Posts Tagged ‘marketing plan’

A Marketing Plan for Any Business

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

In order to know where you’re going you need to have a good map (or good map app these days).  The same holds true for your marketing strategy.  It is important to have a map of what you are trying to accomplish, how you are going to go about doing it, and how you will know when you’ve been successful.  This means explicitly stating objectives, metrics, and milestones for your marketing plan and detailing your marketing process.

There are lots of sample marketing plans and even a good marketing plan template can be found floating around out there but we thought we’d share what we believe are the most important pieces with a bit of commentary about each section.  The actual details will vary based on the product or service you sell, the markets you are targeting, and the type of marketing budget and staff you have available to drive implementation.

Marketing Plan Outline:

Purpose of the Marketing Plan

This doesn’t have to necessarily include your mission statement but it should cover exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing plan.  Are you launching a new company, have a new product, extending a product line, or expanding into a new geography?  Explain succinctly what you are trying to do and it will help focus your efforts as well as set the stage as you communicate with others.  Also, what is the timeframe you are covering?  Is this a monthly, quarterly, or annual marketing plan?

Metrics and Measurements

This is where you need to cover and detail your goals for metrics of success.  Some to consider are Cost per Lead (CPL), Cost per Action (CPA), and a series of conversion metrics like site visit to registration rate, registration to trial rate, trial to transaction rate.  Also very important are knowing the sources of your customers and both how much and how long it took to convert them into a customer so detail leads by lead source, by number/type of touches, and by the days/weeks/months from registering.  This gets at the core of your marketing process and how you can use both automation technology as well as off-line processes to support your marketing plan.

Customer Acquisition Model

How are you going to find and acquire customers?  Will you use a direct sales team, go to market through distribution partners, only focus on online marketing or include offline tactics as well?  What are the details of your online marketing strategy?  Will you focus on blogging or will you do paid advertising?  Who is your target buyer?  Are the “user buyer” and “economic buyer” the same person?  Knowing how you are going to reach your target customer needs to be detailed in this part of the marketing plan.  Get tactical and detailed.  The details matter here…

Target Markets and Segments

The best strategic marketing approaches have a very detailed understanding of who they are targeting and why.  Here you cover how you are looking at the market.  Is it by industry (ie, Financial Services), geography (ie, US), attribute (iPhone users)?  Is this a domestic or international marketing plan?  Do you have your marketing research completed or is that part of the plan to do surveys, access existing market research, etc? It’s ok to lay out a timeline view here stating where the initial emphasis will be and where you plan on going over the next couple years.

Marketing Budget

Here is where you are going to detail how much you are going to pay for all this awesome.  All your marketing planning efforts need to be reflected here with accurate cost projections and when they will be incurred (I am a fan of a monthly view).  Your business and product strategy will dictate the relative percentages across the following categories:

  • Public Relations (both 3rd party firms as well as costs related to issuing press releases)
  • Advertising (display, search, etc.)
  • Lead Generation (paid programs like sponsored webcasts, tele-prospecting, etc.)
  • Creative (web design, collateral, videos, etc.)
  • Events (trade shows, conferences, etc.)
  • Premiums (a little schwag never hurts!)
  • Technology (webinar, blog, marketing automation, email marketing, analytics, and other marketing technology that you will be using)

Ok there you go.  Enough of a sample marketing plan to get you started and generic enough to apply to pretty much any business.  If not, leave us a comment and we’ll weigh in or point you to someone who can help.

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Building the business case for marketing automation

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Marketing budgets are limited and always smaller than we’d like them to be in a perfect world.  As a result, marketers have to make hard decisions about what to invest in and how much to invest along with an understanding of the expected return on that investment.

The decision to invest in marketing automation requires the same scrutiny both in terms of whether it is appropriate for your business and will it deliver a return greater than your investment.

We think these questions and the resulting business case are easy to address with LoopFuse.  Why?

