What goes into a marketing plan?

What goes into a marketing plan?
-by Tracy Harven

With all the marketing and advertising choices out there today, have you ever wondered if you’re making the right choices? From outdoor, television, radio, print, digital, trade shows, public relations, guerilla marketing, promotions, search engine optimization, pay per click, social media, reputation management, etc. where do you start? It definitely feels like a puzzle, but with some research and insight you’ll be able to start putting together the elements of a good marketing plan for you.

Beginning a marketing plan first requires research. The more research you have the more accurate your marketing plan will be. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? Write down everything you know about your customers.
Common questions:
How old are they?
Where do they live?
Male or female?
Where do they live?
How often do they buy from you?
Why do they choose you versus the competition?
How are they buying from you? (Phone, in person, online)
What else do your customers have in common with each other?
What types of jobs do they have? (executive, blue collar, swing shift)
Lifestyle behaviors? (Average commute to work, coffee drinkers, bus or car)
How did they hear about you?

Get into the specifics if you can. The more pockets of people you can discover, the more efficient your advertising campaign will be. For example, if you find that 40% of your business comes from college kids, it will be easier to come up with a plan targeting them specifically. If you find that 60% of your business traffic happens between 7am-9am, your campaign will be more effective since the message will happen, like radio ads, to target that time frame.

Considering your audience in advertising is a must. No good strategy ignores the details of their customers. Here are some examples:
A restaurant may only draw from a 5-mile radius surrounding their restaurant, so television and radio may be too expensive since only 5% of the city lives within 5 miles of the restaurant.
Let’s say you own a hot dog shack 2 miles from a college, you would want to know how to reach the college kids. Possibly look into the student newspaper or the college website or hand out flyers on campus where permitted.
An example of how customer’s behavior can impact your strategy. If you owned a pizza place in New York, you might advertise on outdoor board or building signage instead of radio because people tend to walk or take the subway/taxi versus driving their own cars. In Phoenix, the average commute is 45 minutes and they tend to drive in their own cars, so radio should be considered as part of an advertising plan.

Once you know your audience, you can start looking at marketing/advertising options. I always look at cost per impressions (CPM), since this is calculated among all advertising mediums.

Definition of CPM: What is a ‘Cost Per Thousand – CPM?’
Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. If a website publisher charges $2.00 CPM, that means an advertiser must pay $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions of its ad. The “M” in CPM represents the Roman numeral for 1,000.

CPM examples:
An outdoor board may cost $2,000 per month and get 100,000 impressions per month so the cost per impression is $20 CPM.
A digital web banner ad may cost $500 per month and get 150,000 impressions per month so the cost per impression is $3.33 CPM.
A radio schedule may cost $5,000 and receive 40,000 impressions so the cost per impression is $125 CPM.
There is much more to research than CPM, but it will give you a good start to understanding costs associated with marketing.

Set up your definition of success. Bottom line is marketing is growing your business. There is also other key performance indicators (KPI) that could help you determine success of your marketing plan. To name a few:
• Revenue
• Web site visits
• Average receipt purchase
• Numbers of customers
• Number of visits
• Phone calls
• Leads
• Walk-ins
• Appointments

Competition analysis is kind of a scary term. Basically, it will guide you to know what’s going on in your industry, stay competitive and to know what sets you apart from your competitors in pricing, offerings, promotions, amenities, etc. For example, you could learn you are the only Italian restaurant in your area that doesn’t offer delivery or the only shoe store that doesn’t take competitors coupons or the only bar that doesn’t have $2 beers for happy hour or your rated lower on social sites like Yelp, Google or Facebook.

Consider past promotions, techniques and efforts. What has worked for you and what have you tried that didn’t? Understanding why something worked or didn’t is key. Does 50% off work better than 2 for 1? Does Get a free XYZ with purchase work better than early bird specials? I’m not suggesting you only run one promotion, only that you should know which ones work better for you.

Know what you want to spend for the next 12 months. Buying longer term contracts usually save you money.

You can find marketing plan templates on line.

We’ve essentially covered the seven P’s of marketing (price, product, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence) will align when you have executed your plan. Don’t think that once it’s written down, that it can’t evolve or be altered based on your goals and KPI’s. Monitor your results often and change accordingly.