The Quick Guide To Writing A Marketing Plan

  • Chris Butler

The Marketing Plan


Once you have done your research it’s time to get serious about what you want to achieve and how you plan on getting it. The classic saying goes; “if you fail to plan you can plan on failing” even though this is a historical statement it is still appropriate in today’s ever-changing environment.


In its most basic form, a marketing plan works alongside having established who your customers are, where they get information from and how you are going to reach them. It is crucial that you identify any issues within your business, be honest with what hasn’t worked in the past, and what internal issues you may have to clear up before you can seek advancements with your clientele and your marketing.


A good, solid foundation for a marketing plan comes from your initial research. You need to clearly establish who your competitors are and where you stand in the market. As well as defining what it is you are selling and who you are trying to sell to. Establishing this clear vision around the 4P’s is the core of your marketing plan – it allows you to take a step back and highlight areas of weakness or concern that could be improved for further marketing development. 


A value-added extra within a marketing plan, is that of establishing a clear brand persona through imagery, symbols, colours and a general ‘feel’ of what you would like to be portrayed as; generally, this ‘brand personality will reflect your key target market:


Branding. What is your business’s personality? How do you think you are portrayed in your customer's mind? What do you want them to feel and think when they see your logo or hear your advertisement? A customer-evoked response will strongly affect whether they purchase from you. Will they automatically trust your brand by recognition and trust and favour you over other competitors?
For your marketing plan it is important to analyse aspects of your fundamental branding, whether you are just starting out, or you’re rejuvenating your business: Examples may include:
  • What is in your logo?
  • Colours and themes used to cross into your other marketing material (websites and brochures)
  • Slogans and taglines
  • Instagram layouts and themes crossed over the entire platform – uniformity
Once you have a firm idea of your initial 4P’s and your brand identity, your marketing plan will evolve into something tangible; a timeline with clear objectives. The easiest way to set this out is through the 5 – 2 – 12 system:
5 – Distant future goals for 5 years
  • This is in less detail than that of the 12-month plan and is simply a long-term indication of where you think your business should have gotten to within that time.
2 – Looking ahead by 2 years: Where do you want to stand in the marketplace in 2 years’ time?
  •  These objectives will be in less detail than those in your annual plan, but allow you to continue to evolve coming up to the end of that first year and assess how well your first year has been compared to your longer-term goals.

 12 – Your detailed tasks over the next 12 months

  •  A good way to set up your initial short-term marketing objectives is through the use of a Gantt chart, or other visual calendars for a 12-month period. Being able to physically see when you should be doing something and aiming for a date, is a very effective and efficient way to manage your time and ‘mini marketing goals’
  • Through the short-term timeline, you should also establish a 12-week schedule to see what is needed and when visually. This is a good way to estimate your budgets as well and tie in with what you can realistically afford over a 4-month period.
Once your longer-term goals are set, you can now get into the nitty-gritty of your 12-month plan and establish your budget by analysing what mediums you are going to use. You will soon realise (if you haven’t already), that different types of marketing mediums will offer different results, for different values. Many of which may be out of your annual budget. Creating a sustainable budget will have a lot to do with your decisions and contains differing factors of your industry, market size, and business maturity:
  • For a start-up SME; how much do you have to spend on marketing vs. how much capital do you actually have access to? Start small and look into ‘free marketing’; such as PR, content marketing, social media and networking.
  • For an existing company; what have you been spending your money on? And how much of it is being wasted? Once again, look to your competitors here and analyse what their annual spend is utilising. Building up your database and communications can also be an inexpensive way to access a lot more potential and current customers that you are not meeting the needs of, and could be.
  • For a large business; you would be looking into what media to add to the above and the benefits of using them to captivate a larger audience.
One of the biggest things for a company to stress over is that it may all seem like too much. That’s why breaking everything down into 12 months and even further into 12-week plans, makes tasks seem more manageable. It also helps instead of looking at your annual budget as just that,  to break it into monthly budgets, and then allocate the funds as applicable.
You also need to establish what you consider success to be. What is the purpose of your marketing plan? Gain more customers? Increase awareness? Increase sales in a product line? Once you implement your marketing initiatives you need to have systems in place to measure the outcomes related to your goals.
Implementation is key. Once again, there is no point in putting together a marketing plan if you are not going to do anything about it, and there is really no surefire way to ensure your success without having a plan. Success and planning go hand in hand, and it is very rare that you have one without the other.
For more information on how to set up your own marketing plan, contact us at The Marketing Studio!

About Chris Butler

Chris is a Marketing Consultant and is based in Nelson, New Zealand. On moving back to his hometown of Nelson after a stint in Australia, Chris identified a service in the market place to assist business owners and managers with their marketing effort. He saw first-hand how many business owner/managers didn’t really have the time to plan or implement their promotional activity to its full potential, and although they knew their trade very well, were not experienced in marketing. The Marketing Studio was created to fill that need and has a comprehensive growing list of clients, who it continues to help, on an on-going basis. Chris and his team provide Marketing Strategy and Marketing Support Services and believe “Marketing is business development, it’s all about optimising opportunities to grow your business, through everything you say and do.”

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  • Pierce
  • 29 Oct 2020
  • 12:28 am

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  • 10 Feb 2021
  • 3:53 am

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