As of this writing, 2012 is just 135 days away. Do you know where your marketing plans are? Are you working from a multi-year plan or ideas in your head? It’s not too late to go back to the basics and make sure you have a strategic plan in place to grow your business. It doesn’t matter if your company is mature, or just getting started, your marketing plan needs to move from the general to the specific and cover these important areas:
Objectives: The unique objectives of your company should offer the main context for your marketing plan. What customer groups will your company serve? What needs do these customers have? What technologies will you use to meet these needs? What do you want to accomplish? To put it into military terms, we have identified the war.
Goals: Now that we have identified the war, how are we going to win it? Have you set marketing goals? If not, then you need to think SMART – make the goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. “Making more money” is a goal, but “Increasing Sales, increasing market share or increasing website conversions” are SMART goals.
Strategies: Now that you have goals to win the war, it’s time come up with ideas; in other words, what are you going to do to accomplish your goals? Now the battle planning begins. The strategies become the fundamental foundation of the marketing plan to fill market needs and reach marketing objectives. These strategies can be developed over a multi-year plan and can evolve as changes in the marketplace occur.
Tactics: Strategies are set, and the foundation is in place. Now it’s time to take action and execute the plan. This is where we move from general to specific. The tactics are the “On the ground” specifics, like timeline, budgets and action steps. Although strategies can develop over years, tactics are typically specific actions to be accomplished in the current year.
Often there is confusion between strategies and tactics. Utilizing the “What If” rule will eliminate this confusion.
- What if we find a new use for our widget? Strategy
- What if we use an ad words campaign? Tactic
- What if we build brand awareness? Objective
It might be a war out there, but wars can be won with sound strategic planning. 2012 will come. Will you be ready?