A marketing plan can be a very simple document with key elements to keep your growth strategy in perspective. It is a very important tool for your organization, serving as a reference for all individuals working with the service or product.
Keep in mind that the content should be very dynamic. Updating the document when significant changes are made is key, incorporating important learning along the product or service development.
Here is a basic and effective template:
1.1 Trends/Key Changes in the macro environment: economic and social facts that affect your industry and audience.
1.2 Customer profile.
2. Strengths and Weaknesses of your company and top competitors.
3. External Threats and Opportunities for your company during the designated period of time.
II. Targets: revenue and volume for the time frame. Break it down by shorter periods, if your business involves seasonal variances, and by sales channel, online, offline, etc. That will allow you to track results closely. In addition to numeric targets, try to establish parameters to measure the effectiveness of your programs. Determine what to evaluate, and establish standards of performance. That will allow you to take periodic corrective action.
III. Key Objectives: list here the broad actions that will lead your company to reach your numeric targets. List a minimum of three but no more than six or seven key objectives for the period. Be aggressive but realistic.
As an example of a Key Objective, “Increase your online sales within the channel mix.”
IV. Strategies: now it is time to start planning how you will apply resources to implement and achieve those Objectives.
As an example of a Strategy related to the Key Objective above, “Increase unique visitors to your website.”
V. Tactics: list the programs that will turn your strategies action oriented.
As an example for the Strategy above, “Optimize the use of keyword search on top search engines.”
IV. Attachments: Add to this section your communications schedule, funds allocation chart, and any other charts that will help your team visualize and compare results.
When building your Marketing Plan, make sure you include your team members in the process, and pay close attention to what competitors are doing. Try to look at your brand, services, strategies and programs with the eyes of your audience.
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