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A Marketing Plan is much like a Business Plan, and at one time or another if you run a business we all have had to write one, either formally or on the back of a scrap of paper?
It is the road map or the direction you want to take in developing a successful and effective marketing strategy for your product or service, within a specified budget.
A detailed Marketing Plan contains information about your company and its products, marketing objectives and strategies. It will also include the costs associated with the marketing campaign, as well as some form of measure to ultimately determine its success. (See a detailed guide on what goes into a Marketing Plan at the end of this article).
A Marketing Plan is not just a promotional or advertising schedule. It encompasses all facets of marketing. It is taken over a specified time period which is usually one year. Below are the main areas of Marketing that you will have to consider when formulating your plan:
- Your Products and Services – their unique features and selling points, their relevance in the market place and what your competitors are doing. How you perceive the product or services will ultimately effect how everyone else sees it too.
- Promotion – This is largely formed by the budget available, and is also the most visible part of the plan. At this point you decide on what methods you will employ for promotion, from advertising to direct mail, website development and other appropriate methods, you have to know your target market to get the mix right.
- Price – You have to consider the costs involved in producing the product or service, and also its perceived value to the consumer, including the image you wish to portray for it and your business.
- Distribution – Essentially how you will supply your product or service to the customer. Wholesale? E-Business? Retail outlet? This is all determined in your Marketing Plan.
When you understand all of these factors, then you can device an informed Marketing Plan to suite your budget.
A Marketing Plan should always be updated and monitored. What may have seemed like a valid schedule 6 months ago may not be having the desired results now. A plan should be flexible enough that you can abandon it at any time and try a new tactic! It is useful to remember that a Marketing Plan is a direction only, and is most successful when the response is able to be measured, analysed and compared to other marketing and promotional methods used in the past to determine the future direction.
MARKETING PLAN GUIDELINE:
Below are the main categories you will need to determine in a Marketing Plan, to fully implement a clear direction for you business’ service or product:
1. Executive Summary: Introduce your company and explain the major points of your plan. Include your Mission Statement, your Management Team, the structure of the organisation and a brief summary of your Marketing Objectives for the Plan.
2. Current Situation: Provide information about your business location, target market, your competition, and any other key issues that your company faces.
3. Competitor and Issues Analysis: In further detail, expand on competitors or individuals who offer similar products and services as you. If any, list key business issues that may bring challenges, such as technological advances, government or industry laws etc.
4. Marketing Objectives: State your objectives and what you wish to achieve for your product or services, for example, you may wish to increase sales by 10% and build up your data base. Also include a time frame to achieve your objectives.
5. Marketing Strategy: How you are going to achieve your objectives! This is the heart of the Marketing Plan because you will determine your overall plan. Outline in categories (otherwise known as the 4 P's of Marketing):
- Product - Describe product features and benefits in detail
- Price - Outline your pricing strategy
- Promotion - Formulate your Promotional Plan, listing what methods you will use to accomplish your Marketing Objectives
- Place - Include your sales and distributions methods and how you plan to sell your products or services to your potential customers
6. Action Programs: This is a schedule which will outline who is doing what and to what time frame.
7. Budget: List the cost of the marketing and promotional activities that you have already outlined.
8. Measurements: Present targets that will be a measure of the results once the Marketing Plan is implemented. For example, one of our Objectives was to increase sales by 10%, so provide this projected data at the end of the year.
9. Supporting Material: Any other information or data that supports the Marketing Plan, such as market research results, spreadsheets, competitor’s data etc.
A sound Marketing Plan is a key to success for any business. Company’s should always remember that they are primarily in business to serve a customer’s need, and if you don’t know who your customers are, how to reach them and most of all, how to convince them to buy your products or services, then you won’t be in business for very long!
If you are having difficulty putting together your Marketing Plan, you should contact us because we would love to get your business on the right track, and it all begins with how your marketing your goods and services.
Director, Divine Creative Design
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