How to Create a Marketing Plan for your Business [Ultimate Guide]

Last Updated Apr 27, 2022 @ 10:57 am

Every business owner has goals. Whether you want to achieve better profitability or gain more customers, you need to plan for them.

A marketing plan is needed from day one of your business. This will enable you to understand which direction your company is heading, and how to put your best foot forward.

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners still do not have a deep understanding of what a marketing plan is. To help you build a solid plan, this article will give you much-needed insight on how to do it. 

What is a Marketing Plan?

Whether you have a huge corporation or a home business, you need a marketing plan if you want it to reach its maximum potential. 

A marketing plan serves as the blueprint for all the activities that involve how you communicate messages about your services and products, or your business in general to your current and potential customers. 

This important operational document must detail all your advertising plans, including outreach and PR campaigns that you plan on exercising over a certain period, including how to measure the success of these initiatives. All elements of your marketing strategy should be dictated by marketing trends to give it a higher chance of succeeding. 

This detailed outline should be part of your business plan. If you are clueless about how to make one, don’t worry because there are hundreds of business plan template examples available online.  

Why you need a Marketing Plan?

Marketing is what drives your current and potential customers to get your services or products, and therefore bring you cash.

Running your business without a clear marketing plan is like going to a battle without weapons. We’ve rounded up some of the benefits of having a marketing plan below. 

It gives you measurable goals 

When running any type of business, you need to be focused on a clear goal. For instance, it’s not enough to have a goal that says “get more sales.” Otherwise, you’ll end up with a vague idea of whether or not you’ve achieved success in the future.

When you have a small business marketing plan that is based on market research, you can focus on more tangible and clearer targets. This will serve as the driver for improving your performance and sales for the coming period. 

Ultimately, the main goal of your marketing strategy is to ensure you make money and end up with a positive return on investment from all your marketing expenses.

Your marketing plan will enable you to examine metrics that can be tracked, measured, and tested over specific periods. 

For example, if you want to focus on your SEO strategy for your site content to achieve more traffic and leads, then you can measure it easily through Google rankings and analytics data. 

It helps you manage your resources

Despite its obvious importance, a lot of business owners do not create a small business marketing strategy before launching their company.

One of the major reasons this happens is because not all companies work with a large marketing budget from the start. 

But as you grow your business, you need to set aside money to help you achieve your goals. When you have a marketing plan in place, you will better understand how much money you should set aside to perform certain activities. 

Keep in mind that resources do not always involve hiring additional permanent manpower since today’s era makes it easier for entrepreneurs to hire gig workers on a project basis, or automate certain tasks.

It helps you maintain consistency

Many businesses that do not follow a marketing plan get lost in the wave of spreading marketing messages to their consumers.

Unfortunately, they end up confusing their potential customers with their marketing activities. Even if they get customers, they are not able to hold their attention to encourage them to patronize their future offers. 

Meanwhile, a clear marketing plan ensures that you market your brand consistently and continuously. Meaning – there are no set peaks and downtimes in your activity that leads to missed opportunities.

This will give you a better foundation that will set the tone for your business growth. From there, you can make better decisions that are not driven by whim. 

It inspires you to serve your customers better

The benefits of your marketing plan go beyond generating money for your business. It also ensures that your customers can gain more value from your content, and other marketing strategies.

When you have a marketing strategy, you will find out how to address the needs of your potential customers better. In the process, you will build your brand to become an authority figure in your niche. 

It can help you secure investors

The truth is, not all businesses can scale up to their full potential alone. To do this, they need a sizable investment from a third party.

If you want your brand to grow, you may want to find an investor. However, you won’t get the capital you need if you are unable to present a clear marketing plan that outlines the direction you want your business to take.  

3 Important Goals of your Marketing Strategy

Every strategy should be built on a foundation of achievable marketing objectives that are aligned with your pressing needs during a specific period of time. Here are some goals of your marketing strategy. 

1. To define your marketing goals and objectives

Running your business without marketing objectives is like going on a vacation without knowing your destination. If you do not know where you want your business to go, you can’t properly plan for it. Put it this way: you don’t want to pack jackets and pants for the cold, then find out you’re heading to Siargao right? 

Optimizing your marketing objectives to get the most return on investment in a certain period of time is key. 

