Connect with us

How to Guides

How to Write Your Marketing Plan

The quickest way to create an effective marketing plan and seven ways to ensure its success.

Al Lautenslager

Published

on

How-to-Write-a-Marketing-Pl

There are literally volumes written about marketing planning. It boils down to developing your roadmap. What paths will you take, which turns will you make and, most important of all, where you are going? Unless you have an endpoint on your road map, how do you know which path to take? In the words of the immortal Yogi Berra:

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.”

A good plan conveys your company’s vision to target markets, customers and employees. As part of this vision, your plan should emphasise your company’s long-term goals and the path to get there. Stops along the journey, in the form of initiatives and actions, are key landmarks on the roadmap to executing the plan.

What you’ll need to write a marketing plan

To create a good marketing plan you need three basic things (besides the guerrilla marketing prerequisites of time, energy and imagination):

  1. You need lots of information.
  2. You need thinking time, analysis, ideas, creativity and imagination, all wrapped up into “brain power”.
  3. Finally, you need initiative: the ability to want to do something, and the ability to get it done.

Marketing plans range in form from the back of an envelope to bound editions. The guerrilla rule of thumb is to lean towards the brief side, but with enough meat that it can be used as a guiding tool along your marketing journey.

A good guide will provide plenty of information for you to develop the initiatives, actions, follow-up, accountability and measurement to run your business effectively, and in this case, your marketing.

[box style=”grey map rounded shadow”]

Now that you have your plan, here’s how to implement it

[/box]

Creating a marketing plan in 7 sentences

Here’s a simple process:

  • Sentence 1: What is the purpose of your marketing?
  • Sentence 2: Who is your target market?
  • Sentence 3: What is your niche?
  • Sentence 4: What are the benefits and competitive advantage?
  • Sentence 5: What is your identity?
  • Sentence 6: What tactics, strategies and weapons will you use to carry out your marketing?
  • Sentence 7: How much money will you spend on your marketing; what’s your marketing budget?

These sentences represent your marketing plan outline.

Nailing Your Strategy

“Build it and they will come” isn’t an effective marketing plan or strategy. A successful plan boils down to two essentials:

  1. Knowing your market inside and out, including what customers want and expect.
  2. Identifying what’s in your way of satisfying customers: e.g., competitors, barriers to entry, costs, outside influences, budgets and knowledge.

Armed with the knowledge of these two essentials, you can develop all the necessary marketing strategies that will allow you to attract, obtain and keep customers. In addition, you’ll also be ready to react to any marketplace changes when they happen. A good guerrilla marketing plan must be flexible enough to respond to changes. Markets change, customers change, and company intentions and activities change. Flexibility is an inherent characteristic of a guerrilla marketer. The outcome of this planning process won’t just be your total plan, but it will be your total planning perspective.

[box style=”grey map rounded shadow”]

Big Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets

[/box]

Time to Take Action

Here are some distinct actions you can take to ensure that you complete an effective marketing plan:

  1. When. What portion of each day will you devote to reviewing your plan and any necessary revising?
  2. Approach. Write a hypothetical outcome statement about the completion of your plan. For example: “After planning to increase leads and referrals for our sales staff to pursue and convert, many marketing weapons were employed. Utilising the guerrilla marketing resources of time, energy and imagination, we embarked on an aggressive PR campaign, issuing press releases for new services introduced, new information available demonstrating our expertise, and announcement of events for our target market to sample the service. This was backed up with “meet and greet” programmes at various networking events, ads in trade association directories, and telemarketing to trade show attendees. The leads generated were focused, open to our follow-up, and ripe for conversion. We ended up getting more leads than our sales force could follow up on so we implemented a telemarketing inside sales force. Conversion increased, sales increased, and we made more trips to the bank to make deposits.”
  3. Outline your plan. Start with seven planning components/sentences mentioned above. Take these seven sentences and develop plan sub-headings, supplemental information and new ideas.
  4. Secondary Research. What information (research) do you have now relative to your planning outline?
  5. Primary Research. What information (research) do you still need?
  6. Research Methods. What market research methods will you use to obtain that information?
  7. Goals. List and prioritise your marketing objectives, for example:
  • Product / service introduction
  • Position company, product or service as a market leader
  • Counter action to competitive strategy
  • Lead generation and referrals
  • Obtain market share in a new geographical area
  • Obtain market share in a new geographical area
  • Renew, refresh, communicate new identity

Al Lautenslager is a marketing and PR consultant, guerrilla marketing coach and direct-mail promotion specialist.

