How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan For Your Startup

Ever heard about a marketing plan?

You’ve gotten your startup and product up and running. You have your website or maybe a mobile application live as well.

So…What’s next? 

How do you get your product to your customers and how should you invest your time and resources to achieve that?

To answer these questions, You need a marketing plan 

Understanding Marketing Plans

Marketing Plan

The phrases, “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably by most people probably because they feel they both mean the same thing.

However, a Marketing Plan is a document that clearly outlines all your marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. It usually includes a detailed analysis of your target market, competition, and your company's unique selling proposition.

Whereas, a Marketing Strategy shows your long-term plan of action to help you achieve your company's marketing goals.

With a Marketing Plan, you are able to come up with:

  • an estimate of your marketing budget, 
  • a timeline for executing your marketing activities, and 
  • a plan for measuring and evaluating the success of your marketing efforts.

Why Does a Startup Need A Plan?

As a startup, having a plan helps your startup to:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of its marketing strategy
  • Know its position and stance in the market
  • Know its customers and competitors
  • Clearly describe the business and products/services
  • Recognize and apply the necessary marketing approaches

Key Elements of a Startup Marketing Plan

Identify Your Customers

Identifying your customers is the first crucial element to making a marketing plan for them. Ask yourself who you are going to serve. 

Ensure you are able to describe your target customer in detail so you can have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve.

Track Buyer Journey

Once you have a sense of the buyer’s persona, you should be able to identify and track your customer's journey.

Stand Out From the Competition

The only way you can differentiate your brand from your competition is by taking advantage of your uniqueness. 

A core part of the marketing plan for startups is to have a strong competitive advantage by implementing features and offers that your competitors are not providing. 

Identify Marketing Channels (but stick with profitable ones)

When starting out you can start with multiple channels but after a few months of trial and error, make sure that you have identified a few channels that work for your startup and stick with them.

Tips For Creating A Successful Marketing Plan

1. Research

Research and understand factors and trends in your industry, such as; your customer's buying behaviour and buying journey, and the competitive landscape.

Having all this information will help you create a strong marketing message that will resonate with your target audience and find the appropriate channels to reach them.

You can read up on how to carry out marketing research for your start-up here.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals helps motivate your marketing team to perform.

Without setting realistic goals, it would be hard to plan and coordinate your marketing resources. 

3. Focus On Your Customer

As a marketer, one of your jobs is to be the customer's advocate. Therefore, your marketing strategies should focus on your customers rather than your product. 

This means that your marketing plan should not only focus on customer acquisition, it should span the entire customer journey; from product development to customer onboarding and service. 

This will help ensure that you're anticipating and representing customers' needs.

4. Be Flexible

Most times things will not go as planned, and it's important to be flexible and open to change and ideas. 

For example, changes in market conditions or the introduction of a new competitor might require you to tweak your plan.

Final Piece

Marketing your startup goes beyond having a website or posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram. 

With a proper marketing plan for your startup, you can identify what tasks need to be done and how to prioritize your time and allocate your marketing resources.

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