Mackenzie | February 01, 2022 | Evenbound
A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business's marketing strategy for the upcoming year. It's designed to bring all elements of your marketing strategy into one document that not only gives an overview of your company's goals, but outlines specifically which tactics you'll implement to achieve those goals over the course of the year.
Some businesses do develop monthly or quarterly marketing plans, but we'll get into that later.
What is that they say about ideas and plans?
A goal without a plan is just a wish — or something like that.
Let's say you want to try out paid advertising this year, and you're also thinking about redesigning your website.
While you can absolutely spend money on both of those things, a marketing plan helps you determine:
Your marketing plan is designed to offer a high-level overview of where your company is now, and where you'd like to be by the end of the year. Then, it dives into how you plan to get you there.
Too many companies put all kinds of budget into disparate and disconnected marketing efforts throughout the year, only to realize in their next yearly planning meeting, that many of those efforts weren't successful, or worse, just weren't driving the kind of success your company needed.
Don't let that ^ be you!
A marketing plan helps your team identify key goals for the year, and then develop a marketing strategy that's designed to help you achieve them (and track that achievement progress!).
There's no doubt about it, most marketing plans are big documents. At Evenbound, our marketing plan ranges from 18-22 pages (usually) depending on our goals.
But, just because a marketing plan is comprehensive doesn't mean it has to be hard to put together.
In most cases, your marketing plan is a place to compile marketing documents that you already have, like branding and messaging key points, or your buyer personas. If your company has been working on marketing for a while, it's good to know that you won't be starting this document totally from scratch.
Most quality marketing plans include:
I know it seems like a lot, but know that once you have a solid marketing plan in place, updating it for future goals becomes much easier. That first draft is definitely the hardest, but it's all downhill from there.
At this point, you've probably caught onto the fact that I'm mostly talking about an annual or yearly marketing plan.
There are a lot of companies out there who develop quarterly and even monthly marketing plans. So why can't you develop one of those? A whole year of planning seems like a lot.
While there's nothing wrong with a quarterly or monthly marketing plan, those types of documents tend to end up as more of a task list than an actual overarching strategy.
The Evenbound team is big on strategy, which is why we're big proponents of an annual marketing plan. We believe in starting with your big picture goals and working backward from there.
Developing a monthly marketing plan is a great way to make sure everything gets done, but it makes it very easy to get stuck in a short-term mindset. That is, getting things done just to get them done, rather than implementing and executing tasks that are part of a larger strategy designed to get your business exactly where you want to go.
An annual marketing plan allows you to zoom out far enough to see what you need to do, and importantly why you need to do it, to reach your company's strategic goals. You can always break your annual marketing plan down into monthly tactics, but starting with that big-picture helps your entire team see how every effort they make contributes to the larger goal.
Where do we start any marketing strategy?
With your GOALS!
It's hard to build a plan if you don't know where you're trying to go. Goal setting is essential to any marketing strategy.
For some businesses, these goals might be revenue or sales-focused — We want to close X deals above $XXX n the new year. Or, we want to grow revenue by XX% in the new year.
For others, it might be a more nuanced goal — We want to break into X market by the end of the year, and we measure market presence by X amount of qualified traffic to this part of our website.
Whatever your company's goals are, make sure they are:
More on SMART goals in this goal-setting post.
With those goals in place, your marketing plan becomes less of "where are we going to spend money this year", and more, "what do we need to do to accomplish these goals?"
That's a strategic shift that's going to make a difference.
Once you have your goals in place, the rest of your marketing plan will start to build itself as you consider what your team needs to do to reach those goals.
No matter where your business is — industry, size, maturity — you can build a successful marketing plan when you start with SMART goals.
Like I mentioned earlier, an annual marketing plan is not a one-and-done task. Once developed, your team should revisit your marketing plan at least quarterly.
Any marketing plan is a living document. Why?
Because plans change. Goals change. You might discover in Q1 that you've already blasted past your yearly sales goals. Or maybe there's a huge market shift in the spring and your company wants to break into a brand new market.
A lot changes in a year.
Your marketing plan needs to change and adapt with it.
Your marketing plan is your company's roadmap to bringing in and closing more of the right customers, so make sure it's always as up-to-date as possible.
Of course you can!
The Evenbound team regularly develops marketing plans for clients — it's what we do.
If a marketing plan feels daunting, or you know what you want but don't have the time to put it into words, we're here to help.
Get in touch with our team for more info about how we can help create your marketing plan, implement it, and measure its success.