  1. We offer an unlimited time free trial that provides the ultimate “try before you buy” experience.  You experience the product directly and we are here to help with tutorials, demos, help content, and direct support from our team.  Our free trial version has all the capabilities of our paid versions minus our Webservice API.  If you need to test that piece of the product, we’re happy to enable it for a limited time.
  2. One of the fastest paybacks in the industry with plans that start at just $295 per month.  The efficiencies gained by implementing a simple email drip campaign, scoring leads to better prioritize sales outreach, and just knowing more about your prospects (site visits, referral sources, etc.) more than justifies this monthly investment.  We deliver a lot of bang for the buck!
  3. A lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO) with no need for long and expensive implementations or additional staff to manage the system day-to-day.  Our customers are up and running in hours if not minutes (see #1 above) and we don’t believe you need to hire a dedicated “marketing automation administrator”  to manage LoopFuse.  Anyone on your marketing (or sales) team can be a power user with limited training and we become an extension of your marketing team and lead management efforts vs. adding overhead costs.  We even offer affordable QuickStart packages to get you up and running that start at just $500.

So there you have it.  Build your business case for marketing automation by actually using a marketing automation system.  We’re confident you’ll see immediate results and that the business case will almost write itself!

We would love you to try out LoopFuse here.

To find out exactly what LoopFuse does, click here.

To add LoopFuse to, click here.

You can follow LoopFuse on Twitter here or join us on our Facebook fan page here.

Marketing Technologies Continue to Advance But the Marketing Playbook Remains the Same

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Marketing is changing both in terms of the technologies available to reach a target audience as well as the expectations that audience has on how they are marketed and sold to.  That said, there are some things that have remained the same from the beginning of commerce.  Focus on things like the customer’s needs, your reputation, delivering a quality product/service, and reaching your target customer in the most cost effective way.

Online marketing tactics like websites, social media, videos, pay per click ads, search optimization all are important but are just a combination of methods of reaching your audience and optimizing how you do it.  At the simplest level, it is not that much different than offline marketing activities like the location you choose for your business or where your booth is at a trade show.  Can people reach it? Do you have capacity? Are you easy to find?  How do you get people through the front door?

As pointed out in the Cluetrain Manifesto, markets are conversations so keep that front and center as you approach your marketing activities.  Real, authentic, and genuine goes much farther than stale, contrived, and gimmicky. For every successful on-line viral marketing campaign there are hundreds that go nowhere because sharing and popularity are more about people than technology. Don’t forget that there are real people on the other end of your marketing activities whether you are choosing to exhibit at a trade show or creating a new website.  Keep the wants, interests, concerns, and questions of your potential customer front and center.  Online vs. offline marketing options then just become tactical decisions about “how” you will reach this group.  They are not ends in and of themselves, rather a means to the end.

Keep in mind that no matter what the “new, new thing” is in marketing that the basics of the marketing playbook remain the same. Want to launch a marketing campaign?  Have an offer you want to share with an audience, craft a compelling reason for them to try it, and track who converts.  The technology that drives this is a secondary consideration and, in some cases, the realm of agencies or consultants.  Be cautious in using a complete outsourced mindset as often those professing expertise have a marginally better understanding than you do especially in new or emerging areas.  There is both art and science to on-line marketing just like offline so be aware that there are no sure things in either case.

We would love you to try out LoopFuse here.

To find out exactly what LoopFuse does, click here.

To add LoopFuse to, click here.

You can follow LoopFuse on Twitter here or join us on our Facebook fan page here.

3 Tips for Lovers (of Marketing Automation)

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

It really can go either way, you know. Either you come off looking like a hero, the greatest person in the world…or you come off looking like someone who just doesn’t really have a clue as to what’s really going on. It’s that time of year again when people look at their lives and decide how they are going to celebrate that significant other in their lives. Or is it time when you look at your marketing automation solution and give it some of the attention it deserves? I forget. Either way, they following points are important to remember when treading the paths of love or marketing automation. (more…)