A marketing plan is a detailed list of actions that outlines and explains what exactly needs to be done across all relevant marketing channels to achieve your global marketing goals. A marketing plan is a part of a marketing strategy, and we assume you already defined your target audience, USP, key messaging, etc.

Defining marketing plan part 1: Marketing funnel

Marketing funnel is a handy tool that helps you visualize the buyer journey or the path a prospect takes as they become familiar with your product/company, from the very first time they’ve heard about you to conversion and even advocacy.

marketing funnel image

The traditional view on a funnel portrays it as a linear journey where you have to fill the top of the funnel with as many people as possible since only a few percents will make it to the bottom and become your customers.

It would be fair to say that in 2018 the real buyer behavior is not linear at all and it’s better to visualize it as a loop full of twists and turns.

PICTURE

Now It works like this:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration, along with the research and discovery loop
  • Purchase
  • Post-purchase experience and the loyalty loop

We’re going to break down each stage with a real-world example

Example of a marketing funnel that makes sense with the purchase behavior in 2018

There’s Lora who can’t repair an air conditioning system but struggling with the heat during summer.

Action Funnel Stage
Lora realizes it’s way too hot in her apartment. She’s asking her landlord if there’s anything wrong with the air conditioning system and finds out it got broken yesterday’s evening and won’t be fixed until the end of summer.Awareness
Lora can’t stand the heat. Thus she immediately starts googling if there’s an alternative device she can use as a replacement.Awareness, consideration
Lora finds out there is a variety of portable air conditioners that can fix her problem. She goes to Amazon to see the available models.Awareness, consideration
She filters the air conditioners by price and picks 3 models with the highest rating. Reviews on Amazon are not really useful, so Lorra heads over to Google and YouTube to find more information about the devices she has chosen.Consideration
Lora finds a great 20 min video review on YouTube about one of the models and is now sure that this model is a great choice. She goes back to Amazon to add this model to her wishlist and buy it later today cause right now she has an appointment at the bank.Consideration
The same day, Lora is waiting in a line, so she checks her Instagram feed where she sees a creative ad of a brand new personal air conditioner. She taps on the ad and reads through the landing page. It says this device is much smaller than a default portable air conditioner, provides the same cooling efficiency, looks stylish and doesn’t harm the environment.Awareness
Lora is intrigued, but she needs some social proof this device is as good as it was said on the landing page. She’s doing a quick search on Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon to find out if there are any honest reviews.Consideration
She finds a couple of articles on Huffington Post and Buzzfeed that this device is really awesome plus a great video review on YouTube saying the device is doing its job really good.Consideration
Lora is now convinced she needs this new device and gives up on her initial plan to buy an old school portable air conditioner on Amazon.Purchase
Lora buys the device and is extremely satisfied. She shoots a photo of her new personal air conditioner and posts it on her Instagram with 4,000 followers adding a comment that she’s very happy now and recommends it to everyone who doesn’t have an air conditioner for some reason.Loyalty loop
Lora sees an ad from the same company a couple of months later about their new product - stylish small yet powerful humidifier that is a must for her skin during the upcoming winter.Awareness
She skips the consideration state and buys the new product almost immediately based on her satisfaction with the previous device.Loyalty loop,
Purchase

Defining marketing plan part 2: The See-Think-Do-Care model

There’s an awesome marketing framework by Avinash Kaushik called “See-Think-Do-Care”. The idea behind this framework is very simple and elegant: let’s divide our target audience into clusters based on their purchase intent.

PICTURE

There are 4 consideration stages your target audience goes through along their buyer’s journey:

  • See Stage, the largest addressable qualified audience. These are the people who don’t have any buyers intent yet but are very likely to develop it once they get aware of your product.
  • Think Stage, the largest addressable qualified audience with some commercial intent.
  • Care Stage, your current customers. Those who purchased your product/service 1+ times.

Most marketing plans are focused on the “Do” stage, and that really bottlenecks their possible success. The best marketing plan must cover all 4 stages and it’s obvious that:

  • Each consideration stage must have a special content tailored to the buyers intent of this stage
  • You need to figure out the marketing channels you’re going to use on each stage

The picture below illustrates our view on the best channels you should try on each step of the funnel.

