When it comes to marketing, some may want to prioritise the focus on their product, while others may want to make fun videos to go viral on social. Neither of these two approaches will work. Marketing planning requires a thoughtful and strategic approach.

Marketing PlanningBy addressing the three key issues below, you can build a solid foundation on which to build your future marketing strategy.

1. Vision and Objectives

The very first thing you want to identify is your company’s overarching vision. Do you want to save the world, solve a customer problem, or create the best version of your product through product development? By defining your vision and building from there, you will keep your marketing efforts focused and motivated.

By constantly referring back to this vision, you can keep yourself aligned with your big picture.

The next thing to do is to set out relevant objectives so you know what you want to achieve on the way towards your overall vision. Objectives should be SMART, that means being:

· Specific

· Measurable

· Attainable

· Realistic

· Timely

2. Analysis

Once you have determined your vision and objectives, you need to complete a thorough assessment of the current situation, both internally and externally. This should include an analysis of both your own position and that of your competitors. When looking at your own business, conducting a SWOT analysis is of real benefit, this analyses your business’s:

· Strengths

· Weaknesses

· Opportunities

· Threats

Conducting such an analysis will provide you with a comprehensive overview of which areas your business excels in and which issues need more attention and improvements to be made.

You also need to carry out a SWOT analysis on your primary competitors. For any effective marketing strategy to prove effective, it’s crucial you understand your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses so you can provide marketing campaigns that deliver a competitive advantage. You will also need to look at your tactical when implementing a strategy through identifying and evaluating the 7 P’s, these being; products, pricing, place, promotion, processes, people and physical evidence. Define your own unique selling point to differentiate yourself from the competition.

3. Target Market and Buyer Personas

Your strategy document should take a thorough look at the market and break the industry down by particular segments, e.g. geography, income bracket, industry sector, age group, gender and any other relevant demographic and market categories that prove applicable to your particular business. As an example, Digital Marketing is a highly cost effective promotional tactic as it is highly targeted, you can only implement a successful campaign if you have carried out a thorough breakdown of the industry and the key segments. With this information, you can target ads at audiences you know will be potentially interested in your product or service and you can target different, relevant message to distinct target groups.

You can combine the demographic data you have collected with psychographic information to help you form buyer personas. These outline potential customers that are more specific than your target audience. Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent your dream / ideal customer. This will help you think about customers as actual people, with hopes and dreams, thus allowing you to more effectively connect with them on a more personal level.

Once you have covered these three key issues, you will have built a solid foundation for your marketing planning process. From here you can focus on your campaigns and content creation as part of an effective marketing strategy.

This provides a brief overview of the marketing planning process but if you would like further details relevant to your business, don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.