7 steps to creating an effective marketing plan

A marketing plan is a bit like a job description for your company. Everyone should have one, but they’re often not fit for purpose, out of date, and reviewed infrequently... Research has shown that businesses with plans succeed, outperform competitors, and retain staff, more than those with no plan. Without a plan there’s no direction for the company or its employees, decisions can be uninformed, opportunities can be missed and threats can damage or destroy the business. Whether you are looking at creating a traditional marketing plan or a multichannel digital marketing plan, we've got resources to help you.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is your place to document the process of managing and optimizing your digital marketing strategy and creating a roadmap for future growth and business development. This includes setting SMART objectives, vision for digital channels, developing resources, structures, skills, marketing technology,…

A content marketing planning tool to help marketers generate ideas for the most engaging content types for their audiences

We created our Content Marketing Matrix to help our members audit their content marketing assets as part of creating a content marketing strategy. It can also be used for content ideation, i.e. to brainstorm future content ideas to generate leads, nurture prospects, encourage sharing and generate backlinks for SEO. Since we created it eight years ago it's been shared many times and has inspired many 'mashups' in different formats as this Google search shows; great to see it's been useful! I think our Content Marketing Matrix is a powerful mindtool for marketers since it's a content mapping tool, structured to help you think through two key dimensions of which types of content will best support the path to purchase for your target audience. The two dimensions…

Simon Sinek explains how to use the Golden Circle model to truly differentiate your brand's value proposition when most fail

Leadership expert Simon Sinek is perhaps best known for giving one of the most popular TED talks of all time, which you can view at the end of this post. The Golden Circle theory explains how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change in a business based on his research into how the most successful organizations think, act and communicate if they start with why. I think that marketers will find the most value in his Golden Circle model, which helps give focus to how a business can stand out from similar competitors by communicating its differences. I was prompted to check it out after a workshop when discussing the importance of developing a strong digital value proposition as part of a digital marketing strategy a few years ago. One…

How to use Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning (STP) to develop marketing strategies

Today, the STP marketing model (Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning) is a familiar strategic approach in modern marketing. It is one of the most commonly applied marketing models in practice, with marketing leaders crediting it for efficient, streamlined communications practice. STP marketing focuses on commercial effectiveness, selecting the most valuable segments for a business and then developing a marketing mix and product positioning strategy for each segment. As Martech continues to develop, so do opportunities for segmentation, targeting, and positioning. So whether you're brand new to STP or a seasoned veteran, it can be useful to take stock and double-check you're utilizing every chance you get to reach, interact with, convert and engage customers.

The STP marketing model

The STP model is useful when creating marketing communications plans since it helps marketers to prioritize propositions and…

What is PR Smith's SOSTAC® marketing planning model, what is the RACE Growth System, and how do you use them to win more customers?

If you don't know PR Smith's SOSTAC® model, it's worth getting to know if you're involved with planning marketing strategies or campaigns. SOSTAC® was voted the third most popular model in the CIM poll on marketing models because it's easy to remember and it makes it easy to structure plans for different planning activities. So, whether you're creating an overall marketing or digital marketing strategy or improving individual channel tactics like SEO or email marketing, SOSTAC® is your friend. In this article, we will talk through applying the SOSTAC® planning model to your marketing strategy, with the RACE Growth System.

What is SOSTAC®?

SOSTAC® is a planning model, originally developed in the 1990s to help with marketing planning by PR Smith, who is my co-author on Emarketing…

Digital marketing is more important now than ever. Take steps to create, streamline, or optimize your digital marketing strategy (also known as internet marketing) today and safeguard your business against inflation

Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy? It's still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don't have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and business growth, and engage their audiences effectively online. If your business doesn't have a strategic digital marketing plan (also known as internet marketing) aligned with your business plan you will suffer from the ten problems I highlight later in this article and you will lose out to competitors who are more digitally savvy. For each of the ten digital marketing examples, I will also recommend marketing solutions and next steps to help you optimize your…

How to strategically manage your marketing spend in 2023 with 8 integrated marketing budget templates

Setting strategic and channel direction, working toward commercial objectives and KPIs and monitoring success is great, but if you're not tracking your ROI per channel it's hard to understand how much money you've had to spend to see a return. That's why you need a practical, accessible marketing budget.

How much budget is allocated to marketing?

The 2022 CMO survey found that yearly growth in marketing spending is predicted to rise from 11.7% to 13.6%. Within this growing budget, digital marketing spending, which currently accounts for 57.1% of marketing budgets, is expected to grow by 16.2% over the next year. Heading into 2023 in a competitive environment for marketers means…

From SMART to SMARTER marketing objectives: Discover how to define marketing objectives, measure your digital marketing goals, and use data to inform your marketing strategy

When identifying specific marketing objectives to support your long-term goals, it is common practice to apply the widely used SMART mnemonic. You will know that SMART is used to assess the suitability of objectives set to drive different strategies or the improvement of the full range of business processes. By definition, an effective SMART marketing objective is: Specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. One of the main reasons we called our site and service SMART Insights is because we help marketers succeed through using a more structured approach to their marketing strategy and planning. If you're looking to transform your approach to digital data, media, and customer experiences, why not use the Smart Insights RACE Framework? Identify your problems, and discuss solutions that work for your business. …

What are the essential parts of a multichannel marketing plan template?

Multichannel marketing, or omnichannel marketing, is the process of utilizing online and offline marketing communications channels to target and engage with your customers. As outlined in our popular Learning Path module, structure a plan using the RACE Planning framework, the purpose of a multichannel marketing strategy is to empower marketers and managers to plan, manage and optimize the resources needed to achieve business sales targets. The timeframe is typically annual but potentially longer-term, such as 18 months to three years. Examples of communications channels could include, for example: Websites Physical stores Catalogs E-mail marketing TV Text messaging Blogging Direct mail The goal is to deliver leads and sales targets for defined products and services, which can apply to an organization as a whole, or a single market if there are multiple markets and product or service categories. An effective omnichannel approach to marketing…

Without setting clear marketing goals, you’re basically directionless – and working to achieve vanity metrics that don’t necessarily help you achieve your overall business objectives

Marketing goals underpin all marketing strategies. After all, how do you know what you're working towards without clear, actionable, and achievable metrics? Setting marketing goals should always be the priority as they will be the basis of your entire strategy. By achieving your digital marketing goals, you’re also helping reach your overall business objectives, whether that’s boosting your overall sales or improving awareness of your brand. Setting strategic goals is, on one hand, a great way to motivate yourself and your team and work towards achieving better results for your business. On the other hand, objectives and KPI-setting is about much more than just saying “I want to achieve that and that” – it’s how you can develop a plan or strategy that will help support your vision and…