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How to develop your marketing plan in six key steps?

How to develop your marketing plan in six key steps?

The marketing plan is an indispensable tool in the context of a product launch. It is a rigorous approach to be followed methodically, step by step, from the analysis of what already exists to the follow-up of the objectives after launch. The marketing plan gathers, details and programs a set of marketing actions. Establishing a marketing plan means basing it on facts rather than intuition, thus avoiding costly decision-making errors.

More than necessary, this action plan will be your reference to concretely implement your operations associated with your clearly defined objectives, according to strict deadlines.

While developing a marketing plan may seem complicated, as a webmarketing agencyIn this article, we propose you six key steps to creating a marketing plan to serve your business strategy.


Market analysis: internal and external review

Every marketing plan starts with an assessment of the actions carried out so far. The idea in this first phase is to take stock of both the situation of your company and on the environment in which it operates. It's simple, there's no better way to make decisions than to start with get to know you better and by study your competitors in your market.

The information collected will enable you to carry out a SWOT (Strengths - Weaknesses - Opportunities - Threats) analysis which is no other than a diagnosis of your organization's situation internally and externally. What's in it for him? To evaluate the target market and identify the axes to be developed in your marketing strategy.

  • Internally:

We're going to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the company. How can you gain an advantage in your market? Also, what are your gaps to fill? This review will allow you to identify good practices to be perpetuated and areas for improvement.

A strong reputation, an international presence or an Instagram account with more than 100 K subscribers are examples of a company's strengths. For a product we could talk about its attractive price, innovative features or impeccable quality.

Weaknesses could include a drop in website visits, a low margin on one product line or an overall drop in sales. From a product point of view this may refer to limited distribution or low brand awareness.

  • Externally:

In this part it is a question of evaluating your possibilities of growth (opportunities) and development of your company or the obstacles (threats) which can harm it.

The idea is to make a regular market watch and to identify opportunities such as the bankruptcy of a competitor, new favourable legislation or the development of the sale of a type of product on the Internet.

Same practice for threats, with for example a change in consumption habits (veganism) or another drop in purchasing power (COVID-19).

From the results, you will identify possible strategic crossovers:

  • Using your strengths to counter threats
  • Smooth out your weaknesses by capitalizing on your opportunities
  • Harnessing your strengths to seize opportunities
  • Protect your weaknesses from market threats

Download our SWOT matrix model

Now that you have everything you need to perform your SWOT analysis, we offer you a model table to download for free. All you need to do is fill in the four fields with the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you have identified for your business.


To go further: the PESTEL table

It is possible to strengthen your internal and external analysis with the PESTEL method. This analysis of the macro-environment of the company will be structured around 6 categories :

  1. The political environment
  2. The economic environment
  3. The socio-cultural environment
  4. The technological environment
  5. The ecological environment
  6. The legal environment

Once you have identified these environmental factors, you will be able to determine which ones represent an opportunity for your organization by offering you other prospects for development; or those that represent a threat that can hinder development of your company.

Finally, these results are added to your SWOT analysis and you will be able to derive an efficient strategy.

We make it easy for you by offering you our PESTEL template to be filled in by yourself and downloadable for free.


Define your marketing objectives and strategy

A successful marketing plan requires setting very precise business objectives in terms of market share, volume and margin. An objective must always be quantifiable, realistic, measurable and reasonable. taking into account the opportunities and risks highlighted above.

Each objective is detailed, quantified and its relevance is demonstrated in relation to marketing analysis made earlier. Developing a solid marketing plan is based on concrete objectives and appropriate that can take many forms:

  • Increase its sales by 3% over the next twelve months " or
  • Increase its conversion rate
  • Improve its public image
  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Increase the traffic of your website
  • Increase your company's notoriety

Finally, a simple and mnemonic means is used to ensure that the criteria for the objectives are correct: they meet the SMART method.

  • Specific : Simplicity is synonymous with efficiency. The person in charge of achieving these objectives must have the means to achieve them without complexity.
  • Measurable: an objective can only exist if it is quantifiable, measurable. It must be possible to assess the impact of the efforts made.
  • Reachable: Goals must not be out of reach. This could be summed up with the following question: do you have the means for your ambitions? Objectives should be within your reach and in line with the target. The market must also have sufficient potential to achieve your objectives.
  • Realistic: Are your objectives sufficiently relevant? They must be realistic in relation to the means and the time you have available, realistic in terms of your company's strategy but also in terms of your commercial approach.
  • Temporally defined : By setting a deadlineThe commitment is bound to be stronger and the motivation to achieve the goals is easier.

The SMART method consists of these five essential levers to define your marketing actions in a quantitative, realistic and delimited manner which will follow.

Let's take a few examples; the fast food giant McDonald's wanted to target vegetarians. He created a recipe for a veggie burger. Harry's has opted for a 100% sandwich loaf to reach a new target group of consumers who do not like the crust of the bread.

More generally, one of your objectives is, for example, to expand the distribution of your product to five new retailers. Why not participate in a trade show? Or you're a car insurance company and you want to increase your brand recognition among young people by 20%. It would be interesting to do a communication campaign in universities.


Find your target market and determine your positioning

For marketing actions to be effective, they must be judiciously targeted. This step consists of avoid missing its target, by proposing to segment your market. In other words, it's aboutidentify a specific target customer category. Three criteria are essential to make a good segmentation :

  • Criteria socio Demographics age, sex, city, income, family/marital status, place of residence, place of work, etc.
  • Criteria behavioural : buying behaviour, uses, degree of loyalty...
  • Criteria psychological opinion, lifestyle, interests, etc.

