How to Make a Marketing Plan. No Magic Wand Required!

Recently, I sat down with Tracy Lauritzen, CWS, Inc Marketing Strategist, to discuss how to create a successful marketing plan. She provided insightful advice and a great solution to help professionals develop a successful marketing plan for their business.

Here’s what Tracy had to say:

Marketing managers and directors are often put in horrible situations. If you’re in charge of the marketing plan for your company your day may look like this:

Download 11 Critical Questions to Answer Before Creating a Marketing Plan

9 am:  Your GM bursts into your office and says, “We need to move our (fill in the blank.) Run some TV ads. Get them started tomorrow.” Then disappears as quickly as he appeared.

11am:  You get an email from Accounts Payable, who cc’d the CFO, “Can you explain why we are spending money on this marketing project? We need to cut expenses somewhere and this looks like a good place. I need this by end of day today.”

2 pm:  A salesperson stops in with, “We need a brochure developed ASAP.”  Then dashes off to meet with a client.

4:59pm: You are getting ready to leave for the day. The owner pokes her head in and says, “It’s time for a new website. Why don’t you gather some bids. Have a good evening.”

If you’re the marketing person, you are seen as the company magician. You have a magic wand in your hand and with every one of these (burst in) requests, you wave your wand and poof! all problems are solved. (Instantly, of course.)

Allowing requests like this to come at you only rewards bad behavior and ultimately, makes you  look like you can’t do your job. Why? Because marketing via knee-jerk reactions can only produce awful results.

You need a plan. In fact, you may already have one, yet “they” aren’t letting you work it.

There’s 3 reasons that’s happening:

  1. The plan is only in your head. Not on paper. (Yikes!)
  2. “They” don’t know about your plan.
  3. There’s no buy-in to your plan.

Now let’s get busy solving these dilemmas:

(Check out these 11 Questions to Ask When Creating a Marketing Plan)

#1 The plan’s in your head, not on paper (Yikes!)

This is easy. If it’s only in your head, start immediately (today) and develop a plan to get it on paper.

#2 “They” don’t know about your plan

Part of your plan needs to include how it will be shared with others in your company. This goes beyond making it available on the network drive and mentioning it once in a company newsletter. Rather, develop a strategy to present it to the team. Yes. Be brave. Stand up in front of ‘them” and present the highlights of the plan in an easy-to-understand manner. Ask questions and request input. Then teach them. Let them know that if they have marketing needs or questions, they should come to you through a process that you’ve developed. Set expectations (nicely.) Let them know that all requests may not be acted on, which leads us to #3.

#3 There’s no buy-in to your plansales.png

Although labeled #3, this is the most important and first step of your plan.
You may have a plan.
You may have done a rock star job of presenting it to the “them.”
Yet, there’s still no buy-in. Why? Too many times the marketing person develops a plan while having business information withheld from her. You’ve been set up to fail.  

Let’s pull back the curtain to reveal the big prize: The Marketing Plan must hold hands with the Business Plan 24/7. Otherwise, complete buy-in is impossible.

What You Need to Create A Successful Marketing Plan

Now, it is true that business plans can be long, complicated and have more info than you need. Or (audible gasp) your business doesn’t have a written plan. Do not despair. We grabbed our marketing wand, (because we are marketing people and all marketing people possess this tool) and developed a worksheet that will allow you to get the critical questions you need answered in order to develop a successful marketing plan.

This comes with a tasty side dish of buy-in because “they” developed this plan for you.

If you are to do a marketing plan that works, complete with 3-5 goals, persona stories (OMG this is an important exercise!), and recommendations, you need to know some stuff. Your plan won’t work unless you know the business goals, so you can marry them to the marketing goals. You need “them” to tell you what makes your company unique so you can develop your Unique Selling Proposition. And you need “them” to define their idea of a successful marketing campaign.

This effort gets everyone on the same page and allows you to succeed at your job. “They” will no longer burst into your office with ridiculous requests throughout the day.

We’ve pinpointed 11 critical questions you must have “them” answer and then you’ll be on your way to retiring you magic wand and developing a marketing plan that works.

Are you ready to get started on this exercise? Just download this free one sheet (Yup. It’s literally one sheet) and get “them” into a room.