3 Ways a Marketing Plan Can Be a Game-Changer

By Kendall Bair
marketing_strategy

We’re already through the first quarter of 2017 — can you believe it? While most marketing executives set loose goals for the year, many forego the process of developing a formal marketing plan.

A thorough marketing plan will create a unified focus for your company and can play a significant role in growing and / or maintaining your business. Here are three ways a marketing plan can be a game changer for your brand:

1. Driving business goals

A solid marketing plan will work in support of your company’s overall business goals. Let’s say you’re an engineering firm and your goal is to grow your client portfolio by 15% this year, a key component of your marketing plan should be focused on lead generation. These leads could come from social media, search engine optimization (SEO), creative advertising or event sponsorship, all potential tactics in a comprehensive marketing plan.

2. Increasing efficiency

Many marketers still operate via trial and error – they implement a variety of tactics throughout the year and see what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, that is an ineffective use of internal resources and money. A well-written marketing plan starts by outlining goals and objectives for the year, and allows you to filter opportunities and tactical ideas that come your way by asking, “How does this help us meet our marketing goals?” If it doesn’t, then it’s not worth the stress for your team.

Let’s revisit our engineering firm example above. If your marketing goal is to generate new leads, tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and having a presence at relevant tradeshows are worth considering. All of those tactics will get your firm in front of potential clients who are actively searching for new engineering firms. However tactics such as running ads on Facebook may not be worth the time or monetary investment. Having a marketing plan as a guide allows your team to operate in a more focused, efficient manner.

3. Tracking goals

The only thing better than having a plan in place is being able to measure the success of that plan. An effective marketing plan will always set forth clear key performance indicators to track in order to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) for each tactic implemented throughout the course of the year.

Returning to our example above, let’s say you decide to move forward with SEM and tradeshows. You should be able to clearly track exactly which leads reached out to you through your SEM campaigns and which you met at the tradeshows. If you find that your SEM efforts resulted in 10 qualified leads but the tradeshow only resulted in two, you can use that quantifiable data to determine whether the investment at the tradeshow was worth the two earned leads — and whether you should participate in that tradeshow again. Being able to calculate ROI with certainty is crucial to ensuring that marketing mistakes are not repeated, and successful efforts are continued.

Need help developing a marketing strategy for 2017? Contact us to start the conversation.

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