Marketing is a key part of a business plan. A good marketing plan is as vital as a business plan; unlike a business plan a marketing plan spells out all the tactics and tools to achieve sales goals or reach goals. It is plan of action – what you sell, who wants to buy the product and includes the tactics which are used to generate sales lead. A marketing plan consists of several parts and steps.
Situational Analysis & Positioning
The first section of a marketing plan is based on situation analysis, which defines company and its products and services. Situation analysis gives a succinct overview of the company strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. Strengths and weaknesses refer to the elements that exist inside the company, whereas opportunities and threats are refer to the outside factors. Describe external opportunities which a business can capitalize and mitigate the impact of threats. Situation analysis also includes positioning of the product, which gives a pathway to an organization to analyze their product features and decide how they distinguish themselves with competitors. Figure out the core needs that the product will meet; is it that they can do their job more easily? Is it to help the customer get through the day more easily?
Target Audience & Ideal Customer Profile
In the next step describe the target audience; develop a one paragraph profile of potential customer. The profile of potential customer is based on all the necessary information about the customer including age, sex, earnings, geographic location, family composition etc. If a marketing plan is developed against business to business activities then the target audience is based on the type of business, size of business, job title and geographic location.
Post Market Analysis
Marketing plan is essential for the success of a business. A marketing plan also includes a list of marketing goals, the aim of these marketing goals defines that what an organization wants to achieve from their marketing plan. List of goals needs to be short and measureable. Most important part of a marketing plan is to plan the marketing tactics. This includes product, price, place and promotion. These tactics should be planned after an analysis of the industry.
Thinking about media options
Developing the marketing communication strategies is the heart and soul of a marketing plan. In order to identify ideal marketing mix an organization needs to analyze different media options to sell their products and services. Apart from the traditional broadcast and print media organizations these days are using different ways of communication to target customers these includes the use of social media and email. Communication strategies play a vital role in interacting with a customer. Advancement in information technology allows organizations to interact with customers through email, billboards, advertising and customer appreciation programs.
The final step of making a marketing plan is to set a marketing budget, at the start of a business the budget may set by borrowing, self financing or acquiring funds. The marketing budget is based on the strategies and tactics opted by an organization.
It is very important that you document the exact flow of your audience while they are in the process of making a decision, given your marketing actions. This way when the actual marketing will be in progress, you can easily come back and amend it accordingly. This flow will become the input to the similar plan that you will develop next time. Every time tweak the flow, and experiment. This is the actual place where you can experiment with the notion of audience behaviour.
Make a list of points which show how similar and how different you are from other marketing efforts from other competitors. Similarly if you have done the same earlier, consider linking the outcomes to this new plan. This will contribute to an actionable insight, which is something tangible you can hold on to.
Website & Social Platforms
Documentation of your market plan should have sections which should be public. This public facing content should be strategically linked to your website and social platforms. People are not only concerned about your product or service, they are also concerned about how you present it. If you make your website up-to-date with your current efforts, that would create new buzz. Your marketing plan should contain a section in which you address the issues related to your website and social platforms.
When you are developing your marketing plan, think about your tracking mechanism when the marketing will be in process. Since you already know the audience flow or the customer flow, you will be able to generate a checklist. This checklist should contains small and manageable objects. These objectives are stage oriented. So each checklist item corresponds to a different stage. Every time you achieve general goals, you have to update the marketing plan.
Try To Make It A Living Document
Your marketing plan document should be a living document. It should not be written once and tallied once you are over with your efforts. It should evolve continuously. That is why the checklists, and audience flow modifications are necessary. Try to version your documentation.
Collaborate & Mix in with Influencers
Many marketing plan documents are very personal and secretive. But certain topics in the plan are those which are not secretive at all. Next time you are sitting with your team planning for this document, consider asking the team to use the influencers in their circle to provide an insight. Many influencers like to share insights, and you might get something really important. You have heard about the influencer marketing, but it is time to work out how to introduce influencers into actual making of the marketing plan.
If you take these things in mind, you will definitely create a great document. But it is important that you create something which you can reuse as well. Focus on insights that it can generate for your next campaign.
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