These results will make it possible to draw a typical portrait of your ideal clienta.k.a. le buyer persona marketingwho may purchase your product or service. Your marketing actions will be dedicated to him.

It is only after targeting marketing that you will know your potential to exploit. Your marketing target put into perspective with your strategic objectives and your internal and external analysis will allow your company to choose the positioning of its offer. Note that there are three essential elements to consider when talking about positioning : the expectations of the target, the positioning of competitors and the advantages of the product or service. We often talk about the golden triangle of positioning to read as follows: Do the advantages of my product / service meet the expectations of my target audience compared to those of my competitors? 

In that order, you will have a great chance to stand out significantly in your market.


Detail the operational plan with the marketing mix

Now that you've determined your strategic objectives and marketing positioning, it's time to develop your operational strategy. In order to do so we use the marketing mix or the 4Ps :

  • Product :

He should respond as much as possible to the expectations and needs of your target customer. This policy includes various elements such as packaging (colours, regulations...), the name under which it is sold, services which can be linked (guarantees, after-sales service, etc.), the range and variations, the client portfolio and the product life cycle.

  • Awards :

There are three types of pricing policies: the alignment fee (close to the competition), the entry price (the one that allows market entry), the skimming price (which will be relatively high but will adapt to the market). Pricing policy is not fixed, it will evolve according to promotional actions, the life cycle of the product or competition.

  • Place :

Where and how will you sell your product? It is about how the products will be distributed. The idea is to match where your target customers expect to find your products. On the internet? In a shop? Directly or through a reseller?

  • Promotion :

This policy relates to the communication actions that you will put in place to make your products and your brand known. There are two categories of promotional tools, traditional media and digital tools. It is often advisable to combine the two, but it all depends once again on your target and where she is.

Let's take the example of the dairy brand Lait 2 Vaches. In October 2019, the brand launched a new recipe based on organic Skyr. In order to promote it, the brand coupled so-called traditional operations with an influential event. on a barge in Paris. Guest influencers, specializing in foodshared the day's event on their social networks almost live. thanks to Facebook storiesInstagram and Snapchat. After the event the brand made a video report which was used in an online marketing campaign. As for the influencers, each of them proposed recipes based on Skyr organic Milk 2 Cows, then wrote and posted articles on their personal blogs.

To go further: the 10Ps

We are now talking about the extent of the marketing mix from the 4Ps to the 10Ps. Indeed, six new P's have taken their place: People (the influence of teamwork on our results), Process (structuring and efficiency of the customer relationship leading to the purchase), Physical evidence (importance of e-reputation, with customer recommendations and their influence), Partnership (co-branding), Permission Marketing (encourage the consumer to connect with the brand), Purple Cow (innovation at the heart of the concern, making the product remarkable).

The important thing to remember:

Applying the 4Ps through to the 10Ps for your marketing strategy has the advantage of improve the consistency and effectiveness of your strategyof adapting it to your target according to the means of your company, of you set apart from the competition and measure your risks. Each P plays an important role in ensuring that the entire strategy is coherent, efficient and cost-effective.


Marketing budget planning and management

At this stage, your marketing plan is well put together and requires a last but not least operation: budgeting for your actions. Each task or distribution channel is assigned an item of expenditure over a given period of time (which is usually one year).

We have established a marketing budget template to download for free in order to plan your expenses and save a considerable amount of time.


Steering, monitoring of actions and key performance indicators (KPIs)

The dashboard is the essential steering tool to monitor your activity. It will allow you to monitor the evolution of the activity in relation to your objectives. More than a simple tracking, the dashboard allows you to control your budget and refocus actions chosen for their effectiveness.

Moreover, how can we measure its effectiveness?

Any good marketing plan can only be operational if key performance indicators allow you to measure progress. « Boosting notoriety "is not a convincing goal if you do not assign it an indicator that will measure progress.

There are several ways to collect statistics to evaluate ROI. Online tools in particular can measure the audience of your website. The most used is Google Analytics but there are many other free or paid online KPIs.

Suggestion: why not propose a back office graphic design?

Google Analytics of Staenk's website

For example, social networks have a host of analytical tools: Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Hootsuite Analytics

Suggestion : here a Hootsuite infography (if you use it)

or your social media impact analysis tool.

Without forgetting the emailing with the statistics of your newsletters on Mailchimp or Mailjet for example.

Suggestion: here is an infography of the fallout of your last newsletter.

As a webmarketing agency, Staenk has developed a tool for calculate the return on your investment which we invite you to test. J


Implementation of your marketing plan

Now it's time to implement these six steps to develop your marketing plan which will undoubtedly be comprehensive and efficient. You have understood the importance of each step, from the analysis of the existing situation to the implementation of performance measurement tools, from your clearly stated objectives to their quantification.

Please note that as an SME, and with all your good will to follow these steps to the letter, it is sometimes necessary to delegate certain tasks to a web marketing specialist to develop strategies that will help you perform in SEO or on your social networks for example.

As a first webmarketing agency in France, Staenk proposes a perfected methodologyormante for increase your online visibility and generate leads qualified.


à propos de l'auteur.e : Swann Le Moigne

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