Marketing Action Plans – Your Branding, Digital and Sales Tools
We are getting close to the end of the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School”. Over the last eight articles I have asked you to give consideration to the following important components of your marketing strategy:
- Part 1 – An overview of your Marketing Strategy
- Part 2 – Your Primary and Secondary Target Markets
- Part 3 – Your Desired Brand Positioning
- Part 4 – Your Sales Partners and Sales Influencers
- Part 5 – Product and Service Priorities
- Part 6 – Key Communication Messages
- Part 7 – The Company Vision Timetable
- Part 8 – Promotions Planning
This week’s step of the journey is:
- Part 9 – Marketing Action Plans – Your Branding, Digital and Sales Tools
Last but not Least
Our final step in the Marketing Summer School will give consideration to company-wide implementation:
- Part 10 – Bringing it all together – Company-wide implementation, measurement and control systems
What are Marketing Action Plans?
Steps 2, 3 and 4 below are focussed on the development of Marketing Action Plans.
At Baker Marketing we have found the use of clearly defined Marketing Action Plans to be very useful for our clients in:
- Helping to define the most effective and efficient marketing tools and activities
- Helping to monitor and control progress regarding the implementation of marketing tools and activities
The specific format of Marketing Action Plans is not paramount to their usefulness. Rather we find it is the discipline of taking a structured approach to both the definition of schedules of marketing tools and activities and their implementation that provides the benefits for our clients.
At Baker Marketing the approach that we take from a format perspective is to simply use a spreadsheet style (or Gantt chart style) providing for the following:
- Definition of Target Markets on which activity is focussed
- Description of Marketing activity
- Responsibility (i.e. Who is responsible for implementation)
- Planned frequency of implementation
Overlap between Marketing Action Plans
Sometimes our clients suggest that there is a bit of overlap between activities. That for example, networking activity should fall under the Sales Conversion Action Plan.
Please do not get ‘hung up’ about the formalities of which Action Plan to list an activity, simply list the activity where it fits more logically for implementation within your business.
Developing your Marketing Action Plans
I have summarised below what I consider to be the most logical approach to developing your Marketing Action Plans, namely:
- Marketing Strategy Stocktake
- Development of your Brand Marketing Action Plan
- Your Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans
- Development of your Sales Conversion Action Plan
- Taking a Helicopter Perspective
As you can imagine the final Marketing Action Plans for each business will include many of the same tools but will be different in that they are tailored to the needs and opportunities of the specific business.
Key Steps in developing your Marketing Action Plans
Step 1 – Marketing Strategy Stocktake
Reviewing your Decisions and Information On Hand
The Marketing Strategy Stocktake is about reviewing the strategic marketing decisions that you have made so far including:
- Who you are targeting
- How you would like your brand to be perceived by intended target markets
- What sales channels are most relevant to your brand including potential Sales Partners and Sales Influencers
- What your optimum product and/or service range offering and assortment mix will be
- Your key communication messages
The Marketing Stocktake is also the time to further analyse all information that you have on hand regarding your Primary and Secondary Target Markets.
This is also the time to consider factors such as:
- Your key objectives
- Sales turn over budgets
- Marketing and promotions budgets
Habits of your Primary Target Markets
At this point you will need to know as much as possible about the habits and behaviours of your target markets in terms of the following:
- How they make decisions, what is their process e.g. committee or individual
- Who comprises their Decision Making Unit (DMU) i.e. who makes the decisions
- How they find their information regarding your product/service category i.e. do they research issues or speak with colleagues
- What forms of media do they consume e.g. mainstream publications, online or industry specific
- What are their interests, special needs, or other detailed personal insights
- Other specific information that will provide you with greater insight regarding cost efficient and effect methods and tools for reaching your target markets
If you are looking for some guidance regarding the above, the Baker Marketing ‘Marketing Summer School’ Modules 1 to 8 will provide you with a structured approach to reviewing and defining the above.
