The 5 W’s of A Strong Marketing Plan

The 5 W’s of A Strong Marketing Plan

Blake Collazo and Mary CatalfamoApr 29, 2024

I was recently hung up on by someone who said they “needed marketing.” Why did they hang up on me? Because they were annoyed by my questions. 

“Marketing” is such a broad topic, with nuances for every industry and business. But because this person probably didn’t know that, they probably didn’t understand my attempts to narrow down the conversation. Cue the frustration and angry hang-up. 

It was an unpleasant experience, but it made me consider how I’d approach the next conversation that starts with the dreaded words: “I need marketing.” 

Keep reading for that approach, which we’re calling the 5 W’s (and 1 H) of a strong marketing plan.

The “Who”

This one is fairly self-explanatory: WHO are we targeting? But, for a startup or a business owner who may not know, it may not be so simple at first. Defining these audiences and establishing profiles requires some professional assistance, research, and a little imagination. 

The first step: Ask who the core customer/user will be. 

Is it 55-year-old Barb who lives in an affluent area with a significant other and 2 kids in a house? Or is it Brian, the single, 32-year-old professional living in a downtown condo who enjoys trivia nights at the local brewery? 

Defining the target audience is important because these people will require different messaging styles and different mediums for the message to be effectively delivered and received.

The “What”

Define the desired result of this marketing effort. It could be boosting conversions, increasing web traffic, or spreading the word about a new product. Clear goals will allow the agency you work with to develop strategies best suited to your needs. With goals in place, we’re also able to track and manage the process so the Return on Investment (ROI) is met and/or exceeded. 

The “When”

Is there a specific launch or deadline you’re working up to? This is VERY important because timing is key for any marketing effort. 

Your marketing efforts should start well before whatever it is you’re working up to, whether it be a product release, publication, or application deadline – just to name a few examples. Timing is critical to determine not only the timeline for the project, but the associated production timeline. 

For example, if you’re heading to a trade show and need collateral to show for it, your agency will have a long to-do list that takes time. At Idea Kraft, the timeline includes design, approval, vendor production, proof approval, production of item(s), and then of course, shipping and delivery time that can be out of anyone’s control.  

The “Where”

Placement of marketing materials, whether they be physical or digital, will make or break a campaign. As mentioned with the customer profiles in the “Who” section of this article, where we place these campaigns is crucial. While an agency can be used to help with all the W’s, this is the one W you want to go to an agency for. An agency with hands-on expertise will help you place the marketing material in the appropriate mediums and channels.

The “Why”

Similar to the “What” from above, we need to know why we’re doing this. It may be as simple as driving more sales, getting more web clicks, etc. But knowing this will help us with our approach.

The “How”

Once you’ve narrowed down the details of your campaign using the questions above, it’s time to start thinking about the channels you want to use to get your message across.

Keeping your “who” or target audiences in mind, think about where we should reach them: TV, digital display, social media, landing pages, trade shows, whitepapers? Clients often have a good idea of where they want to place the campaign. But an agency can always act as a gut check and source of knowledge about best practices.

Be intentional with your marketing plan.

At Idea Kraft, we believe that a strong, successful outcome starts by empowering our clients with knowledge and context. We take the time to ask all of these questions upfront – so we have a better understanding and so our clients can be actively engaged throughout the entire project. 

That’s how you turn “I want marketing” into “I need help reaching XYZ customers for our website/launch/product.” One of the best parts about this method is that it can be applied to agency collaboration or in-house marketing. 

Feel like you’re ready to start defining your W’s and H with a trusted creative partner? Idea Kraft is ready to help you launch your next big thing; schedule a consultation to get started

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