There is a lot to do when you run your own business. Writing your marketing plan is one of those niggly things that can cause some anxiety. They are often completely avoided. But marketing plans are a necessary tool for driving your business forward. Particularly if you are applying for loans, grants or investment into your business, it’s unlikely that you will get away with not having a plan for marketing your products/services. What is the structure of a marketing plan and how can you write yours simply and quickly?
Sections in a marketing plan
It’s a good idea to have a summary at the start of your marketing plan. The trick is to write this summary after you have written the rest of the plan. Here are the key sections of a marketing plan.
This is a summary of your marketing plan and should include your target customer groups, an overview of your product/service, your objectives, how you will reach your customers and your action plan (with budget).
Introduce your business and your objective for your marketing plan.
State the mission of your business. What do you exist to do?
Your Market (Customers)
Write down who your customer is. Why would they use your product/service?
Your Market (Competitors)
Identify your top competitors and why their customers buy from them.
Critical Success Factors
Put down the factors that affect your customers choice of providers. How do you rank?
Perform an analysis of your market. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? Are they opportunities and threats in your industry/sector that influence your business goals?
Set financial goals for your business. How much revenue should come from your marketing activities?
It is important for you to set some non-financial goals. These could be focused on the types of customers that you want to attract or personal goals such as personal branding on social media.
Provide details about your target market. What are their challenges, job titles, and key drivers?
Your Product & Services
What is your product/service and how will it address your potential customers challenges?
Strategy for Attracting Customers
How will you get your potential customers to take up your offer? Free trials, discounts?
Key Communication Channels
Which channels will you use to reach your potential customers so that you can tell them about your offering? Is it social media, website, local events, networking, brochures or Google Ads?
Write clear actions that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound). Add action owners, dates, and when you will review the performance of each action item.
Video: Marketing Plans Simplified
In the video below, I discuss how to complete each of the sections in a marketing plan.
**Includes content marketing calendar template and
**FREE email course on developing your own market strategy starts 1 Dec, sign up here
You might ask, “What is content marketing”? A 2014 Forbes article defines content marketing as the creation and distribution of relevant content for a defined target audience. Over the last five years, it has grown as a marketing technique. It is useful for building credibility and attracting customers to your brand. Here’s a two-minute video where I give tips to get subject matter experts e.g. consultants started on using content marketing to build credibility around for your personal brand.
Bonus tips for a powerful content marketing strategy
Make a list of what you know e.g. web development, mobile apps, Java, SEO
Highlight which of these skills you want to be known for
Let’s say you choose SEO
Make another list of the elements of SEO you can write about
Your list might look like this:
keyword research responsive website design Google analytics Search ranking criteria Google Ads management Organic vs Paid search content optimisation
Now you have a list of content topics
You drill down further e.g. Google Analytics is a wide subject so you could focus on individual elements
For content marketing to be effective, consider the format of your content
Formats could be:
Articles (short or long form) Videos Podcasts Interviews Photographs Events/Workshops Links to other content on the subject
Schedule the content on a calendar
Add the format and date it should go out
Remember that you can publish the same content across multiple channels
Keep a day a week aside to use tools like Hootsuite or Edgar to schedule your posts
Energy Conference Network based in Houston hosted a conference in Aberdeen on June 29th. The topic was the Internet of Things (IoT) in the Oil & Gas industry. I was invited to speak specifically on cultivating a technology-driven culture that allows innovation to thrive. I argue that if Advanced Analytics and Big Machines are the A & B of IoT, Collaboration, Diversity and Experimentation are the C, D & E.
Based on my research on corporate culture over the last few years, I highlighted the key characteristics of a conducive organisational environment. Some companies I have spoken to over the years include IBM, Dell and SAS.
Here are brief snippets from my presentation covering “Culture that is well-to-do”:
I briefly discuss a 2016 report by McKinsey, published in HBR on digital advances per sector. It shows that the IT and Media industry thrive in digital innovation. The Oil & Gas industry appears to excel that equipping workers with digital tools.
However, the Oil & Gas industry still has some way to go in digitising physical assets for instance. Such assets include equipment and machines. Part of digitising assets involves ensuring that valuable data is collected, easily accessible and exploited for greater insights.