The best way to create an effective marketing plan (+action plan)

If you have ever wondered what the best way to create an effective marketing plan is, this article is the gold standard.

That’s because we briefly break down an effective marketing plan into five simple action steps, and then outline an effective example for you to follow -- virtually guaranteeing your success.

The best way to create an effective marketing plan follows these 5 steps:

1. Focus on who the buyers are within your target market.

2. Make a list of where buyers receive your message.

3. Determine your budget.

4. Define your key performance indicators (KPIs).

5. Create your marketing calendar.

If you need an effective marketing plan and template to follow, this truly will be the only helpful guide you are going to need.

Let’s now get into the details of this 5 step plan.

5 step plan to create an effective marketing plan

Here are the 5 steps you need in order to create an effective marketing plan.

1. Get laser-focused on who the buyers are within your target market.

This first step is #1 for a very important reason. 

All success starts with your target market.

You know this already .

Here are a couple helpful reminders.

First, you must identify your target audience and figure out what products or services they are buying and where they are buying them from. This will help you determine the most effective way to not only get clear on who your target market is, but also give you ideas for where to start your marketing and advertising.  

Here are two very helpful articles that will help you get clear on your target market:

2. Make a list of all the places where your target market can receive your marketing message (online, print, TV, telephone, direct mail, etc).

This important step is the time for ideation.

Don’t judge any ideas at this important phase because you think it is too expensive or a bad idea. Just write down every possible idea for where you think your customers are located in concentrated groups.

This will be the true foundation of actually where you communicate your value proposition to your target market.

Here are two invaluable resources to help you with this process:

3. Determine your budget so you know what resources you have available to communicate your message to this target market.

Marketing Department Budget Sample and Template (PDF)
This is an example of the Marketing Budget template you can access for free as a valued reader of Your Strategic Marketing Partner.

Whether you are a one-person operation or have a large team in your marketing department, your budget operates like a rudder in a ship.

The budget helps you to control the direction of your organization based on the resources you have available. 

Your marketing budget works in union with your marketing calendar.

Additionally, your marketing budget is a core tool to determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your marketing strategies and tactics.

Go here to develop your marketing budget and then come back to the final steps:

Marketing department budget sample and template PDF (FREE)

4. Define key performance indicators in marketing so you know what is success and what is failure.

Key performance indicators reveal important information about sources of customers
Key performance indicators reveal important information about sources of customers which will give you the ability to make better marketing decisions.

Depending upon where you are in your marketing journey, it may seem premature to identify your key performance indicators.

But it’s not too early.

Your KPI’s give you the important feedback you need to move forward intelligently.

For example, as you develop an advertisement in a local magazine designed for lead generation, you need a system in place to measure how many leads you received, how many transactions came from this source,  how much sales revenue occurred from this source, how much each sale cost from this source and the return gained from this source.

It may sound complicated but it doesn't have to be. Keep it simple. Just have a system in place to track your KPI’s.

Here is a helpful article to help you master this important topic:

5 Important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Marketing

5. Create your marketing calendar of activities.

Ok, this is the fun part!

It’s time to organize all these components and develop your plan of action.

This is typically referred to as your marketing mix. If you don’t know what the marketing mix is, go here:

What is the marketing mix and why is it important? | The 4 P's of marketing

Normally at this phase, we would give you access to a google doc or PDF, but in this case, just use the model provided in the resource below and create your own document. Scroll to the bottom and copy the very simple framework we use for most of our new and existing marketing calendars. Keep it simple. Go here:

How do you write a marketing plan for a new product? (Free template)

Ok, now that you have a firm foundation for creating your effective marketing plan, let’s go through a sample plan of action you can model.

Example: Create your own effective (and superior) marketing plan 

Let’s run through an example of a high-ticket service provider.

I like these kinds of examples because the target market is clear and there is a large amount of sales revenue generated with each transaction, which can produce more options in your business.

In this example, the feature business builds pickleball courts in a large metro area, a sport that has been gaining popularity as a racquet sport similar to tennis.

For this example, the average cost to build a pickleball court with a cushion surface is $50,000.

The first goal here is to get clear on the buyers of pickleball courts.

Your list of potential buyers may look like this:

  • Architects, builders, developers and related associations
  • Schools and city recreation facilities
  • Hotels, and golf and country clubs
  • Private home owners with adequate lot sizes

The next step is to build your list of potential buyers.

Your list may have 1,000 potential customers within your target market. Or, your number could be 250 or 2,000 depending upon your location, but because this is a high-ticket item with specific parameters, the number will be manageable.

In this case, the most effective means of marketing to a group like this would be:

  1. Direct mail
  2. Pay per click advertising to a specific landing page(s) for lead generation
  3. Telephone calls
  4. Personal visits
  5. Email follow up sequences to current leads

So, if you have just $1,000 a month in marketing budget available, you can easily allocate your budget. If you have more budget you have more options to increase testing so you can find your “message - market fit”.

If you aren’t familiar with the message - market fit, please go here now:

What is the first rule of marketing? (Solved!)

What kind of marketing messages could you send to this list of potential buyers? Here’s a few ideas:

  • You could send unforgettable “lumpy mail” such a sample of your cushion court
  • You could send a postcard of happy customers playing pickleball on their new court you just finished
  • You could send them to a video url of your new court in action
  • Send them beautiful photos and testimonials from happy customers 

The options are almost endless.  The most important task you have now is to continually market to your target market. Aim to make communication once a month. 

This is a fast, inexpensive method that can quickly fill up your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and give you insight into how to keep moving forward.

For more information on creating your marketing plans and strategy, go here:

Beginner Marketing



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