Your 2017 Marketing Plan: It is not too late to start the year off right - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 31 Jan 2017

Your 2017 Marketing Plan: It is not too late to start the year off right

Did you miss our marketing plan webinar? Read the recap below or watch the recording to catch up!

We’re almost a month into 2017 and after the rush of the holidays we’re all getting settled back into our normal routines. That also means it’s time to hit the ground running with your 2017 marketing efforts, and those efforts SHOULD begin with a solid marketing plan for 2017.

But what if you don’t have a 2017 marketing plan? 2017 has already begun so it’s too late to worry about it now, isn’t it? Truth be told, it’s never too late to create a marketing plan for your business! Today let’s take a closer look at what a marketing plan is, why you need one, and why it’s never too late to create a plan for marketing your business in order to help it succeed!

marketing plan

First things first, let’s define what a marketing plan is. In short, a marketing plan is “part of the business plan outlining the marketing strategy” (The Digital Marketing Reference). A marketing plan can be created for marketing your entire business, or can be narrowed down for a particular product or service, depending on your needs and business goals for the year. For today’s discussion, we’ll be considering the overall business and its marketing plan.

Now that you know what a marketing plan is, it’s time to talk about why you need one. Your marketing plan will help guide your marketing efforts as well as keep your entire team on track to ensure you are communicating a consistent message to the right audience. However, it goes much further than that. Following are some additional reasons for why you need a marketing plan:

  1. Puts your thought process on paper and showcases the bigger picture
  2. Provides direction and helps you focus in on your customers
  3. Will help define your business’ vision and target audience/client
  4. Allows you to determine where you want to go and maps out how you plan to get there
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  5. Helps you and employees understand business goals and helps everyone make educated decisions on their own that are in line with your business objectives
  6. Allows you to monitor your success as you work toward your goal

So how do you start writing a marketing plan? The first step is to take a look at your overall business goals, as well as your goals for the year. Do you want to increase sales? Expand into a new region? Expand your services? Launch a new product? Once you have determined which goals you want to work toward this year, you’re ready to start defining a strategy for achieving those goals. Think of your strategy as an overall game plan. Then, start outlining the tactics to achieve the strategy.

Once you have your strategy and tactics for achieving your goals in place, it’s time to define the resources you have to make all of this happen. Time and money are your biggest assets, but as we all know, these resources have their limits. That’s why you need to plan wisely when it comes to how you will spend your marketing budget, as well as spread the work evenly among your marketing team members. This will help you maximize every dollar and hour you have. After you’ve determined your resources, you’re ready to convert this into a realistic and achievable plan for your team.

By now, you should have a good picture of what your marketing plan should contain, but you’re probably wondering what it actually looks like. The best advice we can give is to avoid making your marketing plan overly complicated. Start out with a written document that defines your goals, strategy, and objectives. Once these are set, you’ll want to build a calendar and budget. This is an important step to allocate your resources so you are creating a plan that is achievable.

The final document in this mix is your reporting template. It’s always better to map out how you are going to report your return on your investments so that you are building something that you can measure.

As you start to create your marketing plan, there are a few best practices we recommend you keep in mind.

  1. Define what success looks like to you and your team so everyone will know when your plan is succeeding.
  2. Give clear ownership and specific responsibilities to the team members that will have a part in rolling the plan out.
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  3. Set up regular reporting and audits. This will help you see successes, areas in need of improvement or reevaluation, spot trends, etc.
  4. The Marketing Mix: You can use both internal and external resources to achieve your plan.
  5. Have one person oversee the plan.
  6. Be flexible. Don’t stress out if you see something isn’t working out like you had hoped. Use this as a time to readjust based on what is working.

Hopefully you now feel a little more equipped to create a marketing plan for your business. As always, Rock Paper Scissors can help with any questions, so feel free to contact us! Also, be sure to mark your calendar for our February webinar! Join us on February 15 as we talk about taking a “less is more” approach to advertising.