Without marketing, your business could be a dead end. However we recognize that for startups and small businesses, staffing your team with experienced marketers may not be in the cards. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a cheat-sheet of everything you need to know about marketing operations and crafting your own marketing plan.
Consider this your ultimate guide to marketing your business.
Understanding marketing operations
A marketing operations strategy encompasses nearly every aspect of a marketing team’s efforts. It ranges from overseeing an organization’s marketing program, to campaign planning and annual strategic planning activities. Other responsibilities include technology and performance measurement and reporting and data analytics. In essence, marketing operations refers to the people, processes and technology involved in bringing a marketing strategy to fruition.
The people involved with marketing operations might include marketing managers, strategists, analysts, content experts and SEO specialists, while marketing processes consist of elements such as project planning, market research, performance analysis and data management, among others. The technology side of MOps includes tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software, a content management system, advertising tools and social media platforms.
The 4 P’s of marketing
To successfully market a product or service, teams must carefully implement the 4 P's. Also referred to as the marketing mix, the 4 P's include specific factors to consider when marketing a brand, including what consumers want, how the product is perceived, how the brand stands against the competition, and how the company is viewed by its customers.
So, what exactly are each of the 4 P's of marketing?
What do you sell? Whether it’s physical goods, services, software or consulting, selling a product or offering is the fundamental nature of a business. In addition to identifying the product itself, marketers should consider who needs the product, and why. How does the product stand apart from the competition? All of these details are vital when developing a marketing strategy. By defining the product, marketers also gain a more thorough understanding of its life cycle, so teams can plan for each stage of the product’s duration.
How much do you charge for your product, and how does that price impact customers’ view of your brand? Ideally, the price should boost sales while also driving profits. The price also should be set within a range that customers will pay for a product. Marketers can determine an effective price by linking the number to the product’s real and perceived value while considering factors like supply costs, competitors’ pricing, seasonal discounts and retail markup. Of course, marketing teams also must be ready to decide when and if discounting becomes appropriate for a product.
Where do you promote your product or service? Should it be sold in a brick-and-mortar store, or will it sell better online or both? Are the product promotions placed where target customers naturally spend time? Has your company focused on the right outlets and distribution channels for your promotions? Marketing teams must remember that not every location is a sensible place to sell every product and to every type of audience. To prevent wasteful promotions, marketers should always evaluate the ideal locations to promote and sell their products and convert the most potential clients into sales.
How do your customers discover your brand? Through what channels is your target audience most likely to consume information? What sort of message is most effective when promoting your brand? What is the best time to promote your product? All of these questions are pertinent to developing effective promotions. After all, a promotion aims to provide consumers with product or brand information and convince them they need the product and will pay its price. In modern marketing strategies, teams often merge their promotion and product placement efforts to better attract target audiences, particularly for online sales.
Crafting your marketing plan
A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization's marketing goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics for achieving those goals. It serves as a roadmap for how a company will promote and sell its products or services to its target audience. A well-developed marketing plan is crucial for guiding marketing efforts, ensuring consistency in messaging, and maximizing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
How can presentation templates help support a marketing operations strategy & plan? Consider the benefits of the following marketing presentation templates from Beautiful.ai:
Annual marketing plan – Marketing teams can create effective marketing plan presentations with this slide deck template. It includes all the necessary slides to illustrate marketing strategies, ad campaigns, proposals and more. Just add the relevant content and watch as artificial intelligence automatically adjusts the layout based on professional principles of good design.
Marketing campaign plan – A marketing campaign plan can help teams identify the most effective marketing activities and channels to reach their campaign objectives and influence their target customers. Teams can organize the marketing campaign plan by applying it to a visual presentation, and the Beautiful.ai marketing campaign plan presentation template is designed specifically for that purpose. The template breaks down the marketing campaign from beginning to end with slides designed to share a campaign’s target audience and goals, social media and email marketing plans, performance metrics and more.
Do your research
Before you even think about a marketing plan, you need to do your homework. Start by researching the market and doing a comprehensive competitor analysis to establish your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Market research is gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market such as its potential customers, competitors, and industry trends. The primary goal of market research is to provide businesses with valuable insights and data that can inform their strategic decisions and help them better understand their target audience and market environment.
Market research helps you recognize customer needs and preferences, identify market trends, opportunities and gaps, and ensures that marketing efforts are properly targeted to resonate with the intended audience.
What are your competitors doing? Doing a comprehensive analysis helps businesses understand their competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and their market share. A competitor analysis can help you determine what marketing opportunities there are for your company, what strategies work well for other businesses and what you might want to test. This knowledge allows for better positioning and differentiation strategies.
Profile your target audience
Who is your target audience and why do they care about your offering? Too often startups fail to thoroughly research their target markets, and they create products or offer services that their ideal customers don’t want, need or appreciate. Plenty of founders were excited to introduce their offerings, only to discover it didn’t land well with certain audiences. To avoid this, it’s critical to thoroughly research your target customers’ needs, then design and market your brand to meet them.
