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Christina Boyle on KODAK HIRES LAW FIRM FOR RESTRUCTURING ADVICE, IS THE END NEAR FOR THIS 131-YEAR OLD COMPANY, OR IS BANKRUPTCY NEXT? If you are the founder of a new startup or an existing business it's highly recommended that you develop a roadmap that will get you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, six months from now, or a year or longer down the road. A marketing plan should be a formal written document, not recalled from memory or something scribbled on a napkin. Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning - This three stage process involves analysing which distinct customer groups exist and which segment the product best suits before implementing the communications strategy tailored for the chosen target group. SOSTAC® - This acronym stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control and is a very popular classic marketing planning framework for creating marketing plans. Ansoff's Growth Strategy Matrix - Ansoff’s Growth Strategy Matrix identifies alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets. For my money, the SOSTAC® marketing planning model is the model I use the most when developing marketing plans. SOSTAC® is a marketing planning model, originally developed in the 1990s to help with marketing planning by PR Smith, who together with Dave Chaffey co-authored Emarketing Excellence. You can see it gives a logical order for tackling your plan (with iterations) and a great way to summarise the main elements of each. SOSTAC® has become very popular since it’s simple, easy to remember and covers all the main issues which you need in a marketing plan or business plan. Here are some tips on how to use SOSTAC® based on Chaffey's experience applying the model in companies and in academia. Use SOSTAC® to review your process - Before looking at how you apply SOSTAC® at each step to create a marketing plan, use it to review your planning process and how you manage your marketing. Integrate the different elements of your SWOT Analysis -  Oftentimes in a plan or report there isn’t good flow relating sections. Where Are You Today - You must know where you are today in order to develop a roadmap to where you want to be in the future.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses - Take an inventory of your individual and management teams strengths and weaknesses.
Organizations - Describe them by number of employees, sales, geographic location, and industry. SWOT Analysis - Identify your competitive strengths and weaknesses, business opportunities and potential threats. Management Team - List the key members of your present management team and very brief description of their business and industry experience and education.
Milestones Accomplished - Elaborate on significant milestones that have accomplished to date.
Your marketing strategies answer the big question:  HOW do you get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow? Core Marketing Message - Your core marketing message is a short description of your business, products and services, employees, core values, business philosophy, mission and value proposition you bring to the customer relationship. Define Your Brand - Your brand isn’t just your corporate identity like your logo, tag line, motto or its visual associations such as unique design, colors or packaging, but the relationship you have with your customers. Pricing Model - Describe the methodology you will use to set prices for your products and services.
Distribution Strategy - Describe the distribution channels you will utilize to get your product or service to your target market (e.g.
Advertising and Promotions Strategy - Determine what media channels you will use to market and promote your products and services to your target market (e.g. Public Relations Strategy - Describe the methods you will utilize to inform, communicate and educate your public (e.g.
Strategic Alliances - Describe the nature and type of third-party alliances you anticipated will be needed in order to compete effectively in the marketplace. Word-of-Mouth -  Describe how and the methods you will utilize to create word-of-mouth. Every good strategic marketing plan includes two elements: strategic direction and plans for moving the company in the new direction.
After you have developed your strategic marketing direction, it's time to develop strategies for each of your major marketing functions.
Unfortunately, many companies can't seem to convert their marketing strategy into the marketing plans that guide their day-to-day marketing programs. Either the company didn't have a strategic marketing plan, or senior management didn't use the plan to guide their marketing program managers.
Eliminating the "silo" effect Instead of keeping the marketing strategy safely hidden away, I like to integrate the strategic marketing direction into the marketing communications strategy, sales strategy, and other marketing functions. This unified approach to developing a company's strategic marketing plan makes it easy for the managers to align their marketing activities with all the other marketing programs.
In other words, this alignment helps ensure that the strategic marketing plan is actually used to guide the day-to-day marketing programs, such as advertising, public relations, social media, and sales. Everyone within the company who comes in contact with customers is part of the marketing function, even if they don't report up to the company's chief marketing officer.
Every marketing program needs to present a clear, consistent message that's in harmony with all the other marketing programs.
Part of this "best practices" approach to achieving harmony is to develop an internal communications process that ensures that everyone knows their role in communicating with potential customers. I find it helpful to use a marketing strategy mind map to capture ideas, plans, and relationships so I can present them in review meetings. During planning meetings, such as for marketing communications, I encourage brainstorming of all the techniques that the team feels could support the overall strategy, which we add to the mind map. For example, some companies consider the lead nurturing program to be part of marketing communications until the lead is contacted by a salesperson. Another benefit of using mind map software is that during a review meeting you can focus attention on high level strategies. Sharing the mind map within the marketing organization keeps everyone up to date on the company's marketing strategy and implementation plans.

