5 Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan

October 27, 2011 Published by ontarget

The Crossroads of Marketing and Strategy

Creating a marketing plan can be accomplished in these 5 easy steps.

1. Align marketing with customer behavior
It’s well documented and widely known that the industrial and technical audience has migrated to the Web to search for suppliers, products, and services. Online marketing programs offer you the best opportunities to connect with potential customers in both current and new markets. According to the GlobalSpec Industrial Marketing Trends Survey, most industrial companies understand this and are increasing the percentage of their marketing budget allocated to online programs. If you are still devoting more than half your marketing resources to traditional media, you are likely missing out on market opportunity and new customers.
2. Implement measurable marketing
There’s an old joke in the marketing world: “Half my marketing spending is wasted but I don’t know which half.” Not funny! There’s no longer any excuse for not having the ability to measure marketing programs and justify marketing investments. Online marketing not only helps you better connect with your prospects and customers, the programs are built around measurable metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions. You can easily see what is working and focus your marketing dollars on the most successful programs.

3. Invest in emerging marketing channels
In a world of short attention spans and fast-changing media, the same old marketing doesn’t work. Set aside part of your marketing budget to try a new program that will help you connect with your audience. Virtual events and customized Webinars are gaining a lot of attention in the industrial sector for building awareness and generating prospect interest. In addition, industrial companies are increasing their focus on social media applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and are investing in video as well.

4. Create marketing plans for different budget levels
Most marketers know that budgets are rarely set in stone. You might start out with a firm number in mind, only to have it cut if revenue lags. On the other hand, the economy could continue to recover, your smart marketing investments pay off, and you find yourself with additional budget to allocate. That’s why it’s best to be prepared for changes from the beginning. Plan a best-case, realistic-case, and worst-case budget scenario for 2012, so you can react quickly with adjustments to your programs if conditions change. Another way to view this is to divide your marketing plans into ”must do” and ”nice to do” programs.

5. Reach out to media partners today
Take time now to discuss your marketing challenges and goals with existing or potential media partners. Before committing program dollars for 2012, find the partners you are most comfortable with and who offer the best programs to meet your needs. Use this checklist of questions to evaluate media partners like Ontarget; based on their answers, you should be able to better allocate your marketing dollars and choose effective programs:

Do they have the attention of your target audience?
Can they keep your company visible to prospects and customers at all times?
Do they offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned with your goals rather than trying to fit you into cookie cutter programs?
Do they deliver targeted, quality leads with full contact information in a timely manner?
Do they provide reporting you can use to measure the performance of your marketing and justify your marketing investments?
Is their company name Ontarget

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