I find it easier to have an outline to work from when doing almost everything. It’s probably in my DNA, but I have a difficult time being clear if there is not a structure to my thinking and planning. I realize that there are people who can be very fluid in their thought process and come out the other end with a good plan – I’m just not one of them.
So here’s my outline for a good marketing plan: The Six “M’s”
What are you Making? – Explain the problem or issue you are solving and explain how and with what you are solving it. Give some background on the issues from your research. This is not a “gut feel” this is time to give statistics on the problem and address exactly how you will solve it and why. Don’t get too detailed, this is an “elevator speech” of what you are doing.
What is the Market? - Who is this product or service for? How many are there, how can you segment them? Where do they live? What are the demographics and psychographics of the group you are trying to reach? Be specific and focused and do your homework. The more targeted your audience, the easier it will be to do the rest.
What is the Message? - What is it that you are going to communicate to your market to get them to buy your product or service? What is the brand of your product or service and why? Are there different messages for different segments of your market? What “voice” will you use when communicating? When this section is done, you should be able to communicate clearly why people should buy.
What are the Methods? - How will you communicate your message to your market? Put together a good communication plan and give the basic details here. Are your marketing methods going to be viral, guerilla, traditional? What trade shows will you be attending? How will you bring your message alive in the media? Do you have a spokesperson? Entertain here all the methods of advertising and marketing you will undertake.
What are the Metrics? - Set a timeline with milestones to measure your progress along the way. How many products/services are you expecting to sell? You should have a good plan here that gives you goals to reach and measurements along the way. Set what response rates you expect. Lay out your metrics and how and when you will measure them. What contingencies will you have in place should you be way off in your estimates? Setting your goals is one of the most important and often neglected aspects of your marketing plan.
Where is the Money? - How are you going to pay for your marketing and how much do you need? Put together a good budget to show what it will cost to reach your market with all the methods you described. How much advertising are you expecting to buy? Do you need to hire or outsource? Show what capital you need to carry out this plan. Break it down into manageable phases and what milestones you need to reach before moving into the next phase of cash outflow for marketing.
After thinking these things through you should have a good plan to present to your team, your boss or your investors as you assess together what it will take to launch or re-launch a product or service.
Pops Blair, 2007