What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan can be a vital part of any overall business strategy. Effective marketing strategy is often the foundation of such a well written marketing strategy so all desired objectives can be reached.
Without a sound strategic framework, however, it’s of little use to an organization. In fact, without clearly defined goals, there is no way to measure the success or failure of those strategies. Without clearly defined goals or strategies, it becomes quite difficult to judge whether or not the strategies are having the desired effect. This is why it is so important to include a “hook” in your marketing plans – in other words, a major thesis statement that draws the reader into what you are trying to accomplish. A quality hook will motivate the reader and provide the necessary context for understanding the rest of your plan and strategies.
An example of a good hook to use in your marketing plan is this: Your company is in the IT Services sector with three main product channels. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition by being the Channel Partner with the best complementing products and/or services. This can be done through defining your role as an IT Services Channel Partner and how you get started by writing down the goals you have for the channel and the specific functions you will perform to achieve those goals.
Next, you need to develop a killer headline or two for your marketing plan. Your headline needs to be compelling enough to get the reader to continue reading. As part of your skeleton for your marketing plans, include a separate section highlighting your unique selling proposition (USP), identifying your competitive advantages, and creating a marketing position paper to help you build on your USP.
Finally, you should include a mission statement and story that motivates you and explains what it is that you are doing. This is perhaps the most important part of your marketing strategy as it describes the direction you want to take your business and why it is different from your competition. The story behind your story can be as simple as a description of how you arrived at your USP and how you plan to execute it, or it can be a more detailed story of what your customers can expect from having a relationship with you. A well-crafted mission can help you build your reputation, increase brand awareness, and position your company to be an authority in your particular niche. For channel partners, your mission statement can help you define and differentiate yourself from the rest of your competition while helping to define your business goals and positioning your company as the expert in your particular industry.
Using a clearly defined marketing mission, you can write down your goals for the next phase of your development as well as outline the process you will follow to reach those goals. You can use KPIs to track progress as you execute your strategy. KPIs such as ROI (return on investment) can help you measure the results of your efforts by gauging the number of sales you have made as well as comparing that performance to your competitor’s efforts. You can also use kpi’s such as customer lifetime value (LTV), cost per action (CPA), and cost per thousand (CPM) to track the success of your promotional campaigns.