This post is the first in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan, which will include:

  1. Setting your goals and targets
  2. Market positioning
  3. Drawing the plan together
  4. Marketing measurements

So let’s kick off with goal setting and using these goals to drive your marketing plan.
There is often a disconnect between the marketing function and the business or sales team, which helps no one. To prove the return on investment of marketing spend, you need to define what success looks like.

Review your business plan

Work with the senior people in your organisation, even if that means you putting your ‘MD hat’ on. Consider:

  • What are your opportunity areas?
  • What products/services do you want to sell more of?

For example, do you need better awareness of a new product? How could you benefit from cross-selling or upselling to each new customer? What about encouraging repeat buyers or referrals? What are your most profitable products/services?

Generate a sales plan

If you haven’t made a sales plan before, consider:

  1. How much revenue you want in a period
  2. Where you are now
  3. What the gap is between the two points above
  4. What products and services you could fill that gap with, and what that means your monthly targets are. Use any ideas you’ve generated in this step to inform this.

Decide on marketing targets and activities

This sales plan process will naturally lead to marketing targets, activities and measurements that will support your business goals. A marketing target might look like this:

Generate x more prequalified leads per month to sell y product to z audience profile.’

This kind of aim could result in a campaign targeting a specific group of your customers with a particular message. It’s a more worthwhile goal than ‘sell more stuff’, which most marketing departments (even if you are the marketing department) are dealing with.

I will give some examples from e-commerce because it’s a self-contained ecosystem.
If you want to encourage repeat sales, you could:

  • Run an email campaign to previous customers
  • Send coupons on their birthday
  • Create a repeat subscription

If you want to increase upsells and cross-sells, you could:

  • Add a ‘people who bought x  also bought these items’ section in the basket area
  • Create bundles of products that are often bought together, like a starter pack or using a theme
  • Add a ‘related products’ area on the product page

If you want to increase referrals:

  • Send a discount to customers to share with a friend giving a benefit to both

Hopefully, these examples demonstrate how the method you choose for increasing sales will determine which marketing activities are most appropriate.

Next post, we’ll deal with Market Positioning – understanding where you sit relative to your competition and what it means for your marketing.

Find the full series here.

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