Build A Strategic Marketing Plan

I know, it’s a lot to think about. Fortunately, we’re here to share some guidance.

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses review their marketing performance and build their annual marketing strategies. Today, we’re going to talk about how to create the right marketing strategy to help your business have a successful 2020.

It would be foolish to write an all-encompassing article designed to give every business the exact formula to define their marketing budget. Every business is unique. There are far too many variables to consider to write a catch-all guide – let’s schedule a consultation call if that’s what you’re looking for.

The goal of this guide is to identify the primary questions that you should be asking yourself when building your marketing budget and offering guidance on how to evaluate those questions.
We’ll delve into how target growth rates, competitive landscape, and much more should inform the development of your strategy.

How Much Did Your Company Grow Last Year?Would you be satisfied with seeing similar growth metrics this upcoming year?

If so, ask yourself how much of your 2019 marketing strategy needs to change. Minimal movement in the competitive landscape could mean that copying your marketing plan from last year will get you 80% of the way there.

What Marketing Channels Drove the Most Value Last Year?

We recommend breaking down the value of each marketing channel into two categories: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).

Both channels are essential for long-term growth. SQLs-centric efforts (sales-centric blog content, Google Ads, etc.) are great for short-term sales and converting MQLs into sales over time.

MQL-centric efforts (educational blog content, speaking engagements, etc.) will fill your pipeline and drive long-term growth.

Every company will define these differently. Here’s a breakdown of how our team distinguishes these two:

Marketing Qualified Leads
MQLs are those that express interest in learning about our services, either through submitting a contact us form on our website or schedule a call through our chat widget.

Sales Qualified Leads
SQLs are leads that have proven BANT (budget, authority, need, and timing). In other words, an SQL at Junto is someone who:

Will find more value from working with us than they will need to invest to work with us
Is ready to commit to working with us in the upcoming 1-2 months
Has the authority at their company to decide to work with us
Has the budget to invest in partnering with us.
We recommend identifying the top SQL and MQL drivers from 2018 and 2019. Focus your marketing budget on these two channels first (more on how to analyze these in our section about Reviewing your 2019 Marketing Expenses).

What is Your Growth Timeline?

Do you need to see a 10% growth every month to keep your job? Does your team understand that exponential growth often requires a longer time horizon?

Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising (Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.) is a better short-term investment if you need to see consistent growth. Within a few months, you’ll have a strong understanding of the cost per customer acquisition (CPA) and will be able to ramp up spending accordingly to meet growth goals.

For example, you may see that your CPA with Google Ads is $500. Knowing that, you can comfortably assume that investing $5,000 will yield ten customers.

Long term, search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing will help you to see exponential growth and much lower CPAs.

How Has Your Competitive Landscape Changed?

Evaluate your competition and how each competitor has evolved:

How has the competitive landscape changed over the past year?
How do you expect it to change in the upcoming year?
Have you seen signs that your biggest competitor is ramping up their digital marketing efforts?
Have they started to gain more traction in organic search rankings?
What are smaller competitors doing? Are they growing at an alarming rate?

Run a SWOT analysis to see how you stack up against the newly updated competitive landscape.

  • Strengths: which ones can you capitalize on? What value propositions are most meaningful to your ideal customers?
  • Weaknesses: which should you focus on improving?
  • Opportunities: what should you test out in 2020?
  • Threats: what do you need to watch out for?

Is Your Market Saturated?

Are you operating in an untapped market where you can collaborate with your competitors to increase the size of your industry?

Or are you operating in a highly-saturated market where one customer for your competitor means one less customer for you?

For those in untapped markets, look for opportunities to partner with your competitors on larger marketing campaigns to increase the awareness around your industry.

For those in saturated markets, think about how you can improve customer experiences to retain existing customers. Think about weaknesses in competing businesses that you can attack to gain more market share.

Building Your Marketing Goals
Identify 1–2 primary metrics that can be used to evaluate each marketing objective. Review results from last year to identify the count of each of those metrics that each channel brought.

Based on expenses allocated for each channel, you can now break down the exact cost per goal completion for each advertising channel, as well as the estimated value per goal completion.

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