Don’t just write a marketing plan for the sake of checking off the box; develop one that takes the cake.
What stands between you and this delicious competitive advantage? Only a baking dish, some flour, a few eggs, frosting, and of course sprinkles. Perhaps we’re taking this metaphor a little far, but bear with us.
1. Baking Dish Basics: Your Target Market
A cake needs a framework to fit into, and so does your marketing plan. If you don’t know who your target market is, find out. There’s nothing harder or more frustrating than crafting a message to a group you know nothing about. Consider the basics: demographics, characteristics, habits, interests, and passions of your market. Make sure you know why you’re focusing on them, and be sure these reasons make sense.
2. Add the Main Ingredient: Flour (a.k.a. Strategy)
Flour is the main ingredient to a cake, just like strategic innovation is the main ingredient for your marketing plan. It is the underpinning for the entire plan, and should be given careful consideration. Marketing strategy provides a framework for the tactical initiatives you implement moving forward to take place. Consider creative strategies and grassroot campaigns that can help you stand above the rest and have a voice. Avoid heavily saturated and commonly used channels and instead consider ideas that are more ‘off the beaten path.’ It may feel a little risky at first, but most noteworthy things do.
3. Time to Beat the Eggs: Your Competition
When baking, you crack the egg and use what’s inside it; the shell has little value. The same is true in the business of marketing. Start by completing a competitive audit, which means taking a sample of who is in your competitive arena and what they are offering. Are they targeting your same demographic? Do they offer a similar set of services as you? Is there a competitive advantage they have at their disposal which you do not? Ensure you know what differentiates you from your competition and the other hats in the ring when it comes to your potential customers/clients/donors.
4. With Frosting Set it Actually Starts Looking like a Cake. Set Goals.
Once the frosting is spread and set, it really begins looking like something worth putting candles in and singing over. Get a vision, set your goals, communicate them to your team, and you’ll feel like singing, too. What are you trying to achieve, both short-term and long-term? Is it an increased donor base, more committed investors, increased exposure and hit rates for your online promotions, awareness for your cause? The more specific your goals, the better. Once you know where you want to go, getting there will suddenly become a lot easier. Tip: Document. Stats show you’re over 85% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.
5. Finally, the Sprinkles…and Budget (both may seem tiny)
Have a shoestring budget? You’re not alone. This takes us back to the creative strategy mentioned above; especially in today’s social media saturated marketing environment, you don’t have to be a millionaire to have your message heard. When it comes to budgeting, make sure you break it down. Have goals and projections for each quarter, and make sure you are completely accountable for being in the ballpark of those projections. If it takes sharing the numbers with others to accomplish this, by all means do so.
Can writing a marketing plan be “as easy as cake”? Of course. Corporate, nonprofit, or ministry-related, all marketing plans build on the same basic fundamentals of marketing best practices and an eye for the trends. If you keep to the basics and make sure they’re solid, developing a marketing plan that takes the cake will come more naturally than you’d think.