Developing Your Marketing Plan

Developing Your Marketing Plan

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– understand the importance of a marketing plan in determining the growth of a business
– discover how to create a successful marketing plan
– learn about strategic planning

What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan explains how you are going to put your marketing strategy into practice. It ensures that everyone in the business knows what you are trying to do and what they need to do to make it happen.

A marketing plan helps to set marketing budgets and deadlines and tells you how and when to talk to your target customers.

Your marketing plan should also look to the future – it should outline how you follow up sales and what you’re doing to develop your offer.

As with any plan, progress should be regularly measured and reviewed to see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can set new targets as your market changes.

The marketing plan is the central instrument for directing and coordinating the marketing effort. The marketing plan operates at two levels: strategic and tactical.

The strategic marketing plan lays out the target markets and the customer-perceived value offerings the firm will offer, based on an analysis of the best market opportunities.

The tactical marketing plan specifies the marketing tactics, including product features, promotion, merchandising, pricing, sales channels and service.

[Optional] Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What To Include
Visit this link to check out a marketing plan template written by Dave Lavinsky:
Creating a successful marketing plan

One of the main reasons small businesses fail is due to ineffective marketing. Implementing tactics because “other businesses do this” or “I was told I need to do this” is not a good plan.

Having a practical marketing plan that outlines all the important pieces needed to successfully and consistently market your business is something every business should create. Think of your marketing plan as your road map guiding your business.

Without a plan, marketing can become overwhelming. Planning helps to eliminate confusion and focus on what is important.

You may have a great product or service, but no one will ever know about it unless you tell them. Your marketing plan should briefly define:

– Who are your ideal customers and why?
– What makes your business different from the competition?
– What does your business uniquely offer to those ideal customers?
– How do you price and package your offerings to provide the best value?
– How do your ideal clients discover your awesome product or service?

Preparing a Marketing Plan

From describing your market and researching customers to preparing sales forecasts and budgets, learn how to create a marketing plan.

1) Describe your market and the characteristics of each market segment; review key market trends.
2) Research what customers value, such as product features, quality, service, image.
3) Compare the distribution channels for reaching customers (e.g. direct sales or through retailers).
4) Profile your competitors and what they’re offering.
5) Identify other key factors influencing your business environment; carry out a SWOT analysis of your competitive position.
6) Review the effectiveness of previous marketing initiatives such as advertising campaigns or seasonal sales.

7) Assess the profitability and sales potential of different market segments, products or activities.
8) Decide who to target among both existing and potential customers; decide which products to push and which to replace.
8) Set specific objectives: for example, retaining existing customers, increasing order sizes, selling new products or winning new customers.
9) Decide how you will price each product or service.
10) Decide how you will distribute and sell; plan how you can improve customer service and satisfaction.
11) Plan how you will promote your products or services, and how you will keep in touch with customers.
12) Identify customers’ purchasing cycles to timetable marketing activities.
13) Confirm the implications of your marketing plan for the rest of your business: production and training requirements, for instance.

[Optional] How to Create a Successful Marketing Plan
Watch this 2-minute video for a quick overview of how to create a successful marketing plan.
Link to the video:
Situation Analysis
Situation Analysis typically involves a search for SWOTs (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) that affect organizational performance.

SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful framework for analyzing your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats that you face. It helps you focus on your strengths, minimize threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.

Strengths and weaknesses are often internal to your organization, while opportunities and threats generally relate to external factors.

For this reason, SWOT is sometimes called Internal-External Analysis and the SWOT Matrix is sometimes called an IE Matrix.

Benefits of Using SWOT Analysis:

• It can be used to “kick off” strategy formulation, or in a more sophisticated way as a serious strategy tool.
• Simple to use and clear to understand.
• You can also use it to get an understanding of your competitors, which can give you the insights you need to craft a successful competitive position.
• Focuses on the key internal and external factors affecting the company.
• Helps to identify future goals and initiates further analysis.
Role of strategic planning
Successful marketing requires companies to be able to understand, create, deliver, capture and sustain customer-perceived value.

Only a select group of companies stand out as master marketers: P&G, Nike, Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and several Asian (Canon, Nissan, Samsung, Sony, Toyota) and European (IKEA, Electrolux, Lego, Tesco and Virgin) companies.

These companies focus on the customer and are organized to respond effectively to changing customer needs. They all have a strong commitment to marketing.

To ensure that they select and execute the right activities, marketers must give priority to strategic planning in three key areas:

1) Managing a company’s businesses as an investment portfolio
2) Assessing each business’s strength by considering the market’s growth rate and the company’s position and fit in that market
3) Establishing a strategy

For each business, the company must develop a suitable strategy for achieving its long-run objectives.

Relationship between Marketing Plan and Business Plan

Your business plan spells out what your business is about – what you do and don’t do, and what your ultimate goals are. It encompasses more than marketing; it can include discussions of locations, staffing, financing, strategic alliances and so on. It includes your vision and the purpose of your company.

If you want to do something that’s outside the business plan, you need to either change your mind or change the plan. Your company’s business plan provides the environment in which your marketing plan must flourish. The two documents must be consistent.

Benefits of a Marketing Plan

The secret to a good marketing plan is keeping it simple – choose the right platforms, tools and strategies to maximize your presence. It should help you make intelligent decisions on where you should spend your time and resources.

An effective marketing plan should help you:
1) Narrow your focus – picking a niche where you can dominate and build your expert reputation.
2) Refine your goals – keeping your outcomes realistic and achievable.
3) Value price and package your services – making it easy for your ideal clients to do business with you.
4) Choose your marketing activities wisely – selecting those activities that help you achieve your goals.

Trying to do it all will only result in doing nothing. Make sure you focus on what is right for your business and what you can do consistently and successfully.

[Optional] The 19 Channels You Can Use to Get Traction
Read this useful article to learn about the best channels you can to use to help grow your business:
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