How to Guides

Henrico Hanekom – Discover Your Inner Marketing Genius

Like most Leaders whom firmly believe in positive transformation, Henrico Hanekom has created “new blue waters” in the form of a niche service which he calls “Neuro-marketing”.

Dirk Coetsee

Published

on

henrico-edited-3

Henrico Hanekom describes himself as a “street wise marketer”. After attending to hundreds of clients’ individual marketing needs he has defined an unique approach that veers away from the traditional marketing agency methodology.

Like most Leaders whom firmly believe in positive transformation he has created “new blue waters” in the form of a niche service which he calls “Neuro-marketing”. Initially Henrico honed his skills as a founder and CEO of Megaphone Media, a company whom has served companies such as ABSA, Toyota McCarthy, AGSA (Auditor General of South-Africa), NRF (National Research Foundation)” by getting their message across utilising mainly digital visual media.

Related: Brand And Marketing: Finding The Balance For SMEs

Roughly five years ago Henrico became a qualified Neuro-coach to empower him to answer a critical question: What can we learn from Neuroscience to improve marketing strategies in general? Henrico explained to me that normally all marketing campaigns aim to create a strong perception that will drive the consumers’ behaviour in a way that justifies the campaign spend, therefore at the root of an increased understanding of perpetual marketing principles lies behavioural sciences.

It is common knowledge that the average consumer faces severe cognitive overload considering the overwhelming amount of information available to us and the staggering amount of advertisements and marketing delivery mechanisms that people are exposed to in the modern world.

Increasingly marketing agencies are scratching their heads considering the complex question of: How do I make my clients stand out? A past reliable staple to secure results was to ensure high quality ad design underpinned by a very good offer to the public. That however might have worked occasionally during times when the market was not as saturated as it currently is.

henrico-hanekom-neuro-marketingHenrico passionately elaborated on his well-tested strategy to ensure that his clients are not only standing out but elevate their status to a market leader. He starts with a clean slate and encourages his clients to stop considering the competition. He refrains from giving advice and instead coaches within an environment where his clients can “discover their own genius”.

Through experience Henrico has discovered that it is common for companies to struggle with firstly defining their message clearly and secondly to clearly communicate their message to their audience. In general, a clearly communicated message that resonates with prospective client’s emotions and their personal values multiplies positive results, he shared.

Related: Why Your Business’ Social Media Marketing Strategy Is Probably Wrong

Henrico further shared his experience to say that marketing and sales must be in alignment and that marketing is the DNA of the business, or put in another way, “Marketing is the communication of what is already within”. He has further found a general phenomenon amongst his clients in that their aspirations do not usually match their faith in their abilities to achieve. As a Neuro- coach Henrico then utilises Neuroscience and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to align his clients’ aspirations and belief in their abilities to powerful effect.

As a “Neuro- marketer” he assists his clients to rise to a high level of awareness so eloquently encapsulated by Albert Einsteins’ words of: “We cannot find a solution to a problem with the same level of awareness that created the problem. “

Henrico firmly believes in the Leadership principle of Authenticity and coaches his clients to authentically advertise the truth. Through all his expert efforts he aims to position each company that he works with as a “magnet” that strongly attracts clients as opposed to “pushing” and aggressively acquire each client.

The author ended this inspiring interview by asking Henrico what he is passionate about in life. Henricos’ sincere intent was tangible as his lips formed a smile from which his answer emenated: “Life was meant to be lived abundantly.” He also added that because life was meant to be lived without limits he is driven towards helping people to “get unstuck”. This man invests heavily into his own personal growth knowing that this long-term investment constantly empowers him to give the highest of himself to his clients.

Practical proof of Henricos’ commitment to personal growth was abundantly clear during and after the interview. The interview was done directly after Henricos’ workout and we drank (I will admit it was delicious) organic smoothies during it, and after the interview, we had a long and interesting discussion on personal development and servant leadership.

Continue Reading

How to Guides

4 Ways To Reach A New Target Audience Without Abandoning Your Old One

Four strategies to reach a new demographic without changing what current customers already love about your company.

