By Johnna Johnson, Account Manager/Media Relations
Building a marketing plan can be daunting even for the most experienced. Thinking about your short-term goals might be easy, but what about the long-term and how are you going to get there? Trying to obtain your goals without formulating a plan is like trying to run before you can walk – it doesn’t really work. Breaking down your plan into 5 steps can organize thoughts and plans of action.
- Outline Goals
These goals will be used as your benchmarks to measure success. Short-term goals can be based on timeframes that best work for your situation: is it 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year, or a combination of short-term goals in stages? Then map out long-term goals – a year, 18 months, 5 years. Remember to think of these as guidelines that pave the way for your success, but are not entirely set in stone. Your marketing plan may evolve and have adjustments made depending on performance.
- Determine the Budget
When mapping out your marketing plan, you can’t market without investing some money to do so. It can be hard to pin-down an amount you want to invest when you haven’t made any money yet, but it is a critical component to putting your marketing plan in motion.
- Set Attainable Benchmarks
This is where steps one and two start to blend together. Based on your goals and how much in funding you have set aside, you have to make some decisions on priority of which goals happen first. It you are starting from scratch, first priorities usually become your logo, business cards and a website. Depending on what article you read, recommendations of how much of your annual gross income you should invest into marketing ranges from 5 to 10%, but all have one thing in common – – you need to invest!
- Do It!
Commit to following through with your plan! This is where so many fall down. Have check-ins with your team or agency that is in charge of implementing the plan. Monthly alerts in a calendar application can help with keeping all involved on schedule.
- Report, Rinse, Repeat!
This will serve as the single most important step of your entire marketing plan! Do not, I repeat, do NOT write your plan and never look at it again! Analyze the success of your efforts. Do you need to make any adjustments or continue with your course of action? Are you on track to meet your next goal? Remember, Rome was not built in a day – your marketing strategy might have a few bumps along the way, but it is how you learn from the bumps and how you implement your course of action that will prove your strategy successful at the end of the day.