Is it important to have a marketing plan?
It depends. If you already have one, how old is it? Is it an extension of the overall strategy of the company or is it a standalone document? Did it come before or after company budget was determined? Did the originator collaborate with other decision makers? How experienced were the individual(s) preparing your plans?
One measuring tool is to study the impact of the marketing expenses on the bottom line. A marketing plan created in a vacuum is nothing but a wishlist. Such a wishlist may be granted in a large company with vast resources, but for a lean startup, it is untenable.
Another assessment tool is the fit. Can it be implemented with the resources available to the company, or does the company need to scramble for capital to “invest” in execution of the marketing plan? Does it correspond to performance? If you have a textbook marketing plan that ticks every box when compared to the contents page of a big business marketing plan, it may not necessarily be feasible scaled down.
Is a marketing plan same as marketing strategy?
No. Never. Knowing the difference is crucial to your business. Marketing strategy comes before a marketing plan. Marketing strategy is part of the general business strategy. Marketing strategy defines market size, competitors, your best case scenario market share, target audience, your message, and goals. Marketing plan is a detailed implementation document that communicates when and what tools will be used to execute your goals.
From here, let’s delve into the elements of a marketing plan.
What is the purpose of a marketing plan? In short, only one reason: Achieve target revenue.
There are different reasons a company needs a marketing plan. Among them, branding/rebranding, damage control, market rollout, growth into new territory, or getting back on track after a black swan event… all of which are in service of achieving target revenue. There is also a marketing plan in funding packages. That, too, must support the revenue targets that makes the company attractive to investors.
What goes into a marketing plan?
It is a roadmap. It defines the execution of a series of marketing tasks, employing a number of marketing tools in a defined order and period of time. The costs for tasks and tools are estimated or quoted. Another important thing is Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
For example, let’s examine the elements of a digital campaign. Given a known budget, and time frame (horizon), the marketing plan identifies:
- Influencer campaigns (to drive traffic to a SaaS registration page for example): their associated cost, content, messaging, duration and finally measurement of impact on traffic in a specific period.
- Social media platform ads: their associated cost, content, messaging, duration and finally measurement of impact on traffic in a specific period.
- Direct email: their associated cost, content, messaging, duration and finally measurement of impact on traffic in a specific period.
- Social Media platform presence and content duration, and finally measurement of impact on traffic in a specific period.
Who originates the marketing plan?
It depends. If it is an internal process, it is prepared by the marketing department, led by the CMO.
In the case of startups operating without a marketing department, the task is laid upon any number of people, including CEO, sales department or an outside source with that specialty.
Given the elements of a marketing plan, it is shared with sales force, management, finance and operations in part or whole depending on necessity so that the timing of engagement is coordinated with budgeting, production and delivery and finally it is measured by management to see its impact.
“Help! We’ve been struggling with this! And many other things!”
Regento clients experience a strategic approach when a marketing plan is needed. We request relevant data that supports the plan before developing the roadmap. It is an exhaustive examination of goals, resources and timing to ensure efficiency and usefulness. The better data we are provided, the more successful the results.
The wisest CEOs, EDs and board members around the world regularly recognize situations where they need to bring in outside help from Regento professional CMOs. If your team has struggled with translating your business goals into actions that move the needle, or you have been all alone in trying to figure out where your business should be headed, reach out to us today and tell us what keeps you awake at night.