What Does a Marketing Plan Look Like?

Not Your Typical Marketing Plan: How to Build a Conversion Machine

What does a marketing plan look like and where should I start?

Top marketers set goals. Goal-setting marketers are 376% more likely to report success. 70% of the most organized marketers achieve their goals Most of the Time, while an elite 10% of organized marketers Always achieve them. – CoSchedule.com

A Parks and Rec, meme about marketing nerds that get excited about marketing plans.

The #1 goal that we have for our partners is to develop a system that will achieve rapid growth while providing them with the digestible analytics to make data driven decisions. We’re firm believers in starting with data—lots of data. The most successful marketing strategies are formed from a foundation in research and analytics.

Yeah, we know. We’re total marketing nerds. We’ve just learned to own it.

With that said, we’ve seen a wide spectrum of what others call “marketing plans” in our nearly 20 years of service as a digital marketing agency. Some businesses have developed a more strategic, multi-faceted approach, but for the most part, what we see is a lot of single-solution marketing plans (which tend to be short-sighted).

By single solution is means that while they mention that they want to invest in marketing, they have rested all of their growth goals on a marketing approach like Paid Ads, SEO or Social Media.

Each one of those channels can be very helpful in their own regard, but never amount to a systematic approach to marketing that predictably and transparently generates leads, nurtures leads into clients and converts clients into brand ambassadors who will serve as raving fans of your brand.

So how does a marketing plan help my business?

So, how does a marketing plan help a business?

Well, let’s put it this way. If your current planning isn’t helping you achieve these objectives, then it’s time to make a change. A systematic marketing plan should help you:

  1. Set strategic goals (revenue or sales opportunity goal) based on your aggression level
  2. Make the most of every opportunity for improvement (gaps)
  3. Massively reduce opportunity dropoff by tightening up the sales cycle and integrating sales and marketing
  4. Refer to and utilize critical analytics to make data-informed decisions
  5. Utilize a marketing scorecard that allows you to keep an active record of what initiatives you are working on and how that will impact your growth plan.
  6. Develop a SWOT analysis of your competition to figure out what information you should emulate and what content you should disregard.
  7. Develop an editorial calendar so your annual marketing initiatives are proactive rather than reactive.

Pages of reports and data show that an effective marketing strategy must have a foundation in upfront and ongoing analytics.

Oh, and we forgot to mention that it will also help you keep your boss happy. And who doesn’t want a happy boss? And if you are the Boss, completing this should put a smile on your face and a pep in your step. Ok, nevermind, just do it. It just makes sense.

Any Effective Marketing Plan Starts With This One Thing

The “one” thing is really a robust research process that includes dozens of hours worth of discovery in every area of your company’s branding, sales and marketing. The result should be a comprehensive report and proposal that is both diagnostic and prescriptive. Think of it as a roadmap for success.

Why do you need this much information to develop an effective marketing plan?

  1. Without the critical data to see where the holes are in your current marketing, you’ll lack the insight to plug those holes and maximize all your opportunities for improvement.
  2. Without proper forecasting analytics on everything from traffic to marketing penetration and more, you’ll never be able to accurately project exactly what needs to be done to reach your goals.
  3. Without proper research of your competition, you won’t be able to design a message that outcompetes what is currently in the market.

Basically, having the data at your fingertips allows you to set your revenue goal and then strategically work backwards to create a marketing strategy—one that will actually (mathematically) be able to accomplish the goal. A perfect example looks like this:

  1. How many site visits (or outbound emails) does it take to create a lead? _________
  2. How many leads does it take to create a sales? _________
  3. Therefore how many visits (or outbound emails) does it take to make a sale? _________

What Does a Marketing Plan Look Like?

The findings from your research process should yield extensive data in the following categories (at a minimum):

  • SWOT Analysis

An overview of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as they relate to your marketing efforts.

  • Buyer Persona Development

Thorough profile development for each of your key target audiences and influencers (Get a free template from Hubspot here!)

  • Market Penetration

Analysis of your current stake in your market and the opportunities to grow in influence and market share.

  • Market Share Assessment

The information above lined up against your competition.

  • Brand Perception

Customer surveys and professional consultation can yield important findings about how your name, logo, messaging, and overall brand are perceived.

  • Traffic Models

Find out where your visitors are coming from and identify new channels that can be maximized to boost visibility across platforms.

  • Attribution Modeling

Assign a value to certain touch points along your buyer’s journey and understand the effect of these touch points on your company’s revenue.

  • Website Heat and Click Mapping

Trace your users’ engagement and experience with your website (where are their eyes drawn, where do they click, etc.) and conduct a thorough website audit checklist.

  • ROI Forecasting

Determine projections for traffic, leads, and conversions, then assign value to each conversion and calculate the potential of retaining that new customer over time.

  • Sales Cycle Analysis

Assess your touch points in order to tighten up the process and develop well-oiled marketing automation and lead nurturing systems.

  • Competition Analysis

A mini-SWOT analysis of your competition, their messaging and their marketing success in your industry.

Not Your Typical Marketing Plan: How to Build a Systematic Conversion Machine

With all of this information in hand, it’s time to get to work. Having the data is a necessary step, but it’s not enough. Using the marketing intel to take strategic action to achieve your goals—that’s where you want to go. And having a roadmap for your journey is essential.

At Farotech, we understand that you want the critical information described above. The real issue is creating space in your already hectic schedule to actually go through this process and give it the attention it deserves.

But, you also can’t afford to wait. In order to see the transformative growth you want, you have to be prepared to develop a data-driven system that is built for conversion. Every month you delay is another month of lost revenue potential.

That’s why we offer our clients a Gap Assessment.

Pro Tip: One major benefit of developing a Gap Assessment through a third party company (such as Farotech) is that an outsider can ask questions and make comments that are often overlooked by you and your company because you are simply “too close” to who you are and what you do. Because of this, it may be very difficult for you to stop and ask, “Why do we do it this way?” As time and technology effect your industry, it is essential to regularly take a step back and be willing to say, “Just because we have always done it this way doesn’t mean this it is still the best way.” An outside perspective and the objective data of a Gap Assessment can help you accomplish just that.

What is it?

A Gap Assessment is an 80-100 page, customized report that offers our client a three to five-year roadmap to increase lead opportunities between five to ten times.

What does it include?

  • The full report, described above
  • An accessible, at-a-glance “scorecard” that provides a digestible breakdown of the report’s findings in just a few pages
  • A prioritized list of deliverables assembled in a editorial calendar template
  • A final presentation and proposal for our recommendations on how to move forward, using the data to strategically leverage your marketing efforts

Note: include scorecard image here

For more information on how Farotech researches, develops, and utilizes Gap Assessment reports for our clients, check out our Gap Assessment page.

Or, if you know you’re ready to have the critical insight this study will provide for your organization, please contact us today! We’d love to help you collect the data you need to build a comprehensive, up-to-date marketing strategyand, build a system to implement your plan as well.