While a marketing strategy is more of theoretical analysis, a marketing plan is much more about implementing concrete measures. But how do you get from strategy to implementation? From theoretical target group definition to practical ROI optimization? Here is a complete guide.
After a series of helpful definitions, this guide will walk you through creating and implementing your own marketing plan. You’ll also find practical working templates, trackers, and templates, as well as numerous real-world marketing examples.
Why do you need a marketing strategy?
Once a marketing strategy is established with a communication goal, brand message, clear design guidelines, etc. it makes life much easier for all marketers. The marketing strategy is the continuous reference and the most important starting point of any campaign.
Development of your marketing strategy
Step 1: Competitive analysis
Where are you compared to your competitors? Why are they superior to you? How can you outsmart your competitors?
Competitive intelligence data serves both your marketing strategy and your marketing plan. By analyzing your competitors and their competitive strategy, you can find new ideas for your own campaigns.
However, this is not a one-time action, but rather a continuous process illustrated here once in the Competitive Intelligence Cycle.
Data Collection — The systematic collection of data about competitors, products, consumers, campaigns, markets, etc.
Process & Storing — The processing, saving, and preparation of data in preparation for analysis. Software solutions such as SQL or SAP come into play here.
Data Analysis — involves simple data analysis such as percentages, history, comparisons, contrasting, etc.
Intelligence Sharing — Concluding analysis and preparing them to be used in the next phase.
Planning & Direction — the starting point is the conclusions of the previous phase. From this, the concrete options for action for implementation are logically derived.
Step 2: Target Audience Definition
Deciding the success of a marketing strategy: Understand your target group. How they communicate. Where they communicate. Their demographics — gender, job title, location, interests, language, needs, what they spend their money on, etc. When you know your clientele intimately, you can create content that they find exciting. Be it for the TV commercial or the SEO-optimized website.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to attract new customers. A starting point for this can be the analysis of existing customers. Ask yourself: What makes these customers loyal, committed and profitable for you? Where does this ideal customer hang out, what are their demographic characteristics? Depending on the results, you can align your marketing campaigns so that you continue to address the right target group.
Step 3: SWOT analysis
SWOT is old-school marketing. But it works. SWOT refers to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company.
Definition: it is a company-wide analysis that helps you identify the internal (strengths/weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities/threats) that will affect your future business performance. If done with brutal honesty, this analysis will be an important part of your strategic planning process, setting financial and operational goals for the coming year and creating campaigns to achieve them.
For a constructive SWOT analysis, you need to be brutally honest about the good and bad aspects of your business. Most information is subjective, so keep it simple.
Step 4: Identify consumer insights
Consumer insights are generally defined as findings that reveal something about the target group. And mostly in terms of their needs, their attitude towards our product category or even in terms of our own brand. For example: What do I associate with the brand? Here, using Nutella as an example.
Nutella is strongly associated with ‘Pancakes’ and ‘Icecream’.
This is what the brand should use for the brand plan
For your marketing plans and campaigns, you should set very specific goals according to the SMART principle. For example, if you want your car brand to be seen as particularly climate protection-oriented, e.g. through high-quality e-cars, you can use consumer insight research to find out how much this is already the case and, of course, then take concrete measures to improve this association.
Perfect starting point: use free social media monitoring tools, just enter your product or brand there and see associated topics and consumer insights.
Step 5: Idea generation find trends and use them for yourself
Which social media trends should I use for my marketing plan? What practical role does artificial intelligence, Big Data, Gen Z, or nano-influencers play? Questions that come up more often, especially in the design of a digital marketing plan.
Social media trends are being used in almost all areas of business. A few examples:
- Content Marketing — Looking for content ideas for social strategy or the next TV campaign? Trends can be filtered by brand, product category, or industry focus. Monitoring tools find trending topics broken down for each area.
- Product development — What is the context of use and has it changed? Is there a social trend that my product should reflect?
- Brand positioning — What values are associated with my brand or product category this year? What has changed about it in recent weeks? Entire communication strategies can be derived from trends.
- Campaign optimization — From campaign planning to real-time adaptation, trends can increase the success of a campaign. Real-time marketing would then be jumping on trends and using them for your own commercial success.
We’ve put together a guide on how to find social media trends and use them for yourself and your marketing plan.
Step 6: Goal setting
Most of the work is actually done now because ideally you’ve had a crisp brainstorming session with your team and generated new creative ideas. Now it’s time to define the goals of the marketing plan. This sounds easier than it is because if the goal definition does not follow the SMART principle, it is difficult to realistically evaluate the marketing actions and the marketing plan.
The SMART principle is defined as follows. According to it, the goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and linked to a concrete timetable.
Specific — concrete numbers with real dates: who, what, where, why?
Measurable — use units that make success measurable.
Achievable — work toward a goal that is challenging but possible.
Relevant — is there a strong connection to your business?
Timing — by when do you plan to achieve your goals?
Step 7: Campaign planning and control
The really concrete part of the marketing plan is campaign planning because this is where the insights, trends, and marketing goals are implemented in a detailed communications project. But how do I get from the insights to the campaign? An example from food content marketing.
Creating a marketing strategy is not something that should be done once and never returned to again. Yes, the strategy should be long-term, but it must be continually adjusted. It needs to maintain a certain level of flexibility.
We would to take a minute of your timing and take a look at HeyForm: An online form builder where you create your forms with the Form Builder and then fill them up through smartphones, tablets, and desktops. With seamless 100+ templates for every industry be its Healthcare, Real Estate, Technology, HR, Marketing, and Sales. You can choose any one of them and customize it according to your needs. Click here to know more: https://heyformhq.com/.