CREATING A MARKETING PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS
WHAT IS A MARKETING PLAN?
A marketing plan is a section or a part of an organization’s business plan that will help in identifying your ideal market and the steps that will be implemented in order for you to reach it. A marketing plan is also a schedule that consists of all the steps, processes and measures that will aid in successfully promoting one’s business.
It will also help you in understanding the specific of your business and the market place. This article will help you in giving detailed information about what a market plan is, your business objectives, budget and other relevant things that has to do with creating a market plan. The marketing plan will consist of important questions about your goals and business vision, strengths and weaknesses. Below are the questions you will ask when creating a marketing plan:
- WHAT TO DO WHEN STARTING A MARKETING PLAN
When starting a marketing plan, you have to understand that a lot of time and effort will be needed and there is no perfect market plan because there will be flexibility and changes will occur. You will need to do the following creating a market plan
- Set aside enough and adequate time for developing the marketing plan
- Develop a list of important o key variables that you help you in understanding what your marketing plan will contain
- Continue gradually section after section
- Set deadlines for meeting the deadlines for meeting various marketing targets of the company
- WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S MARKETING OBJECTIVES
The marketing objectives of your organization should be focused on expanding the horizons of your business organization. The marketing objectives must focus fully on the sales of your organization and the SMART analysis. Some of your objectives may include the following:
- SPECIFIC: your objective must be clearly stated and specific. It could be to acquire 2000 customers for the business
- MEASURABLE: your objective should be measurable so that you know if you have reached the goal or not
- ACHIEVABLE: your marketing objectives must also have the resources( staffs, technology, money, time) that will allow you reach any marketing objectives set
- REALISTIC: It should realistic in the sense that your targets should be achievable and not over ambitious. Over ambitious targets affects productivity
- TIMELY: your marketing objectives should also be set for a particular time period. Putting time targets for your objectives will aid in productivity
- WHO ARE YOUR TARGET MARKET
The next thing is identifying your target market. Your target market consists of the consumers that your products are specifically made for. In your marketing plan, when you are identifying your target market, you will also need to describe the traits, behaviour, and demographics of your ideal buyer. Understanding your target market needs and providing them will attract them to your business.
This is why proper research and surveys need to be carried out in order to make your ideal buyers purchase your products or services. The other things you will need to gather is:
- Who makes up your target audience?
- Where you can find your target audience?
- What do your target audience value as important?
- What are they worried about?
- What do they need right now?
- WHAT ARE THE MARKETING ANALYSIS I CAN CARRY OUT ON MY BUSINESS
In order to devise a detailed marketing plan, you will need to examine all the elements and parts of your business. This can be done using
- A SWOT analysis which consists of your organization’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- The current financial status of your business
- The present customer base of your business
- The products range
- The potential of your business organization to develop and expand its horizon
- The staffs and skills at your disposal
- The available technology at your business organization
- Your competitors
- The pricing policies of your organization
You can now proceed to use further analysis such as the SLEPT analysis that looks at external variables on your business organization. It also aids in the proper identification of threats and opportunities available to you in the market place. The SLEPT analysis consists of the following:
- Social factors: The social factors consist of the cultural attitudes and behaviour, demographic changes and the changing lifestyles that affects whether customers will buy your product
- Legal factors: The legal factors consist of the rules and regulations guiding a nation or a specific area that affects or will affect your business in the long run
- Economic factors: The economic factors consist of the economic climate, interest rates, banking policies and the exchange rates( if your business is involved in international trading
- Political factors: This political factors consists of the government policies and the state of the country’s political stability
- Technological factors: The technology factors consists of the emergence of new machineries, tools and devices, internet growth, and the changing technologies that has impact on your business organization
- HOW DO I OUTLINE OR PLAN MY STRATEGIES
The next step is to think of how your objectives will be achieved. You will need to look at the marketing mix and implement various measures according to the specification of your business. They include
- What are the cost of purchase of manufacturing this product?
- How much will your customers pay for the product?
- What does your product price say about your product?
- What price are your competitors selling their products?
- Are you willing to carry your products to the digital market?
- How and well will you sell your products?
- Will you manage your own product distribution or make the use of agents?
- Do you hope to venture in exporting your products to other countries?
- Does your product meet the needs of your consumers?
- What are the benefits of your products to its consumers?
- What the edge your product has over your competitor’s product?
This has to do with the implementation of various promotion techniques and strategies in order to increase the visibility of your product in the market. These promotion techniques consists of
- Direct selling to consumers is the one-on-one selling
- Exhibitions and events
- Sales promotions in order to gain attention from consumers
- Direct mail and email
- Advertising and sponsorship
- Direct marketing involves sending out sales letters, capability brochures, flyers, or special offers on a regular, repeated basis to the same group of prospects
- Implement training programs that increase awareness about your services
- Write articles for local media or professional journals and newsletters that describe the benefits of your services
- Send out publicity and press releases through local newspapers, radio, and television stations
- Participate in trade shows at the local or regional level.
- SETTING BUDGETS FOR YOUR MARKETING PLAN
When setting your budget for the marketing plan and the meeting or accomplishing of the various targets and objectives, you will need to take note of the following:
- Ensure that you do not over spend and you stick to your budget when meeting your various targets
- Monitor your targets closely and assess each results
- Implement only what will work for your projects and business organization
- Evaluate your marketing spend based on the amount of business each initiative might generate
- HOW TO IMPLEMENT YOUR MARKETING PLAN
After you have carried the out the relevant requirements of your marketing plan, the next step for you to take is to put the plan into action. Your marketing plan should give detailed information of every step of the marketing process that will be implemented such as:
- Deadlines and key dates
- Key personnel and responsibilities for each task
- Budgets for each relevant step
- Resources needed at every stage
- Control measures including responsibilities, review dates and analysis procedures
- Contingency plans – not everything you propose will work, so try to anticipate alternatives
Take for example, your promotions plan may include the following actions
- Determine the budget for the campaign
- Clarify the objective for the campaign
- Determine the type of direct mail to send
- Hire a designer or firm to create collateral
- Write copy for the direct mail piece
- Clarify the call to action
- Create a draft of the direct mail piece
In conclusion, a marketing plan will aid any kind of business in ensuring that it is successful through the application and implementation of various marketing strategies. There is no exact length or required length when formulating a marketing plan, the marketing plan could be between 10 pages and 200 pages as long as it consists of all the necessary details and steps that will lead to the success of the business organization. Your marketing plan objectives should also be divided into short term and long term objectives.
Once you have completed your marketing plan and you have started implementing the steps, it is very important for you to review, assess or change your marketing objectives at intervals because a marketing plan must be flexible to changes
About the author
Onamakinde Dare Daniel is a highly motivated accountant with knowledge in Accounting, Taxation, Management, Audit, Costing and Research. He is keen on tax matters due to its ever dynamic nature.