27th Apr 2020 in Business

Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes – but their focus should always be helping your business grow.

Andi Jarvis, the Founder of Eximo Marketing, holds an MSc in Marketing and has extensive experience delivering both digital and traditional marketing campaigns for a wide range of clients.

A regular conference speaker and guest lecturer, Andi delivered a Lunchtime Learning session facilitated by the Cathedral Quarter BID (Business Improvement District), sharing a range of top tips on creating a marketing plan for your business.

Here are Andi’s key takeaways:

1. Customise It

Andi said: “Marketing plans are not one-size-fits-all. Every business is slightly different, and every person plans slightly differently. Adopt processes and tips to meet your needs and the needs of your business.”

2. Know Your Target Audience

First and foremost, marketing is about reaching your target audience and influencing them to take the desired action. The tactics and tools to help you achieve that are vast and varied – but the main consideration is always your target market – everything else comes after that.

Andi added: “Know and understand your target market, get close to them. Know their needs and challenges. Your marketing should target them, and address those problems for them.”

3. Marketing Plan Structure – use four elements

During the session Andi revealed there are four key elements to creating a marketing plan, they are:

  • Strategy – what you’re going to do

  • Tactics – how you’re going to do it

  • Plan – calendar of planned tactics

  • Review – measure effectiveness and tweak accordingly

4. Strategy – what you’re going to do

Andi said it’s important to set SMART objectives for your marketing plan. What do you want to achieve in 12 months?

SMART objectives are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Timebound

Andi explained: “When developing your marketing strategy, it is important to know who you want to target. Customer personas are a simple and effective method of segmenting your market based on key characteristics.”

When creating your marketing plan Andi said it’s important to consider:

  • Give each persona a name to help their character come to life

  • Include demographics, if this information is useful to your marketing plan.

  • What type of questions is this person likely to have?

  • What problems might they have that you could solve?

  • Where do they hang out? Online, offline – where is their attention?

  • What relevant information can you share with them?

“Some companies will have two key personas; some will have twenty. By marketing to everyone, you market to no one, so prioritise personas based on order of importance and pick the key target groups you will focus your efforts on and market to” said Andi.

During his lunchtime learning Andi said there is a difference between clever segmentation and lazy stereotyping. A key way to avoid this is through the smart use of data. Data and statistics provide evidence to reinforce your persona profiles, as opposed to making misinformed segmentation decisions based on bias and stereotypes. Quality sources of data include Ofcom, Communications Market Report (CMR), Office for National Statistics (ONS), and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

5. Consider Your Tactics – how you’re going to do it

Andi advised to create a table using the following headings along the top:

  • Tactic

  • Target

  • Activity

  • Budget

  • Lead

He explained: “Complete this table with a list of all the tactics you are going to use to target your market. Tactics include things like social media content, blog posts, social media advertising, print advertising, television adverts, radio adverts, etc. For each tactic, describe who your target audience is and what activity you are going to undertake to reach them. Include a budget, where there is a cost involved, and assign the tactic to a lead person to take responsibility and ownership.

“For your tactics, focus on quality over quantity. For example, rather than writing out a table that explicitly states how many social media posts you are going to put out per week, instead focus on what tactics you are going to use to achieve your objectives and create content accordingly.”

6. Plan – calendar of planned tactics

“Companies who do marketing really well, regardless of their size, always have a plan. Whether it’s a digital shared calendar, a Word document, or a physical wall planner with scribbles on it – whatever works best for you and your team – get an actual calendar together for your marketing plan” said Andi.

Things to include in the calendar said Andi are events, conferences, exhibitions, deadlines, reviews, meetings, and campaigns (blog posts, social media, social media advertising and offline advertising).

More detail, depending on the needs and size of the business, can be put in an appendix. This could include a more detailed budget, staffing requirements, competitor analysis, campaign artwork, etc.

7. Review – measure effectiveness and tweak accordingly

Review your marketing plan and tactics periodically, or at least annually. Check what worked, what was effective, and what needs to change. Measure return on investment, where possible. Ask your target market for feedback – what did they think? Make changes and implement them in your next marketing plan.

Andi added: “Overall, this planning process works regardless of business type or industry sector. However, the tactics used should change significantly based on whether your business is B2B, B2C, B2G, etc. The most important thing to remember is this – don’t become so bogged down in planning that you fail to execute. Businesses with an average marketing plan who execute will always perform better than those with an excellent business plan who fail to execute at all.”

Check out Andi’s full Lunchtime Learning on the Cathedral Quarter website: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/whats-on/lunchtime-learning-how-to-write-a-marketing-plan/

To see more Lunchtime Learning sessions go to: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/lunchtime-learning

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