After your marketing strategy mind map is made available, expect that program managers will want to develop their own mind map to manage their operation.
Some mind mapping software products have extensive budgeting and project management features, while others have little or no project management capabilities. This unified approach to marketing strategy and program plans can help your marketing team avoid the "silo" problem that affects so many marketing organizations.
When your marketing program managers understand how all marketing programs are implementing the strategic direction, they can align their marketing activities to create a consistent customer experience. I also have a marketing blog, but it's targeted more to small business owners while yours appears to be targeted more to professional marketers. You can have the best product or service available, but if you are not marketing it correctly, you are not going to have the revenue and customer base that you want. While we have listed our top learning resources for creating a marketing plan in no particular order, we have included a table of contents to make it easier for you to jump to the resources categories that are of most interest to you.
BusinessNewsDaily is geared toward people who are in the planning stages of starting a business or who already are in the startup process. The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) advises creating a marketing plan to grow your business. A powerhouse in social media, Hootsuite offers tips for creating a social media marketing plan in this resource for creating a marketing plan. Assistant professor of clinical marketing at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California and president of Kalb & Associates, Ira Kalb details the importance of creating and following a marketing plan in Failing To Have a Great Marketing Plan Is Planning To Fail. Rife with research and a new infographic, this resource for creating a marketing plan is written by Kevan Lee, content crafter for Buffer. The founder of Linkfluencer, a leading online community for LinkedIn training, Alex Pirouz shares his five steps for creating an effective content marketing strategy in this HuffPost Business article.
Beginning with a marketing plan is the first step toward marketing success, according to this marketing plan resource from South African magazine, Entrepreneur. Instructed by Jon Turino, author, consultant, marketer, and business and networking resource, Strategic Marketing Plan: How to Write a Marketing Plan is an online course offered by Udemy. Marcia Yudkin, creative marketing expert and marketing coach, instructs this online course in creating a practical company marketing plan. Matt Bailey is a 15-year marketing veteran, author, adjunct professor, and founder and president of SiteLogic Marketing Consultants.
Provided by StartupSmart in conjunction with Business Victoria, Mastering the Marketing Basics is a short course that delivers the basics on implementing marketing strategies to promote products and services.
Infusionsoft offers this marketing plan eBook free, with email request, to help small businesses learn how to grow their business with a structured marketing plan.
The Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) offers its Guide to Writing a Killer Marketing Plan as part of its grow smart business eBook series. Info Entrepreneurs, a team of business information experts from the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and a member of the Canada Business Network, offers this guide for creating a marketing plan and strategy. Alyssa Gregory, founder of Small Business Bonfire and small business expert, includes the ten questions that need to be answered when creating a small business marketing plan in her guide. In this guide for creating a marketing plan, Leslie Truex of Demand Media details six steps small businesses should follow for effectively marketing a new product. Business Victoria offers free resources, tools, and information to aid in starting, running, and growing businesses.
David Meerman Scott is a marketing and sales strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of ten books. Influencer marketing is becoming more important to successful marketers and successful companies. In her article for Contently, lead writer Amanda Walgrove explores the accuracy of their 10 content marketing predictions fro 2015.
Nonprofits need to create marketing plans, too, and this infographic from Nonprofit Hub explains the importance of having specific components of the marketing strategy fit together to be successful.
Digital strategies, marketing consultant, public speaker, and digital brand manager for USC, Juntae DeLane shares his take on creating a five-minute LinkedIn marketing plan, following an infographic from Bluewire. SOSTAC is more comprehensive and borrows elements of several of the other popular marketing planning models. The four growth strategies include: market penetration, market development, product development and diversification. Include major new customers, revenues, no of unique visitors, downloads, new patents, major personnel additions and awards.
Will you be using inside sales personnel, inbound or outbound sales personnel, outside sales personnel, manufacturer's representatives, independent salespeople or network marketing personnel. The marketing strategy mind map can also be used in briefings and brainstorming with your advertising agency, public relations firm, call center, distribution center, and other vendors that affect your customers' experience. However, other companies feel all communication with leads should be handled by the sales department. Exactly how you distribute mind maps will depend on how your marketing organization is connected.
Most mind mapping software allows you to link to Web pages or local documents (such as other mind maps). When you have an effective marketing strategy, you reach people well enough to attract new customers and retain repeat customers. We also realize that there are multiple strategies for creating a marketing plan and that it can be daunting for first-timers and tedious for those who have been in the business for an extended period of time. Their article, How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan, offers contributor Katherine Arline’s best advice for creating a marketing plan, along with tips from marketing experts and thought leaders. Their article outlines the benefits of creating a marketing plan, including understanding your target market and how to reach that market, as well as the key components of a marketing plan, including the costs and marketing budget. Kalb guides readers through the top considerations for creating an effective marketing plan in this marketing plan resource.