So what are some of the most important marketing objectives you can have for your business?

First and foremost, your goal should be to increase brand awareness whether it’s with your local, national, or international audience. Increasing your audience will lead to increased market share. This is not just important for new businesses but also for established ones who want to release a new product.  

When all of these are followed, only then can you see an improvement in your return on investment. Thankfully, today’s digital world makes it easier for brands to accurately measure their ROI, especially when it comes to cost per lead or cost per click on conversions. 

2. To identify your target market and understand how your customers make decisions

By now, you may already know the importance of identifying your target customer through market research and market analysis. These are your customer base who are the most suited to buy your products and services.

However, that is not enough. Beyond this, you should also have a clear understanding of how they make purchasing decisions.

For instance, what are the steps involved in their customer journey map? How can you exercise more targeted marketing through market segmentation? 

Understanding Traction & Scaling your Funnel

Traction refers to identifying possible new opportunities in channels to see if they could generate good results for your brand.

Based on this, you’ll know whether you need to move on or invest more time, money, and effort in it. Some of the most common channels used by businesses today include:

  • Viral marketing
    • word of mouth
    • collaboration
    • communication
    • inherent virality
    • embedding
    • incentives
  • Public relations
  • Unconventional public relations
  • Search engine marketing
  • Social and display ads
  • Offline advertising
    • Billboards
    • Flyers
  • Email marketing

Testing all these channels is part of your process to build and narrow your sales funnel, which ultimately leads to sales.

Your sales funnel involves a course of sales and marketing activities that turn a target customer who knows nothing about your brand into active users.

To do this, you must define how your customer base moves through various stages of the customer journey map to get to the purchasing point.

Usually, your customer journey map involves these key stages:

  • Awareness, when someone first becomes aware of your services and products
  • Interest, when your target customer has learned about your brand and made an evaluation based on their interest
  • Decision, when customers consider options before making a purchase such as pricing, packages, and other factors
  • Action, when customers purchase your product and become part of your ecosystem

Building your sales funnel is not just about offering something great and nurturing your customer base. It also includes evaluating each stage of your sales funnel and filling in the gaps where prospects can drop out of it.

As much as you can, evaluate every element of your landing page, blog, social media pages, and other sales channels and compare results with others.

For instance, do your customers prefer discounts or free shipping codes?  

KPIs, Metrics, and ROI

When it comes to your marketing, you need to consider performance metrics when making decisions. It is crucial to understand your performance and how you can adjust key stages to improve the outcome.

To do this, you need to measure ROI and KPI. But what is the difference between the two?

KPI (or Key Performance Indicator) is a form of micro-measurement supported by metrics. On the other hand, ROI (Return on Investment) looks at the big picture.

KPI helps you stay on track of your goals and attain your objectives and it needs to be regularly measured to predict the future. On the other hand, ROI marks the conclusion of a campaign, and looks back on its overall performance.

But why does tracking KPIs, metrics, and ROI matter?

Data-driven businesses must take advantage of the information at their disposal and use it as a routine measurement tool if they want to make more informed decisions to optimize their strategy.

3. How to retain them and turn them into loyal customers 

Acquiring new customers is harder than getting new sales from old ones. Because of this, you need to ace your strategy when it comes to retaining customers and turning them into loyal brand advocates.

But first, we need to define what customer loyalty is.

To help you understand this concept better, we’ll use the iPhone as an example. Most iPhone users are not willing to change into an android phone because although iPhones are not perfect, they believe in it.

More than that, they are also active in persuading their friends to switch to iPhones. 

Customer loyalty is important not only to lower your cost per acquisition cost but also because referrals and positive word of mouth will naturally increase because of it. So how can you turn the majority of the market share into your loyal customers?

This can be done through effective sales promotions and impeccable customer service. Keep these strategies in mind:

  • Implement customer loyalty programs
  • Create a community 
    • Facebook group
    • Forums (ie: Discord group, Subreddit, Private Slack group)
  • Organize events
  • Focus on reviews, feedback, and case studies 
  • Show expertise in your industry by serving better content

Key Components of a Marketing Plan

When it comes to creating your marketing plan, there should be no shortcuts. This will ensure that you will gain improved clarity on your marketing metrics and business objectives. Here are the elements that should be part of your marketing plan.

