5 Key Elements to a Great Marketing Plan

5 Key Elements to a Great Marketing Plan

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Whether you are just starting your business, or you are a seasoned professional trying to revamp your marketing or expand your reach into a new niche, it is essential to have a marketing plan.


Sometimes a shotgun marketing approach will work temporarily but unless that approach is analyzed and refined at some point, a business will eventually be spending way more on marketing than necessary, and conversion rates and return on investment will be extremely low.


There are five key elements of a marketing plan regardless of the stage your business is in.


Market Research


The first key is to do market research. This can be a number of ways, and with modern technology we have a lot of data about customers and the devices they use, and how they interact with businesses, make purchases, and even buying habits and budgets.


This is all a part of Big Data, the huge collection of data created by users sharing information and the data gathered passively by the internet of things. This includes public data, industry data, and enterprise data that is gathered by your company and your interactions with your customers.


Certainly a part of this research is competitor analysis as well: what is your competition doing that is working or not working? What is their digital footprint, and who is following and interacting with them on social media? You can take lessons from both the good and bad that they are doing, and use that data to refine your own marketing efforts.


Target Market


Once you have done your research, not you can determine what your target market is. This includes you answering for yourself and your company several questions.


  • Who makes up your target audience? Are they male or female or both? What age group do they fit into? How much money do they make? Do they own their homes or rent? What cell phone provider do they use? These can all be answered through some simple social media mapping and using various analytics tools.
  • Where do they live? Are you a local business looking for the right location? Should you open more than one? Where do your customers shop online currently for your product or service, and how will you convince them that your website is a better place to do that? Where do they browse and what sites? Can you get ads or sponsored posts on those sites?
  • How do they buy? DO they buy online from their phone? A laptop or desktop? Do they shop online and then purchase in person? What payment methods do they use?
  • What do they do for fun? When they are not shopping, what are your customers or potential customers reading, what sites do they visit online, what activities do they engage in? Answering these questions lets you target them at the right time and place.


Knowing your target market is how you reach the right users, ones that are ready to buy from you or will be soon, and reaching them at a time and place that works for them.


Market Strategy


This leads you to marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is often about more than just placing digital ads and engaging in a content strategy online. Sometimes it means physical advertising or even more traditional means like print ads and television.


If you have done market research and determined your target market, and are still struggling with strategy, hiring an agency may be the right answer for you, at least initially. They can analyze the data you have gathered, give you a direction, and help you initiate your plan. Often smaller agencies can offer you more directed plans and personal service a large agency cannot.


Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, you need to set yourself up with a defined marketing strategy that encompasses all aspects of the marketing you need to do.




When you are first starting out, your marketing budget will be larger than it will be once you get things rolling. Initial research and analysis, along with setting up and designing ads will cost you more than maintaining them.


At first too you will want to do some A/B testing, which may cost you more at the outset as well. Investment is the key.


Good marketing and advertising will cost you money. Think of it this way: if you are unwilling to invest in your business, why would your customers invest in you? The more you put into marketing, the greater your return. Budget for it.


Just make sure that your marketing is intentional and targeted properly,




Once your marketing is up and running, you need to know if it is working. The only way to do that is through metrics and analytics. This means you have to look at numbers: what is your ROI? What is your percentage of conversions? If it is low, why? If you are not getting an 8 or 9% conversion rate, something in your site is probably broken. If traffic is not increasing, or worse, decreasing, you need to analyze why.


This could be your content, it could be your strategy, or it could be your targeting is off. Taking a realistic look at analytics will tell you why what is happening is occurring. You can gather these through your website, Google analytics, and several other methods. This should be a part of your website design and your marketing strategy overall.


A solid marketing plan should be an intricate part of your business plan. If you don’t know what target you are aiming for, you won’t know if you have hit it, or even how close you are getting. The initial push of a shotgun approach to marketing will get some results for a while, but it is not a long term, sustainable strategy. Incorporate these five elements into your marketing plan to make it the most successful it can be.

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