A marketing plan is your road map to success. It will define and articulate your strategy, guide your decision-making and keep your entire team focused on the current objectives, filtering out those activities that are not aligned with your company vision. Add in a disciplined execution and you are well positioned for success.
The thought of writing a marketing plan can be overwhelming so break it into three bite-size segments, each feeding the next. The Situation Analysis is a time of reflection on your current performance and an analysis of data, market research and other macroeconomic factors; Objectives & Strategies, where you’ll state your goals and articulate the topline strategies; and finally, the Tactical Plan where you’ll lay out each of the specific actions you’ll undertake to execute on your strategies ultimately achieving your objectives.
In the Situation Analysis, you will dive into the data and reflect on the past. This is not the place to solve challenges you’ve uncovered. Rather, identify the facts and causal factors and call out key learnings. What are the fact and number supported learnings? This step often debunks the general understanding or in some cases, misunderstanding of your current place in the market, what you believe about your consumers and the direction you believe your business should be headed. On more than one occasion this exercise sent me in a new direction from beliefs and assumptions I held prior.
I like to use a lot of graphs and pictures to bring the information into focus. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t try to tell a story yet. It will tell itself. You just need to identify and interpret it. Do not try to solve problems in this stage.
Review your customer demographic data. Does this align with your current strategy? What is happening in the market – growing, declining, shifting? Is one demo or market growing at the expense of another? What are you doing really well? What do your customers think about your products? Are you fishing where the fish are? In other words, is your marketing spend aligned with your demo or are you triaging a market segment that is declining as a result of factors which are out of your control?
Consolidate your learnings with a SWOT analysis to close this section. It will organize and consolidate your information into an easy to read grid calling out internal, controllable strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats in the market you can use to your advantage or hedge against.
You’ve read this far, don’t miss Anatomy of a Marketing Plan – Part 2: Draw the Map “Objectives & Strategies” next week. Connect with me on LinkedIn or “like” Get It Done Marketing on Facebook today to see it in your news feed.