Understanding Your Strategic Marketing Plan

Your strategic marketing plan (SMP), outlines the goals and activities that are planned for the following 12 months. Do remember though that we offer agile digital marketing solutions which mean your plan can be revised at any time – but it pays to at least start out on the right path.

Your SMP is an important document and we encourage you to read and understand it. It is the bit that links your strategic business aims, to our marketing activity. It’s also the key document that connects your management to our “minions” – with great power must come great responsibility…

On a practical level, each activity on your plan is assigned to marketing team member as a task booked onto their “to do” lists. That may sound irrelevant, but it means that if something does not appear on your SMP, it does not exist in our plans i.e. these are your deliverables and anything omitted from them, will not happen either automatically, independently or by magic.

We of course accommodate your requirements for additional ideas and activity – the more the merrier and this is a good opportunity to discuss this. After launch though, anything on top of these planned activities is very likely going to be a chargeable activity – especially if we calculate at the outset that your plan is using close to 100% of your marketing resources.

Marketing Plan stats

Or what we like to call 13.3% wiggle room.

With that in mind, before a plan is submitted (usually a week after you receive it), it is prudent to consider any shortfalls in resources and any missing activities. It is your plan, for your business and your first/best opportunity to make sure everything is aligned correctly and helps avoid the “I thought you were doing that” conversation in 6 months’ time.


How To Read Your Plan

The plan is split into two distinct parts – an overview section and the area where specific tasks are listed.

Section 1

Website – Your website.

Goals – What we consider to be your general aims for the next 12 months. This will usually either be a strategic business goal that you provide us, or it’ll be working to maximise the ROI of your proposed marketing budgets. For help choosing legitimate business goals, please read Tactics vs Strategy.

Task Booking – We provide you with access to view your active project tasks which give you full management control. In addition, you can also directly book in tasks by sending emails to this address. Whether it is a site update, or a new marketing campaign, emailing this address enters a task straight into Eventure staffs to do list.

Brief Strategy – A very short overview of what the strategy is for the following 12 months, specifically aiming to achieve the goals.

Channels

These are the generals gists of what we are planning for the next 12 months.

Organic – This is how we plan to support the generation of search engine traffic. Unless you are retaining enough days or running a dedicated marketing contract it is unlikely that this channel will include much more than a basic maintenance of your site health.

Paid – These is most often PPC activity which typically includes Adwords. Google shopping, for example, is a paid channel that most e-commerce clients would undertake.

Social – Activity relating to your social channels. We always strongly encourage site owners (or their staff) to take an active part in this channel. They are the mouthpiece of your company, talking directly to your own customers and peers.

Email – This is often simply a schedule of how often email are to be sent. But may also include tactics to encourage sign ups, or advanced segmentation and integration of customer data with your CRM.

Affiliates – This is the activity that is planned to either maintain or expand your affiliate channels. We encourage the complementary involvement of any internal staff on this channel to support low skilled, but time consuming activities.

3rd Party & Feeds –The most notable 3rd party sales platforms are eBay and Amazon although others do exist.

Content Marketing – Building content to attract search traffic, social shares and to build your site’s authority, probably offers the very best ROI of all the marketing channels. It is also an often essential part of any comprehensive SEO (Organic) campaign. It usually required the involvement of marketing executives, designers and your own company – for this reason it is often overlooked.

UX & CRO – User eXperience and Conversion Rate Optimisation can be basically summed up as the activity of making more visitors buy/convert. This is most naturally most effective on busy sites and is usually only available if you have a semi or fully dedicated development plan.

General – The “messy drawer” – Sometimes, things simply just don’t fit into any other category!


Section 2 – Now It Gets Complicated

This is the bit where we start lay out the tactics that, when considered together as a whole, form your strategy. The details may sometimes only be intelligible to most hardened nerd, but should you have read Tactics vs Strategy, you will notice how we split tasks into sections.

Channels – Where the traffic comes from

This is where we are acquiring visitors from. Reading across the line, we state the channel it pertains too, the general activity the amount of time we expect it to take (based on a 12 month plan), whether it is an “optional” tactic and then the specific task (reference) it belongs too.

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Content – Where the users go to

Web traffic needs to have somewhere to go. This means a web-page, a video, pretty pictures or a combination of all three. If you are running a multi-channel campaign, some of this content is required for external adverts, articles or banners. No matter what, if it’s content that needs creating as part of your plan, it’ll be in here.

You will notice that the “Ref” column here, will almost always tie in with a Channel – This is part of a strategy after all, rather than a standalone tactic.

Analysis – How we know what’s working

Digital marketing is awesome. Obviously we’re biased, but one of the reasons it’s so good is that everything can be tracked and recorded. It means that it’s very easy to calculate whether or not we are achieving the goals set out and whether or not a specific tactic is providing a ROI. This section ensures that we have accounted for this needs as well as any other reporting that may be required.

It is also where we assign time for any campaign optimisation – there is little point setting up a PPC campaign, if no-one is regularly checking & improving its performance

Assets – The building blocks of all these things

These are the foundations of your website and digital marketing activity. It’s the bit where we think about the missing mobile site, the slow servers or who is actually going to respond to those tweets? There is no point having the goal of doubling sales if you don’t also have the resources planned to be able to fulfil them.

We also ensure that we set aside time, for any clients without a dedicated development contracts, for site updates and maintenance.  We do that to take responsibility for your budgets – we aim to avoid the situation where unavoidable development requirements end up with a bill on your doormat.


OK – But Is This Really Enough?

Marketing, whether it’s digital or offline is a never ending job – so almost always the answer to that question is there could be more done. If you have internal marketing teams, they will be doing the lions share of the work and will require less “pull button pull lever” support from us and more in terms of general guidance and technical support.

If you have a website that is brand new then it’s probably fine to only have a day assigned a month: By new, we probably  mean under two years old. Obviously, the more time that can be spent the better but in their infancy, a websites marketing is as much to do with waiting  for Google to index it correctly, for a workflow and process to “bed in” and for the website to work out some of their “kinks”. There is also probably a wait to make a bit of money back to cover the cost of the initial development!

If your site is a bit older than that, it’s likely that you have multiple channels open all of which will have gathered enough data with which a determination can be made as to the potential ROI of expanded activity. For most websites that are 2-5 years old, you’ll probably need at least a couple of days a month of work. One to keep things ticking over and one to focus on expanding specific channels and/or specific campaigns.  However, at this point, you should also have in place resources for monthly design and development. Investing in your website is essential throughout it’s lifetime to keep it fresh looking and up to date with the latest technologies.

After that, you will probably need to have at least one person working on things full time. In the first few years, that work would have probably have been done by a business owner or an internal member of staff. Sometimes though, that leap is a difficult one to make and it’s something we do recognise as a barrier to businesses. We do offer the option of providing dedicated marketing executives that makes that step change much simpler to  and more affordable for all sized businesses – talk to Mark or Alex if you’re ready to take this important step.

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