If you’re not in the marketing industry, or before you joined it, you may have found yourself asking, ‘why is a marketing plan important?’ Basically, it’s what shapes your entire strategy and allows you to start doing the work to engage with your customers. Most things in life involve a plan, and you can’t go into marketing blindly without thinking about what will grab your target audience’s attention. So, if you don’t have a strategic marketing planning process in your company, it could severely affect your growth.
Luckily, we were able to speak to Safia Hatcher, who has a lot of experience in marketing and provided the advice any newbie will need. She talked to us about the marketing planning process and why being strategic is important. There’s no point in making a plan without a strategy behind it.
This is why in today’s Rediscover Marketing, we’re going to focus on how to come up with a strategic plan for your marketing campaign this year. Before you know it, you’ll be a marketing guru and all ready to go!
Safia Hatcher currently works for two different companies, Easy Water for Everyone and Clean Streak Ventures. She works for Clean Streak Ventures as a digital marketing coordinator, and that is her full-time position. Easy Water for Everyone is more of a part-time role for Safia, and she’s been with them for two years to help them grow their digital footprint.
Safia has only just started with Clean Streak Ventures, and it’s currently just her who’s part of the marketing team. Once she gets things established amongst the company, they’ll start adding more people to the team.
While talking to Safia, we asked her about what she thinks other marketing and growth leaders should focus on at the moment. She believes that leaders should be mindful about what current stage their consumers are at and figuring out what they are expressing. You can do this by figuring out in a strategic way how to make decisions and make the quarter better for your business.
What businesses and marketing companies need to do is understand the current need right now and how to pivot easily. This will allow you to put together a market research plan. Some good ways to start off your strategic plan for your marketing campaign is by looking at the parts of a marketing plan. You can do this by using a free marketing plan template or investing in some marketing planning software.
Here are some ways on how you can implement strategic planning into your marketing campaign:
The balanced scorecard (BSC) is a strategic planning model that can help you figure out your goals and objectives for your marketing campaign. You start out with the model by thinking about your company’s mission, vision, and areas that need more strategic focus. You’ll be able to do this by using strategy maps. Once you can visualize each of your goals, the model can help your business develop more of a customer focus. You’ll want to set out goals for the main customer concerns; time, quality, performance, service, and cost. Once you’ve set out your goals, you can focus on making them happen.
As the name suggests, this model for strategic planning allows you to look at two things — your objectives and key results. You’ll use this model to identify 3–5 objectives and 3–5 key results for each goal. This model also allows you to work out the success of each key result based on a score between 0–1 or 0%-100%.
Unlike the two models listed already, the theory of change is a strategic planning method that involves you and your team thinking backward to develop the conditions needed to achieve your goals. You start by identifying your long-term goals and then think back to what conditions will be required to achieve these goals. Alongside this, you’ll need to come up with some assumptions about the situation you’re in and think of what you need to do to achieve your goals. Once you’ve got all of this thought out, determine a way in which you can evaluate your success. Finish by writing an explanation of the thought process behind your plan.
Instead of following a model of theory, you can use the Porter’s Five Forces strategic planning tool. Using it will help you and your team sees what forces impact your industry and where your business stands competitively. The five forces you’ll have to evaluate are competition in the industry, the potential of new entrants into the industry, power of suppliers, power of customers, and the threat of substitute products.
Like Porter’s Five Forces, the VRIO framework is also a strategic planning tool you can use for your marketing campaign. It allows you to identify what puts your product or service ahead of your competition. You’ll have to look at four elements and consider them to create a successful plan that will help you meet customer demand. The four elements are value, rarity, imitability, and organization.
Another strategic planning tool to use is the SWOT analysis. It allows you to identify and prioritize your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You’ll start off by brainstorming with your team and make a list for each element based on what you know already. The next step involves you prioritizing information in your lists to provide a basis for your objectives, strategies, and tactics.
This strategic planning model allows you to focus on your goals and initiatives before you set out with your marketing campaign. It also ensures that all efforts are coordinated amongst your team. The model consists of four critical steps which you’ll have to work through. The first is identifying key goals where you should come up with around 3–5 goals. You’ll then want to share your goals throughout the company you work in to get a second opinion. After this, you’ll execute your goals and see how it’s going while also gathering feedback from your team. The model ends with changing your strategy based on your feedback.
Alongside the topic of strategic planning, we also discussed the importance of digital marketing in today’s world with Safia. She sees traditional marketing as being the thing that had to help us walk in order to run, but we can reach people at a more accelerated pace with digital marketing. This is why she believes the elements of a marketing plan should include a digital marketing strategy.
Alongside the popularity of social media and being able to reach a wider audience, Safia also pointed out that digital marketing is cost-effective. Using this form of marketing allows smaller businesses to play the game too at an affordable price. On the other end of marketing, traditional is much more expensive as you have to pay for ad time and the cost of printing out leaflets and newsletters.
However, although Safia is a strong advocate for conducting a digital marketing business plan, she stated that some company’s audiences aren’t online yet. This would mainly apply to the older generation who prefer physical advertising and don’t have access to many social media platforms. Therefore, Safia believes that traditional marketing is still important for the time being.
We’ve also identified some more advantages of digital marketing which are outlined below:
When using traditional marketing, it’s pretty tricky to measure and track how effective it’s been. Luckily, digital marketing can let you know almost immediately how much traffic you’ve gathered. For example, there is email marketing software where you can view the performance of the emails you’ve sent out. It will allow you to see how many were opened, read and which ones drove the most traffic to your website or social media page. This is just one example, and there are many other easy-to-use tools where you can look at all sorts of analytics.
With digital marketing, it’s much easier to target who you want your ads to reach. Usually, you can do this by looking at your customers based on their preferences. For example, social media platforms use an algorithm that identifies user preferences and then displays specific ad campaigns to them. This will increase the chances of a customer visiting your website and making a purchase rather than showing an ad to a random group of people who may not be interested.
Unlike in the traditional marketing world, you can pretty much respond to your customers straight away. If you have an active social media account, you can gain better customer loyalty by having someone on standby to keep communications frequent and consistent. This way, customers will more likely support your brand because they know they’ll be getting a better experience post-purchase. You can also keep them engaged with frequent offers and promotions and constantly updating your social media pages.
The internet never sleeps, so neither will your marketing campaign. You’ll be able to reach people all around the world every single minute of the day. Unlike traditional marketing, you can do this without worrying about paying extra for your employees to work later. You just have to place an ad or some form of content, and you can rest easy knowing you’ll still be getting reach when you go to bed.
Data review is important for a lot of companies when it comes to marketing. This is why we asked Safia if she has a process of regular review that she finds effective. She told us that she goes over data once a month with the team she’s working with to build content for their campaign. Alongside this, she also works with them biweekly.
Safia told us that she doesn’t like to hover over people daily and prefers to give trust and breathing room for people to complete things when they need to be done.
How Safia uses her data was discussed as well. She likes to analyze data by understanding the audience and then seeing what types of words best resonate with them. As well as words, she’ll also see what the best media is to capture her audience’s attention. Using these insights, she’ll adapt her marketing action plan.
As the interview came to a close, Safia gave us a few key points that other successful leaders should use in the next year. She believes you should start out with brainstorming part of your planning for the rest of your year. Also, have your team give you feedback and understand why your team is giving you this type of feedback.
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