O Marketing plan is a document that specifies the marketing and brand actions necessary for a company to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It should contemplate the marketing pillars – price, square, product e promotion - and you don't need to have a specific deadline.
In this article we will see the definitions of Marketing Plan and its step by step:
- The role of marketing in business
- What is a marketing plan?
- Why put together a marketing plan?
- How to set up a marketing plan?
- Step-by-step Marketing Plan
- Marketing Plan Template
This is the first question I ask for managers who are interested in knowing more about marketing:
What is the role of marketing in your company?
The answer usually comes close to:
The role of marketing is to sell
Although it may seem obvious, I do not think this is so true. When we talk about selling, we think about sales effort, prospecting, negotiation and commercial structure. O The role of marketing is to make the company make more sales, however, leaving the business process lighter..
In the journey of buying a user, he first is aware that there is a problem, which can be "my computer broke" or "there's nothing for lunch today". Then it goes through the process of consideration of alternatives. In the first case, he may think about fixing or replacing the computer. In the second, pass on a market, bakery or ask for some delivery.
The last stage of the process is the buying decision. It is when the user says "I'm going to buy a brand X computer for R $ Y". Or "I'm going to stop by the neighborhood bakery and buy bread, cheese and ham". Companies that have a minimally elaborate marketing, even if unintentionally, skip all stages of the purchase process and already take the direct customer to the decision.
The user of the brand will put it in their routine. He will no longer think he has a problem, but will see the new computer as a goal, or put the trip into the bakery as part of his day-to-day life. Your business will not feel this effect directly on the cashier, but this will mean a lower cost of customer acquisition. Even why, happy customers indicate their brand out there.
I quoted two totally different examples of purpose. My goal was to show that, regardless of your industry and the average ticket of your product or service, a strategic marketing planning can help your business. Some companies end up hitting unintentionally because they supply the attributes valued by their ideal customers, even without a plan. These can be varied: good environment, competitive prices, cutting-edge service, other world quality, meeting deadlines.
But have you ever wondered where these companies could get if they made strategic marketing planning to better know their customers and deliver exactly what they wanted? The best way to do this is through the marketing plan.
The mechanics of a marketing plan resembles the mechanics of a business plan. It is a document, both for internal use and for external presentations, detailing the marketing objectives and actions of a company.
There is no standard formula for writing and exposing a marketing plan. There are several discussions on the subject and the LIGHT, as a reference in management in Brazil, could not be left out. We have our preferred format for a marketing plan and we will talk about it in this article. What matters is that the marketing plan must be geared towards guiding the company brand.
Another important discussion on the topic is in relation to the deadline that a marketing plan should contemplate. Again, in our view, there is no time pattern. We know that the time horizon is very variable from company to company.
For oil and gas companies, it is possible to make a document that has validity for the next 10 years, for example. Already for a digital startup, 1 year can be a lot, due to business instability and the need to innovate always. We at LUZ defend much more control and review constant.
Um example marketing plan can differentiate a company from its competitors. In all industries, there are a number of companies that provide the same service or product. However, those who stand out most are those who know their ideal client so well, that regardless of price, they can be your first choice.
This “phenomenon” occurs through very well-aligned communication, presence in the preferred media and the construction of an experience increasingly in line with the needs of the public. All of these factors are defined in the marketing planning.
Another benefit of making a well-structured marketing plan is to be able to invest in disclosure with much more awareness. If you know your customer, know what he is thinking and what media he consumes, it seems easier to invest in media buying, right?
The exercise of building the marketing plan should be a constant exercise by the marketing team of the company. Mapping the ideal customer profile through research and building the experience of using the product or service should be practically an obsession.
We argue that a example marketing plan please submit the following sections:
- Strategic Research - to support with data what will be seen next
- Target Audience - for whom the plan is being made
- Organizational culture - the great guidelines that guide the plan
- Posicionamento - how the company places itself before the market
- Marketing Mix - marketing definitions for product, price, place and promotion
- Action plans - communication plan and media plan, mainly
From this structure, we believe that the Research part must be constantly elaborated / renewed, through quarterly cycles. The organizational culture will be elaborated along with the strategic planning and reviewed only during the accomplishment of the same.
The Target Audience, Positioning, and Marketing Mix steps must be defined once. Reviews should be made periodically and changes in the definitions, only when the strategic research show profound changes in the company scenario.
The action plans must be planned according to the needs of the company, in order to form a schedule of actions that is useful to the company.
Below you can see what these steps in the marketing plan template consist of.
Step 1: The Strategic Research
All marketing project starts with research… a lot of research! I would say that a well-done strategic research is responsible for about 80% of the success of a marketing plan. There is no chance of starting a marketing planning work without first understanding where he is getting into.
Not all parts of the survey need to be on the marketing plan presentation. Some will serve only to support planning.
And research is not just about applying questionnaires on the street and reading the results. There are 3 important search strands at the beginning of a marketing plan:
One of the least known forms of research is immersion. In general terms, it translates into using the product itself and trying to better understand what it inspires, what it delivers value and what it could improve. It may seem simple, but it helps a lot when it comes to communication plan from the company.
Public survey should not be restricted to demographic data and application of questionnaires. The most important part of this research, in my opinion, is the qualitative one. That is, talk to customers or prospects to understand details in their experience.
A market research should be directed towards a global look at the industry and a more direct look at competitors. An SWOT Analysis can help in the first part of the process.
The second part should be regarded more as an immersion. In fact use the competitor's product or service and make a comparative analysis.
