Six essential components of an effective marketing plan
Soooo… you want to reach your market. You know what to say, what to do and where to say it; the challenge is when. Perhaps, more specifically, with a number of marketing tactics under your wing, what is the best way to execute them in order to get the best results.
The challenge companies face is trying to get great results by taking a scatter shot approach: trying to do a lot of good things, but not doing it in a way that positions or sets them up to achieve specific goals or take advantage of the synergies of an integrated marketing program.
Think about your marketing program like waves at a beach. Your audience is a sandcastle. Typically, the waves have to exert some energy in order to reach the castle, crashing on the beach repeatedly, making their way up the shoreline; once the waves reach the castle the little waves don’t really make much of an impact. It is wave’s repetition and ideally their increasing size that enables the waves to eventually the wipe the sandcastle out, i.e., make an impact.
The interesting thing about waves is that while the repetition of the waves is generally predictable, it is the intensity of the waves that changes and makes the most impactful changes. While the smaller waves don’t really make much of an impact, they do make an impact and remind you that they are there. There are big waves, though, that tend to remind you of the potential power the waves represent.
Taking that thinking to your marketing activities, is your company one that does a few disjointed campaigns per year, is inconsistent and unpredictable with it? Might it be more predictable to have a marketing program/plan/calendar that would support both the small, slow, steady (drip marketing) activities along with the larger, more impactful campaigns wherein you seek specific results?
For example, a digital marketing program in and of itself might be like your slow, steady waves. Your events, giveaway, direct marketing campaigns, etc. would be your bigger waves. Your slow, steady waves builds visibility and eventually trust with your audience whereas the bigger campaigns are those that will be those that we want to make the impact in your plan.
So to look at a marketing plan, from a “what do we need to include?” perspective you might consider inclusion of the following:
1) specific goals you want to accomplish
2) measurable outcomes
3) Awareness of opportunities to promote such as holiday or product launches
4) Repetitive maintenance activities you can do regularly to maintain market visibility
5) Transferable campaigns – those that can be used with your integrated campaign that speaks across your entire markets program
6) Synergy – maximizing your marketing investment by piggy-backing campaigns off of one another.
Think about the major insurance companies. Taking for granted that they probably have specific goals with their marketing activities with measurable outcomes, you can see their visibility at every major holiday and event, probably most notably, the Super Bowl. You would probably see other repetitive maintenance marketing that pops up everywhere, almost predictably. Their campaigns aren’t isolated; their message is usually the same, but the messaging comes across differently, perhaps through different characters and mediums. Finally, they get synergy by using themes, characters that have been developed to deliver the marketing message across mediums.
Your marketing need not be complicated in order to be effective. It just needs to be done. Like waves – steady, predictable making activities combined with larger, periodic campaigns will help you reach your audience and enable them to reach your company when they have need.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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