12 Steps to Writing a Bulletproof Marketing Plan

Posted December 31, 2019 by swimcreative12 steps to writing a marketing plan blog graphic

Preparing a meal and writing a marketing plan are basically the same thing.

By now, your 2020 business goals are set (or they should be). From there, the leaders of the various departments of your organization should be planning ways they can contribute to successfully meeting those goals. Marketing is one of those departments and it’s time to write a marketing plan. For some, this becomes a complicated and frustrating process. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

There are 12 steps to writing a bulletproof marketing plan, and it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think. In fact, let’s simplify things even further. Let’s put the jargon and industry-speak aside and imagine your business is a family. Your marketing plan? A family meal. 

Ask me, it’s a perfect analogy. Think about it: a marketing plan and meal preparation both have a goal, an objective, and a target audience. They both involve research, building a budget, and developing strategies, tactics and a timeline. Then there’s desired response, competition, competitive difference and results. Those are like steps in planning a meal, too. Seriously. Stay with me, here.  

The 12 steps to building a bulletproof marketing plan / family meal are as follows:

  1. Goal: Like any organization, you need goals. In this case, you want your family to eat healthy food.
  2. Marketing Objective: How are you going to contribute to the goal? You are going to make a healthy meal so they are fed healthy food. 
  3. Target Audience: This is your family. But your spouse and children are not just genders, ages and an address. They are people with personalities and preferences. You know them well and need to cook a meal they’ll want to eat.
  4. Research: What will they eat? This is where you employ focus groups, secondary research and historical data to inform your decision on what to make. You ask them their preferences, consider other meals that will be consumed during the week and the types of foods your family has historically enjoyed.
  5. Establish a Budget: Face it, your household has a budget. This budget is used to pay the bills, buy supplies and do stuff. So for this meal, you will need to establish a budget based on other needs. You will also have an annual meal budget, which can be broken down into monthly, weekly and daily budgets, theoretically. Furthermore, your budget will be allocated to the individual grocery items that make up the meal. 
  6. Strategies: These are the things that need to get done to contribute to the objective. In this case, your objective is to make a healthy meal. To do this, you take into consideration the target audience and the research. Your strategies would be things like make a list, go to the store, follow a recipe, set the table, and invite the target.
  7. Tactics: These are the things that need to get done to contribute to the strategies. Using the example above, we have five strategies. Each strategy has specific tactics associated with it. For instance, when you make a list it will contain ingredients, brands, quantities, prices and it might be made out in the order the items appear in the store. Furthermore, things have to be prepared a certain way (the recipe), purchased from a certain place (name of the grocery store) deployed into the market (the place where will dinner be served) and announced to the target (invitation, dinner bell, holler upstairs).
  8. Timeline: Mealtime is the launch date. In this case it’s Tuesday, dinner at 6:00. From a project management standpoint, a gantt chart will be helpful to tell you when to make the list, go shopping, start cooking, set the table and call the family to dinner so they start eating at 6:00.
  9. Desired response: What do we want the audience to do? We want them to eat the meal. Of course we also want them to wash their hands, sit at the table, use good manners, eat their food and bus their dishes, but we are shooting for one objective: eat the healthy meal (marketing objective) so they are fed healthy food (goal).
  10. Competition: What is getting in the way of the target doing what you need them to do? Is your son’s friend making pizza? Does your daughter associate healthy food as being yucky food? Does your spouse want to pick up something on the way home?
  11. Competitive Difference: Why should your family choose the meal that you are preparing? Is it more convenient? Does it taste better? Is it healthier? Does it bring the family together? 
  12. Results: Well, did they eat it? How much did they eat? Did they go back for seconds? Did they eat more of one thing than another? How fast did they eat? Did one target segment eat more than another? Did they comment on the meal? Ultimately, are they fed healthy food? If so, congratulations! Your marketing plan and execution did its part to contribute to the organization’s success. 

See? I told you writing a marketing plan is just like preparing a meal. If this blog made you…ahem…hungry for more, check out our reasons to hire a advertising agency or our 3 keys to a modern brand strategy.

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