Dale McIntyre

Published

on

mooncake-of-haagendazs

For 56 years, Häagen-Dazs had a consistent message: high-quality, old-fashioned ice cream for sale. But that’s changed: Thanks largely to millennials, the company recently refreshed its brand with a revised logo, more vibrant packaging, new flavors and a global advertising campaign.

This younger generation of consumers is continuing to cause a massive shift in the market across all industries and sectors. That’s why this ice cream company wanted to cast off its stuffy, traditional image and connect with millennials over craftsmanship and storytelling.

There’s a lesson to be learned here: To stay competitive, any entrepreneur or business leader has to consider the many challenges of a constantly evolving business landscape, including his or her company’s demographics and consumer trends.

If you wait to consider how your audiences have changed and will continue to change, you’ll risk far more than will your competitors already investing in brand analysis and audience outreach.

Related: How You Should Market Your Business Online

Expanding your tent

Business leaders may be aware of the changing marketplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re eager to change. For many companies, a major brand overhaul often meets with internal resistance; and to be fair, such an overhaul is not always the right answer. For some companies, it’s better to maintain a consistent brand message amidst rapid change. It’s the discovery that’s important, the self-assessment, the long view.

Because we live in an experience-based economy, whether you’re designing your customer experience intentionally or not doesn’t matter: You’re still delivering one. Messaging plays a major role in reinforcing or diluting that experience.

Here are four steps you can take to help your business appeal to new demographics.

1. Develop robust personas

pharos-print-management-systems

Every landing page, blog post or article you put out there should align with a distinct persona to effectively connect with a desired target audience. A CEO, a parent and a college student all require different messaging to inspire a response.

A seemingly obvious but often overlooked way to gain a better understanding of your current or potential customers’ needs is to ask them directly. Surveys can be effective, but personal, one-on-one interviews are better, even if you can only conduct a handful. Offer a small incentive to gather eager participants, and ask questions designed to reveal what motivates them and why they chose your product or service.

At Pharos, we need to shift our messaging to highlight the parts of our business that are relevant to each specific persona we target. We use three aspects of our value proposition to position ourselves in a way that aligns with what our audience cares about most. Print management solutions lower expenses (business owners love that), improve security (CIOs and IT directors love that) and boost sustainability (which should resonate with everyone). All three messages mutually reinforce one other and are consistent across experiences.

For example, we worked with one university’s leadership who wanted to reduce and manage back-office printing costs. To help get employees on board with secure print workflows, its leaders promoted the sustainability aspect of print management’s value proposition and subsequently were able to save $3,000 a month while significantly reducing the university’s carbon footprint.

Related: How Do I Create A Content Strategy?

2. Ask what your CRM data is trying to tell you

If your data collection process includes a wide range of questions to qualify leads, you should be able to find customer information such as company type and size, contact job titles and the types of content most often consumed.

Your sales team should then be able to help translate those numbers into concrete characteristics and create a more complete understanding of your customers. As you find common trends, you can combine those tendencies into a general view of each customer type, and use it to fill out your personas. This will help diversify your buyer personas and, consequently, your brand’s ability to connect with an expanding range of consumers.

Evaluating your data can also help you recognise surprising audiences that like your brand. When the small business software company Hatchbuck was launched, its founders tried to reach as many segments as possible, from salespeople to business owners, to pitch its platform.

To zero in on its ideal customer, Hatchbuck gathered survey responses, crunched the numbers and conducted customer interviews, seeking to define its buyers’ behaviours and beliefs.

The company was surprised to learn that, even though it had been attracting larger companies looking for an affordable software with lots of features, smaller companies were its biggest supporters. Hatchbuck decided to focus its efforts on these small business owners – its ideal customer. Discoveries like this can be enlightening and critical to success.

3. Showcase how your brand delivers what people want

Vera Bradley bag charger

Proving your product’s relevance to a different demographic doesn’t mean abandoning the things that make it valuable to current buyers. It means adjusting your messaging to highlight the benefits that are more aligned with the new audience.

For example, Vera Bradley bags and luggage have been a popular choice for baby boomer women since the 1980s. When the brand decided to expand its target audience and appeal to younger women, it tapped into social media to gain insights into the demographic and observed a trend of complaints among millennials about the shortcomings of smartphone battery life and the annoyance of awkward battery cases.

So Vera Bradley created a bag with a built-in smartphone charger. This helped to improve its offerings and reach a new audience without introducing change that might alienate its faithful, long-time customers.

