I’m still very new to the world of marketing but I think this gives me a very good perspective on the challenges a new marketer faces when starting in this career. I am certainly no expert yet but I’ve learned a lot by getting ‘hands on’ in marketing.
I’ve never worked in a large enterprise company so my experience has only been in the fast-growing world of start-ups. Working at a start-up means that you need to do everything from scratch, which I believe is quite different to more established companies. What is the same, is the need for a great marketing plan. I believe that the plans are quite different based on the company size, its industry and customers. I was lucky that I joined Peoplewave as this has given me the opportunity to create a marketing plan and deeply engage in the strategy side of the business. No one teaches you how to do a marketing plan but here is the simple 5-step marketing strategy and plan I learned to create.
Have clear marketing objectives (sales targets/customer acquisition). If you are coming up with a marketing plan for B2B business like I have, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your customers?
- Are they SME or Enterprises companies?
- What industry are you targeting?
- How do they hear about your company (ads, media, social, etc.)?
This needs to be turned into a clear monthly and annual plan with specific (number) targets. An example is:
- $1m in sales
- SME – 2400 customers/year (200/month)
- Enterprise – 120 customers (10/month)
- Brand Awareness – 50% (of decision-makers in the HR industry)
What are the different marketing channels? Once you’ve defined your targets, you will need to identify your marketing channels and the media plan. To do this, you need to use different marketing channels. For example:
- Search Marketing ($1 CPC, targeting Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand)
- Content Marketing / Social Media Ads (on the company’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter channels)
- Email Marketing (building a database of 5000 emails, sending 2 emails per month)
- PR (monthly coverage in top tier industry publications)
- Events (breakfast series, 2 events per month with 30 – 50 decision-makers)
Brand awareness – What are social media platform to use? There are so many different platforms you can use but here are the main social media platforms that easily build up brand awareness. These platforms are generally low cost and be used for content marketing, a very effective brand building strategy when you’re on a budget. For example:
- LinkedIn (great for B2B and professional decision-makers)
- Twitter (for broad awareness, and connecting different channels)
- Medium (for blogging and longer content)
- Instagram (for images, videos and “behind the scenes” content)
- YouTube (hosting weekly and monthly video interviews, product info, etc.)
Content and communications plan – what conversations are you creating? Once you have a clear understanding of your customers and the media channels you are going to publish on, you need to plan what you are going to say. Your plan should include different main content themes and sub content themes that help you create conversations with customers. For example: “HR Industry” there may be four themes you choose to focus on:
- Employee Experience (including engagement, onboarding and working with new hires)
- Performance Management (appraisals and managing employees well)
- Digital and HR tech (digital transformation for HR leaders)
- About your company (product updates, company info and “behind the scenes” of your company)
Deadlines, budget and planning. This part of the plan is the most important – where you ask for budget! This will start out as an excel spreadsheet with the timelines for all important activities. The next part is the most difficult – defining ROI (and customer acquisition) for each marketing activity you do. Finally, the plan will be completed by having a breakdown of the costs and requested budget. It’s important to put the activities in order of priority, as marketing plans change and budgets can be cut. The focus should be put on the highest ROI activities first.