One of the things many businesses struggle with is coming up with a marketing plan template that makes sense to the company, is easy for everyone to embrace (and follow), and allows for flexibility.
Here are five tips for developing a marketing plan template that works.
1. Remember, there's no "one size fits all" marketing template. This is good news and bad news. Sure, it would be so much easier if there were one template that everyone on the planet used for their marketing. But it wouldn't be efficient. The marketing template the local hardware store needs will (and should) look a lot different from the template Home Depot uses, right? This leads us to our next point.
2. Figure out what works best for your organization. A marketing plan template is simply that—a roadmap of marketing activities and initiatives for a set period of time. The template needs to be user friendly, meaning the people who'll be relying on it most should be able to easily access it and understand what's what by skimming it.
Larger organizations might need to put together a fancier marketing presentation for the C-suite. (Think PowerPoint.) But that's a presentation, not a template—the roadmap—that the marketing team will be following day to day, week to week, month to month.
How you present the roadmap is what we're talking about when we refer to a marketing plan template. Which leads us to our next point.
3. Consider the different "views." When you look at your calendar in your phone or in Outlook, you can toggle between different views: day, week, month. You can do the same for a marketing plan template. While you absolutely should have a 30,000-foot "big picture" view for the quarter, you can also drill down and create other views.
For example, you could share a document with your team that includes the 90-day marketing plan, but each week, you could share an email that outlines the marketing tasks for the week (and who owns what). Or if your team prefers a monthly view, you could send out an email at the beginning of each month outlining the completed activities from the previous month and what's on tap for the next 30 days.
4. Update, update, update. Too often, we'll see companies create their marketing "plan" for the next year, but after sharing it with the team once, no one ever sees the plan again. A marketing plan is a living and breathing document. It needs to change, because circumstances will change over the year. Initiatives will change. Budgets will change.
At the very least, you should revisit and update your marketing roadmap monthly (week-to-week in some cases, and possibly even day-to-day for certain initiatives, such as a product launch).
5. Organize the marketing plan template in a way that makes sense. For a 30,000-foot view, aim for a 90-day plan and break it down according to sections: Email/Newsletters, Social Media, Blogging, Website, and so forth. Then, for weekly or monthly updates to the team, simply list the tasks and initiatives, which you could send to everyone by email, post in a project management portal (such as Basecamp), or share via an internal communication app, such as Slack. Again, you need to figure out what works best for your team.
Regardless of the delivery method, a weekly list might look like this:
Week of July 2, 2019:
5. Consistency is critical. In addition to regularly updating your marketing plan, you must get in the habit of communicating the roadmap with the team (be it daily, weekly, or monthly). If you do it once or twice, that won't work for the long haul. But if everyone on the team knows that on Monday morning, they're going to get that week's roadmap via email or Basecamp, people will have something to embrace and follow.
And, of course, if you need assistance developing a marketing plan template that will work for your organization, we can help. Let's chat!