I think it’s safe to say that behind any successful business is a strong marketing plan. Without one, ideas can fail (to cut a long story short!).
You might not know it yet, but a marketing plan can often either make or break a business, as it’s a strategic framework that helps businesses to organise, deliver and review their marketing strategy. They can differ depending on the nature of the business and the overall goal, but it mainly helps to deliver marketing messaging to the right audience on the right channels.
If you're not aware of how important marketing is for your business, Forbes made it quite clear in a recent article explaining that,
‘As a startup, 90% of your success is going to fall on the shoulders of your marketing.’
A critical element to marketing success is organisation, through a clear, cohesive and clever marketing plan, and you know what they say, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” So, what actually goes into a marketing plan? In summary, a marketing plan is a blueprint to outline your overall marketing efforts. It involves a lot more than just a quick google search; it requires research, analysis and evaluation. Let’s break it down…
Overview of the business
Set the scene. This is usually written as an executive summary, outlining the company's ethos, future aspirations and any other relevant information to summarise your business. It helps paint a clearer picture of the business and puts you in a good starting position to follow with further analysis.
Research, Research, Research! This is one of the most crucial parts to any successful marketing plan, as it provides clarity in knowing what the current market is like. Conducting in-depth research to set a solid foundation is highly important, as without reviewing the current climate, competitors and marketing techniques, your marketing strategy could ultimately suffer and we don’t want that!
Know your audience. It is so important to know your consumer inside and out to be able to effectively market to them. This can be supported by your previous research and it will help you figure out and develop a detailed consumer profile. Identifying your target market will not only help pinpoint your advertising, but it will also help you to really speak the language of your chosen consumer.
Marketing, finally! After carrying out your research and analysis, you will be able to effectively plan your marketing strategy. This will involve all your chosen marketing activities, from content planning to paid advertising, you name it! It’s key to be creative and explore different routes here, but to also remain level headed, refer back to your research and remember what is important to your business and consumer.
With any great plan, comes objectives! They are essential to keeping organised, as let’s face it, this could all get pretty overwhelming! Through objectives, you can outline all the necessary steps to reach your goals and form a great structure to keep you on track to what you want to achieve.
And finally, we have the financial plan. This might seem daunting at first, but if you plan sensibly and stick to a clear budget, you will be able to easily keep track of expenses and ultimately, keep afloat and successful!
So, what now? Well instead of leaving you with an abundance of information to go in one ear and out the other, how about I give you a few examples of how other brands have shown how it’s done! This way, you’ll get a better understanding of how marketing plans work and how much they can pay off in the long run. Let’s get straight into it, here are some top brands that have implemented great marketing plans…
1. Heineken - Defining Your Audience.
First up, we have none other than the Dutch brewing company, Heineken. The company delivered a staggering 14.1 million hectolitres of low- & no-alcohol beer in 2019, illustrating the success of the business. But how has it become one of the most popular brands in the beer market? You guessed it, by having a strong marketing plan. A great plan always involves extensive research to find out who your audience really is and how to engage with them, which Heineken have done so effectively. They focused on targeting a specific market - millennial males. The brand knows their consumer inside and out which is reflected in their marketing efforts. For instance, they have committed to huge sports sponsorships, such as the UEFA Champions League.
As proven by Heineken, it is often better to focus on one particular target market rather than trying to attract everyone and getting lost in the process. Consistency is key in the fact that having a determined audience can build unity and a sense of belonging for consumers in comparison to targeting randomly, as they might have no real relevance to your brand or even be interested in it’s service/product. So, the main lesson to be learnt here is that when developing your marketing plan, make sure your target market is clear and that you plan your campaigns based on what will interest them. Simple!
2. Go Pro - Content Creation Marketing Strategy.
Next, we have the wearable tech brand GoPro, a product designed to capture moments and memories, often adventurous activities. The brand has been very clever in terms of its marketing plan; when it comes to their marketing strategy and creating content, they let the product speak for itself. They combined their unique product with outrageous thrill seekers to create engaging, shareable content which has now grown to become a community where GoPro customers share and watch videos online. It’s simple and effective - they provide the tools and the customer provides the content. I think there is a great sense of authenticity with the way that Go Pro have marketed themselves; providing real life content from customers creates genuine interest and sparks the motivation to get involved. User generated content (UGC) represents what the brand is all about and promotes the purpose of the product - videoing remarkable moments.
Around 6000 GoPro videos are posted online each day - yep, they are really the UGC professionals! Additionally, the #GoPro hashtag helps categorise content so that the social media team can find new videos to upload across a variety of platforms to appeal to their audience. Through implementing this within their marketing strategy, customers now represent the brands ethos of experiencing and sharing the world. Whilst every marketing plan is different, they all have one common denominator being: focus on what suits your audience. As you can see, GoPro have experienced huge success through their story telling approach and the one lesson to learn is that UGC is a great way to convert customers into brand advocates.
3. CCM Group - Enabling Greatness.
Last but not least, is CCM Group. That’s right, of course we’ve got our very own marketing plan. Whilst I won’t give out too many of our secrets, I'll let you in on some of what our marketing plan involves and how we strive for our company purpose: to enable greatness. As you can probably assume, ours is a little different to Heineken and GoPro but we still strive for success in knowing our audience and being able to communicate effectively with them. We aim to deliver creative, innovative and engaging content through all our marketing strategies, to portray who we are as a brand and more importantly, how we can help you. Our passionate team of creative individuals work together to post consistent content that not only resonates well with our consumers, but represents our brand identity too. Here at CCM, it’s not only important to market our brand’s exceptional marketing, print, product and brand innovation but we also want to market who we are as a brand, and how our team enables greatness every day.
Our client marketing team has supported a breadth of different organisations, across a variety of industries, to improve their marketing efforts and we’ve seen fantastic success, time and time again. If you're interested in kick-starting your marketing plan now, get in touch with our friendly professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org.