Frameworks for Writing a B2B Marketing Plan
So you’ve got a blank page in front of you and somehow you need to come up with your businesses to business marketing plan, but where do you even start? It can be somewhat daunting creating a marketing plan! There are so many things to consider - your channels, your message, your personas, your budget and your KPIs, just to name but a few things! You almost need a plan to write the plan… and that’s where frameworks can help!
We’re going to explore some marketing frameworks and tools that will help you create your B2B marketing plan.
SOSTAC® is a planning tool which will help you structure your marketing plan. Originally developed in the 1990s, SOSTAC stands for:
- Situation Analysis – where are we now?
- Objectives – where do we want to be?
- Strategy – how do we get there?
- Tactics – the details of the strategy
- Action – how to ensure we execute the tactics
- Control – how do we know we are getting there? (Metrics and measurement.)
The SOSTAC framework can help boost results, efficiency and effectiveness with more informed decisions.
Let's explore some frameworks that you can use in each part of the SOSTAC planning process.
PESTEL stands for political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal. This tool is used to monitor the macro-environmental factors that have an impact on your organisation. Political factors include governmental policies, leadership and change. Economic factors include current and projected economic growth, inflation and interest rates. Social factors include demographics, consumer attitudes and buying behaviour. Technological factors are what affect marketing in new ways of producing, distributing and communicating new products and services. Environmental factors are important due to the increasing scarcity of raw materials. Lastly, legal factors include health and safety, equal opportunities, advertising standards, rights and laws and product labelling.
The results of this will help you identify threats and weaknesses which are used in the SWOT analysis, leading us nicely on to the next point.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It’s pretty self-explanatory – it’s a tool used to understand the current situation and competitive position. It helps identify areas your business can improve and maximise opportunities, whilst also understanding the negative factors that might get in the way of success.
Porter’s Five Forces was created by M. Porter in 1979 and is used to understand how five key competitive forces are affecting the industry. The five forces are:
- Competition in the industry
This refers to the number of competitors and their ability to undercut a company.
- Potential new entrants
This considers potential new competitors that could enter the market and take more market share.
- Power of suppliers
This addresses how easily suppliers can drive up the cost of inputs.
- Power of customers
This focuses on the ability that customers have to drive prices lower.
- Threat of substitute products
The last of the five forces focuses on potential substitute products or services which could replace your offering.
These forces determine an industry structure and the level of competition. The higher the competition within the industry with lower barriers to enter, the less attractive it is. The lower the competition with higher barriers to enter, the more attractive the industry is.
Objectives & Strategy
Created back in the 1960s, the 7 Ps of the marketing mix stand for product, price, promotion, place, process, people and partners. The 7 Ps framework helps businesses review and define key issues that affect the marketing of its products or services. Smart Insights explain the 7 Ps as the following:
- Product – how can you develop your product or service?
- Price – how can you change the pricing model?
- Promotion – how can you add or substitute the combination with paid, owned and earned media channels?
- Place – what new distribution options are there for customers to experience the product?
- Process – are there any internal barriers in the way of delivering the best customer value?
- People – who are your people and are there any skill gaps?
- Partners – are you seeking new partners and managing existing partners well?
The RACE framework was designed to provide simple structure to help develop a digital marketing or omnichannel communications plan which meets the challenges of reaching and engaging with the target audience. RACE stands for reach, act, convert and engage. Reach is aimed at building awareness of the brand, products and services. Act is all about encouraging interactions and generating leads. Convert is the obvious! Converting those leads to sales. And lastly, engage is all about building long-term customer loyalty.
This framework stands for segmentation, targeting and positioning and is used to segment your market, target selected customers and come up with campaigns tailored to that group.
Segmentation is dividing the market into distinct customer groups. Targeting is about determining which segments to focus your marketing efforts on. And lastly, positioning is when you create a product positioning and marketing mix that is most likely to appeal to the selected audience.
This framework is effective as it allows you to break your audience into smaller groups and deliver a more personal experience.
Tactics & Actions
A GANNT chart can be used to schedule and show the activities planned against a time frame. In the left column is a list of the activities planned and along the top is the time frame. Each activity is represented by a bar. The position and length of the bar reflects the date, duration and end date.
By having your tactics and actions displayed in a Gantt chart, you'll easily be able to see what the various activities are, when each one starts and ends, how long they're scheduled for and where activities overlap with one another and the start.
The 5 Ms of marketing can be used as a resource planning tool that measures and monitors implementation of the marketing plan.
- Manpower (staffing) - This refers to the human resources committed to implementing a plan.
- Materials (production) - This element looks at the supply chain which supports the marketing plan.
- Machinery (equipment) - This is the physical assets which are dedicated to delivering the plan and could range from a CRM system through to equipment such as servers or software.
- Minutes (time) - This requires a review of the planning process and takes in account whether the process is as effective as it could be.
- Money (finance) - Lastly, this element looks at the budget and evaluates the current return on marketing investment.
We hope these frameworks will provide you with some ideas on how to structure your marketing plan. If you need any more support, particularly with your customer retention strategy, feel free to get in touch.