In our increasingly competitive market, having a marketing plan is a must if you want to stay ahead. However, just thinking about the time that goes into creating a marketing plan and the pressure to come up with unique ideas can put people off. Some may attempt to create a plan but struggle to find the time to come up with any ideas. Others may choose to just repeat what they did last year – it worked last year, sounds like a safe option, right? Playing it safe can be a risky approach; while you’re taking your eye off the ball, it makes it easier for the competition to come in and schmoose your customers away. By all means review the effectiveness of previous marketing initiatives and build on them, but don’t rest of your laurels.
While ‘winging it’ may be the preference for some businesses when it comes to marketing, they’re often the ones who complain they don’t see results. The good news is that creating a marketing plan does not need to be an arduous task. While marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes, from short and to the point, through to hundreds of pages thick, spending time agonising over finer details during the planning phase doesn’t equal more sales. A simple marketing plan, if researched and implemented effectively, can have the greatest impact.
With 2019 rapidly creeping up on us, we want to give channel partners a head start with their new years’ marketing plans. So, below are our five must haves when creating a winning marketing plan.
Five must haves when creating a winning marketing plan
1. Know your audience
Taking it back to basics with research is the first step to any good plan. Understanding your customers; who they are, what they value and what motivates them, helps determine what and how you communicate with them. And what resonates for customers in one type of business, may not work for those in a different area. Once you understand your customers and what makes them tick, you can engage with them through tailored campaigns to help maximise results.
2. Clear goals
Your marketing goals need to align to your company goals. Are your goals based on customer volume, market share, revenue or growth? How will you measure success? Will you measure it in new leads, customers, revenue? How will you report funding ROI success back to vendors? Clearly defined success metrics should be a fundamental part of your marketing plan.
3. Tactics – integrate, don’t isolate!
Consider how you can tailor your message through different communication mediums – social, email, website, advertising, events etc. – while maintaining the original message. How would you address your Twitter followers and email subscribers differently? Is your message being clearly and consistently communicated across all platforms? Are your employees and colleagues aware of and communicating your message? Consistency is key when using multiple marketing tactics, and your employees aren’t exempt from this. Your message is the voice of your company and should be communicated throughout every department to help you build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor with your target audience.
4. Speak your customers’ language
Always communicate using simple, clear copy – the type of language your prospects and customers use. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut of ‘techie’ jargon and abbreviations when speaking with colleagues. Avoid turning your prospects off by using wording that is clear and to the point. To help you stand out with a unique message – make it ‘you’, give your company a voice that reflects its personality while resonating with your customers.
5. Ditch the sales pitch (or postpone, at least)
Today’s buyers are far more self-sufficient and savvier when it comes to researching potential products or services to purchase. With an ever-growing library of content available online, prospects have the tools they need to go out and find what they’re looking for – rather than relying on the sales person. This means they’re now engaging sales much later in the sales process simply because they are able to self educate. In fact, rarely do they contact a sales person for information and insight.
But don’t see this as a negative, – embrace this change in behavior by giving them what they want. By nurturing prospects with more valuable thought-provoking content, you can position your business as an expert in your subject field and influence prospects much earlier in their buying process – you then become an obvious ‘go to’ potential provider before they’re ready to buy.
Taking the hassle out of marketing
One of the benefits of working in a channel is the support you get from the providers you choose to work with. At Gamma, our Channel Partners have access to our online marketing portal, Accelerate. Accelerate is a simple and secure platform that makes it easy for partners to customise the huge library of white label marketing material we offer, generate new leads and engage with prospects and customers.
The platform is ideal for partners that don’t have the time or resource to do this in-house, and reduces costs for those that outsource this work. Features, such as email marketing, automated social media posting, website banners and automated lead nurture, help our partners boost lead generation and increase sales.
So, what are your plans for the year ahead? To make planning for 2019 even easier, download our simple step-by-step guide to marketing planning here. Or you can find an editable template on our partner marketing portal, Accelerate: Gamma Portal > Help and Support > Gamma Accelerate > Collateral, then search ‘Marketing plan template’
Need any additional help with your marketing strategy? Get in touch to find out how we could support you – [email protected].