- McCord Cargile
Marketing Plans Don't Have to Be Hard
Not quite as bad as the dreaded business plan, but still much avoided is the equally necessary,and useful, marketing plan. Marketing plans are not just pieces of paper that you develop to prove that you're a real business. They are road maps, plans, for what you need to market your business and achieve the success you're seeking. But you probably know this already. Here are some things you may not know:
Marketing plans do not have to be painful
They don't have to be completed in one sitting
There are a LOT of resources out there to help you build your marketing plan incrementally
Yes, really! Just do a Google search for marketing plan how-to, marketing plan template, or sample marketing plan. But, even this can be overwhelming so I recommend you start with the Marketing Plan Diagram above.
I'm a big fan of breaking down large tasks into smaller bite-sized pieces. It reduces the related anxiety and it allows your brain time to think about it between work sessions. When it comes to developing marketing plans I typically recommend a 3-pronged approach:
Start with a simple graphical representation of your marketing efforts and information. Marketing info-graphics and diagrams are great ways to segment your efforts. A Marketing Plan diagram, gives you a chance to see what high-level information you already have and complete a basic Marketing Strategy.
Build on what you have. You have the basics and it looks pretty neat. As you were thinking of the answers to fill in the blanks, you probably were also thinking of additional information you either need or have that will help with your marketing efforts. So take this and develop a one-page marketing plan, one with complete sentences and maybe even a timeline. A Google search for one-page marketing plans will net you several results. Check out four or five and pick the one the best meets your needs.
Fill in the blanks. By the time you sit down to create your complete marketing plan complete with success criteria, financial projections and metrics, you've built up your understanding of where your marketing efforts and resources need to go, as well as what exactly they are. The goal here is to identify and include any data that would aid you in your marketing efforts that was not included in your first two plans. And this, too, can be done section by section.
Take your time and do it right! Your marketing plan is a tool designed to save you time, money and wasted resources. Rushing it just to get it done is a great way to miss opportunities and underestimate the resources (time and money) required to reach the goals you've set for yourself.
The template can be found here:
Hope this helps and Happy Marketing!