Marketing Plan: Advice From a Brand Growth Agency to Help You
Last update: 7 March 2023 at 10:34 am
Marketing is a vital aspect of any business, and having a solid plan in place is crucial to achieving success. A marketing plan acts as a roadmap that guides a company’s marketing efforts toward a common goal.
But building a marketing plan is not a one-size-fits-all task, as each plan must be tailored to the unique needs of the business, department, or person.
In this article, we’ll explore the key elements of building a marketing plan, from identifying goals and target audiences to deciding on channels and tactics. We’ll also discuss how a marketing agency can help companies create effective plans that achieve their objectives and how much a marketing plan costs.
What is the purpose of a marketing plan?
The purpose of a marketing plan is to provide a comprehensive roadmap for a company’s marketing efforts. It serves as a central point where all critical information is recorded, and it provides a “point of truth” for the marketing team; a sort of “clearly defined space.”
Whether it’s for a specific campaign or something much larger such as an entire company’s marketing strategy, developing a plan where there is a common goal amongst a team can help you reach your objectives.
A marketing plan is a great place to get shared vision articulated and recorded. That can be everything from “what is our current position in the marketplace now?”, to “where are the risks?”, to “where are the threats?” and “where are the opportunities”. It’s like old school kind of risk analysis.Nathaniel Cassidy – Chief Strategist & MD at 3manfactory
By answering the previous questions your marketing plan will help you to define the strategy needed to answer the ultimate question: “what are our objectives?.”
Once the strategy is established, the plan should outline the specific tactics that will be used to implement it.
Creating a marketing plan
Building a marketing plan is a unique and need-based task. No two marketing plans will look the same, but they will need to answer a similar set of questions based on what it is the business, department, or person is looking to achieve.
Building a marketing plan for companies should follow this similar structure:
- Identifying goals
- Figuring out your target audience
- Workshopping or conducting research (based on the overall objectives)
- Deciding on channels
- Sometimes, it may need to be pitched as well
What role will marketing play in your company? Will it be used to launch a new product, or will it play a role in a major change? Is this a marketing plan for a specific campaign, or will it represent a marketing plan for the whole organization?
Based on these kinds of questions, a company will be able to determine goals they would like their plan to achieve.
A brand growth agency such as 3manfactory, which regularly helps clients create marketing plans will often base their plan development on objectives by using the OKRs (Objectives and key results) method.
I like it in a marketing plan because it allows you to say, let’s set maximum five objectives. Let’s keep three of them as short term, and then one or two longer ambitious objectives. This way you’ve got kind of a mix of stuff that you know is going to get crunched through maybe within three to four, or six-week cycles. And some that might be Q1, Q2 or 12-month cycles.Nathaniel
Figuring out your target audience
It’s important to know and understand who the stakeholder for the marketing plan or for the marketing operation is. You need to be able to answer the question “why is it that we are putting this plan together” – “why is it that we’re sitting down to do this?.”
But it is not enough to only understand who the audience is. You must also understand how to reach said audience and what might spark their interest, such as the channels to use to reach them.
Workshopping or conducting research
“If we’re looking at something that’s got quite a high kind of strategy and tactical elements […] we’ll sit down and workshop with their marketing team, maybe with some of their customer base. It’s a plan that’s kind of developed and worked on over time”. – Nathaniel
On the other hand, in marketing campaigns that are geared to raise capital and where there is a heavy focus on analysis and recording of measurements, the execution will usually be research led.
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Deciding on marketing channels
Companies looking for growth
Based on your needs, agencies such as 3manfactory will develop a marketing plan that can help you best achieve your goals.
If growth is what you are looking for, they will help you to expand outside your comfort zone. You’ll need to experiment in areas that your business hadn’t touched before, which are typically paid channels.
Advertising is where it’s at. And I think that PPC, as in using search, whether it’s advertising as in paid social, whether it’s […] TikTok, YouTube shorts – it’s paid that is going to open you to a bigger audience than organic is going to allow.Nathaniel
They will also help you to think outside the box and look at being innovators within your industry by exploring channels that haven’t been broken into by your competitors.
But above all, an agency can help you calculate which paid channels will be the most cost-effective for you; where you’ll see the most return. With the sheer amount of platforms businesses can now be present on, without guidance, it can be difficult to decide which channels to choose.
“Before, B2C companies primarily used Instagram, video-driven social networks, and email marketing, while B2B companies focused more on relationship building. However, nowadays, with the right message and funding, the platform’s primary usage is irrelevant as long as the company manages to get its message across effectively”. – Nathaniel
Channels to consider: Paid media (social media ads, search engine advertising, promoted content…), lead generation (inbound marketing, email marketing…), marketing communications (influencer marketing, event marketing…)
Companies facing change or challenge
Marketing is all about the various channels you can use, but sometimes it can be hard to narrow down which ones you should be using based on your needs and objectives. At 3manfactory, they feel that a good strategy for companies to use is the PESO model, but with a twist.
The PESO is good because it’s visual – The bit that I think the model gets wrong however is that it needs flipping – Starting with owned, and then going through the shared, you’re earned, and then you pay…Nathaniel
For a company that is not looking for growth but rather is facing a change or a challenge, your marketing plan will need to include channels that push confidence, and to Nathaniel, that’s all the owned or shared channels. They can give off a sense of stability to your audience.
You want to communicate via channels where your audience feels secure and where you can send out trust signals.
“This isn’t about getting a message out to a wider group of people. This is about making sure the people you’ve already got an established connection with are comforted, and understand what’s going on”. – Nathaniel
These channels, which include email, a blog, newsletter etc. will allow you to have a direct line of communication with your existing audience instead of focusing on a wider audience.
Channels to consider: SEO, owned media (content marketing, videos, customer stories), shared media (reviews, social forums…), community, partnerships
Companies looking for “perpetual motion”
Maybe a business is not looking for growth, nor is it in a moment of change or challenge, but instead, it’s doing very well and looking to keep the same rhythm, at a more efficient pace.
I refer to it as a period of perpetual motion. What the client is looking for their marketing to do is to make them more efficient, maybe increase their margins…But they’re not looking to boost revenue.Nathaniel
It is now about looking at what the client has, and finding which campaigns or channels could use an external eye to make them more cost or time efficient.
“By that point, what you want to be doing is looking at the channels you already have deployed and doing a proper critical analysis to look at, okay, look, we spend a lot of time here”.– Nathaniel
Channels to consider: The ones you are currently using.
Cost of a marketing plan
The cost of a marketing plan can vary depending on factors such as the agency size, market research, and the extent of the campaign.
The average cost of a marketing plan developed by an agency is $40,687. Creating a comprehensive marketing plan requires identifying goals, and target audience, conducting research, and selecting the channels.
While developing a marketing plan in-hose may seem cost-effective, it can limit the perspective of the company and not provide access to specialized expertise. Agencies can provide broad knowledge and experience to guide businesses toward their objectives more clearly.
A marketing plan is a comprehensive roadmap for a company’s marketing efforts that serves as a central point for all critical information to provide a shared vision for the marketing team.
A well-developed marketing plan answers a similar set of questions based on the business, department, or person’s objectives, including identifying goals, figuring out the target audience, conducting research or workshopping ideas, and deciding on channels.
While building a marketing plan is a unique and need-based task, agencies such as 3manfactory use the OKRs method to determine the plan’s objectives. They also help to develop marketing plans that can best achieve a company’s goals and think outside the box.