Developing a Marketing Plan: 5 Key Planning Questions
Marketing is the process of delivering messages to influence peoples’ perceptions and behavior as they relate to a specific product or service. It’s all the activity that drives a customer to interact with your business.
Successful marketing requires a strategy. But before you start writing your marketing plan, you need information and insight.
Here are five basic factors every marketer should take the time to assess to create the foundation for a smart marketing strategy:
- Your customers: Who buys from you, and why? Chances are, your best prospects look just like your best customers. Analyze your customer data. Ask your sales team. Dig as deeply as you can to understand the characteristics of the people who get your value proposition and find similar prospects.
- Your history: What’s worked for you in the past? What hasn’t? Review your previous marketing efforts to determine the winners and losers. Then see what they have in common. Look at messaging, creative, offers, marketing channels, or follow-up, to find potential formulas for future efforts.
- Your marketing climate: What are your competitors doing? How is the economy affecting your buyers? Survey the landscape to understand the challenges you face, determine the frame of mind of your customers and prospects, and identify your best opportunities.
- Your resources: What’s your budget? How will you execute the plan? How will you follow-up with leads? Figure out what you have to work with up front, so you know how much you can invest in marketing initiatives and whose help you’ll need to implement your plan.
- Your brand identity: What do you stand for? What do people expect from their interactions with you? Everything you do in marketing should support your brand promise and ensure consistency. Keep the brand and its application in mind throughout your planning.