Doing business without having a marketing plan is like driving a car without a map. You will get to your destination, but the risk of making costly errors is high. A well-structured and defined marketing plan is critical to your marketing success. Marketing plan keep everyone on the same page, it has potential to make business proactive and aligned it with vision and goals of the organization. Developing a good marketing plan is the first step of starting a new business venture. This document clearly shows how a business is going to attract and persuade customers. This document build trust and confidence among consumers as well as financial institutions. A well designed and well developed marketing plan is not a one-time effort destined to be placed in a binder on your desk. It should have to reflect the changing needs of your business as well as customers on a daily basis.
Once Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
Either it is chopping down a tree or execution of an integrated marketing plan, the steps you take or the tools you use are crucial for your success in the market. When it comes to crafting a solid marketing plan for your small business you should have to make it a perfect mixture of some essential ingredients. Here is the list of those key ingredients of your marketing plan.
Do Company Financials and Footfall
A Clear understanding of the business financials and details of your daily, weekly and monthly footfall or people interested in your product is important to know before putting a marketing plan into action. Marketing is a one-time investment, but it is an investment with high ROI. You should have to include a section in your marketing plan for allocating budget to different planned activities. It will make marketers responsible for a specific amount of funds and particular activity. It would be wise if you keep it simple and easily understandable. Don’t overload the marketing plan with financial information and don’t make it complicated.
Marketing research is the cornerstone of a successful marketing plan. It is a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the internal and external resources. Marketing analysis allows you to adequately assess untapped markets, opportunities, values, and risks associated with those opportunities. Market research is the backbone of a marketing plan. Market research helps to identify consumer buying habits, market size, market growth or decline and current marketing trends revolving around customers.
The market analysis allows you to understand the magnitude and geography of your market as well as customers. It allows you to find and fill the unfilled gaps and unexploited opportunities in the market. Utilize some useful marketing tools such as SWOT analysis, STP analysis, consumer buying behavior model to assess the market and take advantage of such information.
Identify your Target Audience
A target market is a group of potential buyers. Therefore it is important to discuss two to three segments of your target market in your plan. Understanding of the target audience is the most pertinent aspect of the marketing plan. The target market can be defined as a group of individuals sharing similar needs and characteristics which the company should have to serve. These people are end users of the product. Keep a profile of your customer on age, income, interest, opinion, and attitude. Target market profile will allow you to demonstrate inside out knowledge of your customers including their expectations and their whims. Target market profiling portrait a clear picture of your client. It also helps in estimating demand and finding the customer motives behind their purchase intentions. You should have to use information related to your target market to segment the market for better reach and better communication.
Define your Marketing Goals and Objectives
What do you want from marketing? What is the motive behind the implementation of a marketing strategy? Why do you want to market your products and services? These are some common questions that might come to your mind when you think about a marketing plan. The most general goal of a marketing plan is to generate sales by increasing brand awareness.
Every marketing plan has predefined goals and objectives. Defining goals and targets in the marketing plan is effective ways of measuring success. You can track your performance by making sure that the marketing budget is not wasted. These performance metrics help you to funnel the marketing budget in the correct direction. The ultimate goal of each marketing strategy is to attract the market and position the brand among consumers.
Develop your Marketing Tactics and an Effective Action Plan
If you have identified your goals and objectives and you have integrated your marketing objectives with vision and mission of the organization. Then, it is high time to go for crafting an effective marketing strategy and an action plan. Marketing plan defines your path and guides your decisions. Your tactical plan is going to turn your marketing strategy into reality. Therefore, it is important to clear and effective at the same time. Addressing the seven elements of marketing mix and other factors like the packaging of the product, the efficiency of your purposes and quality of the presentation of your products/service are some good marketing tactics. Proper consideration of all these tactics can make your marketing plan, and marketing campaign a successful one.
Your action plan is set of actions and activities which you are required to perform for successful implementation of your marketing strategy. Action plan allows you to list all steps involved in the delivery of your marketing tactics. The action plan should have to include all information related to the supplier, customer and other issues and it should have to be supportive of the company.
Craft an adequate Marketing Strategy
A marketing plan is the thorough blueprint of your overall marketing efforts. It highlights the steps which you need to undertake to attain your marketing goals and objectives. It is good to know what needs to be done and the tools you have. But, there is no use of a marketing plan, if it fails to define marketing strategy. Proper explanation and execution of a marketing strategy are necessary to use all the resources effectively and efficiently. Following a marketing plan without strategy is like running around in a circle and running out of resources. Marketing strategy compels investors to put money into a project. Marketing plan entails regular review and revisions of strategy to measure marketing progress.
I have mentioned above some DO’S of marketing plan along with the main ingredients to season your marketing gravy than ever before.
Some Don’ts of Your Marketing Plan
Marketing activities seem worthy at the time but sometimes end up as holes in the bottom of your business’s boats. Getting too many holes and water inside the boat will end up rising your business boat under water. Here is the glimpse of some DON’TS of your marketing plan.
Don’t ignore the details, customer by customer, item by item and territory by territory sales projection and customer research is an essential part of your marketing plan.
Don’t imitate your competitors. Always come up with some fresh ideas to make your brand and marketing plan unique.
Don’t confine your marketing plan by last period’s budget plan. It is effective to repeat best performing elements of the past but doesn’t invest on elements producing low or negative returns.
Don’t engage yourself in unnecessary spending. Keep all the unnecessary marketing activities in tight financial rein.
Don’t try to make you plan one-size fits all. Marketing activities are consistent, and, of one kind, you can go with a single plan, but this strategy will not be working if you are selling products and services for different niches.
According to Seth Godin, Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. Failing to plan is planning to fail. So if you want to win the competition, marketing have a lot to plan. Make sure that you are aware of all the essential elements to make your marketing plan good. The landscape of marketing is changing rapidly; it can be overwhelming or discouraging sometimes. An effective marketing plan along with a well-defined marketing strategy for each goal and an adequate tactical as well as action plan to veer off course due to distraction is essential for your survival.
Author Bio: Harry James is a freelance blogger and a professional content writer. He love’s to write on any niche, currently working as a content analyst at Timac Inc.