A strategic marketing action plan is vital to business success. From content creation to social media engagement, SEO to SEM, inbound marketing and online presence to traditional outbound campaigns – your marketing action plan should bring it all together.
So you’ve got a great business - you’ve done all the research, developed your mission and value proposition and got all of your team together to discover your ‘why’. Now the big one – how to take your unique business message to market? This is one question that every business hopes to answer quickly and without investing heavily, but unfortunately only a few succeed.
First, to shed some light on this subject, Larry Huston of Procter & Gamble stated back in the 80s:
“A true measure of a positioning is its simplicity. When presenting the concept to the consumer, we must provide a clean, easily defensible, clearly articulated, emotionally satisfying, thoroughly convincing, superior answer to the deceptively simple question: ‘Why should I purchase from you?’.”
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well in the 80s when outbound advertising was the main focus of marketing it probably was. Nowadays we have multiple channels of communication, smarter and more savvy consumers, detailed analytical data on buyer performance and a market that is cluttered with everyone saying pretty much the same thing. So creating an effective marketing plan is a lot more complex than you might assume. In this article we will on how to create one, while also making sure that your efforts generate maximum ROI.
If you have completed the first few steps of structuring your business in the right manner, you’ll already know the ‘persona’ of your ideal customer, the problem you’ll solve for them and most importantly, why they should buy from you. Now the next stage is to effectively communicate your proposition to prospective customers. This is the time when you need to formulate a focused marketing strategy that is aligned with the core objectives and goals of your business.
So let’s look at four steps to take when building an effective marketing action plan…
Step 1: Starting at the end
Your marketing action plan should be prospect-focused, content driven, measurable and – in this new world of inbound marketing – automated. After all, what is the point of setting-up an effective marketing strategy to see it only perform once? The focus, therefore should be to create great content that your customers want to see, delivered through a systemised process that drives analytics - and then set it all on ‘auto pilot’. So start your Marketing Action Plan at the end – who is the customer that will be receiving your content and how do you want them to act when they receive it? Once you have this workflow in place you can use automated marketing software like HubSpot to deliver your message while you focus on other critical aspects of your business.
Step 2: Selecting your channels
Business marketing has undergone a radical transformation since the concept was introduced by the Italian economist, Giancarlo Pallavicini back in the late 50s. The emergence of digital mediums has somewhat obscured traditional marketing channels and methods, meaning an ideal marketing plan now needs to leverage from the best of both worlds. So carefully examine and select the right marketing channels that best connect you with the maximum number of potential customers at the minimum possible cost. Although there are various marketing channels for all types of businesses, broadly speaking they are segregated into two categories:
Legacy or traditional media
- Broadcast media like radio and television
- Print media
- Flyers and posters
- Participation at industry events like expos
Digital or new media
- Social media
- Search engine marketing
- Search engine optimisation
Step 3: Content Creation: Broadcasting the Right Message
The content you use to deliver your brand message is the key in your marketing campaign and therefore should be carefully planned and co-ordinated.
Make sure that your content is more about your ‘customers’ and their ‘needs’ than about you, what you are offering and what makes you the best in your market.
Now this doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore your brand essence and value proposition - both of these are instrumental in establishing customer trust. But you have to get the mix right.
One rule of thumb is to have twice as much content that identifies to the needs of the customer to that of your brand values.
Step 4: Measuring ROI: Evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace it has become essential for businesses to accurately measure the return of their marketing spend and then make the necessary adjustments in their approach to achieve maximum impact.
In order to get an accurate picture of the results drawn by your initiatives to optimise your marketing strategy, you need to separately measure the conversions achieved by all of your marketing channels. A close comparison of the results will help you to separate the channels that are working well for your business from the ones that aren’t as effective. In today’s digitally driven world there is no excuse for not knowing how your marketing is performing – there is no more guesswork, a campaign either delivers qualified leads or not.
So in conclusion, your marketing action plan needs to be a sensitive blend of tailored approaches, all sharing the common aim of delivering conversions – from visitors to qualified leads.
A specialist marketing agency with hands-on experience in supporting similar businesses to your own is a worthy investment in helping you design and then execute an effective marketing plan.
Ready to start? Download our free guide A Strategy for Success in Today’s New Market for a complete overview in defining your ideal customer, creating your unique selling proposition, and planning out a marketing overview of activities with measurable goals using the inbound methodology.