A marketing plan is a kind of roadmap that describes your current position and actions necessary to achieve your marketing goals. There are no single correct rules or standards for writing this document, but there are several well-established models (techniques). In our step-by-step instructions on how to develop a marketing strategy plan, we use the SOSTAC, model that was created by PR Smith in the 1990s.
The SOSTAC model is equally well suited both for developing a general or digital marketing strategy, and for improving its individual elements (for example, SEO or email marketing). Acronym SOSTAC means:
- Situation: monitoring the current situation.
- Objectives: setting marketing goals.
- Strategy: a strategy for achieving marketing goals.
- Tactic: setting individual tasks, selecting tools.
- Action: direct actions to implement tasks.
- Control: control of the execution of actions.
Stage 1: monitoring the current situation
The first stage of SOSTAC
implementation is a detailed analysis of the current situation. You should give a general, but well-developed description of your business in the following key areas:
- Identify and describe potential and current customers. Who they are, why they buy (use) your product or service, how they interact with your brand at the marketing level. Make up the “buyer persons”.
- Perform a SWOT analysis. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of your business (product or service), its capabilities and threats (existing and probable).
- Target market conditions. Size, saturation. It grows or stagnates, on what directions, for how long and why. If this market is IT, use Raymond Kurzweil’s Accelerating Return Act.
- Analyze competitors. Identify them and the marketing strategies and channels that they use. Learn how successful your competitors are and why.
- Make the map of channels (instruments). List all the digital channels that you used and evaluate the effectiveness of each of them (SEO, SMM banners, email marketing, contextual advertising, etc.)
Let's look at some of these things in more detail.
Customer Analysis, Buyer Person. To understand how to sell your product or service, you need to conduct a detailed analysis of your target audience and, based on the information received, make up a few “buyer persons”. This is a concise description of the desires, needs, motivation, income, and other demographic characteristics of fictional people (client archetypes): ordinary, ideal, potential, etc.
Creating a “Customer Identity” will help you understand what your business has, who you want to attract, and how to do it. Thanks to this, you can make informed marketing decisions.
The information necessary to create a “buyer person” is usually extracted from CRM systems or collected through research, surveys, testing and monitoring of customers.
Benefits of using “Buyer Person” in a marketing strategy:
Carrying out a SWOT analysis of your business
- Understanding who your customers are and what their real needs are. And, more importantly, an understanding of how to satisfy these needs with the help of your products and services, as well as how beneficial it is to present to the client.
- Ability to create a marketing strategy with a focus on a specific client. For example, to develop personalized offers and messages in email newsletters and other customer communication channels.
- A better understanding of customers makes it possible to develop a more focused marketing strategy, which leads to an increase in its effectiveness and lower marketing costs.
. Another important component of the SOSTAC methodology, which should take into account all the internal departments of your business, and not just the marketing department. Not a single good instruction on how to develop a marketing strategy plan is complete without it.
A SWOT analysis will help you understand where your business and its products or services correspond to the market and your unique sales position and where you have problems and how to solve them. The acronym SWOT itself means:
- S What are you doing well, which is the best. What are the advantages of your business (product or service) distinguished by customers.
- W What are you doing badly. What your competitors are doing better than you. What is holding back your business. What aspects of the business need to be improved to stay competitive.
- O What you can use in the interests of your business. What market trends can lead to increased sales.
- T What can harm your business in the short, medium and long term. How to avoid it.
Stage 2: setting marketing goals
The second stage of the SOSTAC methodology
involves the development of goals that you plan to achieve with your marketing strategy plan. For their formulation, it is recommended to use SMART criteria. This is another acronym meaning:
- S The goal should be clearly defined. For example, “I want to lose weight” is not a specific goal, while “I will eat 1200-1500 calories a day for two months” is a clear goal. The same goes for marketing: “I want to increase the number of subscribers” is not specific, while “I want to receive 1000 new subscribers per month” is specific.
- M Goals must be measurable. This means that you must have quantitative criteria for measuring the process of fulfilling the plan (achieving goals). Example: increase conversion from 3 to 6% per month or increase incoming traffic to 10,000 unique visits per day.
- A Goals must be achievable. Make sure your marketing goals are within reach. For example, “becoming the first in the Chinese market” is almost always the goal of your dreams, while “selling 1000 positions a month in China” is an achievable goal.
- R Goals must be realistic. It is possible that some goals will require resources that you do not have. For example, you can set a goal: get 100,000 new followers on Instagram. This is easy to achieve if you have money for quality content and extensive advertising. And it’s not possible if you are a small business with a limited budget.
- Time-related. Goals should be tied to time. For example, increase sales by 20% by the beginning of 2020 or enter the top 5 in Google’s natural delivery in six months.
Stage 3: developing a marketing strategy
is the path that you will follow until you reach your goals. In marketing, this is the set of channels that you plan to use. What is included in this set depends on the target audience. For example, you should not use advertising in print newspapers if your target audience is young people, because they practically do not read newspapers.