1. Executive Summary

This is a one to two-page summary of your company’s marketing plan. It outlines your main points, as well as what you have done, what you plan to do, and how you plan on getting there.

2. Target Customers

This is a group of customers within your serviceable market that share similar characteristics. These people have been identified as the ones that will most likely get your products or services.

Identifying who these people are is essential for the development of your business objectives, content strategy, and other marketing efforts and their implementation. 

3. Unique Selling Proposition

Unique selling proposition is a feature that sets you apart from other brands in the market. It motivates the buyer to purchase from your brand even though it’s pricier than its competitors.

4. Pricing and Positioning

This is the act of setting prices on products and services within a certain price range.

It will determine where your product or services will be positioned in relation to your competitors, as well as your customer’s perception of it. 

5. Distribution Plan

This refers to a systematic approach that encompasses how your services and products will be delivered to your customers.

Implementing solid multiple distribution strategies is one of the key steps in retaining customers. 

6. Creating Offers

Creating offers as part of your marketing mix is mandatory. It involves the entire process of introducing and offering something for selling purposes. In this process, you should give important details relating to your products which include:

  • Sizes
  • Types
  • Where it is available
  • Prices

7. Marketing Strategies

Outlining your marketing strategies is vital in reaching prospective customers. At the end of the period, make sure to assess the marketing metrics and include them in your marketing audit. 

Here are some of the marketing strategies you can include in your marketing mix. 

a. Promotion

Promotion strategy refers to the set of plans or tactics your business implements to increase your service demand. Its main aspects include:

  • Advertising
  • Personal selling
  • Direct promotion
  • Sales promotion
  • Public promotion

b. Online / Digital

This refers to digital marketing initiatives that leverage search engines, social media channels, and the internet in general through the use of mobile phones, computers, and other devices 

c. Conversion

Your brand’s conversion strategy refers to the techniques you use to make the most out of the existing traffic on your social media channels and website by optimizing elements to increase your conversions. 

d. Partnerships and Affiliates

This involves strategic partnerships that are designed to provide mutual benefit. For instance, you can tap an influencer and give them a discount code. For every purchase made with that code, they get a commission. 

e. Pricing

Your pricing strategy should not just be driven by your desire to make a profit. It should be calculated to be in line with your financial stability, brand identity, and brand competitiveness. 

f.  Retention

Customer retention strategies refer to your marketing efforts and initiatives that are in place to inspire customer loyalty and improve your customer lifetime value. 

Also Read: Business Development 101

How to Launch a Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps

For many companies, marketing activities and business goals can be pushed to the side because of other priorities.

However, launching a marketing strategy is not as intimidating as you think. Follow these steps to come up with effective marketing tactics. 

Step 1: Write an executive summary

Your executive summary will get people excited about your marketing plan. This short document introduces your goals, past achievements, and plans, among other critical information. 

Its major purpose is to outline your short-term and long-term marketing activities and plans in a set time frame. This document is also important to help you understand your target audiences better. 

Step 2: Set specific marketing goals

Poorly-defined goals are the downfall of every marketing plan. To do it right, you should set well-defined goals that are aligned with your business goals. 

For example, you need to identify how much revenue you want to generate from your marketing efforts, how many sales you must have to hit your revenue objectives, how many leads you need, and how much traffic you are planning to achieve so you can reach your goals.

All your marketing campaigns should have a goal or else, you’ll run your business blindsided.

Step 3: Identify buyer personas

Your buyer personas have a direct influence on your marketing material and marketing tactics. But what exactly is a buyer persona?

This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research, interviews, and other data.

It does not only include key demographic information such as their age, location, and income, but also their key identifiers like the social media platforms they use, and their preferred communication channels. It also outlines their challenges and roadblocks, and what your brand can do to help them overcome these challenges.

Step 4: Check out what your competitors are doing

Conducting a SWOT analysis is integral for any type of business. This will enable you to understand how to correctly position yourself and set your brand apart from the competition. SWOT means:

S – strength
W –weaknesses
O – opportunities
T – threats 

Conducting a SWOT analysis will allow you to have more insight regarding your competition, so you will know what you need to do to minimize risks, and address your gap areas.

