Marketing Planning Without a Formal Marketing Plan

Marketing Planning from a Marketing DirectorA new year brings new opportunities … both in life and in business. For many marketers, a new year, new quarter or new month is a time to start with a fresh approach to building brand awareness, creating new campaigns, and generating leads and sales.

Good planning is essential to creating successful marketing programs, but most small to midsize enterprises operate from a marketing budget – without a formal marketing plan.

If you’re not ready to tackle a full-blown traditional marketing plan, challenge yourself by creating a quick plan – a summary of your goals and activities throughout the year – to keep your team aligned.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
— Winston Churchill

A Framework for Your Marketing Planning

Start with a Purpose

Before deciding to funnel more hours into social media, or pay-per-click, or content marketing, determine where you’re going this year. What is your high-level goal? Do you want to tie it to new sales? Total revenue? Brand awareness? Leads generated? Market share?

Inspire your team with a concrete goal.

Define Your Strategies

How do you plan on achieving your goal? Describe your methods here. For example, if you’re focused on increasing your online sales by 50%, your strategies for achieving that goal might be as follows:

Create an Inbound Marketing Program: Create a content marketing program to generate new leads and nurture our existing relationships

Engage the Market: Engage in conversations in social media with members in our industry – partners, suppliers, analysts and potential customers

Be More Visible in Search: Improve our website optimization to rank higher in Google; focus on new social measurements, and Panda and Penguin algorithm updates

Market to Existing Customers: Add a customer service module to the website, to improve service and promote upsell and cross-sell opportunities

List the Tactics

Tactics are the activities that make or break your strategies. Review your strategies, and decide on the tactics for each. For example:

Create an Inbound Marketing Program: Create a content marketing program to generate new leads and nurture our existing relationships

  • Publish regular content in our blog – 3 articles per week
  • Repurpose it into slide decks and videos and share on social media sites
  • Integrate the content into our marketing automation platform

Engage the Market: Engage in conversations in social media with members in our industry – partners, suppliers, analysts and potential customers

  • Dedicate 20 hours per week to creating and continuing conversations
    • Interact with our Facebook pages and Twitter followers
    • Participate in discussions in LinkedIn groups
    • Post questions and provide answers in Quora

Be More Visible in Search: Improve our website optimization to rank higher in Google; focus on new social measurements, and Panda and Penguin algorithm updates

  • Install Yoast SEO plugin to analyze and improve page performance
  • Narrow optimization for specific keywords, instead of groups of keywords
  • Add graphics and new alt text tags
  • Link to relevant industry authority sites
  • Use SEOmoz or Compete to monitor keyword performance

Market to Existing Customers: Add a customer service module to the website, to improve service and promote upsell and cross-sell opportunities

  • Evaluate Zendesk and Uservoice
  • Add content to service module
  • Whenever possible, include references to other products and services that support or enhance the current solution being discussed
  • Create a one-week launch blitz to build awareness for the service module

Create Your Campaign Calendar

Next, list your activities by month. Take it a step further and break down activities by week, and assign them to members of your team.

Allocate Your Budget

You probably already have a budget, right? Tie your budget elements to the tactics in your monthly calendar.

Measure Tactical Results

Continually monitor the results from your tactics each week and month. Are they working? Are you moving toward your goals?

Update Plan as Needed

Not everything will go according to plan, and new opportunities will arise, so update your plan when needed. To keep your team focused, energized and on the same page:

  • Keep your strategy visible throughout your organization
  • Use the Goals > Strategies > Tactics framework
  • Ensure all campaigns, creative and messaging meet brand standards
  • Plan details of tactical execution
  • Continually communicate with your team

By following this type of marketing plan, you should expect more consistent results from your activities, as well as a continual improvement in your marketing planning abilities.

MARKETING PLANNING TEMPLATES / MARKETING PLANS / PROJECT MANAGEMENT

EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR MARKETING PROJECT

Learn More