Over the years I have spoken to many clients about the importance of including a marketing plan as part of their overall business strategy. Businesses need to plan and project sales and target revenue for up to a minimum 3 year period and map out what type of marketing activities are necessary to achieve those goals.
A well thought out marketing plan incorporated into a business strategy will set out how you are going to put that strategy into practice. The marketing plan ensures that everyone in the business knows what you are trying to do and what part they need to take in delivery. It can help you reach your target audience, boost your customer base, and ultimately, increase your revenue. It helps your customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition; and helps make that decision to purchase.
Yes, developing a marketing plan requires research, time, and a budget but once complete it becomes an integral part of your strategy and will contribute to your business success.
The planning process
So what to do? Writing and researching for your marketing plan involves a series of steps and considerable thought:
- Where as a business are we now?
- Develop and analyse SWOT analysis to understand Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By focusing on the key factors affecting your business, now and in the future, a SWOT analysis will help you understand where your business has a competitive advantage and what issues (or potential issues) you should be aware of and addressing
- What are the main services and/or products that you provide to your customers at what price points
- Identify and understand your competitors and what your target customers think about that competition
- Where do we want to be in the future?
- Identify your target market
- Understand how your product or service meets those needs
- How might we get there?
- Position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition
- Map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools you will use
- How can we measure success?
- Set specific, measurable goals and timeframes for your marketing activities
These questions form the basis of the plan. Next step is to incorporate the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.
Identify the ‘hook’ for your product or service. Who will buy it and why? What are the benefits for the buyer? How is it better than its competitors? What makes it unique?
What pricing strategy will the business follow for this product or service? Is the plan to sell large volumes so that economies of scale can keep the price low? Or is it a high value item that will be marketed to a niche audience? What is your cost of production? What margins will deliver you a profitable return?
What is the advertising strategy? How will the product be packaged? What will its marketplace positioning be? What channels could be used? What kind of advertising would effectively distinguish your product? Promotion typically includes a mix of advertising, public relations, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing, product fact sheets, and collateral; all supported by a well positioned brand message and call to action to deliver return on investment and generate sales.
How will the product be distributed? What channels will be used? For example will it be sold directly in-store or online. Evaluate what the ideal locations are to convert potential customers into actual customers. Understand the importance of how your target audience research before purchase and the role online plays in that journey whether the ultimate decision to purchase is online or in-store.
- Establish your business goals and detail them
- Understand your market – what are you trying to sell and to whom?
- Understand your competition – who are they?
- Develop and identify marketing opportunities using SWOT analysis
- Develop pricing strategy
- Assess potential marketing channels
- Create your marketing action plan with key milestones and allocate ownership to deliver
- Review and implement
Marketing Planning With All Things Marketing
A marketing plan is an essential tool for businesses that are serious about their success. Without one a business cannot make realistic assumptions about growing its’ business.
Want to know more? We offer a range of marketing services including strategic marketing planning and marketing services . Give us a call on 01793 766040 or fill out a contact form for more information.