Explore multi-segment marketing
No one customer is the same, and sometimes you’ll need to tailor your marketing efforts to different groups. Market segmentation occurs when prospective customers are divided into different groups based on factors like demographics, buying behavior and other various characteristics.
By dividing groups of customers into subgroups with shared needs and preferences, marketers can create targeted messages to reach each audience. Therefore, multi-segment marketing is the process of dividing a target market into various segments in order to more closely target each segment with a different message or product. Companies employ multi-segment marketing strategies to sell the same product to different demographics, customizing their messages to fit the needs and wants of each audience. Brands marketing multiple products also might utilize multi-segment marketing efforts to divide their marketing strategies and appeal to target audiences for each product line.
Define your brand
It’s not enough for a startup to offer an excellent product or outstanding service. Founders must solidify the concepts of their business and define their brand. What is your business about? What goals do you hope your brand will accomplish? What makes your startup unique from your competitors, and what image do you want to present to your target audience? It’s vital to answer these questions before developing any marketing strategies so that you have consistent branding across each campaign.
Identify your unique selling proposition
Identifying your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is another important step in marketing and branding your product or service. Your USP is what sets your offering apart from competitors and gives customers a compelling reason to choose your product or service over others. To nail your USP you should identify your audience, know the competitive landscape, list your unique features, identify your strengths and solve the problem unique to your prospective customers.
Leverage cross-channel marketing
Cross channel marketing— often referred to as omnichannel marketing— simply means you’re increasing your brand’s exposure by running campaigns across various different channels and platforms. This can include, but is not limited to; email marketing, social media, your company website, advertisements, word-of-mouth marketing, public relations, and blogs or other third-party articles. Most marketers will dabble in all of the above in an effort to generate more brand awareness and establish trust with prospective customers. For example, you might simultaneously run paid social media campaigns to boost brand recognition, create blog posts that explain the pain points your product or service solves, and send a promotion via email. All of which will work together and (ideally) push the customer to the point of purchase.
Cross channel marketing is important because it allows you to test different platforms and strategies to see which channels or content are resonating best with your audience. It’s a lot more low risk for companies to test new content because they aren’t putting all of their eggs in one basket. If something flops, they’re likely running a similar campaign elsewhere so it’s less of a hit to the overall business. With cross channel marketing teams can optimize and recycle existing assets for new platforms so they achieve more impact with fewer resources.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a specific target audience. The primary goal of content marketing is to build and nurture relationships with potential customers by providing them with valuable information, entertainment, or other forms of content that address their needs, interests, and pain points. This approach includes (but is not limited to) blogs, whitepapers and e-books, infographics and downloadables, case studies, or podcasts.
Social media marketing
Nearly every person has social media in some way, shape or form. More than half of social media users already rely on platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for product discovery, and 4 in 10 use social channels for product research. Still, it’s vital to identify which social media channels your target audience uses on a regular basis. Once you’ve determined the best social media outlets to promote your brand, you’ll need to learn what communication methods are most successful and test content based on those findings.
Influencer and affiliate marketing is a growing industry that continues to prove its return on investment. By partnering with certain influencers that match your brand’s niche you are both expanding your brand awareness and creating credibility with their following. Influencer marketing is not one-size-fits all and can include testimonials, an influencer creating content using your product or service, or simply mentioning your brand.
Search engine marketing
Imagine searching for the term “presentation software” and Beautiful.ai coming up at the top of your Google search results. Being on the first page of Google search will bump up your brand awareness and build credibility among consumers. Things like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) can improve your rankings for certain keywords thus providing it as a tangible solution to their problem.
As a consumer you’ve probably received a marketing email from a company. Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending targeted emails to a group of recipients with the goal of building and nurturing relationships, promoting products or services, driving engagement, offering unique discounts, and winning back lapsed users. It is one of the most direct and effective forms of communication between a business and its audience when executed correctly.
Public relations & events
Public relations (PR) plays a crucial role in marketing strategies by helping businesses build and maintain a positive public image, establish credibility, and create meaningful connections with their target audience. Effective PR can enhance brand awareness, trust, and reputation, which in turn can influence consumer behavior and support marketing efforts.
Similarly, participating in industry events or conferences can be an effective way to get more eyeballs on your brand.
Print marketing refers to a form of advertising and promotional communication that relies on printed materials, such as brochures, flyers, posters, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, and other tangible items, to reach and engage with an audience. Unlike digital marketing, which utilizes online channels and electronic media, print marketing is something that can be distributed at events or in person with prospects.
Set your budget
No matter how lean, it’s important for startup founders to determine a marketing budget that will support their strategies. How much cash do you have available, and how much can you afford to spend on promoting your brand? What amount of money will it require to successfully meet your marketing goals? While it can be difficult to anticipate how much money will be required to achieve positive results, most startups will only be able to budget however much they can spare.
Outline your goals
Outlining your goals for a marketing strategy is a critical step in planning and executing successful campaigns. Clear and well-defined goals provide direction, focus, and a means to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. What is your ideal outcome? You can start by aligning your marketing goals with your overall business objectives. From there you can set KPIs to quantify your goals, set a timeline, and monitor and measure progress.