There is a great saying many marketers use, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Without a plan, how do you know what you need to do, in priority order, to get there? In busy times, it is difficult to take a pause from everyday work to stop, breathe, focus, and plan. Instead, many rush down any road that looks promising at the moment. Unfortunately, these unplanned roads lead to mediocre results and higher costs – in time, money, stress, and frustration.
What if you took some time to truly define your business goals and an investment strategy to get there? Outlined below are the key steps TREW Marketing takes in the marketing planning process.
1. It all starts with business goals
We kick off the marketing planning process by first asking about your 1-3 year business goals. We then dive in to understand your products/services, key differentiators, target audience groups, target markets, and competitive landscape. This is the starting point for the marketing strategy we’ll lay out and defines how we’ll measure results. We also conduct a preliminary analysis of your website, content, and progress on SEO, which greatly informs later steps in the marketing planning process.
2. Develop a marketing strategy
During this stage, we define marketing goals, such penetrating a new market, growing leadership position in an existing market, or generating brand awareness among a specific audience. You may also have major foundational goals such as moving to an inbound marketing model, establishing a lead scoring model, or implementing marketing automation.
After the goals are set, we create marketing campaign plans to get us to those goals. A marketing campaign is an integrated set of activities coordinated closely to achieve a common goal. Campaigns are often centered on an industry, audience type, partnership, or major product/service initiative. We also discuss differentiators at the campaign level, which may lead to the development of core messages through TREW's messaging and brand positioning service.
3. Prioritize inbound and outbound marketing activities
Content is central to marketing campaigns. We identify key content needs, such as web landing pages, white papers, case studies, demos, infographics, and video to support the campaign objectives as well as content themes targeted to your buyer personas. We then identify and prioritize marketing activities designed to attract, engage, and convert your audiences through a variety of inbound and outbound channels. For each campaign, we identify targets and success measures to ensure that we are delivering on marketing and business goals.
Activities chosen should tie directly back to marketing goals along the funnel, from generating awareness at the top to supporting targeting sales efforts and strengthening loyalty at the bottom.
4. Turn Strategy into Action – the 12-Month Activity Plan
At this stage, campaign plans are mapped out in a budget-based, 12-month activity plan. This plan outlines specific activities by month, and is intended to be a living document. Often activity plans are modified on a quarterly basis based on new opportunities, changing business needs, and the outcome of activities. This is also the time to identify internal staff and external resources needed to execute the activity plan and measure results, and the responsibilities of each.
Let's get started -- together.
This collaborative, 4-step process leads to the smartest, fastest, and most cost-effective ways to achieve marketing and business goals, and reduces costly inefficiencies down the road. Ready to get started?
- Watch this Webinar for a detailed guide to marketing planning
- Contact TREW to get started
This post has been updated since it's original publication date of August 14, 2015.