The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan in 2023
As a business owner, thinking through ways to promote and grow your business is essential. And what's better than creating a comprehensive marketing plan for next year?
Creating a marketing plan for your business isn't something you can do overnight. It requires some time to conduct your due diligence, and you need to understand your market to create realistic and actionable plans for your marketing strategy.
This post will give you all the necessary tips and guides to creating a marketing plan for your business next year. To get started, you need to understand what a marketing plan is and how it can help grow your business before starting to create one as a part of your business strategy.
A comprehensive business plan can create a 30% greater chance of growth for your business. As the main engine that drives sales conversion for your business, marketing is essential to your business plan.
A marketing plan is your guide to outlining the strategy of how you want to advertise your business and what you can do to outreach your target market.
A marketing plan is just a plan if you don't fully understand why you need it and how it can help you with your business growth. So, here are the main reasons you need a marketing plan for your business!
#1 It helps you focus on the actionable marketing activities
Lack of planning can be catastrophic for your business because it can lead you to do unnecessary activities for your business strategy. Having a marketing plan will help you prioritize what's needed for your business.
With a clear strategy for your marketing plan, you can set the budget for each activity and list the resources to execute it. You can calculate the value of each decision accordingly to make the best decision for your company.
A good marketing plan will help you consider the pros and cons of every decision you make for your business. Would it be more viable to hire an in-house marketing team to run the strategy for your business? Or would working with a marketing agency be more feasible for your end goals?
#2 It aligns your marketing activities and business strategy
To create a significant result in the overall business strategy for your business, marketing activities and business strategy should create synergy in your company.
Your marketing team needs to get involved in your business strategy so they can get clear objectives and set their marketing plan. Use your end goals to outline each department's specific target of accomplishment, including marketing.
For instance, if your business objective is to narrow down your service to a specific industry next year, your marketing plan should cover all the details to reach your potential clients. Whether it is to conduct market research in your targeted industry or determine the best ways to promote your service, your marketing team can create an effective yet efficient strategy on what to do to accomplish your business objectives.
#3 It defines your unique selling proposition compared to your competitors
Unless you implement a monopoly strategy in your business, as a business owner, you should always be ready to compete in the market. And that's why you need to identify your unique selling proposition for your company compared to the other similar businesses in the market!
A marketing plan will help you understand your competitors, the advantages of their marketing strategy, and how you can stand out compared to theirs. Everyone can sell the same products, but how you market your business should differ from the others.
There are a million language-learning apps available in the market, but the reason why DuoLingo stands out is because of its approachable and easy-to-remember marketing strategy. Starting from Duo, their owl mascot, that would constantly fill their social media page from Instagram to TikTok. Not to mention their sassy response to anything that's gone viral on the internet, making the brand more relatable and becoming the top of our minds when we think about learning a foreign language.
Define what makes your product or service different by acknowledging your competitors. What makes your end products unique compared to the others? Do you produce higher quality? Or is it the lower price that you offer? Once you answer those questions, it will be easier to define your unique selling propositions.
Developing a marketing plan shouldn't be difficult once you have the outline for your business overview. This section will outline a few simple steps to create a marketing plan for your business next year.
Step 1 - State your company's mission, vision, and values
Your company's mission and vision statements should be the focal points for all your team members to understand your business's values. Including these in your marketing help you and your team to get on the same page to deliver your marketing activities.
To create clear statements for each entity, here are some essential points you need to add to your company's mission, vision, and values.
- Outline what you do to serve your customers and how you can solve their problems.
- Highlight what you want to achieve in the future and how you envision your company moving forward.
- Include what you stand for in the practicality of your business and how you conduct your activities to achieve your mission and vision.
While a marketing plan will help you highlight the unique way to promote your company, understanding the business value will also help your marketing team align their marketing activities accordingly.
Step 2 - Analyze your market and competitors
Conducting a market analysis for your business can help you identify the opportunities to market your business better within your industry. There are a few points you can highlight to assess the market, including:
- Who are your target customers?
- How can you identify their purchasing habits?
- How large is your target market?
- How much would your customer pay for your products?
As a business owner, it's also essential to do competitor analysis to understand your business's strengths and weaknesses compared to similar companies in the market.
