How to create a Marketing plan
Step 1: Begin with a snapshot of your company’s current situation, called a “situation analysis.”
This section defines your company and its products or services then shows how the benefits you provide set you apart from your competition in order to create the perfect Marketing plan.
Target audiences have become extremely specialized and segmented. Whatever the industry, from restaurants to professional services to retail clothing stores, positioning your products or services requires your niche/ mass market to understand exactly what you have to offer. It is essential that you are able to describe what your market is, but, also you must have a clear understanding of what your competitors have to offer and to show how your product or services provide a better value than your competitor. For example, Chanel and MAC (niche market), both brands provide make- up, different colors of lipsticks and many more products that are targeted towards 16-30-year-old females. However, both brands offer the same color lipsticks that are quality and are priced at very similar costs. Therefore, it is essential that both brands market or add packaging in order to attract their customer’s eyes to win their attention. With such companies, innovation of the product line is essential in order to maintain the interests of their customers.
The situational analysis is the most important factor of your business. The situational analysis helps to explore your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Personally, I believe that the opportunities and threats are the most important factor of the SWOT analysis as it allows you to concentrate on your threats (competitors) and achieve your opportunities by (implementing them). In order to determine your company’s strengths, consider ways that its products are superior to others, or if your service is more comprehensive. To produce the perfect marketing plan it is essential to include all the terms stated.
- What do you have to offer that gives your business a competitive advantage?
Make your situation analysis a succinct overview of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses refer to the internal segment of your business, while opportunities and threats refer to outside factors. In order to determine your company’s strengths, consider the ways that its products are superior to others, or if your service is more comprehensive, for example. What does your company have to offer which other companies lack which could be used as your competitive advantage? Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything to do with your business internally, such as employees or finance. Whereas, external, would be the effect of your competitors and how they would try to improve their brand image against yours.
Furthermore, you should describe any external opportunities you can capitalize on, such as the market for your product. You should also include any external threats to your company’s abilities in order to prepare your self for any threats you may come across in the future.
The 4Ps are what determines the following two factors.
Product/ Service: The product is what you are selling or the service you are offering to your customers.
Place: The location of your Company. Location is essential in terms of travel. How far do your targeted customers have to travel in order to use purchase products or use your services. Most people do not enjoy to travel long distances therefore, this could be a disadvantage in terms of business.
Price: Depending on the type of business you are running, for example, a Mass market or a Niche market that will determine the prices of your products. Mass usually means that most people can afford the products being sold. however, Niche describes a more luxurious company which are usually quite costly.
Promotion: Promotion is an attempt to make a product or service popular or successful, especially through advertising.
Positioning your product involves two steps–
- You need to analyze your product’s features and decide how they distinguish your product from its competitors.
- Decide what your target market is, who you think would be interested in your product? What are you selling? Convenience? Quality? Discount pricing?
Step 2: Describe your target audience
Developing a simple paragraph of your prospective customer is your next step. You can describe prospects in terms of demographics – age, sex, family composition, earnings and geographic location- as well as lifestyle. You must ask your self the following questions:
- Are my customers conservative or innovative?
- Leaders or followers?
- Timid or aggressive?
- Traditional or modern?
- Introverted or extroverted?
- How often do they purchase what I offer?
- In what quality?
If you are a business- too business marketer, you may define your target audience based on their type of business, job title, size of business, geographic location or any other characteristics that make them possible prospects. No matter who your target audience is, ensure, to narrowly define them in this section, because it will be your guide as you plan your media and (PRC) Public Relations Campaigns.
Step 3: List your marketing goals
What do you want your marketing plan to achieve? For example, are you hoping for a 20% increase in sales of your product per quarter? Write down a list of goals which you are willing to accomplish by the end of the next 6 months-year and evaluate your self.
Step 4: Develop the marketing communications strategies and tactics you’ll use
This section is the heart and soul of your marketing plan. In the previous sections, you stated what your marketing must accomplish and identifies your best prospects; now its time to detail the tactics you’ll use to reach these prospects and accomplish your goals.
A good marketing program targets prospects at all stages of your sales cycle. Some marketing tactics, such as many forms of advertising, PR (Public Relations) and direct marketing. Your hottest prospects are individuals who you have been exposed to your sales and marketing messages and are ready to close a sale. Generally, interpersonal sales contact (either in person, by phone or by email) combined with marketing.
In order to complete your tactics section, outline your primary marketing strategies, including, a variety of tactics you will use to reach prospects at any point in your sales cycle. For example, you may combine outdoor billboards, print advertising, and online local searches to reach cold prospects but use email to contact your warm prospects.
Step 5: Set your marketing budget
You are required to devote a percentage of projected gross sales to your annual marketing budget. Once you have started a business, this could be that you’re business is newly acquired of self- financing. Marketing is absolutely essential to the success of your business. With so many different kinds of tactics available for reaching out to your targeted customers.
Always ensure that you can afford whatever you require for your new business before investing!
July 3, 2018
June 12, 2018