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At the start of a new year, many organisations start implementing a marketing plan for the year ahead. But, with the coronavirus pandemic still affecting business continuity, is there any point in creating a marketing plan?

I answer this question as well as other FAQs below. Plus, if you would like to download our free simple marketing plan template, click this link.

1. Why is it important for organisations to create a marketing plan?

 

what a good marketing plan should include

An organisation’s marketing activities have a direct impact on its bottom line and drive the sales pipeline. So, all businesses need a solid marketing plan to help them generate a positive Return on Investment. Organisations also need a plan if they are looking to generate funding or investment – the bank or investor will want to review the marketing plan as part of the process. For example, I needed a business & marketing plan to show to my prospective landlords when I was taking on my first office space!

 

 

2. What is the point of creating a plan during the coronavirus pandemic?

 

It may well feel pointless creating a plan if your business has been disrupted or affected by the pandemic. Perhaps some of your staff are on furlough; or your business is operating on a reduced level; or the frequent changes to government guidelines makes it feel impossible to forward-plan.

creating flexible options within a marketing plan

However, the uncertainty of trading conditions actually fuels the argument for creating a robust yet flexible plan that can help the business through tough conditions. Preparing different options for different market condition scenarios is a good idea at the moment, creating options if a further ‘lockdown’ were to happen.

This article on business.com offers 10 different ways to adapt your plan during a pandemic.

 

3. What are the key areas of a marketing plan?

 

Put simply, the marketing plan is divided into 3 key areas:

– where is your business now;
– where would you like it to be;
– how is your business going to get there.

 

marketing plan stages

It should include a description of your target audience and their needs; a competitor analysis; positioning; core mission, vision and values; objectives and the route to market. The most important areas to concentrate on are the target audience and objectives; once these have been defined, the route to market will be more focussed, which means that your budget and time will go further.

 

4. When should an organisation start working on a marketing plan?

 

Some organisations start implementing their marketing plans at the start of the calendar year.  However, to tie in with new budgets, it is preferable to implement a plan in line with company accounts.  For example, my company’s  year end is 30th April, so my company’s marketing plan starts in May.  In order for the plan to go live on a specific date, all the groundwork needs to be done first, so I would look to allow up to 3 months.  This will give you time to analyse past results, work on future plans, whilst continuing to implement an existing plan.

 

5. How do you work out a marketing budget?

 

There are a couple of main ways for working out a budget.  The first is by percentage of a company’s revenue – as a rule of thumb it is usually around 5-15% of revenue.  So, if an organisation’s turnover is £1,000,000 pa, then the annual marketing could be between £50,000-£150,000.  There are also anomalies to this guideline; start-up companies would typically need a higher percentage allocation, and some sectors tend to spend more on their marketing, so it is a guideline only.

marketing budget

 

The second way is more of a strategic approach, working out a budget based on how many leads your company needs to generate.  This article explains it concisely.
Whichever method you choose, be sure that your budget is allocated effectively so that it uses the most suited channels and generates good quality leads, matching your organisation’s specific target audience and objectives.  This article from SME News shows how different business sectors are using their marketing budgets.

 

In Summary

It is important to remember that every business is unique, which means that every company’s marketing plan, strategies and budget should be unique, too.  Applying the ‘scattergun approach’ to marketing, where companies try out different methods on a whim to see which stick, really doesn’t work.  A well researched marketing plan helps brings focus; helps to manage resources effectively; and provides transparency, consistency and clarity.  The mixture of science and creativity is a winning formula…

 


Emma Estridge, Director of Mushroom Marketing & PR

This article was written by Emma Estridge, Founder of Mushroom Marketing & PR, supporting organisations and charities with marketing & public relations.
Contact Emma for a free 1 hour consultation to discuss how to take your business to the next level.  This could include discussing a marketing plan and strategy for your organisation.

 

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