Episode 45: Who Needs a Marketing Plan?

Oct 25, 2022 | Imperfect Marketing Podcast

We are headed into a crazy busy holiday time. I get it; I do. We don’t have much time to stop, smell the roses, look around, and create a strategic marketing plan.

Large companies started their 2023 plans at least a month ago and are probably already creating budgets to submit for their marketing plans.

I know it feels like you don’t have time to dedicate to planning your 2023; however, I will explain how plans save you time and money.

Why and how? If you have a plan and know your goals, you can be focused and not driven off track by a new shiny object. This advice comes from the queen (me) of shiny object syndrome.

Every business needs a marketing plan, and I would guess that most large companies’ departments also need marketing plans. No matter your business’s size, you need to create a plan!

So, what are the pieces of a marketing plan, and how do you put one together?

First, start with your goals. Annual or quarterly goals work. I prefer to set quarterly goals that support my annual or BHAGs that might even be further off.

When I plan a quarter at a time, I have more control to build in flexibility and leave space to adjust to all the changes in the world of marketing.

Then, you need to define your target audience. This is KEY. Do NOT skip this part! Some say you don’t need a target audience or an ideal client, but you do. They word it differently, but it is still about targeting people to whom you can add value.

I add the most value to high-touch business-to-business service businesses and nonprofits. That’s a passion point for me, and I get fueled by the energy of making a difference for them.

Where does your target audience spend their time online? Where do they hang out? Are there conferences they attend? What do they do on weekends? What are the most significant issues they are facing right now?

You need to know these answers before you get into the next step, which is building tactics to meet the goals you set in places where your target audience is.

Here are a few examples:

Goal #1: Increase sales by X%

Strategy: Get more repeat business from existing customers.

How do you accomplish this?

Focus on existing customers! Advertising in the newspaper probably doesn’t make much sense, right? So, don’t take an impersonal route. Instead, focus on handwritten thank you notes, 1:1 meetings, direct mail pieces, etc.

Goal #2: Get X speaking engagements for conferences with more than 200 attendees

Tactics: research the conferences your target audience attends and organize this information into a calendar. Then, contact the organization about applying to speak about 10 months before the conference.

Build a section on your website that highlights yourself as a speaker and include a request form so you can be invited to speak.

Goal #3: Grow my email list by X

I would challenge you to focus on growing engagement rates, but growing your list is also beneficial. Accomplishing this will involve promotion on social media, a promotion at your speaking gigs, creating a lead magnet, etc.

A complete marketing plan will have a SWOT analysis, a competitive analysis, and things like Porter’s 5 Forces. If I am giving you nightmares and flashbacks to business school, I apologize, BUT they help—especially in large corporations.

However, you probably know your strengths and weaknesses if you are a small organization or solopreneur. You understand your opportunities and threats. You understand your industry—or your role in it—and you know your competition.

While it doesn’t hurt to write it all down, it isn’t necessary when you are putting things together to create an actionable plan that works for you!

I would love to hear what you are creating!

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