There are at least three types of competitors you need to identify through your competitor analysis, including:
- Direct competitors are companies that sell similar end products to a similar target audience.
- Indirect competitors are companies that sell different end products but target a similar target audience.
- Replacement competitors are companies outside your industry, but they can substitute the satisfaction of your target audience.
Step 3 - Identify your target customers
Identifying your target customers is essential in your marketing plan. Marketing is all about understanding your customers' needs and how you can communicate the advantage of using your products or services to solve their problems.
You understand that your business can't be everything for everyone, so you need to focus more on your target customers to understand who they are, what they need, and why they are willing to buy your end products or services.
This is a perfect example of how Gucci and Zara sell similar fashion products, from handbags to ready-to-wear, yet they target different markets with differences lie within their customers' buying power, customer behavior, and exclusivity in their products.
Build a marketing persona to identify your target customers in your marketing plan. Not only will this help you find your ideal customers, but you can also focus more on their needs and wants to implement the right marketing strategy for your business.
Step 4 - Create a list of marketing goals
When you create a marketing plan, you also need marketing goals and set the key performance indicators for all the marketing strategies you implement in your document.
Use the SMART goals strategy to outline your marketing objectives, which means you need to create end goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Step 5 - Outline the marketing strategy
Now that you've added the essential elements to your marketing plan, it's time to build the marketing strategy for your business. While the marketing plan is an overview of your brand communication and beyond, the marketing strategy focuses more on the approach you will take to achieve your end goals for the company.
After understanding your competitive advantage and target audience, it will be easier for you to outline how you want to market your company to increase your brand awareness.
There are 7 formulas that you can incorporate into your marketing strategy. Known as the "7 Ps in Marketing", the formulas include:
- Product. It is important to understand your products' value and how they can help your customers. Is there room for improvement in your offerings? How are they compared to your competitors?
- Price. Examine your target market's purchasing power to define the pricing of your products. Would it be appropriate to raise your price if your high-paying clients have a higher retention rate?
- Promotion. 60-80% of sales for companies in the US come from advertising. Having the right promotional strategy can lead to favorable changes in your sales, so what's the next step to boost the promotion for your business next year? Would you increase the budget for advertising? Would you focus more on video-based promotional content for next year?
- Place. Whether it's a product or ad placement, sometimes a change can significantly affect your sales. 90% of consumers will click the "Skip Button" on ads shown before the video, so it's worth a shot to change it and see how much it can make a difference in your revenue.
- People. Brand humanization is a trend now, allowing your audience to connect deeply with your products. It's easier to build trust when it happens, and 77% of consumers will recommend a brand after their positive experience. After all, word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing strategy!
- Process. Create a customer journey map to streamline your delivery process to improve your customer experience. How long will it take for you to follow up after a sales call? How often should you do it before getting flagged as a pushy marketer?
- Physical evidence. The best way to market your business is to incorporate your brand in every business aspect your customers can see. Add a branded email signature for all the team members in your company, upgrade the packaging for your product, and apply it to all your business platforms, including your store, website, and social media!
Step 6 - Calculate your marketing budget
Gartner's CMO Spend Survey shows that marketing budgets in 2022 have climbed to 9.5% of the company revenue.
To calculate your budget for marketing next year, analyze your current expense for marketing this year and measure the effectiveness of your spending by calculating the revenue you get from all marketing activities.
After outlining your marketing strategy for next year, it is also important to include a research strategy price to execute it moving forward. Whether you want to run your strategy in-house or outsource it to a marketing agency, calculating the budget for your marketing plan is easy when you have a clear plan.
Step 7 - Create the timeline for your actionable plan
A marketing timeline allows your entire team to see your marketing plan chronologically. It will help your team organize projects and activities, and prioritize what needs to be done and what they can leave behind.
Set deadlines for any marketing campaigns and initiatives. Whether you need to send a batch of email marketing sequences or optimize old blog posts for SEO, adding a timeline can help your marketing team get on track to achieve their end goals.
Companies that plan their marketing projects and campaigns are 356% more likely to succeed and achieve their goals in their business strategy. A marketing plan is critical to your company's success as it helps your team to plan and diversify resources effectively to achieve your goals.
Creating a marketing plan for your business also clarifies what needs to be done and how to evaluate them for your business moving forward. So, are you ready to start working on your marketing plan for next year?