He likens writing a social media marketing plan to going rock climbing for the first time, but explains that creating a plan is the best way to go about starting the process.

Pirouz explains how content marketing strategy is attracting positive attention for companies plus opening doors for small businesses.
Creating the plan is the most challenging part of marketing, but once a solid plan is in place, organizations can focus on executing it properly.
McGill points out that a Content Marketing Institute study shows that 70% of marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, so it’s critical to create a content marketing plan to beat the competition.
Participants will gain the knowledge necessary for developing a comprehensive, effective marketing plan to grow their business. Course participants will learn how to create a one-year marketing plan for a company, nonprofit, or professional practice.
The course is for beginners and includes 45 lectures and 13 hours of video so that participants can learn the basics of online marketing, including social media marketing, search marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and going viral.
Their marketing plan course, How to Write a Marketing Plan, is an advanced course authored by H.
The short course materials arrive daily in your inbox, giving you the knowledge you need to create a marketing plan and plan your marketing strategy. This marketing plan eBook, suited for start-ups, covers inbound marketing, outbound marketing, marketing and sales offers, and more.
The eBook stresses the importance of targeted communication and smarter lead management with the structured plan. Written by Steven Fisher, the eBook shares his experiences in writing marketing plans and the knowledge of what has worked for him.
In this case, their resource for creating a marketing plan is a guide that provides a general overview of writing a marketing plan, along with four steps to follow to create the plan. The checklist provides a step-by-step guide for developing a marketing plan and includes cardinal rules to follow and not to follow.
The guide includes key elements of a successful marketing strategy and tips and pitfalls of writing an effective marketing plan. She explains that marketing plans are essential marketing tools for every small business and includes a guide to help small businesses answer the ten questions.
Ward likens a marketing plan to a map for a trip and explains that the more detailed information collected and the more planning done ahead of time, the more effective your marketing plan will be.
She suggests focusing on your customers’ desires and understanding your market to create the most effective marketing plan. Their guide offers six steps to help marketers develop a marketing plan that leads to a better understanding of how campaigns are performing.
Their guide to creating a marketing plan provides a general overview of marketing plans and offers various tips for creating a marketing plan. Their guide to creating a marketing plan includes a marketing plan template and easy-to-follow tips for creating your marketing plan.
His Marketing Strategy Planning Template is a valuable online learning resource for anyone looking to create a marketing plan because it breaks the marketing plan into questions relating to two possible buyer personas and focuses answers in an at-a-glance format.
She recommends using a marketing plan template to get started and include all essential information. That’s why creating a marketing plan for influencer marketing may be right for your company.
She references the infographic, which visualizes stats from marketers and tips for boosting content strategy. Don't think in terms of what other organizations or individuals have done, but how you are going to get it done. Centralized marketing teams are on the same local area network and file server, while others are distributed across multiple locations and collaborate using the Internet. This makes it easy to link from the main marketing strategy mind map to each program's own mind map to see their detailed plans, projects, and tasks. The first step toward an effective marketing strategy is creating to and sticking with an effective marketing plan. The marketing plan (be it a digital marketing plan or a B2B marketing plan) is your roadmap for reaching your marketing goals, as stated in your marketing strategy. This article, an edited excerpt from the book, offers five steps for creating a marketing plan for a new business. The article also links to a free content marketing planning template from Hubspot to get you started.
Yudkin’s four-step process is intuitive and ensures that participants create a plan tailored to their situations. Doug Stayman, associated dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, that is comprised of seven two-week courses. The eBook includes topics such as product and purpose, analysis and competition, strategy and action, and financials in easy to understand language. One reminder included in the guide is that marketing plans vary in length, but they are crucial for successful businesses. His guide for creating a marketing plan includes links to other resources, steps for creating an effective marketing plan, and explanations for each step in the process of writing a marketing plan. Links to two marketing plans are available in this online learning resource for creating a marketing plan. Traackr and Lewis PR teamed up to create a five-step action plan for influencer marketing, and we think their infographic is an especially helpful online learning resource for creating a marketing plan.
The information contained in the infographic should be useful for those creating marketing plans because it shows top goals for marketers and steps they are taking to achieve their marketing strategy. Perhaps you’re not so good at setting SMART objectives, or developing strategies to support them or the control stage of assessing how effective your strategies and tactics are and adjusting them? Our learning resources come from experienced business leaders, top marketers, marketing experts, and other marketing thought leaders, so you can rest assured that their tips, tricks, and advice for creating a marketing plan are among the best available. One important point the staffers make is that marketing plans are just as critical as business plans, because they focus on attracting and retaining customers.

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