How to create an effective marketing plan for 2020

“Happy Last Year!” No one ever said! It’s all about the NEW! And in business, that means new goals to grow your business. Looking toward the future with optimism is a good thing, but it won’t increase your business, productivity, or your cash flow. Yes, it is that joyous season when our heads are full of thoughts of parties and holiday cheer but for most small business owners the last week between Christmas and New Year’s Day becomes an anxiety-ridden roller coaster of doubt and fear.  Simply because we know what we hope for the upcoming year to hold but we’re completely unsure of how we can achieve it.  

So here’s the secret on how to get everything on your wish list this year – A shiny new Marketing Plan! Much like Santa, I can see you – rolling your eyes!  Yes I know that is not an actual secret, you already know you need a strong marketing plan. You’ve struggled all year long with the one you created last year and it’s just not accomplishing anything.  With so much information out there on “marketing”, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Should you be using a vlog or a blog, or both? Do you really need to post all day, every day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest? How does LinkedIn fit into a marketing plan?  Should I boost posts or run ads? Where does my website fit into this? And just how do I know what’s working or if I’m wasting my money?

If you have asked yourself any of these questions then you don’t have a marketing plan or at least not one that will be effective.  So you may ask with the millions of things any one person reading this blog post may be selling how can we offer a solution that will work for you?  Well, let’s check our list twice before we begin the magic.  

Do you want to:

  • ·         Increase sales.
  • ·         Bring in new customers.
  • ·         Get existing customers to buy more.
  • ·         Introduce a new product or service.
  • ·         Increase market share.
  • ·         Better establish your brand.
  • ·         Improve customer loyalty.

If you answered yes to any one of these then the next steps will help you to create a marketing campaign like a pro! 

Should old acquaintance be forgot… 

If you’re not sure where to start then you’ve forgotten the most important thing in your marketing plan. WHO are you marketing to? Your target audience must be clearly defined and understood before you can create a marketing plan.  After all, that is how you choose what tools to use to market. So now how do you define your audience? It starts with a pen and paper. Yes, actually write it out (okay, you can also type it up or dictate the answers, too). Visualize the perfect client/customer/buyer. How old are they? Are they predominantly men, women, teens, tweens, seniors? Where are they located geographically? 

Below are the four different age group generations we use to base our marketing plan:

  •  ·         Baby Boomers (Roughly 50 to 70 years old)
  • ·         Generation X (Roughly 35 – 50 years old)
  • ·         Millennials, or Generation Y (18 – 34 years old)
  • ·         Generation Z, or iGeneration (Teens & younger)

Just FYI if you sell products or services for children, they are not your buyer.  When was the last time you saw a toddler with a gold card? So in that instance, it would be their parents, grandparents, etc. Now we have a starting point.

Let’s put that aside for a moment and determine what we’re going to do with it!

K.I.S.S. Marketing 

This principle of marketing is so important that we even KISS at midnight every year to remind us.  Okay, so that’s not why but it will stick in your head now. That’s just good marketing there!

Keep It Simple Stupid’ is not about self-loathing, it’s about self-preservation. Research is the lifeblood of good marketing and business planning in general.  However, it’s too easy to go chasing down the rabbit hole when you start Googling market trends, social media advertising, or a million other analyses that promise to show you where to find your next sale. 

So here’s what to do keep your sanity and get your information without overload. Plan your research and find a competitor that is killing it!  Most likely they are already on the platforms you need to be on. Check out their promotions, ads, etc. Pay attention to reviews and comments. You can get a lot of insight into where the gaps are to fill from just listening to your target audience. Plus you can see where your focus should be to highlight differences. 

The key to sustainable marketing is balancing online and offline marketing and inbound and outbound marketing. Now I know you think what the heck is so simple about all of this, but I promise it is.  As Schoolhouse Rock taught us, Knowlege is Power!

Online/Digital MarketingSocial media, websites, forums, blogs, online groups
Offline (aka Traditional) MarketingFace to face, TV, radio, community-based, organizations
Outbound MarketingAdvertising and methods of you finding customers/sales – i.e. advertising
Inbound Marketing Methods of driving customers to you – Google Maps, phone/online listings, directories and sponsorships

Wrap It Up and Put a Bow On It!

So now we know WHO we’re marketing to, we know WHAT our competition is doing, and we know WHERE we’re going to market (generally).  So WHEN and WHY still seem to be missing. It’s like a present without wrapping, not too exciting. So here’s the shiny part that will make you excited to rip into your new year’s marketing plan:  FACTS.

Now you have all you need to know to create a simple but effective marketing plan.  Put it all together and forget the box. There are no constraints here any longer. One of the most effective granite counter installation company’s marketing campaigns focused on their breaking or dropping the product and then showing the fixed and final product.  The social media videos went viral with people loving the “Ut-Oh!” moments but remembered those beautifully finished countertops. They understood their target audience: people who wanted to remodel and knew something bad was going to happen (their fear) but ultimately wanted someone who could make the boo-boos worth it by delivering beautiful counters (desire).  Genius, fearless, and simple content, but that’s another blog!

The Neverending Story, Yours!

Finally, realizing that marketing is a continuous adjustment to social changes, markets, trends, and culture are what will inevitably make your campaigns successful. There is nothing more important in the first step of marketing than knowing your audience.  Without that, no amount of money thrown into advertising will draw and keep your business going.  

If you want more information and data please check out for free and paid data resources. For more information and “how-to’s” on creating campaigns, engaging content, measuring effectiveness, and many other aspects of marketing, business development, and creative advertising join our community on MyPubLab for Freemium and Premium tutorials, webinar, and downloads.

Photo by Rebecca Matthews on Unsplash ;  Infographics by


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