In addition, it will be useful to identify any additional information requirements that you may have such as:
- The names of specific publications, media programs
- The specific ‘special events’ and timings that are most relevant to your primary target markets
- Other factors that influence the purchasing behaviour of your primary target markets
Step 2 – Development of your Brand Marketing Action Plan
Scheduling the Activities that will build your Brand Positioning
The development of your Brand Marketing Action Plan is your opportunity to define the key steps required to shape your brand so that it achieves your desired brand positioning objectives (As defined in Module No. 3 of the Baker Marketing ‘Marketing Summer School’).
Activities listed in the Brand Marketing Action Plan are focussed on building and shaping your brand and are often associated with developing your most basic marketing tools such as:
- Brand name and/or identity
- Brand logo or branding devices
- Key communication messages (e.g. Feature and Benefit statements)
- Initial creative materials
- Initial website presence
- Company Profile Document or Capability Statement
- Signage for office premises
- Branding and badging of vehicles, uniforms and other equipment
- Other company wide branding and marketing materials
Step 3 – Your Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans
Scheduling the Activities that will Generate Traffic and Awareness
Your Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans are your opportunity to define the most cost-effective and powerful marketing and promotions tools for reaching your target markets and generating traffic.
The tools and activities listed here are focussed on:
- Generating ‘Traffic’ consisting of your Target Markets approaching your brand. For example:
- Traffic to your retail outlet
- Traffic to your telephone
- Traffic to your website
- Directly ‘Reaching’ and making contact with your Target Markets. For example:
- Reaching them through face-to-face personal selling
- Reaching them through tele-marketing
- Reaching them through networking events
We find that some clients prefer to split their Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans into two separate Action Plans while others prefer to combine them into one. Examples of activities listed in the Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans may include:
Traditional Marketing Activities
- Advertising and Publicity generating activity
- Signage and In-store promotions
- Direct mail activity
Digital Marketing Activities
- Websites and Online advertising activity
- Search Engine Optimisation activity
- Social media activity
- Email marketing activity
Other digital and/or traditional marketing activities directed at generating ‘Traffic’ and reaching your primary target markets
Step 4 – Development of your Sales Conversion Action Plan
Preparing to Convert Prospects to Customers
Above you will have found that Step 2 is focussed on preparing your brand to convey your desired brand positioning. Also above, you will find that Step 3 is focussed on generating traffic and reaching your primary target market.
Step 4 is focussed on preparing to convert members of your primary target markets (prospects) to paying customers.
Your sales conversion tools and activities may include:
- Powerful feature and benefit messages
- Sales presentation materials and supporting promotional items
- Scripts for face-to-face sales presentations
- Training of sales and customer service staff
- Other tools and activities focussed on converting prospects to customers
As mentioned earlier there will be a level of overlap between the different Marketing Action Plans but what is most important is to capture the most appropriate Marketing Activities.
Step 5 – Taking a Helicopter Perspective
Stepping back and reviewing decisions/plans before pressing ‘Spend’
Taking a ‘Helicopter Perspective’ is simply about giving thorough consideration to your Marketing Action Plans before pressing ‘Spend’ and implementing your various marketing programs.
Your Helicopter Perspective is a good time to consider factors such as:
- Your overall strategic priorities e.g. sales volume, profit, streamlining and/or systemisation
- Key timing and scheduling issues e.g. launch dates, industry events, growth targets
- The appropriateness of your planned activities within your Brand Marketing Action Plan in terms of expected brand positioning outcomes
- The expected cost versus traffic and/or reach outcomes of your planned activities within your Digital and Traditional Marketing Action Plans
- The expected effectiveness of your planned Sales Action Plan tools and activities
- Consideration of any further research or information collection requirements
- Your overall budget for marketing and sales activities
- Your sales turn over and profitability objectives
- Your overall assessment of the viability and profitability of the Marketing Action Plans that you have defined
Bringing it All Together
I hope that you have found the above information to be of interest and of use for you in developing your Marketing Action Plans.
Next week is the tenth and final instalment of the Baker Marketing ‘Marketing Summer School’.
- Part 10 – Bringing it all together – Company-wide implementation, measurement and control systems
In our final module we address issues to consider in order to bring your Marketing Strategy together with Strategic Marketing Implementation.
The objective being to increase your Sales, Profits and Brand Value.