2 Step: The Target Audience
After researching, demographic data should be combined with the results of qualitative public-bowel.
In the past, we used only demographic data to formulate the public. Until the 80s or 90s, different demographic groups had very similar people. Think with me… young people from 20 to 30 years old, middle class, residents of capitals in southeastern Brazil. In the past we would find 2 or 3 audiences within this universe, at most. Nowadays I can't even measure what would be found inside. 😉
For this reason, it is necessary to seek a greater understanding of the public, through habits, profile, groups and consumption. We are talking here about the definition of buying people. That is, fictitious people that encompass several major characteristics of their audience.
Step 3: The Organizational Culture
A organizational culture is defined in strategic planning, not in the marketing plan. Its purpose is to define the broad guidelines and objectives of the whole organization. And, as it affects 100% of marketing, from product to dissemination, it must be contained in the marketing plan step by step.
The company culture has 3 main factors and in this article I will stick to how they should impact the marketing plan.
Mission or Purpose
It is the reason for the company's existence, or the “why” of it. For example, Apple wanted people to be more creative and challenge the status quo. All your marketing attributes show this. From the innovative design of its products to the user experience always differentiating itself from the competition.
The Golden Circle exercise helps define the purpose of a business:
Vision - where do we want to go?
The company's vision is the long-term dream. It's not a simple goal, like billing 1 million in the next 5 years. But it must be something that motivates and inspires the whole organization. It does not have to be something giant, global. But something that would make the team work motivated. You may want to be the neighborhood's favorite bakery or win a recognition prize. It goes from each company.
The investment capacity in the disclosure plan should be in line with the company's vision. It's no use dreaming about something that is not doable.
Values are those beautiful features that various companies preach on their walls, but do not follow. The marketing plan is a great way to put these values to the test. They impact in many ways. For example, if a company values commitment above all, it means that in the user experience, no one would hesitate to turn a night to solve a customer problem. If your team does not have this profile, it's no use setting the value.
The most important thing is to turn these characteristics into attitudes. What are the desirable and undesirable attitudes in the team for each value?
The values also influence the brand personality and in their communication strategies. A company that defines cordiality as value, for example, needs to communicate in this way on all channels (internal or external).
4 Step: The Positioning
O company positioning it is how it behaves in relation to the market. Not only for your customers, but also for suppliers and competitors. It is important to seek a differentiated positioning, that is, something no one else is looking for. This type of attitude makes the company find its own niche and does not have large competitors.
A simple example can be seen above. In this case we use price and quality on both axes, but any publicly valued attribute could be used in this case. To present your positioning to the world, it is interesting to write it. The simpler and easier to understand the better. That is, use two or three words. a mental map or a word cloud with brand territories can help you in this exercise.
Step 5: The Marketing Mix
No marketing mix, marketing compound or 4 ps marketing, the marketing plan begins to gain more practical outlines. You already know your audience and you know how you want to position yourself before the market. It remains to be seen how each 4 marketing pillars you must behave in order for the plan to succeed.
Although the name is product, it serves for services as well. It would be the marketing attributes and values that should be passed to the user from the user experience. A common example are the sustainability labels that various brands of clothing have begun to use.
The pricing strategy should be aligned with the public and with the positioning of the company. It is no use wanting to attend classes D and E with high prices, for example.
The square refers to places where the user will contact the brand or the product. They can be physical places or online channels. They include everything from the physical store, if any, to small online channels such as blogs or social networks. Again it will depend on what the user consumes and where he or she frequents.
We arrived at dissemination strategy of the marketing plan step by step. Not only to the media investment, but also to how the brand will communicate in terms of personality. It will also depend on what has been defined in terms of people and positioning. The public may be younger and deprived, or more serious, with more executive profile.
Step 6: The Plan of Action
We have reached the last step of the marketing plan step by step. It is about putting the actions on the table and showing the interlocutor how everything will be implemented in the company. At this stage it is necessary to make clear what internal projects will be touched to implement the definitions of product, positioning and values. In addition to presenting the marketing actions defined in square and promotion.
Even if your marketing plan is scheduled for more than a year, make continuous reviews and control the actions from month to month.
There is no marketing plan template available, but LUZ has the best tools to guide you in the making of your marketing planning. You can test the spreadsheets for free on your pages and you can start the work today. Check below!
Presentation of Marketing Plan
Now that you have read all this about marketing plan, you must be asking yourself,
OK! Where do I start?
We have one marketing plan template ready in presentation to powerpoint or keynote that not only is the ideal document to expose your Marketing Plan but is also a complete visual guide to help you make it. Check out the Ready Marketing Plan Presentation, by clicking on the image below:
4 Ps Worksheet for Marketing
A 4 Ps Worksheet for Marketing or Marketing Mix will help you to compose the most strategic part of your planning. With it you will be able to define, register and analyze your 4 Ps of Marketing, pillars of any marketing strategy. Click on the image below and check out its features.
Marketing Plan Worksheet
A Marketing Plan Worksheet can help you make the outreach projections and media buying. From a careful analysis through the spreadsheet, it will be possible to better reflect on which media should be the focus of the company's investment. Click on the image below and check out its features.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on Marketing Plan. If I could summarize everything I've said here, I'd just say one word: START !!! Talk to your audience and draw strategies even if simple. Do it wrong, but start today. Check periodically and in a short time you will have a more mature process that can help your company a lot.
To conclude, I'd love to hear from your marketing plan experiences in the comments below!