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Developing a marketing communications plan using the SOSTAC model | Growing Pains


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Developing a marketing communications plan using the SOSTAC model
For traditional or digital campaigns this user friendly tool will help you create and measure a successful plan.

Published in: Business
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Developing a marketing communications plan using the SOSTAC model | Growing Pains

  1. 1. Growing Pains Business Coaching 1
  2. 2. Ask any consultant, business adviser or successful business owner what you need when starting or developing a business? The answer will invariably include “A Good Marketing Plan”. It is certainly the case that if you want to successfully build a business, a plan of where you are going is essential. But it can be little help if this plan is simply an overview of objectives and strategy. It is important that the plan is a practical document, actively used in the ongoing management of the business, rather than a nice report that sits on a shelf gathering dust. Over many years working with clients in developing effective Marketing Plans, I have found that the SOSTAC Model developed in the 1990’s by PR Smith is difficult to beat. It is a straightforward model that goes systematically through the steps to build a marketing plan, and helps to ensure that all relevant factors are considered, without the need to go into excessive and expensive detail. The model then continues to look at the practical issues of putting the plan into practice. 2 SOSTAC is an Acronym for the 6 basic elements of the Marketing Plan: Situation Where are we now? Objectives Where do we want to go? Strategy How are we going to get there? – The Big Picture Tactics How are we going to get there? – The tools we need to use to implement the strategy Actions Who is going to do what and when? Control How can we control, measure and develop the process? Each element relates to a key step in the process. Simply work through the Pro-Forma on the following pages step by step and fill in the gaps to suit your business and your goals. One thing you need to be aware of: Often people deal with the SOS as a wish list of achievements and then fail to develop and implement a detailed, controllable & measurable action plan (the TAC). This leads to a statement of great goals with no clear idea of how – or even if you can achieve them. If however you would like some help in developing and, more importantly IMPLEMENTING, a marketing plan, I would be delighted to talk to you.
  3. 3. Growing Pains Business Coaching 3
  4. 4. 4 STAGE SITUATION ANALYSIS: WHERE ARE WE NOW? How are we performing? What are our distinctive competitive (marketing) advantages? How effective is our Marketing Mix? Are we focusing on the best segments with the right type of customer? Are we using the most appropriate channels for communication and distribution? What uncontrollable event(s) or trend(s) can impact my business? What are our competitors, our customers and the market doing? What is our reputation in the market like? What are the effects of technology and the digital environment on our business? Are there new laws that are influencing our business? What are the results of our last SWOT analysis?
  5. 5. STAGE SET OBJECTIVES: WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO? Business Mission? Business Objectives? Marketing Objectives - Business Development? Marketing Communication Objectives? What KPI’s are we benchmarking against? What is the ‘R’ on our ROI? Are our objectives short-term or long-term? Are our objectives reasonable and achievable? Growing Pains Business Coaching 5
  6. 6. Use the SMART Test for Objectives. Make sure your objectives are practical and measurable. Do they fit the following criteria? Specific (with numbers) Measurable (to monitor progress and confirm achievement) Actionable (can we do it?) Reasonable (realistically attainable) Timed (incorporate deadlines) 6
  7. 7. STAGE STRATEGY: HOW DO WE GET THERE? Segmentation How do we want to divide up the market(s)? Targeting Which segments of the market do we wish to focus upon? Are we covering demographic, value-based, lifecycle and behavioral personalizations? Positioning How do we want to be perceived in each different target segment? Are we reinforcing the core proposition? How do we prove credibility? You need clear messaging hierarchies to effectively communicate your positioning both in online and offline media. Proposition and the marketing mix How can you provide differential value to customers through varying the 4Ps online through Product, Price, Promotion and Place and how can you add value through service? Growing Pains Business Coaching 7
  8. 8. 8 STAGE TACTICAL PLAN: HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT THE STRATEGY? Which Communication Tools are we going to use? How are we going to use them? What message(s) do we wish to communicate? Are we being consistent across different tools and messages? Do we have the necessary resources/budgets? What are the timelines (consider 90 days)? Is the message going to be campaign based? Are we optimizing digital channels? Search engine optimization (SEO + SEM) Google Adwords Social media marketing Improving results from your website and Landing page conversion Email marketing Google Analytics
  9. 9. STAGE ACTION PLAN: WHO, WHAT, WHEN? Who is going to do what? Is this within company policy, structure and systems? When are they going to do it? (Timelines and long-term roadmaps) What is the resource allocation for the action? (People and budgets) What are the key performance measurements that relate to tactics, strategies and objectives? How is performance going to be recorded? What are acceptable variances? Growing Pains Business Coaching 9
  10. 10. 10 STAGE CONTROL: KEEPING TRACK OF PROGRESS Do action performance measurements relate to objectives? Responsibility for measurement? Frequency of measurement? Resources for measurement? (Who and how) Review of measurements? Actions on variance?
  11. 11. Some general advice to keep in mind when planning • Start with the customer. Build your plan around customer insights and needs - not around your products and tactics. • Keep it flexible. Situations and plans change, especially online, so ensure plans are usable by a clear vision for the year and keeping detail to a shorter term 90-day focus • Set realistic goals. Include specific objectives in your plans but keep them realistic by fact-based and state assumptions, so they’re easy for others to buy into. • Keep it Simple! “Jargon light” is best. Again it helps others buy into what you’re saying • Keep plans up to date. Review and update monthly or quarterly. • There isn’t a perfect plan. What’s needed changes according to each business! Creating a plan is just the beginning of the journey to making the most of marketing whether it be digital, social media or traditional. We hope our guide has helped you on your way and would appreciate feedback and comments We regularly post content on our website Our LinkedIn page As well as our Facebook page Growing Pains Business Coaching 11
  12. 12. Brent Spilkin has owned and managed several businesses from manufacturing and distribution to property management and media consultancies and found that at different stages of these businesses he lacked knowledgeable mentorship that helped him advance his business and deliver long-term results. He now wants to share his experiences and help steer you and your business in the right direction. Brent facilitates an environment, which allows non-opposing business owners of all sizes and ages to express their pains, frustrations and goals as well as find solutions to everyday challenges, which hinder corporate growth, no matter how big or small. You will be part of a professional objective team who support one another with work related issues. Once a month, for at least two hours, Brent sits with you, the business owner or executive and reviews all the systems and functions that will help you achieve the goals you have set in your business. Brent also helps the business owner identify opportunities, misconceptions and find solutions to challenges, which hinder success and growth. Previous month’s goals are reviewed new objectives are set and measured. Communication is encouraged between monthly sessions at no further cost. Brent also sends researched articles and insight to you on a regular basis and recommends a monthly business book to read. Are you the owner or CEO of a newly started to mature business who is experiencing frustrations in growing your business as well as finding solutions to topics such as sales and marketing, human resource, procurement, distribution, exit strategy and reporting functions? Are you the decision maker that is looking for a fresh perspective, personal growth and new challenging ideas? Even successful, well-run businesses can learn and grow in this environment. If you are seeking assistance in making the right decisions or need a bit of inspiration that will positively impact your business, then we are looking for you. Monthly fees include a minimum of two hours with Brent as well as access to Brent when the need arises. This also covers access to any guest speakers and presentations that happen on an ad-hoc basis. 12