Defining marketing plan for the “See” audience

First, let’s consider the marketing plan for the top of the funnel, the “See” audience of a given buyer persona. This is your largest audience; these people do realize they have a problem your product is solving, the thing is that most likely they haven’t heard about your product.

In this phase, if you’re in the market of selling door locks, you might create informational content in various forms on either your website, YouTube, Medium, etc, about door locks; varieties, uses, features and benefits, installations and so on.

You want people to get aware of your product and to encourage them to go down the funnel to the “Think” stage.

Consider the following channels for the marketing plan for the “See” stage.

Facebook & Instagram ads

Facebook is probably your number one priority because:

  • It is relatively cheap for awareness campaigns
  • Chances are almost 100% that your target audience uses either Facebook or Instagram a lot.

Test the following campaign objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Post engagement
  • Video views
  • Ignore “Traffic” and “Conversions” objectives because they’re much more expensive.

Create dedicated campaigns to test the following placements:

  • Facebook Feed
  • Instagram Feed
  • Instagram Stories

Test both image and video creatives.

Key metrics you should pay attention to:

  • Estimated ad recall lift (people)
  • Estimated ad recall lift Rate
  • Post engagement
  • Video watches at 50%

YouTube

There are 3 types of YouTube in-stream video ads you should test:

  • Skippable video ads allow viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds if they choose. Inserted before, during, or after the main video.
  • Non-skippable video ads must be watched before your video can be viewed. (15 or 20 sec long)
  • Bumper ads – video ads of up to 6 seconds that must be watched before your video can be viewed.

PICTURE OF AN AD

Check this article to learn more about YouTube video ad campaign.

Influencer marketing

The idea here is that you need to build up excellent relationships with the influencers within your niche. These influencers will then (hopefully) share your products or services to their audience, or just give your brand a shoutout. Influencers have a lot of trusts built up behind them, so whatever product they promote is going to get a piece of that trust and receive a lot of attention.

How to get started with the influencer marketing

  1. Find the influencers related to your product/business/niche
  2. Reach out and start building a relationship

SEO

Even though people haven’t yet heard about your product, they still google for topics related to your business. The vast majority of their search queries are “Informational” meaning a user was not looking for a specific site. They just asked a question and wanted to get it answered or maybe find a tutorial on how to do something. The best way to target informational searches is with high-quality SEO content that genuinely provides helpful information relevant to the query.

Consider this types of content to target informational queries:

  • A how-to video
  • Detailed step by step guide
  • Design an infographic

Display ads

Consider Google AdWords Display Network (GDN) in case you have a bigger budget. If you have no experience with AdWords Display Network, follow this article to learn how to create a decent campaign to get started.

Targeting

We assume you already created your buyer personas thus you know correctly your typical customers and can precisely set demographic targeting. Combine demographic targeting with each of the following additional targeting options:

  1. Display Keywords.
    Do a keywords research following this guide. Group related keywords into different ad groups.
  2. Placements
    The idea behind this is that your audience has some trustworthy websites they visit a lot so putting your creatives on these websites will allow you to reach this audience easily. Try to find as many great websites your audience visits a lot as possible. You must have at least a few examples in mind, try to Google to find more relevant websites. There are some advanced techniques you should try as well:
    Google for related websites. Search for

    related: [website-your-audience-visit-a-lot]

    E.g., to find a site similar to reddit.com, head over to Google.com and search for

    related: reddit.com
  3. Topics
    Try to pick those that match your buyer’s personas.
  4. Interests
    Again, try interests your target audience is supposed to have.

You’re going to end up with 4 GDN campaigns with the following targeting options:

  • Demographics + Keywords
  • Demographics + Placements
  • Demographics + Topics
  • Demographics + Interests

Creatives

You are going to use banners. Animated HTML5 banners usually work better than static JPG/PNG banners. We suggest hiring a designer for banners making. If that’s something you can’t afford right now, AdWords has a decent built-in banner maker which you should be fine with.

Key metrics

You’re going to measure the success of the AdWords GDN campaigns on the “See” stage with the following metrics:

  • Banners CTR
  • An increase in the branded organic traffic

 

This article is not yet finished and we’re adding more materials almost every day, please stay tuned. 
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