Are You Loving Your Marketing Plan?
Valentine’s Day occurs only one day in February, but often it seems like the entire month is devoted to “love” and all things related to it. So as long as we are on the topic of love, are you “loving” your marketing plan? Is it doing all the things you hoped it would do for you? Is it the right one for your business needs? Maybe it’s time to rethink your marketing plan or even trade it in for a new one.
Rethink Your Marketing Plan or Create a New One that Works
Every company should have a comprehensive marketing plan. It provides the master plan for your company’s direction and the strategies you will use to achieve success. Here are 5 all-important sections to include in your plan:

1. Executive Summary
Every marketing plan should include an executive summary. It is a condensed form (only about two paragraphs) of your entire marketing plan. In it, include a marketing positioning statement---what makes your business unique from the competition and sets you apart from the others. Include the future goals you want to achieve, and the goals already achieved (supported by baselines and metrics). For example, if the goal is to achieve more annual sales, then include the percentage or monetary amount to be achieved. In the summary, include facts about your brand, your competitors, your target customers, and your vision of the company’s future.

2. Budget
To make your marketing work it takes money. Identification of your current and future goals, your competition and customers will help determine what marketing vehicles will be best for your company. Find out what media your competitors and your customers use. Research the strengths and weaknesses of various marketing tools---social media, blog content, video and SEO marketing. Your research will save you money in the long term, because you won’t be wasting money on the wrong marketing strategy.

3. Pricing Strategy and Marketing Messages
A significant influence on how you create your marketing messages will be your pricing strategy. A pricing strategy includes: What you charge for products and services. How you determined your price point. What exceptions (discounts, coupons, legacy client pricing, etc.) you may have. Review the strategy frequently to determine if it works or if you need to make a change.

4. Team Involvement
A marketing plan needs buy-in from the individuals that will be responsible for making it work. Whether your business is large or small there’s usually more than one person that comprise your team. It may include members of various departments such as marketing, production, sales, distribution, customer support, research and development, accounting, and human resources. Include employees in the creation of the marketing plan and encourage frequent reviews of the plan to determine what is working and what is not. Your employees are often in the frontlines of your company and are valuable sources of input.

5. Track and Analyze
Easily understood guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan will prevent misunderstandings among team members. Include how frequently you’ll measure progress, what you plan to track, and what tools you’ll use to do the tracking. Many tools are available to measure and provide valuable information to help you track and analyze your marketing efforts, such as Google Analytics and Sloth Rank. They track content, analyze keyword rankings and provide monthly results. Hive uses deep learning based computer vision technology to track TV ad performance across networks. AT GBG & Associates we’ve found benefit in using Critical Mention. The classic business strategy tool, S.W.O.T., is still in use. Your team can use to analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.