Step 5: Set accurate baselines & metrics

When it comes to building a marketing plan, you need to be very specific. Always use numbers and metrics when setting goals involving your traffic, engagement, and sales.

Vague goals will make it impossible for you to know how much you have improved. But when you set clearly defined goals, you will have a specific timeline and baseline to improve your business through marketing.

For example, instead of “getting more TikTok followers,” you can write “get 100 more followers per month,” and instead of “put out more blog posts,” your goal can be to “write 3 blog posts per month.” 

Step 6: Create a marketing strategy based on the insight you gained 

After you pull out all information and metrics, you need to ensure that it is in line with your marketing plan.

For example, if you learned on your SWOT analysis that most of your competitors are not active on a promising sales channel, you can use that to your advantage.

You also need to factor in all the unmet needs and motivations of your target audiences to gain opportunities. 

Step 7: Track specific metrics and results then adapt accordingly

Every solid marketing plan should address how to track and report results. Considering this, end your plan with a clear explanation of how to track and measure each result of your marketing campaigns. This will standardize this process. Make sure to outline how you will achieve the following:

  • What you need to track
  • Ways to track results
  • How results will be measured
  • How often you should track

At the very least, make sure to include the ones listed above, but you can also add more if you see the need to. After tracking, adjust your tactics accordingly to generate better performance and results in the future.

9 Ways to Effectively Market your Business in the Philippines

Whatever industry you belong to, you need customers to thrive. However, customers won’t simply materialize out of thin air. 

You need to implement a social media marketing plan that covers different digital channels if you want to achieve great results. Here are some ideas on how to market your business. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is one of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy. Useful content should always be the core of your marketing plan especially if you want to be valued by your customers. 

Every business should create and distribute consistent content to retain its audience and drive action.

It does not only include pitching your offers, but also providing information that is relevant in their life and can help solve their unique issues. Your content can come in the form of:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Image-based (ie: infographics, memes)
  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • Captions

PPC (search & display ads)

This digital marketing strategy is used to increase the visibility of your brand, particularly your website, on search engine result pages.

With the increasing number of audiences looking up products online, this has become a very important part of your strategy to increase your reach.  

For SEM, you only need to pay for the impressions that result in website visitors. Therefore, it’s a cost-effective way to promote your business.

Because customers are actively searching for products or services and finding your brand in the process, they are already in a state of mind to make a purchase so you can target them at the right time in a non-intrusive way.

Social Media Marketing

Having a social media marketing plan is a way for businesses to reach more prospects online.

If you are not already leveraging the power of social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok, you’re clearly missing out on driving leads and sales.

This internet marketing’s major bread and butter includes content that drives engagement, as well as paid advertising.

Just like other elements of your marketing plan, make sure to consider your business goals and target audience before trying it out.

As a rule, different approaches are needed to achieve various goals such as creating a positive brand association, improving engagement, and increasing traffic, among many others. 

Organic Search (SEO)

This is a method used to have a high placement or ranking on search engines. Unlike SEM, it is unpaid and algorithm-driven.

While this strategy may take time and more effort, it is undeniably one of the best ways to acquire new customers. You can practice this by boosting certain keywords, writing high-quality content, and backlinking. 

Facebook Ads

Filipinos love using Facebook, and just like other social media platforms, having ads on Facebook can help you acquire new customers and build brand awareness. 

Regardless of who you want to target, whether it’s millennials or older customers, they are using Facebook every day. Therefore, it can increase your likelihood of being seen.

One advantage of trying Facebook ads is it is very targeted. This social media platform can help you reach your exact audience without much effort depending on their behavior, location, gender, age, and interest.

This is very useful for brands that have their target audience demographics down pat.

Facebook advertising is also cheap compared to other forms of media. With this platform, you can spend as low as Php50 per day and reach thousands of people.

It would be impossible to achieve this type of reach with other forms of advertising.

Traditional Media

Although we’re already in the digital age, that doesn’t mean you should forego traditional media like TV, newspapers, and radio.

If you have the budget to try this strategy, you can be seen by a huge audience through billboards, television commercials, and print advertising, among many others.

Although it is not as targeted as digital media advertising, it’s still very helpful when planned correctly. For instance, you can schedule your TV commercials during primetime, when your target audience watches television. 

YouTube Videos

With 45 million active users in the Philippines, now is the best time to add YouTube to your marketing plan.

