tasks should be matched to people to establish real accountability.
  4. Create a Marketing Plan and Check In.
    An effective marketing plan is designed for the upcoming year and should be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Review the results of completed campaigns and stay on track. With the hype of social media and inbound marketing, it becomes too easy to lose sight of objectives and create plenty of content without adequate measurement. Stay on track with the vision and goals of your stated plan.
  5. Update Your Marketing Plan.
    Entrepreneur recommends keeping your plan physically handy in a three-ring binder. Keep a tab for the monthly reports. Change the responsible parties for milestones when needed. Your plan should always stay relevant to the needs of the organization. This written document serves as a ballast during organization change and outside pressures.

To get an idea of how a marketing plan should look within your industry, review concise free marketing plan examples. Your marketing plan’s detailed information should be kept private but do onboard the entire organization. With a broad brushstroke outline the marketing plan and invite contributions from your employees. David Packard said, “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” This is why key decision-makers throughout the organization must come together to create an effective marketing plan. A water-tight plan takes your organization further than the whims of a few.

Sources:
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/43018
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220148
http://sbinformation.about.com/od/marketplansample/ss/small-business-marketing-plan.htm#step11

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