Getting Through the Weeds of Developing a Marketing Plan

I am sitting here with my team member, Kristina Witmer – owner and managing director of Witmer Group, we have been tossing around blog topic ideas. One that resonated with us is the process a business goes through when identifying their marketing needs. We know it can be a painful process, and even doomed from the start, if the marketing team doesn’t ask the right questions, get buy in from leadership, and have clearly defined, measurable goals.

Making marketing decisions can, at times, feel like you are stuck in the weeds. Having a methodical and phased approach during the planning and implementation phases of a marketing project can avoid delays in decision-making and poorly defined expectations. This is vital for the long-term success of developing a marketing plan.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, try this list of questions to ask when developing a marketing plan on the American Marketing Association’s website.

  • What economic and business environment are you experiencing?
  • What opportunities and problems are you facing?
  • What business objectives do you expect to achieve?
  • What exactly do you sell?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Why should they buy your product or service rather than your competitors'?
  • How will you communicate your product or service to your customers?
  • Who will do what, when?
  • How are you going to measure your progress so you can learn from the experience?

As you know, internal buy-in from your executive team is vital for the success of any plan. To get buy in on your marketing strategy, here are a few helpful talking points from the AMA website:

  • To provide greater discipline in the planning process
  • To provide strategic direction for an organization or business unit
  • To provide an action plan for marketing-related activities
  • To provide a formal record of marketing-related decisions
  • To request budget
  • To request internal resources
  • To create dialogue with senior management
  • To communicate marketing priorities to other parts of the organization
  • To obtain buy-in from other parts of the organization

It is important to create a well-defined and measurable marketing plan. This process will take up company resources. If your team is small or stretched too thin to develop a solid marketing plan, strongly consider employing help from a local marketing agency. Whether you undertake this work internally, outsource, or a combination of the two, it will be well worth the time and money.