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How to write a Digital Marketing Plan… Don’t!

Every company needs marketing. In these days, digital marketing is a must. It might even be the only marketing you want if your potential clients or customers are primarily online. Some people will write out a detailed marketing plan that will continuously change as long as that product or service is around. You get data instantaneously, and that information could change your whole marketing outlook.

Maybe the biggest secret to writing a great marketing plan is not to write one at all. Things happen. Your audience, comparative advantage, your business position will all change. Maybe even your market category will change, which means that all of that competitive research you spent weeks doing- needs to be replaced with the different market segment of competitors. It happens. Even with our in-house product Dashable, we have tested, failed, and also changed our entire market category to see what worked for us. Everything is always a test, and this is why that marketing plan you have been slaving to figure out shouldn’t be so complicated.

There are two possible reasons as to why you shouldn’t do a digital marketing plan:

  1. You can be actionable. You can go out, try to find customers, (while being smart about it), and see what works.
  2. Data allows for quicker cycles. As stated in the previous paragraph, things change. But luckily digital data allows for faster cycles, so you can keep things light and revisit your marketing tests every two weeks for efficacy.

If that marketing plan is going to change, and you know that you can get customers without it, then why write one? Instead of wasting hours of guessing on a marketing plan, do this instead:

  1. Write a few paragraphs discussing WHO your product or service is and list your primary benefits. 250 words minimum. Imagine you are talking to an actual person and describing your product.
  2. Make a list of your potential customers. If it’s a B2B list, write down 100 possible clients. If it’s B2C, describe their demographics & psychographics in detail. Write about HOW your product or service can help them in 140 words. (Think Twitter and get to the point.)
  3. From that list, pick out 40 of those companies (B2B) or a dozen of the target profiles you described in step 2 (B2C). Find the companies or target profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter and put them in a spreadsheet. For B2B, make sure to pick out people within that company with whom you would be selling.
  4. Figure out where your target clients or possible consumers go online. There are two questions to answer. 1) What industry-related websites/apps do our target clients visit? 2) What websites/apps do our clients or consumers use for fun? Make a list. See,, and

Only after one, two, and three are done, brainstorm ways you can acquire customers. After step four, you should be able to think of where you want your marketing or advertising to be present. Doing this will also set you up for future sales. Digital marketing is so unique that it also covers sales when you do online advertising. You can check your conversion rates in Google Analytics from that Adword, Facebook, or LinkedIn Ad campaign that you set up. These simple steps should help you to start thinking of where you want to acquire your customers and then you can take the final last step and start being present in those digital mediums.


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