As Lizzy Yarnold wins the first British gold medal at Sochi, it got me thinking about if we entered into an ‘Olympics’ for marketing what medal would our own marketing plan achieve… would we complete a brilliant performance or would we limp into last place. What about your business – do you know the 5 key elements you should include in your marketing plan and how are you sticking to your schedule?

Businesses get frightened about a marketing plan, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t need to be a huge document that get filed into a cupboard the minute that it is written. Its better to start with some small objectives that you know that you will be able to complete, and of course they need to align with your overall business objectives. But there are five key elements that you should include and they are

  1. Where are you now, what current state is your marketing in?
  2. What target markets are you looking at growing this year
  3. What goals has your business got for the year – this is normally a financial figure, increase revenue by X% – better to split it into quarters if you can.
  4. What are your marketing Strategies to meet your goals
  5. What is the budget breakdown.

Describing these in a bit more detail

1) This is a statement of fact really. The best method for completing this area is to complete a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Threats)

2) Your Target Audience. We’ve spent a lot of time in the past talking about target audiences (read here) but you need to nail this, the more details you can give the more successful you will be.

3) Goals. Again be specific, Say you want to increase revenue by £50k every quarter, put some numbers and timelines to it.

4) Marketing Strategy. As this is the marketing plan, this will be the largest area of the document. You will need to detail what you are going to do to support your goals. So for example you may decide to hold a seminar as one of your marketing ideas. You will then need to think of all the actionable steps you need to take to make this happen, this could include email marketing / Social Media / Press Releases. These can then be put straight into your diary so you know when you need to get things achieved.

5) Budget Breakdown. you’ll detail here the costs associated with your activities. It might be that you find certain activities cost too much at this moment in time. Thats OK you can go and change them, either scale them back or remove them completely and replace them with something else.

So, like Lizzy Yarnold if you get your marketing plan ‘skeleton’ on track you’ll turn in a brilliant performance and bring that gold medal home!