Related: Your 2018 Marketing Trend Forecast: Tap In Or Tap Out

4. Leverage the granularity of marketing automation

Many businesses see demographics as an aggregate average, but this perspective can destroy any chance of recognising the need to change. You don’t target youth through the same channels used to reach company decision-makers.

Approaching demographics using too broad of a viewpoint ignores the micro-targeting capability afforded by many marketing-automation systems today. Granular, personalised messaging is becoming the norm, not the exception.

To reach younger demographics with precision, take advantage of automation tools such as HubSpot, Marketo or Hatchbuck, proven technologies that can drastically improve the reach of your digital marketing ads and provide you with valuable analytics on your consumers.

These automation technologies have a long track record of producing a positive return on your investment. They can also help to improve various aspects of your digital marketing strategy. According to research by Regalix, 64 percent of marketers surveyed said they saw benefits within six months by using automation software.

The millennials in today’s workforce will be the decision-makers of tomorrow – and I mean tomorrow, not five years from now.

Organisations that fail to recognise this shift, or delay the process of discovering how best to change along with new demographic opportunities, can end up fueling internal resistance to such change and, ultimately, lose their opportunity to stay relevant.

Don’t be one of them.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

How to Guides

6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works

Stand out. Get noticed. Six reasons why influencer marketing really works.

Greg Tinkler

Published

on

influencer-marketing

In today’s day and age you need to ensure your marketing spend is going to the right places and most importantly, that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Influencer marketing is a strategy that offers one of the highest returns on investment. Basically, influencer marketing is the process of identifying strategic individuals within your target market, and partnering with them to create advertising that is genuine and more palatable to the audience.

Google Trends show that the interest in influencer marketing is at an all-time high, and further studies demonstrate that personalised, word-of-mouth marketing is more than twice as effective as the alternatives.

Good customer reviews make the best marketing

The idea is pretty simple — instead of a brand telling you why their new product is so amazing, the good review comes from a popular and trusted individual. When an influencer or thought leader promotes your product or service to their audience, they’re essentially telling their audience “You trust me, and I trust this company.”

This form of advertising is becoming increasingly popular since audiences have already opted to receive this particular person’s opinions. It also puts a human touch to your marketing effort. Partnering with influencers makes your service more trustworthy and allows you to effortlessly reach a wider audience.

Related: The Ins And Outs Of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been identified as the most effective method of customer acquisition in 2016 and 2017, ahead of the likes of display advertising, email marketing, paid social media and traditional media.

92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source.

marketing-techniques

Here are six reasons why influencer marketing works:

1It really does work

There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than word-of-mouth recommendations.

Studies show  that trusted word-of-mouth recommendations generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37% higher retention rate.

2It’s social media friendly

The world and marketing have shifted to social media. 70% of brands are increasing their social media marketing spend in 2017.

Today, it’s easier to connect with other consumers via social media and make better purchasing decisions by learning about their experiences with a product or service.

Influencers are a force to be reckoned with; brands can strategically partner with the right personalities to spark organic conversations and seduce their followers.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Millennial Marketing Strategy

3Cut through the clutter

According to research, the average social media user is exposed to 5 000 advertisements a day. Whether or not that number is scientifically proven, it gets the point across: We are exposed to a lot of ads.

Influencers are able to cut your brand through the clutter and get it straight to your target market’s eyes.

4It’s native advertising

Traditional advertising interrupts the consumer experience (think TV commercials during your favourite series).

Native advertising places brands and products within the organic content, creating a more pleasurable experience for consumers and a more powerful marketing solution for brands.

5Your SEO will strengthen

On top of building your brand and improving your sales numbers, influencer marketing also helps your search engine ranking.

User-generated social posts account for 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands. The more people mention your brand on social media, the more popular and relevant you will be on Google.

Related: Basics Of SEO For Businesses And Brands

6It’s measurable

Probably the most important thing of all is that marketers and brand owners can actually track the success of their influencer marketing campaigns, unlike expensive TV, print and radio campaigns.

The digital world is different. Every website visit, social like, and picture posted online can be stored and analysed, giving you tons of data that turns into valuable insights about your target market and your advertising performance.

Influencer marketing presents a massive opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire. The possibilities are endless, you’ll actually save marketing spend and guess what…? You can finally measure your results.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending