Friday, November 23, 2012

Marketing Plan - Step 5 'Marketing Programs'

These are the steps for creating a proper marketing plan:
  • Step 1 - Situation Analysis
  • Step 2 - Objectives & Issues
  • Step 3 - Target Market analysis
  • Step 4 - Marketing Strategy
  • Step 5 - Marketing Programs
  • Step 6 - Financial Plans
  • Step 7 - Measurement & Controls
  • Step 8 - Executive Summary
Step 5 - Marketing Programs.  In our last discussion, we talked about 3 of the 4 Ps; Product, Pricing, Place.  In this section we talk about the 4th P, Promotion.  Promotion is where most marketers hit their sweet spot.  We love creating and designing.  Some of us love the excitement of the measurement.  We believe you haven't lived until you experience hitting the 'send' button and then watching how many people click through the email or fill out the form.  The Modern Marketer knows that promotion is the culmination of the previous 4 steps.  If the previous 4 steps of the marketing plan are the foundation, then Promotion is the house.

As you begin to build your promotion plan, it is critically important to remember your analysis, results and agreements up to this point.  Promotion should be designed for the target audience using the positioning statement and value proposition as well as the agreed upon business strategy and marketing strategy.  The promotions should support the objectives you have previously agreed to with your stakeholders.  A promotion plan designed to generate leads is different than a plan designed to position the brand as thought leaders in the space, for example.

Promotion may include some of these tactics:  print advertising, digital advertising, direct mail, public relations outreach, SEO, SEM, direct sales promotion, direct marketing, etc.  Naturally, you have a limited budget and limited resources, so it's important to keep those limitations in mind.  The most effective promotions include both outbound activities and inbound activities that are integrated around the same message.  Outbound activities should be regular and frequent messages to the target audience.  Again, your promotions must support your strategy and objectives.  Oh, and one last note on promotions, they should be measurable if at all possible.

I find it helpful to use one of the modern marketing automation tools like Eloqua or Marketo for outbound, inbound and measurement.  But, alas, these tools are not easy to learn and not really that easy to leverage for efficiency.  That, my fellow modern marketers, is a topic for a future post.