In the current Covid-19 world it may be tempting to throw marketing planning into the wind, after all, no one included a scenario for lockdown in 2020 forecasts.
In truth, long-term marketing planning may not be a worthwhile exercise right now (you still need a vision of where you want to be!) but 6-12 month planning certainly is. Whether the industry you operate within is facing a deep economic recession or not, now is the time to revisit strategic marketing plans. As your business ‘pivots’, product and service offerings re-align, and consumer behaviours adapt, so too must your marketing plan.
Here is our A&E guide to getting it right.
#1 The Plan
A marketing plan is the most crucial business tool to guide your business growth.
To begin with, an understanding of your adapted Covid-19 market, customer challenges & wants, and competitors is time well-spent. It is this information that will form the vital link between direction and delivery.
Once you’ve decided what it is you want to achieve, and how you’ll measure success you’ll be in a strong position to write a marketing plan that provides focus. Enabling you to manage resources (team, time, budget) and make sure that you’re only investing for results.
#2 The tactic turnaround
It’s so easy to dive straight into tactics, and it’s a mistake virtually all of the business owners we help have made in the past.
What should you post on social media? What should you write on a flyer? Whether you need to build a new website? This is a mistake. No big picture = wasted budget + opportunities missed.
A&E Managing Partner Jill Willis says:
“We’re often asked to create marketing materials, a brochure, social posts, PR launch campaign…If we actioned this request without first asking the really important questions around challenge & opportunity then we would be letting our clients down. It’s our job to take responsibility to uncover the real requirements, not simply ask how many web pages and by when.”
#3 The third is not being SMART
SMART objective setting is nothing new. Within a marketing plan context SMART objectives – including the following five criteria – will give you greater focus on what you need to achieve, and give trackable milestones along the way.
- Specific – What you’ll do (use action words)
- Measurable – How you’ll evaluate (be specific using metrics or data targets)
- Achievable – Reality check (be brutal)
- Relevant – Does it make sense in today’s climate (does it add value?
- Time-bound – When will you achieve your aim?
What a SMART marketing objective looks like in the real world:
- ‘To successfully LinkedIn connect with 1,000 new target decision makers from X industry sector and provide information about X product by end of December 2020’ is a SMART objective.
- ‘To achieve 1,000 downloads of XYZ Expert eBook (thus collecting 1,000 new email addresses) by end of November 2020’ is also a SMART objective.
It is not…
- ‘To create more awareness about our service’ is not a SMART objective.
SMARTER marketing is a case of getting back to basics, something that’s crucial if you want marketing to achieve results for your business.
Strategy first, then planning, then tactics – that is the correct order, always.
Want help growing your sales? We’ve helped a ton of businesses do just that. Schedule a call and let’s talk growth marketing.
Connect with Jill Willis via LinkedIn