You’ve been doing bits and pieces of marketing over the last couple of years, probably by yourself or maybe with the assistance of a marketing graduate or intern. But you haven’t achieved the results you wanted. You know you need to do something more but aren’t sure what? Well first you need a marketing plan. And here’s why.
The Four P’s
You may have heard of the marketing mix or the four P’s of marketing (some call it 7 nowadays, but we will stick to four). It’s about putting the right product in the right place, with the right promotion and at the right price. These all must be considered in your marketing plan.
The marketing communications plan which includes activities such as brochures, social media, blogging, PR, advertising and digital marketing addresses the fourth P – Promotion.
The actual creation of the marketing plan focuses the mind on your target market. Even if you are “cross sector” you cannot market to everybody at once. So you need to pick a few of the larger sectors in your sweet spot for your marketing communications activities. And you need to find out what those are by undertaking market research – secondary market research will probably get you the information you need. This also validates your sales targets. For those of you who are Enterprise Ireland clients, the EI Market Research Centre is the place to start. Here’s a post I wrote on 8 ways to segment your B2B market.
Creating a marketing plan means you need to think not just about the marketing objectives, but also your business objectives. Marketing objectives come from the overall company objectives. This will help you focus on marketing activities that meet your business objectives.
AKA Customer Value Proposition or CVP. You need to plan what your message is. Bear in mind that it might be different for each target market. Your product provides value to your customer so make sure you tell your customer what that value is across all communications and why you are different (and better) than your competition.
Marketing communications plan
Here’s where you break out the Excel spreadsheet and you get into the nitty gritty to address the fourth “P”. You must decide what promotional activities you are going to do across your target sectors. You should have a good mix across the different areas including PR, direct marketing, digital marketing (inc website), advertising, brochures, case studies, events and social media. Here’s a post on which social media accounts a B2B tech company should use.
If you don’t already have a budget, sit down and plan what you want to do over the next 12 months (keeping an eye, of course, on your objectives). This is better than simply deciding the marketing budget is x% of revenue and will give you the ideal amount based on planned activities. You can work from there.
A lot more than this goes into a marketing plan – this is just the short explanation as to why you should create one. So now what do you do? Well, you simply download my Marketing plan template for B2B tech companies – my most popular Slideshare with over 4,300 views. So get started!
Originally published 3 Aug 2017
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