Take Time to Do the Painstaking Work of Building a Solid Marketing Plan

Though tempting, the hasty approach of paid media conversion can do more harm than good

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By now I’m willing to bet you’re tired of wasting your precious ad spend on suboptimal conversion rates. The way out lies in having a solid marketing plan. As annoying as it might be to hear, the success (or lack thereof) around your marketing is almost always tied to how developed and intentional your plan is. This may seem like a total “duh,” but you’d be surprised how often holistic planning is not considered. If you are feeling this, you’re not alone; read on for some tips on how to create super straightforward focus with your client or team.

Sure, paid media conversion might seem like an easy way out, but let’s be real—it’s nothing more than a quick fix to a long-term problem. A well-crafted plan that outlines goals, target audience, KPIs, a unique selling proposition and a content strategy seems basic but its often ignored. And taking the time to build a solid marketing plan trumps hasty paid media conversion any day.

In the ever-evolving landscape of advertising and marketing, it’s crucial for businesses to pause and reflect on the fundamental questions that underpin their strategies, and to do this often. Do you even need to advertise at all, or could your budget be better directed toward product development or enhancing existing offerings? Should you consider investing your budget toward a loyalty program? What if dollars for paid media simply aren’t available? Or your buying audience can’t be found and converted with a standard funnel? You can’t buy your way out of this. You need to get creative and make a plan.

Hasty conversion and its downside

Without a marketing plan that changes the conversation in your category, you run the risk of jumping straight into paid media conversion, where you may lose your audience’s attention and trust. You’ll also get subpar conversion rates, causing a negative return on ad spend. Why would you spend tons of money to draw people to your page, only for them to find that the brand’s core and foundation and community aren’t built out? It’s a waste of money if you ask me. Here’s why.

Potential loss of audience trust: When you engage in hasty conversion, you risk pushing out irrelevant ads to the wrong people. This process may lead your audiences to lose trust in your brand.

Suboptimal conversion rates: Without a clear understanding of your product, audience and message, it’s challenging to design effective ads that drive conversions. Suboptimal conversion rates mean that you’re not targeting the right audience, and the message is not resonating with them.

Wasteful ad spend: Investing in ads that do not deliver the expected returns depletes your resources. This strategy may lead to a waste of ad spend and leave your company with little ROI.

Benefits of a solid marketing plan

Now it’s worth looking at the flip side: why a solid marketing plan really does matter.

Efficient resource utilization: A marketing plan ensures that all resources are maximized. The plan helps the marketing team make the right decisions that drive ROI.

Better ROI: A sound marketing plan aims at delivering better ROI by increasing brand awareness, optimizing conversions and increasing customer retention.

Enhanced brand reputation: Focusing on brand awareness ensures that the company’s image is in sync with the target audience’s values and expectations. It builds a positive relationship between the company and the consumers—it builds community.

Long-term gains: A solid marketing plan sets the foundation for a long-term marketing campaign. It helps to establish a marketing strategy that caters to both short-term and long-term goals.

Building a marketing plan

Now what? Put your media where your mouth is. Don’t just allocate ad spend with the “big guys”—explore different approaches rather than competing with CPMs and hashtags. Here are some key points to consider and work through while building the plan.

Identify your target audience at the core: Every content marketing strategy needs to define its target audience. Yes, determine their age, gender and geographical location relevant to your product or service, but dig deeper. Get into their subconscious, even if it means doing a handful of one-on-one sit-downs. This knowledge enables you to design a whole ecosystem for your brand that will not only reach them more effectively but will connect with them long term. And have you ever met a board member that doesn’t love LTV numbers that increase in a quarterly business review?

Lead with creativity: To succeed, you must embrace creativity as your most potent weapon. Many brands rush into D2C sales and scaled distribution without respecting the creative process, often resulting in temporary success but long-term struggle. A successful marketing plan infuses creativity into every aspect, ensuring your brand’s narrative resonates deeply with your audience, forging lasting connections and thriving in the evolving marketing landscape.

Set realistic goals: Define and set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals. What do you want to achieve? By when? How will you measure success? These goals should not be all conversion-based.

Define your KPIs: Another critical element of creating a successful marketing plan is determining the key performance indicators that will measure progress toward set goals. Analyze what metrics you need to achieve the outcomes you want. Now, we’re talking conversion.

Outline your unique selling proposition: What makes your product or service unique from competitors? What benefits do you offer? You have to outline your unique selling proposition to negotiate the market terrain and a competitive edge. 

Create a content strategy: A content marketing strategy outlines how you’ll communicate with your target audience. Plan the content, format, frequency and channels of distribution. The content should inspire, inform and entertain your target audience.

Align distribution with digital marketing: To stand out in a content-saturated world, your marketing should be strategically placed where your target audience spends time. Your distribution channels should match your marketing campaign’s platforms and touch points, maximizing reach and impact, driving engagement, conversions and brand success.

Understanding your audience

Market research: Market research provides the data required to design a marketing plan. Research includes gathering customer data, information about the competition and business trends.

Building personas: Creating a buyer persona is a powerful way to communicate with your target audience more effectively. It makes it easier to connect with prospects, customers and clients.

Analyzing demographics and psychographics: Demographics and psychographics bring your audience’s characteristics to life. Knowing consumer demographics, such as age, gender and location, helps you design ads that target the right audience. Knowing psychographics like interests, motivations and preferences help create content that captivates and retains your audience.

Crafting a compelling content strategy

Kinds of content: Incorporate different kinds of content in your marketing plan, including video, blogs, podcasts, articles, infographics and social media posts. This approach ensures that your audience is actively engaged in your marketing campaign.

Creating a content calendar: A content calendar is crucial in maintaining a consistent flow of content. It helps to plan the type of content, the format and when to distribute it.

Maximizing social media: Social media platforms are evolving, and users consume more content than ever before. Leverage this opportunity to keep your audience engaged with relevant content, stay up to date with trends and—I’ll say it again—know your audience.

Let’s face it: When it comes to marketing, we all want to see results quickly. It’s tempting to dive into paid media conversion and hope for the best, but this hasty approach can actually do more harm than good. A solid marketing plan may require more upfront work, but it’s the foundation of a successful digital marketing strategy that cannot be compromised.

And remember, executing your test and learn plan is just the beginning. Pay close attention to audience feedback, become adept at listening and be unafraid to pivot when necessary. Adaptability is the key to lasting success. So put your plan into action, learn, listen and pivot. Failing fast and often when you’re learning within a framework is a good thing, but if you fail to plan holistically, you’re more likely to fail long term.