Imagine you’re going on a road trip to the Rocky Mountains, and you’ve never driven there before. But instead of using a GPS or purchasing a map, you decide to try to make the drive all on your own, without any sort of plan. After all, you know where you’re trying to end up eventually…
That’s pretty much what it’s like to try to grow a business without a clearly defined and strategically developed B2B Healthcare Marketing plan. Yet so many brands focus solely on their goals without actually organizing a comprehensive plan to achieve them.
In this article, we will outline what a marketing plan is, and why having one is so essential for B2B businesses in particular. We’ll also outline some easy-to-follow steps so that you can start creating an effective plan for your brand to help streamline your efforts and achieve your marketing goals.
Let’s dive in.
What Is a B2B Healthcare Marketing Plan?
Just like an actual map, a marketing plan is a guiding document for reaching your brand’s marketing goals. It outlines what your goals are, how you plan to achieve them, and how you will measure your progress toward them.
HubSpot explains it best: “A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period…It is the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.” [I]
Your marketing plan can be as narrow or broad as your brand’s specific needs are.
For example, you could have a comprehensive annual marketing plan that covers all marketing efforts for your business—from content marketing to paid advertising.
Alternatively, you could create a more focused marketing plan to supplement your overarching one. Maybe your brand has never pursued social channels before and has decided to develop a dedicated month-to-month social media marketing plan that covers your plan of action for tackling this new opportunity.
The purpose of both broad and more specific marketing plans is the same. Your plan should give you and everyone on your team a clear understanding of your targeted goals and the steps necessary to accomplish them.
Why Do You Need a B2B Healthcare Marketing Plan?
At this point, you might be thinking: “A marketing plan sounds nice, but is it really necessary for my brand?”
Think about it this way: it’s true that you could achieve your goals without a clear-cut plan, but in most cases, it would take you much longer and be much more frustrating to do so.
When you have a well-defined marketing plan in place, every person on your team has a guide that they can refer back to. There’s no confusion concerning who should be doing what and how—instead, everyone has a clear picture of how their individual efforts contribute to the larger objective.
And since B2B Healthcare Marketing plans typically include methods for tracking progress, you’ll be able to better analyze which strategies are working and which aren’t. You can more easily evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches and make changes as necessary.
Finally, the simple process of creating a marketing plan can help you gain a deeper and more detailed understanding of your target market and your brand positioning overall. Developing a marketing plan requires you to dig deep into your buyer personas, analyze your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, and figure out opportunities for growth that are specific to your mission and tailored to your audience.
Marketing plans are an invaluable resource to help you better understand your brand and what steps you need to take to accelerate its growth and expand its reach.
How to Create a B2B Healthcare Marketing Plan?
If you’ve never tried creating a marketing plan before, you might be overwhelmed with where to begin. To help simplify the process, we’ve rounded up a few of the best practices you can follow to jumpstart the process.
While not completely comprehensive, the following strategies should help you begin to think about what should be included in your plan and how those things can help you and your team achieve your marketing goals.
1) Create Buyer Personas
If you haven’t done so already, the first step in creating an effective marketing plan is to develop your brand’s buyer personas.
The purpose of a buyer persona is to embody your target audience so that you can better market to that audience specifically. Trying to appeal to the masses through broad and general messaging probably won’t yield positive engagement—especially in the B2B world. Instead, buyer personas help you tailor your messaging and overall strategies so that they resonate with the exact leads you are trying to reach.
Neil Patel goes even further in one of his posts to explain how buyer personas play into marketing plans in particular: “When you create a buyer persona you will also understand how to adapt your editorial calendar and content creation in a way that speaks to that person.” [ii]
Your B2B Healthcare Marketing plan should be tailored to the specific audience you are trying to market to and engage with. If you need to create your buyer personas from scratch, this buyer persona template can help. [iii]
2) Perform a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a powerful tool you can use to brainstorm different areas of potential growth for your brand as well as possible pitfalls to be aware of.
SWOT stands for:
According to HubSpot, “Using a SWOT analysis helps you identify areas your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your chances of success.” [iv]
Spending time on a SWOT analysis can help you better understand what your brand is doing well (as well as not so well) and how you can develop marketing strategies to further accelerate these strengths (and mitigate your weaknesses).
3) Identify SMART Goals and Assign Tasks
After your SWOT analysis, you should have a better idea of different areas of marketing opportunity for your brand. Now it’s time to identify specific goals within those areas of opportunity.
For example, maybe you discovered that there’s low competition for organic traffic related to your brand’s niche—you could then decide that one of your goals is to generate organic traffic to your website through content development.
And while that’s a good starting point for a goal, it’s not detailed enough. Instead, you should aim for all your marketing goals to be SMART: [v]
So sticking with the example above, a more SMART goal might be: Launch a weekly blog to increase organic traffic by 25% in the first six months of its creation.”
And once you have detailed goals in place, you’ll be able to assign tasks to each of your team members based on the specific goals you created. There will be little room for confusion concerning who needs to do what and when since all your objectives will have been thought out thoroughly and strategically.
4) Create KPIs
Once you have a list of detailed goals within your B2B Healthcare Marketing plan, it’s time to figure out how to measure your progress toward them so that you can ultimately achieve them. Creating KPIs—key performance indicators—is a great way to keep you and your whole team on track.
Your KPIs will vary based on what your specific marketing goals are. Some examples might be:
- Likes on social media posts
- Number of new leads
- Return on advertisement spend
- Organic traffic to your landing page
Keeping track of and measuring your KPIs from week to week allows you to quickly identify what sort of strategies are working and what aren’t. For example, instead of spending an entire year on a social media strategy that never resonates with your audience, KPIs can help you more deliberately pivot and adjust tactics if needed.
While B2B Healthcare Marketing plans can and will vary depending on the specific businesses they’re for, following each of these steps should help you establish a good starting foundation for your own. Understanding who your audience is, identifying your specific goals, and determining how you can measure your progress toward them will help you and your whole team make a coordinated and effective effort toward achieving them.
At ArchKATect, we love helping B2B healthcare brands realize their full potential through leading digital marketing strategies. Whether you need help creating a marketing plan from scratch or just creating content to help achieve your goals, we would love to partner with you. Let’s work together to make sure that your brand has a clear B2B Healthcare Marketing roadmap so that you can reach your growth objectives more efficiently.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Chi, C. (2013). 5 Marketing Plan Examples to Help You Write Your Own. [online] Hubspot.com. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-plan-examples.
Neil Patel. (2016). How to Create an Online Marketing Plan that Will Grow (Nearly) Any Business. [online] Available at: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-an-online-marketing-plan-that-will-grow-nearly-any-business/.
info.archkatect.com. (n.d.). Buyer Persona Template. [online] Available at: https://info.archkatect.com/buyer-persona-template? [Accessed 28 Sep. 2022].
Forsey, C. (2016). How to Run a SWOT Analysis for Your Business [Template Included]. [online] Hubspot.com. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/swot-analysis.
Boogaard, K. (2021). Write achievable goals with the SMART goals framework. [online] Work Life by Atlassian. Available at: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/productivity/how-to-write-smart-goals.