Writing Your Marketing Plan
Now that you know what goes into a full-featured digital marketing plan, how do you go about writing that plan?
First, the good news. An effective marketing plan doesn’t have to be a massive document. I know that there’s a lot of information that needs to be presented, but (depending on the needs of your particular company), you can present a lot of it in bullet points. It’s important that your audience (senior management, typically) get the gist of what you’re proposing; presenting them with a novel-length document probably isn’t the best way to go about it.
That said, you do need to include all the pertinent information, in as much detail as is necessary. That means doing your homework ahead of time, and a lot of it; then you can decide how best to present each piece of data. Some information should be presented in text format; other information can be presented visually, typically in a table or graph. Use the format that works best for you.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all these details and lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. To that end, I like to think of a marketing plan as a discussion; writing the plan, then, simply entails documenting that discussion.
Here’s how I like to approach it. Imagine that you’re sitting in a coffeehouse or bar, talking with a colleague about your marketing activities. You talk your friend through what you’re doing and what you’d like to do, and that becomes your marketing plan. In the course of your conversation, you cover the following points:
- Why you’re doing what you’re doing, in just a sentence or two. (This is the Mission section of your plan.)
- What’s happening in the market, and with your company. (This is your Situational Analysis.)
- What opportunities you think there are in the current market. (This is the Opportunities and Issues section.)
- What you think you can accomplish with your digital marketing activities. (These are your Goals and Objectives.)
- How you plan to accomplish these goals. (This is the Marketing Strategy section.)
- What specific activities you want to undertake. (This is your Action Plan.)
- How much money you’ll need to spend to accomplish your goals. (This is the Budget section.)
That doesn’t sound too daunting, does it? Just a normal conversation, something you can talk through in ten or fifteen minutes or so over a cup of coffee or bottle of beer. That’s all you need to do.
Creating your plan, then, is simply writing down what you’d say and then filling in a few blanks and making it all look pretty. It doesn’t have to be any more difficult than that.