Are you having trouble setting objectives for your business? What is the key to knowing how to create a marketing plan?
In The Marketing Plan, William M. Luther emphasizes the importance of setting goals for your business. He explains that an effective marketing plan should include three components: an outline of your business goals, the strategies you’ll use to achieve those goals, and measurable short-term objectives.
Here’s how to create a marketing plan with Luther’s advice.
Resources to Create Your Marketing Plan
Once you’ve completed the research to determine your target audience, market size, and competition, you’ll have a good idea about which market you should target and the strategies you need to use to beat the competition. Luther suggests that you should test these ideas by learning how to create a marketing plan. To do so, you need to calculate the profitability of different pricing, budget, and create sales strategies for your product or service. The published edition of The Marketing Plan provides access to online software to help you achieve this.
(Shortform note: In addition to using Luther’s software to calculate the profitability of different strategies, consider developing prototypes of each strategy to test consumer responses. According to management experts, prototypes are the most effective way to gather real-world data that tests the viability of different strategies. For example, use your current email database to test how your existing customers respond to different pricing or sales methods for potential products and services.)
After you’ve tested your ideas, you’ll have enough information to complete your marketing plan. According to Luther, an effective marketing plan should include the following three components:
- An outline of your business goals for the next five to ten years
- A summary of the strategies you’ll use to achieve these goals
- A list of measurable short-term objectives to ensure that you’re on the right track
Advice on Setting Goals, Strategies, and Objectives
While Luther asserts that you should create your marketing plan around long-term goals, strategies, and objectives, he doesn’t provide practical advice on how to come up with them. Therefore, we’ve adapted an effective goal-setting process from Measure What Matters to help you define your business goals and create the necessary strategies and objectives to achieve them.
- Define your company’s overall goal: This is your vision of where you want to be in the next five years. It needs to be clearly defined and action-oriented. For example, acquire 35% of the market and generate annual revenue of $500,000.
- Identify individual objectives: Every individual within your various departments and teams needs to identify their objectives. The objectives they define for themselves must align with the company’s main objective. For example, your sales colleague might set an objective to acquire X number of customers by the end of the year.
- Define your key results: Your key results must be measurable sub-goals towards achieving your final vision. They need to include specific results and deadlines. To identify your key results, ask yourself, “What steps do I need to complete to reach my objective?” For example, your sales colleague’s key results might be to increase online sales by five percent every month, increase offline sales by 10% every month, and so on.
- Regularly check progress: Checking the progress of each key result provides valuable insights that will help you to stay on track—it helps you to assess the effectiveness of your current strategy and provides an opportunity to revise or update your key results. The frequency of your check-ins depends on the length of time needed to achieve each key result.
Using this process to define both your long-term and short-term goals will ensure that all of your team members are:
- Focused on one final objective
- Aligned towards achieving this objective
- Accountable for the progress they make towards achieving this objective