How to Write a Winning Marketing Plan

Sun, beach, shakes, smoothies, cold beer, travel, and a fully functioning air-conditioner – these are all high on my list at this time of the year. Honestly, this is what summer is all about.

However, summer is also a very quiet time in terms of business. Be it B2B or B2C, the amount of transactions drastically decline and most businesses are preparing themselves for the last push of the year – the holiday season. Some of the businesses I know generate more than 70 percent of their revenue between October and early December.

It also means that we have most probably stocked up our inventories, prepared the selling strategy and communication, and basically everything is ready for us to hit the “launch button.” Great.

But the tricky part is that while we need to sell and focus on generating revenue (yes, digital marketers are sales people), track the results, and make sure that we meet our sales targets, we also need to plan for the 2015 marketing budget.

As a marketer, this issue was bothering me recently and I have researched it a lot and spent hours conceptualizing and perfecting my marketing plan. I thought that a) sharing is caring, and b), if we spend the time in the office during the summer, then we can use this to prepare and plan for next year and focus on revenue purely during the sales season. Smart, no?

So, here we go.

Phase 1 – Set Your Strategy

  • Reach: Consider your new business acquisition strategy, which drives awareness to your business off- and online.
  • Convert and Grow: Your strategy of taking these prospects, converting them into paying customers, and growing their LTV.
  • Winning Back: Fine-tune your strategy around engaging the client, making sure they are staying with your business, and winning back their hearts and business when they are about to slide and move to the competition.

Phase 2 – Analyze

At this stage, you need to analyze your customers (what are they buying from you), your competition (their products and pricing), and your vendors and partners (can they provide you the input you need at the right price points?). Lastly, it is also recommended to run a SWOT analysis on your marketing.

Phase 3 – Set Your Goals and Objectives

Here are some examples for goals:

  1. Build brand awareness 
  2. Generate high volume of leads
  3. Set your company as a thought leader in your line of business
  4. Convert leads to sales 
  5. Increase LTV and reduce churning clients

When we’re looking at objectives, we need to set measurable targets with a timeline around those objectives. For example:

  • Acquire X number of customers over Y period
  • Convert X percent of leads into existing paying clients
  • Grow my existing clients base by X percent over Y period

Phase 4 – Link Tactics to Objectives

The next step would be to link tactics to the overall objectives, so we can hit the measurable objectives set and agreed, and here are some examples:

Acquire  Convert  Grow & Win Back 
SEO E-commerce and onboarding lifecycle strategy of leads Content
PPC Home page optimization Social
Social Ads Retargeting CRM emails
Banner/advertising (on- and offline) Split- and multi-variant testing Events (if offline)
PR (on- and offline)   Webinars and seminars (often B2B)
Affiliation   Mobile marketing (apps, also retargeting)
    Services and client support

Here you really need to look for the technologies and channels and link them to the right objective.

Phase 5 – Set KPIs and Measure

Time to set these KPIs that will enable us to see if we are on track, and measure them. Use “measure, analyze, act” as the basis of your analysis, so you’re not only looking at numbers, but you actually understand them and can act upon them.

It is sometimes common to look at KPIs in terms of volume, quality value. Here are some examples for you:


  • New visitors to website
  • Repeat visitors to website
  • PR
  • Inbound requests
  • Events and seminars
  • Webinars
  • Social 
  • Affiliation
  • Emails
  • Papers and research
  • Thought leadership


  • Conversions on website
  • Convections from PR
  • Conversions from events
  • Organic ranking of website
  • Response from emails to clients
  • Social 
  • Content
  • Pages/visit
  • Time on site


  • Cost of acquisition marketing
  • Cost of acquisition on the website
  • $ amount made from NBS
  • $ amount made from existing business
  • Average revenue/visit (CPA)

Now you need to link dollars to your strategies. A good way to go about it is to link the percentage of total revenue planned/forecasted. My advice to you is that in your plan you have a month-on-month plan, where you know what you are going to spend, on which channels, and what are the campaigns you’re planning to run at that time. Make sure that you always question your tactics – if your KPIs don’t work toward your goals, you want to optimize your tactics, and if still it’s not successful, simply drop that tactic and allocate the budget you have into a new idea.

What’s left now? Think about it over a good mojito and start to do the planning. Don’t forget, by the way, that you need to set appointments with vendors prior to next year.

Until next time, stay tuned.

Related reading

Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.