The marketing planning process is the backbone of marketing. It ensures that marketing strategies are aligned with business goals and marketing objectives, and it delivers a plan for how to execute those strategies. Marketing planning helps you answer questions like:
– What marketing tactics should we use?
– Who will be responsible for executing the marketing strategy?
– How much money do we need to spend on marketing expenses? And so on…
This blog post will help you understand the five phases of the marketing planning process as well as share some tips about what each phase entails!
1. Define your target audience
The first step in the marketing planning process is to define your target audience. Who are you marketing to? To understand who your ideal customer is, it’s important to do thorough research and analysis on the marketing channels that will be best for reaching them.
Next, consider what marketing channels your target audience actually uses (e.g., mobile vs desktop) and how you’ll know if they are interested in your product or service—this is where marketing metrics come into play!
2. Identify the benefits of your product/service
Once you’ve defined your target audience, it’s time to identify the benefits of your product or service. The marketing planning process is all about proving that what you offer will benefit this specific group of people and be worth their investment in both money and time.
When looking at your benefits, try to use “soft” marketing language that uses words like value and satisfaction instead of aggressive marketing jargon.
For example, if you provide a service such as oil changes for cars, don’t say something like: “we perform the highest quality maintenance services on your car.” Instead try to focus on what this means from the perspective of the customer, such as: “our professional mechanics will take care of your car so you can have peace of mind knowing that it’s in good hands.”
This marketing language is more relatable for customers and helps them understand how this service benefits them.
Keeping these marketing strategies in mind while writing marketing copy (i.e. marketing on your website, emails and other marketing collateral) will also help you better connect with prospects!
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3. Determine how to reach out to audiences (social media, TV ads)
Once you’ve defined your target audience and identified the marketing benefits of your product or service, it’s time to determine how you will reach out to them.
Marketing strategists need to be mindful about which marketing channels they are using when trying to reach their audience—it can make all the difference in whether or not you’re marketing to the right people.
Here are some simple examples of marketing channels:
– Social media marketing (e.g., Facebook, Instagram)
– Direct mail marketing (e.g., postcards or flyers sent through traditional mail services)
– TV ads (both national and local spots)
– Digital marketing (e.g., Google Adwords, Facebook Ads)
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re marketing to a fairly small audience it might be best for you to focus on one or two channels instead of trying to do too many at once. This will help you avoid wasting time and energy by marketing to the wrong people.
This marketing planning process is meant to help you make smart marketing decisions, not overwhelm you!
The marketing channels that are most effective for your business will ultimately depend on your target audience and what they respond best to—so you must do thorough research before finalizing any marketing strategies. That said, marketing planning is all about trying new things and iterating as you go—just be sure not to waste time on marketing channels that don’t work for your audience.
4. Make a plan for implementing a marketing strategy
Now that you’ve defined your marketing channels, it’s time to create a marketing strategy for how these marketing channels will work together.
Many marketing strategists use an AIDA funnel (see below) to map out their marketing strategies because this is the order in which many customers make decisions about what they want to purchase and from whom.
– Awareness: marketing channels that will work to bring people to the top of your marketing funnel (e.g., social media, TV ads)
– Interest: marketing channels that will help this group stay in the marketing funnel and become more aware as they dig deeper (e.g., email marketing, direct mail marketing, or social media marketing)
– Desire: marketing channels that will help this group become even more interested as they get closer to the bottom of your marketing funnel (e.g., email marketing, direct mail marketing, or social media marketing)
– Action: marketing channels that will inspire people at the end of your marketing funnel into taking action and buying your product or service (e.g., marketing emails, direct mail marketing, and social media marketing)
A key component of this marketing planning process is thinking about how to map out your marketing channels so you’ll know which ones work best for each part of the funnel—this can help keep your communication organized as it reaches those who are most interested in your products and services!
The marketing strategy you create for each marketing channel needs to be tailored specifically to that marketing channel. For example, TV ads might not make sense as the final step of the marketing funnel because people who see them are likely already aware (if they’re watching TV) or at least somewhat aware (if they’re watching TV while doing something else, like cooking or folding laundry).
To help you create marketing strategies that are tailored to your marketing channels and their place in the AIDA funnel, remember these key questions:
– Who is my target audience?
– What marketing benefits does my product or service offer them?
– What marketing channels are best suited to reach them?
– How can I measure the effectiveness of each marketing channel so that when one doesn’t work, I can pivot and try another one quickly?
5. Create an action plan with deadlines and responsibilities assigned to each member of the team involved in executing the campaign
In marketing, a lot of people talk about marketing as a team sport—so you must create an action plan with deadlines and responsibilities assigned to each member of the marketing team involved in marketing your product or service.
Here are some helpful guidelines for creating this marketing planning process:
– Start by getting together with your marketing team and brainstorming ideas for marketing channels that will work together to solve the problem you’re trying to address.
– Based on your research, choose a marketing strategy—but keep in mind it doesn’t have to be perfect yet! You can always iterate as you go.
– Keep an ongoing list of marketing ideas that will address various parts of the AIDA funnel.
– Create a marketing calendar with deadlines and responsibilities assigned to each team member—this helps make sure you don’t forget anything at the last minute!
Now it’s time for you to create your marketing plan, so get started today by choosing a problem you want to solve and following the marketing planning process!
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