For any business to thrive, a properly designed marketing plan is a must and it should also include strategies to keep customers or consumers happy after they have availed your products or services. A robust plan is one that possesses various qualities like continually reviewing and enhancing business processes to have an edge in the competition. The important aspects of a great marketing plan are described below:
- Marketing Strategy
A marketing plan is all about applying your marketing strategies. Think about having your target market divided into segments or groups, wherein each group has like-minded or similar customers. Then you can look into each segment’s customers’ wants, and know what you can do better than your competitor to satisfy them. Creating a marketing strategy that matches your brand’s strengths and helps meet customers’ needs is vital for your business.
Amongst the divided segments, those comprising your existing customers would be the most promising. You would be able to collect vital information from this lot on how they feel about your products and services, which, in turn, will assist you in marketing them more effectively and efficiently. For new or prospective customers, you should be sure about the resources to reach them with ease.
- Introduction & Summary of Your Marketing Plan
The introduction of your marketing plan should have a short description about the entire plan with a reminder on key points such as your business mission, primary business goals, and complete strategy for achieving these objectives. This will ensure that there is a perfect sync between your marketing strategy and your overall business strategy. The summary of your marketing plan should be written at the end of the plan. This will help you in checking whether it covers all the key points.
- Analysis & Objectives
A thorough analysis of your business ambiance is a vital part of your planning because it will assist you in identifying the various threats as well as opportunities. You can go for a SWOT analysis, which is an amalgamation of external and internal analyses, to get a summary of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Basically, you have to look for opportunities that suit your strengths. You also have to find ways to tackle the threats and overcome your weaknesses.
In terms of marketing objectives, it is important to understand your business’ pros and cons apart from the environment wherein you function. Marketing objectives should ideally be SMART:
- Specific – For instance, your objective could specifically be to get twenty new consumers or customers.
- Measurable – No matter what your objective is, you should be able to periodically check if it is being achieved or not.
- Achievable – To achieve an objective, you need to have the key resources including manpower and money.
- Realistic – Targets should always be realistic or reasonable and they must always motivate you to work hard.
- Time-bound – Your objective should always have a deadline. For instance, your target could be to get 20 new customers in 6 months.
- Marketing Ploy
After finalising your marketing objectives, you should devise a plan to make a specific strategy a reality. You can definitely think on the lines of the four Ps:
- Product – Deciding which aspect of your product is valuable to end users, and how you would alter it to meet the needs of your prized customers.
- Pricing – You have to be careful with the pricing of a quality product or service i.e. you need to decide whether you want to charge a premium price or comparatively less than your competitors.
- Place – This is all about where and how you intend to sell your product or service.
- Promotion – There are various ways to reach your potential customers including advertising, offline promotion or online marketing.
- Implementation of Marketing Plan
The marketing plan created for your business should cover a stringent schedule of the most important tasks including the ones that need to be done and the deadlines for their completion. You should often refer to the schedule to ensure that you are on track and not losing sight of your marketing objectives. The key elements of a good marketing plan are described below:
Resources: Your plan should be able to assess the resources you may need to implement your strategies. For instance, you may need a soft copy of your product’s brochure for online promotion. You will also have to see if you have adequate manpower or salespeople to sell your products. You may also determine the time required for selling your products and services.
Cost: Your marketing plan should match the budget or finances you have to execute the plan. Linking your marketing budget to the sales forecast of your business would be ideal.
It is important to understand that marketing alone won’t guarantee profits or sales; however, a sound marketing plan developed through thorough research can help you in meeting your business goals. Having complete control over your marketing plan is vital for its success. The plan has to be supported by a good budget and schedule, which would again make it easy for you to monitor the progress. At times, when certain tasks fall behind the schedule or expenses exceed the stipulated budget, you should be prepared to adapt and make the necessary changes to your marketing plan accordingly.