As companies try to grow and reach new users, marketing becomes increasingly important. Most companies have their marketing efforts planned out ahead of time for the coming year, called a marketing strategy. While marketing largely focuses on communication, it also impacts pricing, design and the overall value of a product.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan lays out the promotional details, advertisements and marketing strategy used for a given period.
It typically does so by researching a given industry, its key indicators and developing a strategy around it.
The aim of the game is to try and showcase your product, make sure people know about your product, make sure they remember your product and make sure your product is better than the competition or at least appears better.
Why you should have a marketing plan
The purpose of a marketing plan includes the following:
- Clearly define the marketing objectives of your business and make sure they coexist with the corporate philosophy and mission. The plan gives an indication as to where the organization wants to be in the coming year or specific period.
- A marketing strategy will also assist the business in terms of growth as it provides a plan for increasing the user base.
- As you develop a marketing plan, you’ll try and find new ways of entering niche markets and increasing the popularity of your brand.
- Your business plan will specify a detailed budget for the resources and funds you’ll need to carry out your activity.
- Tasks and responsibilities should also be well enunciated in the marketing plan, making it easy to follow and pursue.
- A marketing plan also highlights business opportunities and the ways to exploit them.
- You’ll have access to a careful analysis of your environment, the market, the customers, the competitors, business trends and a continuous analysis.
As you develop a marketing plan, you collect important information about your business and its state. As a business owner, you’ll use information you already know as well as find new ways of entering various markets.
This thought process and necessary step also specify certain tasks for the different branches of your business, which helps everything run smoothly and in unison.
How can I create an effective marketing plan?
As you develop your marketing plan, here is what a marketing plan usually contains:
- Marketing objectives. The main ideas and reasons why you elaborate your plan. How many clients do you want to reach, do you have a certain goal in mind ?
- Current positioning. Knowing where you stand will help you in mapping out the progress you have to make. Know what you stand for and where you’re at right now.
- Market research. When conducting your market research, you can either outsource your work and get detailed results on your opponents, where they stand, their prices, their strategies. However, this in depth analysis will cost you money. On the contrary, conducting your own, searching websites, finding out prices and processes can be in part conducted internally and still grant you valuable information.
- Target market. To understand your target market, either do a broad beta testing, the users with the best response should be your best bet. You can also already imagine what your audience is going to look like simply by the attributes of your product. Try and offer your product to different types of people to see if they’re interested or not, if they are, consider them in your market audience.
- Various activities. Diversifying your activities will help you reach more diverse users. Think of various media that could help convey your ideas. Maybe your marketing strategy doesn't even involve the media but rather publicity stunts, study the great marketing king Richard Branson if you need any wacky ideas.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These indicators will determine how well you’re doing, find indicators that are easily trackable and that correctly reflect where your business is. These indicators are what you’re trying to optimize, make sure that they are relevant and that they don’t make you compromise on other aspects by optimizing the first indicator.
- Competition. What are you going to do with the competition ? Try and work with them, or keep them at a distance ? They will worry about you, you also have to.
- Budget. Budget is a no-brainer, go through the numbers, find out what you’re spending your money on and try to optimize the effect to price ratio. Can your actions be replaced for something cheaper that has at least the same impact ? If so, change your idea.
- Monitoring Performance. Monitor your performance through your Key Performance Indicators, this helps you guide your team and figure out what your next step is.
To set a goal, you should make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This helps you know what to measure precisely, know how you progress through the task as you can measure where you are compared to where you want to be. Attainable because you actually want to execute on that goal. Relevant to make sure that goal is actually useful for the development of your company. Lastly, Time-bound because to stay strong mentally and keep working on it, it's important for you to know when the task ends.
A Marketing Plan is a vast strategy for how you’re going to achieve your goals. It takes in different elements like the competition, the budget, the schedule and the vision to determine a concrete plan of action designed to get your business where you want it to be.