A year’s worth of planning on one page

How to summarize your marketing vision into a tool you will use

Having a great product or innovative service will help to stand out in a crowded space. Growing your business and becoming an industry leader is the next step. Entrepreneurs often get caught up in the busy-ness of running their business instead of setting time aside to set goals and plan ahead. Marketing might get pushed to the side of the desk or even worse, happen in a haphazard way – dabbling here, spending a bit of time there, not understanding what is generating the best value for their time. This reactive pattern continues, then at year-end, all they have is anecdotal evidence or someone’s gut ideas as to what marketing has achieved for the business that year. Sound familiar? What if you could boil down an entire marketing plan for the year onto one single page? Would you make time for this?

What if you could boil down an entire marketing plan for the year onto one single page? Would you make time for this?

Much like planning and managing inventory levels, hiring, training and scheduling staff or evaluating an optimal product mix, business owners need to invest time to identify and plan for their marketing needs. Setting aside at least a few days per year can make help to make solid marketing decisions that will drive business goals and contribute to the bottom line.

What’s the best way to build a marketing plan? Start with the end in mind. Stephen Covey had the right idea when he coined this management principal. Looking out 12 months from now, ask yourself what your business will look like – what’s an ideal evolution over the year?

Questions for a marketing strategy

Invest some time in answering these types of questions and conducting some simple research on the market. This information can then be pulled together into a basic framework that fits on one page.

  • What is the playing field like and how is it evolving? What is the competition up to?
  • Who is an ideal customer and how what are the best ways to reach them?
  • What is the optimal product or service mix? Which ones make you money and which ones drain resources?
  • What is the best way to describe your unique value proposition and what voice and tone should be used on all marketing channels?
  • Does your brand show up consistently on all touch points? How well known is it known and how is it perceived in the market?

Marketing Plan on a Page

At the top of your page, outline 3 to 5 marketing objectives for the year. Objectives are aspirational, broad-based and are aligned with the organization’s overall business goals. These are attainable, but will require a bit of a stretch to achieve success. Example: Overall brand awareness and recognition for product x and y are strengthened by year end.

Next, create strategies that are outline how to reach the marketing objectives. Group these into a few themes so that they can be easily remembered and understood. Strategies are designed to become a set of guiding principals that help staff manage resources and make appropriate decisions to move the business forward. Example: Strengthen, build templates and ensure consistent use of voice, language, visual brand elements for each touch point.

Below each strategy, add a brief description of promotional campaigns and and related tactical priorities. Tactics are specific actions designed to keep focus on moving the strategies forward. Tactics are intended to drive results within a set timeframe with measurable results. Example: Refine visual brand identity and build a toolkit with images and design standards.

Outline the resources that might be required to implement tactics and get things done. Need design support? Thought about hiring a PR expert or content marketing manager? Are your digital tools getting stale? Think ahead and find out what it will take to be successful.

Lastly, choose unique metrics for each strategy. At the end of the year, how will improvements be measured to quantify return on investment? Metrics should highlight what worked and what did not so that actions can be adjusted for next year.

Companies that develop a strategic approach to marketing will see the benefits not only in their day-to-day operations but also in the long term. Having a plan with ways to measure return on investment can save precious marketing dollars and ensure the biggest bang for your buck. Start planning today and use my free template to get started. Fill out this form to receive your marketing plan on a page.

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