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Anatomy of a Successful Marketing Plan

Laneah

Every business needs a marketing plan to develop brand awareness within a target audience. A thorough marketing plan is comprised of an overall strategy and detailed steps for both publicizing and effectively communicating the campaign's message to the masses. To ensure your organization has a chance to compete for market share, follow the six key elements of a marketing plan outlined below.

1. Define Your Purpose

Why does your business exist? Use this simple question to develop a business plan, executive summary, mission statement, marketing strategy. The answer can even be useful in generating financial projections and unique, brand-positioning statements.

There are a variety of factors to consider when defining your niche or niches, such as pricing, quality and the skill level of personnel. Your marketing goals should be realistic and clearly defined so that everyone on your team understands where the company is headed.

2. Identify Your Target Market

Unless they are pitched convincingly to the right audience, your products or services will never generate revenue. "Anybody" is not a realistic target demographic. It's best to visualize a corner of the market you can dominate. If your brand has crossover appeal, divide your market into subgroups.

One useful way to visualize market segments is to create "personas" that represent specific personality or lifestyle types. Whether it's based on age, income, education or other factors, a successful campaign hinges on the ability to describe your target market clearly.

3. Develop Marketing Channels

Choosing and integrating the right marketing channels is essential to any marketing plan because they determine how people will find out about your brand. The types of media you use will be affected by budget and the experience of your personnel. If you cannot afford traditional media channels or have a niche b2b audience, gain traction and attention through inbound marketing strategies such as SEO, email marketing and social media engagement.

4. Craft Appealing Messages

Last century's marketing messages utilized a "one-size-fits-all" approach, but campaigns in the new millennium require a much more direct and niche-oriented strategy. Regardless of marketing channels, your message must be both target-specific and memorable.

Always remember to consider where your targeted persona's are in the marketing funnel. Your goal may not always be "buy now", particularly if you are dealing with a complex sales cycle or introducing your audience to a new product. Understanding this will greatly increase the likelyhood of converting more customers in the long run.

In a successful campaign, keywords have also become an indispensable tool and should be chosen carefully. When utilizing online marketing channels, maximize your campaign's reach by complying with search engine guidelines. Quality content will go to waste if it is not properly indexed.

5. Study Your Analytics

A successful business relies heavily on market research. Give your marketing team access to niche market data by utilizing marketing automation software. Analytics will help you determine the geography and frequency of web traffic and other types of electronic communication.

If your organization uses a brick and mortar model, online data is never going to be enough. Offering surveys at your location is a great way to get the public's feedback about your business. Increase your chance of success by learning everything you can about your market.

Another crucial part of market research is studying your competition. In what ways are your competitors' customers dissatisfied? What can your company do to address market concerns and attract new business?

6. Refine Your Campaigns

In the 21st-century marketing industry, inflexibility is unacceptable. Use every resource available to meaningfully adjust your marketing campaigns. It can take several months of experimentation before you see the positive results of your marketing efforts. Set marketing goals accordingly and celebrate milestones with your staff and customers.

Originally published January 20, 2016 at 5:54 AM

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