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6 Steps to Building a Successful Marketing Plan

: : Marketing : ( words)

I have worked with two clients this week, helping them to set their marketing plan for 2016. It occurred to me that we used the same six step process and so I thought I would share it in this blog.

Step 1 – This is the step that, in my experience many businesses miss out and it is to confirm the business plan. This should be a finance based exercise with a plan for the year built to set revenue targets for key business sectors. Each sector that has different cost of fulfilment should be treated as a separate line in the budget. Cost of fulfilment should then be set and gross margins should be understood. Overheads or fixed costs should then be set out and a profit target should be set. The overheads should include the drawings that the owner wants to take from the business! Once drawn up it is important to review and be sure that achieving this budget will get the business to where you want it to be. If it does not you should amend revenue targets, cost of fulfilment (with plan of how the change can be achieved) or fixed costs.

Step 2 – This is the step that provides the basis for the marketing plan. Assess the revue targets for each business sector and take a sense check. Ask the question, if I carry on as I am going, will I achieve the revenue and margin goals set in the budget? If not then you need to quantify the gap. Hopefully, it goes without saying, that the 5 ways business chassis should be used as part of this process to enable you to determine whether customer acquisition of customer development, or both, will be the key focus of the marketing plan. In summary a marketing plan is there to deal with difference. It should act as the bridge that crosses the difference between business as is and budget and should focus on how you communicate the difference between what your target markets require and what your competitors offer.

Step 3 – Build a list of the target markets you want to market to sell more products to. This should be a list of customer types (who) and then for each type consider where you will find them to market to. This could be geographically or those who read a certain publication etc. You need to build a list of targets for each business sector where you felt there could be a deficit between continuation of business as usual and the budget levels. Do not fall for the error that you only have one target market – marketing is based on chunks! The other thing to bear in mind is that each list of targets should be of a number that enables you to run a marketing campaign. I usually suggest lists of between twenty and fifty. The fortune IS in the follow up and long lists of targets do not get the follow up due to resource requirements.

Step 4 – For each target list you now need to consider the offer. The offer should be based on what it is that you want to sell to that target market – the product or service you supply. Then consider the key question – why would that target list want to buy this from me? The easy way to consider this is what are the benefits to the target market of using this? Please remember to use the filter question – so what? Your benefit must be of interest to the target market and create a desire to purchase because it addresses a need or provides an opportunity.

Step 5 – Build the calendar or plan of which campaign is to be run when. As part of this step also build the content. This is built by answering the questions  “how do I communicate this offer to the target market?” and “which target market do I want to run my campaign for when?” . It is the least important of steps 3-5 because if the target market is wrong or the offer is not strong enough then no matter how good the copy is there will not be a positive response to a campaign. However, by following the AIDA principles – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action – significant increases in campaign effectiveness can be achieved.

Step 6 – Like Step 1 , this is the one that I often have to spend time with clients helping them to implement and it is , in my view, the second most important step! It is building the test and measure system. There are two key numbers that you need to know. Average acquisition cost per client and average lifetime client value. To get these your test and measure system needs, by campaign, to measure enquiry and client generation, cost of campaign and value of clients won.

These six steps, applied diligently and consistently, WILL improve the success of your marketing plan. I hope you have found this useful and please contact me on 07511 969690 or rogerpemberton@actioncoach.com if you would lie me to discuss how you can use this in your business.

Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!


Brad Sugars started ActionCOACH in 1993 and today the company is internationally recognized as the leading global business coaching firm and one of the leading and most awarded franchises in the world. Today, ActionCOACH operates in over 70 countries and has more than 1,000 coaches around the world, coaching 15,000 businesses every week to bring them ever greater achievement and success.