Creating a marketing plan for your business can be an overwhelming task.  You are faced with deciding which tools to use, whether or not to incorporate paid advertising, whether to jump on the social media bandwagon, and more.   Here's a little secret - the most important piece of your marketing plan has nothing to do with your logo, or your "brand," or even your deliverables (website, etc).  The most important decision you have to make is WHAT and HOW you are going to measure whether your plan is successful.  Here's 4 things to keep in mind as you create a marketing plan for your company or organization.



1. Start with the end in mind

What are you trying to say, and more importantly - what do you want people to do?  When people are exposed to your marketing, what action do you want them to take?  Figure that out first - then you can create a plan that moves people towards your goal.  Without knowing what you want people to do, you'll never know if you're successful. 

2. Understand your market

Think about your target, and understand how they make decisions.  Taking the time to be sure you're researching the type of customer you're trying to reach, gives you the information you need, to carefully craft a strategy that reaches them.  One of the most important things of any marketing plan is good understanding of your "ideal customer," and the tools that are most likely to influence them.

3. Focus On What You Can Measure

Often times, clients talk about marketing that "increases brand awareness."  Any time you can increase awareness of your brand among your target customer, that's great - but how will you know?  How will you be able to tell that there has been an increase in awareness of your brand?  If you can't find a way to "measure" the result, you'll never know if your strategy is working.  

Instead, focus on things you can reliably measure as indicators that your "brand awareness" is increasing.  Sometimes that results in increased foot traffic to your coffee shop, or more sales at your retail store.  On the other hand, for many businesses it might be measured in website visits, or Social Media mentions, or Facebook "likes."   Every good marketing plan must have a clear picture of what you expect your result to be, and how you're going to measure it.  

4. Use Tools That Give You Data

Don't ignore the data.  If you measure the success of your marketing campaign by the bodies that come into your store, you better be tracking that, and looking honestly at whether or not it worked.  How many people came as a result of your campaign.  If your campaign is online, ask yourself, how much traffic did we generate as a result of this plan?  How much of that traffic converted to leads, and how many of those converted to customers?

Finding that data requires having the right tools.  From free tools like Google Analytics, to more sophisticated tools that provide you analysis of complex campaigns, you need to have the tools in place to not only measure, but make sense of the data. 

What do you think?  How do you incorporate measuring your results into your marketing plan?  What are the challenges you've faced in measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?  Leave a comment below!