Creating a Marketing Plan

Our process to create a working marketing plan has three steps.

First step is the analysis. We create a SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analysis of the competitive environment (who are your competitors), your products and services, and then look at the brand. From there we decide what the goals are as we start into the marketing plan overview.

We set an initial marketing budget. (This can be adjusted later, but we need a starting point.)

Once we have our background information and goals in place, the second step is to create the actual strategic plans. How do we reach our goals? Where do we spend our time and money? We identify five typical categories that fit within the marketing program: brand development, advertising strategies, media strategies, PR (which we include social media in the PR category, but for some organizations it can be its own category), and sales strategies. Every company is going to allocate their resources differently in these departments. Others might identify other needs that add new categories to the list.

When engaging Gunter Marketing to help with the Marketing Plan creation, these first two steps are done in a collaborative environment. We meet to discuss and brainstorm together. But, at the same time, on our side of the coin we’re going to be doing some research and plan development independently. We’ll write up the plan and then review it together, making changes as deemed necessary.

At this point, we have the basic marketing plan in place. It will have a brand platform, a creative strategy (not the actual creative work, but the game plan of what should be developed), it will have a media overview (what media we will spend money with), it will have a PR and social media plan, and we’ll look at how sales are done and whether adjustments need to be made in the sales process.

But we’re not done yet…

The third step is implementation. A plan that doesn’t get worked is pretty worthless. Who is going to do the action items in the plan and when are they going to do them? Typically there will be some in-house implementation, people on the payroll who will be responsible for action items. (If you need someone to run this component, look at the “fractional CMO” section on the website.)

Many companies also engage outside help to implement parts of the plan. Typically can be an advertising agency, production company, or design studio. It can also be media outlets that have creative services. There are other options too. Freelance sources can often be cost-effective. If you have these sources already selected, you can decide whether you’ll meet with them independently or want Gunter Marketing in the meeting, to start them working on the implementation components. If you don’t have these resources in place, and you’re not doing everything in-house, you need to start your search and find the appropriate parties. (We can help you in this selection process.)

Once you know who is doing what, we put together a calendar. Of course the idea is to leave yourself enough time to do the things you want to do. So, for instance, you have a holiday promotion planned for late November/early December, you might want to sstart the process in July. Your implementation calendar will list these items with due dates that including planning, media buying, final deadlines, etc.

And last, but not least, everything should be reviewed and adjusted. The six month timeline to review is not set in stone. For some companies a review after three months might be more appropriate. We suggest at least two reviews a year. And if things aren’t working the way the are planned, don’t be afraid to tweak what you are doing. Or even make big changes if necessary. And if things are working better than planned, you might want to adjust accordingly and double down on certain marketing programs that are proving themselves effective.

To work with Gunter Marketing on a marketing plan for your business, contact Randy at 608-424-0264, or email here.