How to Plan Your Next Marketing Project in 5 Easy Steps
Jun 17, 2019
For any marketing project to be effective, it is essential to have a strategic plan in place. Below I’ve outlined how to plan your next marketing project in just 5 easy steps.
1. Assess your company’s products/services and current situation.
This sounds basic, but it’s important to define your company and the products/services you offer. What do you bring to the table that your competition does not? What gives you the competitive edge? What added value do you bring to your clients? What message do you want to present to prospective clients about your company? What do you want your prospective clients to believe, think, and do?
2. Select your target audience.
Part of any successful promotional campaign is defining your target audience and strategizing ways to reach them effectively. If you’re not targeting the right people, even the best laid marketing plan will fail! Be specific here. To take this one step further, ask yourself, “Who is my ideal client?” and consider the best ways to reach them. Where will your ideal prospective clients be when they need your products/services? Where does your target audience shop, eat, or what activities do they like to do? Or if it's a business, what sort of business events are they involved in?
3. Set realistic goals.
What’s your purpose for the promotion? Do you hope to increase sales by 20% in the next quarter? Increase awareness about a particular product or service you offer? Foster good relationships with employees by implementing an employee incentive program? Whatever the goals are, they need to be specific and attainable.
4. Set a budget.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You’ve got to spend money to make money,” but that doesn’t mean just throwing money out the window and crossing your fingers hoping to get something in return. It’s imperative to set a budget with any promotional campaign and stick to it. Count the costs and make sure the money you are spending on the campaign will help you achieve your goals effectively. Oprah may be able to afford to give each person in the audience a free car, but most of us do not need that kind of extravagant spending to promote our businesses. You can create an effective marketing plan on any budget.
5. Research relevant marketing tactics and produce a plan.
This is the bread and butter of your promotional campaign. As the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The goals you set are your “why” and the plan you put in place is how you will reach those goals. This is where you combine the earlier steps and think of tangible ways to put the plan into action. Think of your target audience and where they will be when you want to reach them.
Think about their likes/dislikes, needs, or a solution to a problem they have. Think about the message you want to convey to those prospective clients. Think about the purpose of your promotion, and the budget you have to work with. Now it’s time to formulate how you will reach these marketing objectives.
Marketing Plan Example:
Let’s say your company sells premier dog food and treats. You want your prospective clients to know 3 main things about your company:
1. Your company cares about the well-being of their pets because your company only uses the finest, healthiest ingredients for your products without any artificial ingredients.
2. You want your target audience to know that your company invests in the care of animals by supporting the local animal shelter.
3. You want to make your prospective clients aware of the monthly dog food subscription service you offer that allows clients to order dog food online at a discounted rate with a subscription, and it is automatically delivered to their homes each month.
Since your main target audience consists of dog owners in your geographic area, you would likely find a large portion of those dog owners at the local park with their pets. At the local park and surrounding areas, (including veterinary offices and pet stores) you advertise a “Pictures with Your Pooch” charity event that will take place at the park where you will offer free professional pictures to dog owners and their pets, complete with hashtags for social media sharing.
You create event pages to advertise the event online and ask others to share the event and RSVP. Those who share the event online are entered into a drawing to win a large gift basket filled with your company’s products that will be given away at the event. You will also host a contest for the best pet/owner picture at the event. Creative costumes are encouraged among participants.
At the event, attendees are excited about the fun photo booth set up for them and their pets, complete with fun props! You promote your business further by offering a useful, thoughtful promotional item for any dog owner who shares the event hashtag and their dog photo on social media and signs up for your weekly e-newsletter. You provide a free set of 2 collapsible travel dog food/water bowls branded with your logo to the dog owners along with a free sample of the dog food and treats your company provides.
The prospective clients are thrilled with this free, useful promotional item that they can use frequently when they are on-the-go with their pets, and their dogs are thrilled with the treats! The promotional item includes a calling card with information about where they can purchase more of your products online and in-store, as well as a coupon for 50% off their first month's payment if they sign up for the monthly dog food subscription your company offers.
You also set up a product booth and sell your products at the event, where you can promote the healthy, whole food ingredients in your products, and for the event, you have partnered with the local animal shelter and will donate 25% of all sales from the event to the local shelter, increasing a positive image of your brand with your dog-loving clients. Partnered with the local animal shelter, you also have a food booth where event attendees can purchase dog-themed food and drinks, and those proceeds also benefit the animal shelter.
Thanks to a strategic marketing plan that you carried out effectively, at the end of this promotional event, many of the prospective clients you targeted before the event became customers on the spot, purchasing dog food and treats at your booth, and a large percentage signed up for the monthly dog food subscription service you offer.
For the other prospective customers who were not yet ready to buy your products or services, you have provided them with a fun, memorable experience and exposure to your brand and products, and most of the people at the event shared your information on social media as well as signed up for your weekly e-newsletter, so you obtained their contact information to remain at the top of their minds and can continue to follow up with them on a regular basis.
An excellent follow-up strategy for both customers and prospective clients who attended the event would be to print the picture of them with their pet and mail it to them along with a thank you note and a branded magnetic photo frame they can hang on their refrigerator, further increasing top of mind awareness on a daily basis. They will also feel a positive emotional connection every time they look at the photo of them and their beloved four-legged best friend that your company took for them and gifted to them. The next time they are ready to buy dog food and treats, your brand will definitely be the first one they think of!
This is an example of an effective promotional campaign plan put into action to host a successful marketing event. The promotional plan doesn’t just end once the event is over. A great marketing plan will have effective follow-up strategies in place to stay in contact with clients and prospects long after the event has ended. With a little planning up front and a little elbow grease to put the plan into action, if you follow these steps, you’re marketing campaign is well on its way to get the results you desire!
Written By: Bethany Pendergrass