As the world’s second-largest search engine after Google, it gives you an avenue to excel in organic marketing.

You also have the option to try paid marketing on this platform by linking your Youtube and Google ads accounts. Here, you can try out these types of paid ads:

  • In-stream ads, refers to non-skippable and skippable videos that play in the beginning, or middle of videos
  • Banner and overlay ads, which are perfect for advertisers on a budget. These ads display between thumbnails on the right-hand side of the screen
  • Bumper ads, or six-second non-skippable ads that are played pre, mid, or post-roll. This is amazing for increased reach and brand awareness because of its short length
  • Trueview video discovery ads, this shows up above organic search results and are great if you have longer content. 

Email marketing

Just because email is one of the first forms of digital communication does not mean it’s not an effective marketing strategy. 

This digital marketing strategy encourages you to build their email list, which contains a list of people who have expressed interest in receiving communications from your brand.

You can increase your email list by offering coupons in exchange for this information. 

Email marketing remains a powerful marketing tool because it gives you more control to develop relationships with your customers.

It also allows you to use psychographic and demographic data to create improved personalized content that increases revenue. 

Mobile Marketing

This type of marketing strategy aims to reach target audiences with their smartphone, tablet, and other mobile devices.

Because most of your target customer’s internet time is spent on their mobile phones, you simply can’t ignore this type of marketing channel. There are many types of mobile phone marketing such as:

  • App-based marketing, refers to advertising on a third-party mobile app, or creating one
  • In-game mobile marketing, involves advertising on mobile games as full image ads, video ads, or banner pop-ups
  • QR codes, these are scanned by buyers and has an element of mystery that intrigues your target audience
  • Location-based marketing, which are location-limited ads that appear as mobile ads 
  • Mobile search ads, this refers to basic search ads on Google built for mobile with added options like maps or click to call buttons
  • SMS, involves getting a user’s phone number and sending them unique offers
  • Mobile image ads, image-based ads that appear on mobile phones

Marketing Plan Templates & Resources

If you don’t have a marketing team, you may not know where to start to create a comprehensive marketing plan. To make this easier for you, we’ve gathered useful marketing plan templates you can use below. 

  1. One-Page Marketing Plan Guide – Kiss My Biz
  2. Marketing Plan Generator – HubSpot
  3. Internet Marketing Plan – Nerdy Mind
  4. Sample Marketing Plan – Houghton Mifflin Company 
  5. Nonprofit Marketing Plan – Venngage 
  6. Marketing Plan – Mayple
  7. Social Media Audit Template – HootSuite
  8. 30-Day Social Media Plan – Sprout Social 
  9. Marketing Plan Outline  – QuickMBA
  10. Marketing Plan Template – Vital Design
  11. How to Write a Content Marketing Strategy Step-by-Step – Buffer
  12. Marketing Plan Template – Forbes 
  13. Marketing Plan Template – SmartSheet
  14. Marketing Plan Template – Business Victoria
  15. Simple Marketing Plan Template – Wyoming SBDC Network
  16. Strategic Marketing Plan, Marketing Themes Plan, etc – Aha! 
  17. Red Bull Marketing Strategy – CoSchedule 
  18. Starbucks Marketing Strategy – CoSchedule 
  19. Marketing Plan Template – Wisconsin Public Library Systems Marketing Cohort
  20. Adidas Marketing Strategy – Marketing91
  21. 10+ Food Marketing Plan Examples – Examples 
  22. Food Business Marketing Plan – Province of Manitoba 
  23. Lush Marketing Plan – Calameo
  24. Multichannel Marketing Plan on a $2,000 Budget – Business Town
  25. 6 Marketing Plan Examples to Fit Your Small Business – ThriveHive

About MJ de Castro

MJ de Castro is the lead personal finance columnist at Grit PH.

MJ started her career as a writer for her local government’s City Information Office. Later on, she became a news anchor on PTV Davao del Norte.

Wanting to break free from the shackles of her 9-to-5 career to live by the beach, she pursued remote work. Over the years, she has developed a wide specialization on health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, branding, and travel.

Now, she juggles writing professionally, her business centering on women’s menstrual health, and surfing.

Education: Ateneo de Davao University (AB Mass Communication)
Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship, & Marketing

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