How to Build a Marketing Plan

Jul 26, 2023

It is so easy to skip the marketing plan and jump into tactics. I think a lot of us do this by accident. We are excited about our new product or service, so we jump onto Instagram and post a story about it. Let’s GOOOOOO!

But wait.

What is the marketing plan?

Building a marketing plan It’s less sexy than jumping in but we need a marketing plan that looks at the big picture, a strategy to stand out in the market place. Building a solid marketing plan takes time and effort, but it is essential if you want to grow your business.

Here are the crucial questions you need answered to build your marketing plan:

What product or service are we marketing?

We need to first define the product or service we are marketing. This sounds basic but it’s an important starting point that allows you to create effective messaging and better target your marketing efforts.

Dig past the obvious on this first question. It would be easy to say, we offer a gym membership. But perhaps you are opening a gym focused on providing busy individuals a comprehensive, full body workout in less than an hour. Your gym focuses on simplicity and is easy for anyone to be successful while following the program.

Or, perhaps your gym is full service with many features and amenities that cater to a wide variety of fitness levels.

These two services are not the same and the target customer, message, and tactics will be slightly different as you work through the marketing plan.

 

Who is our ideal customer?

I was once in a healthcare board room, and someone said “our customer is everyone!” Well…. Not exactly. It’s important to dig into your customer personas for each marketing plan and think deeply about who your customer really is for this product or service. In the healthcare example, obstetrics has a very different customer persona than cancer care or orthopedic surgery.

You want to think about general demographics as well as behaviors and preferences. Ideally, you’ll want to know which social media accounts they follow, locations they visit, and other social influences. Some of the basics can be determined with general research, like recognizing an older demographic is more likely to be on Facebook than Snapchat. I also use Sparktoro to dig into customer interests, online influencers, and informations sources.

 

What is the job to be done?

I am a huge fan of the “Jobs to be Done” theory because I think it does a brilliant job of articulating the purpose of our product or service.

We all have many jobs to be done in our lives. Some are little (pass the time while waiting in line); some are big (find a more fulfilling career). Some surface unpredictably (dress for an out-of-town business meeting after the airline lost my suitcase); some regularly (pack a healthful lunch for my daughter to take to school).

When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative.

Harvard Business Review, 2016

So, basically, what is the problem we are trying to solve? And how are we solving it with this product or service?

 

What messages will resonate with the target customer?

To answer this, we have to really dig into those customer personas. We also need to deeply understand what job needs to be done for this group.

What do they need?

How do we solve that?

Understanding the language and pain points of your target market will help you to create messaging that connects with them.

 

How will we reach our target customer?

What channels or tactics will best reach our target customer? What did we learn about our customer avatars related to about where they spend their time, who they follow, etc.?

Choose the channels that are most likely to reach these specific customers and create a campaign that will engage them. Some specific ideas include:

 

It can be easy to skip some steps in the rush to share your product or service with the world. But it’s important to slow down and focus on the marketing plan:

  • The right message
  • In the right place
  • To the right people
  • At the right time

 

If you’re interested in learning more about strategic marketing can help your business, reach out! We’d love to provide a free consultation!

 

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