A goal without a plan is just a wish. That’s why you need a realistic marketing plan. Here’s how to make one in less than 60 minutes.
How to Make a Realistic Marketing Plan in Less than 60 Minutes
Let’s start with the elements of a basic marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs to have the following:
- Market Research
- Target Market
- Competitor Analysis
- Market Strategy
- Return on Investment
- Plan Summary
You’ll also need access to Word, Excel, and the internet.
Ready? Here we go!
- Step 1: Market Research - Write about your business and your industry.
- What is your business type?
- What are the most common problems that you solve for your customers?
- What are other ways your customers would solve those problems if you were not in business (apart from going to your competitors)?
- How many potential customers exist in your service area?
Example: I have a home remodeling business. Most of my business comes from kitchen and bathroom remodeling single-family homes. My customers can potentially buy all the materials themselves, and get some friends/family help. It’ll be cheaper, but they’ll spend more time and risk injuries, not meeting code, and endanger lives. I serve San Francisco Bay Area customers where there’s a lot of demand for my service because a lot of older homes are being bought by the newer, younger population that want to remodel bathrooms and kitchens to match the latest trends and lifestyles.
- Step 2: Target Market - Write about your customers.
- What is the demographic (age, location, household income, profession, etc.) and psychographic (behavior, lifestyle, etc.) breakdown of your customers?
- What do your best customers say about your product/service?
- What do your worst customers say about your product/service?
Example: Most of my customers are in their late 30s to early 40s with younger kids, have high-paying tech jobs, are well educated, enjoy international travel and vacations, and spend a lot of time on social media. They like modern, simplistic designs for their homes. Our best customers appreciate our knowledgeable and professional team and the worst customers think our pricing isn’t transparent.
- Step 3: Competitive Analysis - Write about your competitors.
- Who are your major competitors?
- Why do you think they are your major competitors?
- What advantages do you have over them (if any)?
Example: My major competitors are Company-A, Company-B, and Company-C. They’re about the same size, serve the same market, show up with us in search results, and we’ve heard about them from our customers. Our employees are more experienced and knowledgeable. Our relationships with international manufacturers help us source high-quality and unique products that may not be available locally.
- Step 4: Market Strategy - Use steps 1, 2, and 3 to create your market strategy.
- Product - What can you do to make your product/service better?
- Price - What can you do to make your product/service more affordable?
- Place - What can you do to make your product/service more accessible?
- Promotion - What can you do to make your product/service more known and understood?
Example: I’ll invest in technology so qualified leads/customers can see 3D designs upfront for free, track progress, and pay online. I’ll make our terms and pricing easy to understand, negotiate with my partner banks to offer better financing, and make it easier for my customers to book an appointment. I’ll invest in SEO and Google Ads to rank high in Google search results and get reviews from my customers. My ads will promote our high-quality and great financing options.
- Step 5: Budget - Use step 4 to figure out marketing costs.
- How much does each of the things I mentioned in my Market Strategy cost?
- What can I achieve this year?
Example: 3D design software and training* = $20000, Website/technology upgrade = $7000, Search Engine Optimization = $6000, Google Ads* = $12000, Total: = $45000, * Needs board approval
- Step 6: Return on Investment - Decide how will you measure success.
- Am I on track to meet my goals?
- Has my marketing cost as a percentage of my revenue remained the same or has it gone down?
Example: I’ll set up monthly review meetings with my team, send surveys to customers, have my CPA and my marketing lead collaborate to accurately calculate marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue, and review this number every quarter.
- Step 7: Plan Summary - Put it all together.
- Does this section give a complete overview of my marketing plan?
Example: I run a general contracting business. The majority of business comes from younger families in the San Francisco Bay Area that want to remodel kitchens or bathrooms. There are many local competitors but my staff is more knowledgeable and I’m known for quality service. My market is steadily growing and there’s a good opportunity to take a sizeable portion of it by advertising and investing in newer technologies and providing a better experience to my customers. This year, I will allocate $19,000 for marketing, revaluate my plan mid-year, and invest another $26,000 in technology upgrades.
If you want to know more about making a marketing plan, read our article, “4Ps of Readymade Marketing”, or contact us.
Tags: marketing plan, 60 minutes