6 Steps To Marketing Plan Success picture

You’ve got the greatest product or service in the world and have decided to set up a business to sell it to the masses - but where to start? In a world saturated with advertising - both good and bad - how will you stand out from the crowd? The best place to begin is to create a bullet-proof marketing plan to keep you on track.

Step 1: Create Your Vision

To create a successful marketing plan, first define the vision for your brand. This vision is a guiding statement for your business, and shouldn’t revolve around making money. It should, however, be easily understood by everyone involved in your business. What are you offering? What will your product or service do for the people who buy it? To help identify your vision, ask yourself where you want to be in 12 months’ time - be optimistic, but realistic! To illustrate, IKEA’s vision statement is: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

Step 2: Define Your Audience

With your vision in place, the next step is to define your audience. Most businesses don’t sell a product or service that suits everyone. It may be that you have one niche market, or several narrow niche markets for different products. Even brand giants like Coca-cola develop discrete marketing strategies for different niches.

One of the best ways to define your audience is by drawing up buyer personas. These are profiles of your ideal customers, people who are naturally likely to buy your products or service and help you reach your vision. Think about their age, gender, income, lifestyle choices and online and offline behaviour. Give your persona a name and make sure everyone in your business understands what makes that person tick, and their buying motivations. Focusing your efforts on a limited number of personas will help you get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.

Step 3: Focus Your Efforts

Marketing opportunities are endless so once you’ve identified your market(s), make sure you focus your efforts, and budget, on delivering your vision to media frequented by your audience. You can run ads online and offline utilising print, tv, radio and, of course, the internet. You might use influencers, a social media campaign or even sponsor a local team. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s targeted to the people who most want to know about what you’re offering. When you plan your channels, make sure that you consider and allocate budget in line with where you expect to see the best results. Think about what your buyer personas are currently paying attention to, any trends you can ride, and where your customers are based.

Step 4: Don’t Sell. Engage.

The best way to sell your products isn’t necessarily by using a pushy sales strategy. Creating helpful and insightful content that connects with people on an emotional level is the best way to generate awareness for your brand and build trust between you and your customer. Creating content can be time-consuming, but play to your strengths and consider how a single piece of content can be used in different ways across several marketing channels. Use all the tools available to you - there’s no need to splash out on expensive video-editing software if a quick Instagram video can do the job. Some businesses require visually-led content strategies, with stunning photos and video, while others rely more heavily on blogs and articles.

Step 5: Add Extra Value Through Great Customer Service

Fact: people like to be appreciated. And when people feel appreciated, they love to tell their friends and family about their experience. Whether it’s in a digital or physical format, the strongest form of marketing is still word of mouth - people trust people! And, if you add extra value or provide great customer service, it’s guaranteed to get people talking - for the right reasons. Make sure your buying and follow-up processes are as easy as possible for your customers. Be proactive: ask for feedback and reviews - and make your customers feel that their opinion matters.

Step 6: Evaluate & Revise Your Marketing Plan

Sometimes you have a great plan and what you need to do for the rest of year is all worked out. That doesn’t mean you’ve finished! Marketing plans should be fluid. They should be adaptable, and responsive to events or variables that are outwith your control. If you’re new to the world of marketing, or you’re introducing a new concept to acquire customers, don’t panic if there isn’t an immediate reaction - it may take a few weeks, or even months, to get it right.

Constant evaluation and revision of your marketing plan is essential throughout the year to ensure you’re communicating with your target audience effectively. Creating a monthly report on your marketing statistics can reveal trends, helping you and your staff understand what is and isn’t working. For more insights, read our blog on best marketing report practices.

What’s next?

So, you’re ready to rock! Following these six steps will set you off on the right track for the year ahead. If you find yourself juggling, don’t worry. We’re well aware that marketing is time-consuming - and that’s where we come in! Dynam helps businesses of all shapes and sizes to tackle their marketing strategies and achieve great results. If you're interested in hearing more about how to develop your marketing then you can reach us online or by email at hello@dynam.co.uk.