How to Create a Marketing Plan for a New Product Launch
A wise man (Coach Herman Edwards to be exact) once said, “A dream without a plan is a wish.”
And we could not agree more.
Why is planning so important?
Without a plan, or better yet, a clear plan, success is a gamble. We’re not saying it’s impossible to succeed without a plan…surely some have. But it’s pure chance. You may get there or you may not based on sheer happenstance.
You may be content to leave achieving your dream to chance, but we at Metacake are not.
There is a better way.
Whether to grow your brand or simply to be productive for the week, you need a plan with clear and actionable items. Some of us at Metacake have been using Productivity Planner for this. It teaches you how to have clear action items, not arbitrary or ambiguous tasks. The goal is that with your plan, you should be able to sit down and get to work without putting any brain power into what to do next. Your plan should already tell you what to be working on so that you can get to work straightaway.
For example, “improve SEO on site” is not a good action item for your plan. It leave so many questions unanswered. How will you do this, and why? What is the goal? You cannot start executing on this when you sit down at your desk without putting significant brain power into where to start.
So put this brainpower in on the front end and build out a truly actionable plan in order to reach success.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
So now that we’ve agreed that clear planning is incredibly important, how do you go about creating a killer marketing plan?
1) Start at the End
Yes, you heard that right.
Start at the end, and then work backwards. The key to any strong marketing plan is to have a clear goal or target that is quantifiable. Without this, it is impossible to begin planning to reach your goal.
This might seem elementary, but it is not where most people start when approaching a marketing plan. Most pick channels they think are interesting and start working on campaigns straight away without targeting a clear overall goal for their marketing beyond “growth” or “getting your name out there” (whatever that means).
For example, instead of a goal like “increase revenue” choose a goal like “increase sales by 50% over the next 6 months.” This may seem a rather subtle change, but in planning, it makes all the difference.
2) Establish a Baseline
In order to determine how successful your marketing campaign is in the end, you will need to have an accurate baseline of where you are today. This is quantitative part. What is your customer acquisition cost? What is your current conversion rate? And your current average order value? And don’t forget to factor in seasonality.
But there is a qualitative part…which leads us to step 3.
3) Analyze Current Drivers
Not only do you need to have a baseline in terms of quantifiable performance, but you also need to understand what marketing channels are currently driving your business.
Where are your sales coming from (SEO, PPC, Referral, etc.)? What campaigns are working? What customer segment is converting best?
You want to build on these in your marketing plan, as well as test and try new channels and campaigns. Don’t just scrap everything and start fresh. Use the data and knowledge that you have to identify what is working and identify areas of opportunity and growth.
4) Create a Strategy
And don’t forget to factor in the effort required to implement it based on your baseline and current drivers.
Your strategy will be a combination of many different channels and campaigns. For instance, you may launch a strategy that includes increasing PPC budget for performing campaigns, performing A/B testing and optimization to increase conversion rate, and write higher quality content for your audience in order to improve rankings in search engines.
In the end, your strategy should practically be a formula for success. Remember algebra? You know where you want to get (your end goal), you know how much time you have to get there, and you know your current business drivers. You just need to find “X” in order to solve the equation. Maybe it’s not quite mathetmatical, but approaching your marketing in a logical way like this will make it much more likely that you will reach your intended goal.
5) Aim Higher
That being said, if you really want to achieve “X” in 6 months, don’t aim for X. Follow Grant Cardone’s process and use the 10X rule. Certainly everything is not going to work as well as you expect it to. Perhaps some things will work better, and some things will not work at all. But if you assume that you’ll achieve just 10% of your projection and aim for 10 times as much, then in the end, you will still reach “X.”
Now it’s time to get to work. Break your tasks into manageable pieces so that you can get small wins over time. This will help you gain momentum in your campaigns. And make sure to optimize along the way.
Like we’ve said over and over again in this post, clear planning is vitally important. But so is flexibility. Along the way, see what’s working and what’s not and don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan to invest more in areas of success.
7) Be Patient
No matter what your plan, there is no silver bullet in your marketing. So don’t expect one. A truly effective ROI-focused marketing strategy is going to be a healthy combination of a variety of activities that are tailored to your brand and your audience. There is no one campaign or one channel that is the magic ticket. So be patient, keep working smart, and build over time.