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A Quick 7-Step Guide to Marketing Planning

10 minutes read
September 21, 2023

Ever sat down and really thought about your marketing strategy for the coming year? It’s something worth pondering. 

Without a clear plan, things might get a tad chaotic. Imagine going on a road trip without a GPS, right? 

You could end up lost, or even worse, spending unnecessary time and resources on wrong turns. That’s exactly what a solid marketing plan does for your business: it’s your GPS, guiding you towards your goals while saving you from costly detours.

Now, I get it, some folks aren’t even sure where to start with crafting a plan. But don’t sweat it!

We’re diving deep into what a rock-solid marketing strategy looks like and giving you the blueprint to build yours. Ready to hit the road?

1. Situation Analysis

How about diving deep to understand your business’s current scene? 

Start by capturing a quick snapshot of your company’s vibe right now. What’s your thing? 

You know, that special sauce that sets your products or services apart. And, have you taken a moment to peek at what your competitors are doing? 

It’s not about playing the comparison game, but rather understanding how your offerings shine brighter. 

Every business, yours included, has its superstar moments and a couple of hiccups. And don’t forget about the ever-changing world around us; are there new opportunities on the horizon you could tap into? 

Or perhaps some challenges lurking that you should keep an eye on? By reflecting on these, you’ll get a clearer picture of where your business stands and where it’s headed. 

Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive in!

2. SWOT Analysis

Ever taken a moment to truly reflect on what makes your business tick? Dive deep with a SWOT analysis; think of it as a wellness check for your company. 

Begin by acknowledging the amazing stuff that sets you apart — like that cutting-edge tech that keeps costs low or that unique flair no one else seems to have. But be honest about the hurdles too. 

Perhaps there’s an old tool in the workflow slowing things down or maybe delivery is often a tick behind the clock. Now, dream big and ponder the endless growth possibilities out there. 

Is there a fresh market or an innovative gadget waiting for your touch? But keep one eye open for those unpredictable curveballs from a shrinking talent pool to a shaky economy. 

And hey, a sneaky glance at the competition can offer surprising clarity. How about that for some introspection?

3. Business Summary

You ever read a novel and get lost because you skipped the introduction? That’s why our business summary is so crucial.

Think of it as the ‘Once Upon a Time’ of our story. Let’s begin by painting a picture of our organization. 

We’re talking about the basics like our esteemed company name, the place we’ve planted our flag (that’s our headquarters for those getting poetic), and the mission statement that lights our path. 

And hey, considering the size of our dynamic marketing team, it’s a good shout to highlight the leaders who are guiding us to greatness. A quick revisit, but vital for that holistic view. So, everyone on board? Great, let’s dive in!”

Key Points:

  • Company Name: The badge we wear proudly.
  • Headquarters: Our home base.
  • Mission Statement: Our guiding north star.
  • Marketing Leadership: The champions leading the charge

4. Customer Analysis

Let’s play detective for a moment. You’ve done all this hard work collecting clues about your audience – digging into their likes, dislikes, habits, and hang-ups.

This is where we lay it all out and create a vivid picture. Now, if you’ve already rolled up your sleeves and dived deep into market research, pat yourself on the back; this part will be a breeze.

But if not, no worries, just make sure to do a bit of homework first. What we’re aiming for here is a crystal-clear snapshot of the people we want to connect with. 

Picture them: Where do they live? How old are they? What keeps them up at night? And what events make them say, ‘Alright, I need a solution NOW’? 

That’s our buyer persona – it’s like sketching a character for a novel, except this one’s based on real-life insights.”

Key Points:

  • Market Research: The foundation of our understanding.
  • Industry Overview: The stage our customers play on.
  • Buyer Persona: Crafting the story of our ideal customer.

5. Competitor Analysis

Let’s talk about the ‘other guys’ for a minute – our competitors. No matter how unique our product or service might feel, our potential customers have choices.

And trust me, they’re weighing them. So, we’ve got to know what’s out there. What are our competitors absolutely nailing, and where are they dropping the ball?

Think about how they position themselves, how much of the market they’ve claimed, the unique offerings they have, and even how they price. This isn’t just about listing products that are similar to ours. 

We want to look at the bigger picture, like how well they’re engaging with their audience through blogs or if they’ve got a stellar (or not-so-stellar) reputation for customer service. 

Now, while we’re diving into this, remember to keep it crisp. We want a snapshot, not an encyclopedia. If you’re keen on a full-blown deep dive, that’s something we can tackle separately. 

And hey, if you’re looking for templates to guide that process, I’ve got some handy ones up my sleeve.”

Key Points:

  • Know the Landscape: Understanding competitor positioning.
  • Size Up the Market: Who holds the most sway?
  • Unique Offerings & Pricing: What sets each player apart?
  • Big Picture Strategy: Beyond just products, what’s their overall game plan?

6. Market Strategy

Imagine the excitement of uncovering the mysteries of our market. After an in-depth analysis, we now understand our customers and competitors in a way we never did before.

As we piece together this knowledge, our ‘Market Strategy‘ begins to take shape. This isn’t just any strategy; it’s our comprehensive playbook, highlighting every strategic move to ensure we’re not just another name in the crowd. 

Those gaps we noticed? Opportunities in disguise. Remember when we realized a competitor was making waves on social media? 

That’s our hint! We might decide to revamp our digital presence, posting engaging content thrice a week to capture our audience’s attention. But our strategy goes beyond visibility. 

We’re talking about a holistic experience, where every touchpoint matters. This brings us to the legendary ‘Seven Ps of marketing’:

– Price,
– Place,
– Promotion,
– People,
– Process, and
– Physical Evidence. 

These aren’t just buzzwords; they’re our arsenal. 

As we align them with our newfound insights, we’re not merely sketching out a plan, we’re charting the course for our brand’s evolution.

7. Budget

It’s the lifeblood that powers our aspirations. As we dive into the intricacies of our market, a clearer picture emerges.

Our newfound understanding of customers and competitors, gathered from meticulous analysis, is enlightening. It’s akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where each piece added offers a clearer view of the whole picture. 

Our ‘Market Strategy’ isn’t just a blueprint; it’s our masterpiece, sketched with precision to ensure our voice doesn’t get lost in the cacophony. Noticed those market gaps?

Think of them as our golden tickets. And that competitor stealing the limelight on social media? That’s our cue to step up our game. By allocating resources smartly, perhaps enhancing our online footprint, we aim to be the talk of the town. 

They are more than mere terminologies; they’re the pillars holding our vision. With a calculated budget and insights at our disposal, we aren’t just drafting a plan; we’re setting the sails for our brand’s odyssey.

In wrapping up

Think of setting goals as plotting destinations on a map. But for them to truly guide our journey, they must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

These aren’t just lofty aspirations; they’re our checkpoints, helping us gauge how far we’ve come and where we need to steer next. 

Each goal should be paired with a strategy, much like a compass directing us toward our North Star. Regularly dust off that ‘marketing map’. 

Because, like any explorer knows, terrains change and so do market dynamics. Being adaptive, staying updated, and revisiting our strategies are keys to successfully trekking the marketing landscape.

With such a plan in hand, not only are we ready for the journey ahead but equipped to masterfully navigate through the competitive twists and turns.

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