SUNDAY: WHAT IS MARKETING PLAN?
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of growing your business and is an investment that will pay for itself over and over again.
Essentially, a marketing plan is like a route map for your business. Every plan will be unique, but it should always cover three basic areas.
- Where you are now
- Where are you going
- How are you going to get there
WHERE YOU ARE NOW
Whether you’re starting a new enterprise or running a mature business, your marketing plan needs to take your current position. It needs to include information about:
- Your product or services.
- Your customers and prospects.
- Your competitors
- Your business
Focusing on where are you are now will help you see where your strengths and weakness may lie.
“YOU’RE ONLY AS STRONG AS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WEAKNESS.”
BY BRIAN TRACY, renowned business expert.
For example, if you identify a weakness in your online marketing, you could ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I include online marketing in my marketing plan?
- Could I tip the scales in the eyes of prospects so that they opt for my offering instead of that of my competition?
- What would be the results of my profits?
TIP: THINKING ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE NOW AND IDENTIFYING YOUR WEAKNESS CAN HELP YOU IN YOUR PLANNING.
WHERE YOU ARE GOING
- Identify your critical success factors.
- Set your objectives.
- Draw up a sales forecast.
IDENTIFY YOUR CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS:
You will need to work out which aspects of your business or service are critical.
ESTABLISH YOUR MARKETING OBJECTIVES:
Objectives can be both large or small.
Larger objectives that also need to be stated in your marketing plan might be:
- Plans for expanding the business.
- Opening three branches over the following year.
- Franchising out the operation.
- Employing your own sales force instead of using agents.
DRAW UP A SALES FORECAST:
However, there are techniques, which we will examine on Wednesday, for removing much of the guesswork from this process. Of course, there are still some gaps that you will have to fill in with educated guess, but you can go a long way towards an accurate forecast once you know how.
HOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET THERE?
This is a good thing because a marketing strategy is not something to be woolly about. You need to be very specific about how you will achieve each objective, and to consider:
- Precisely what you will do to reach each objective.
- How often will do it.
- What it will cost.
- The results you expect from this action.
Where are you are now, where are you going, how are going to get there. What does your document actually look like? And how long it will take to write?
By the end of this process, aim to have a neat clear document, smart but simply laid out, and probably 10-25 pages long.
THE BENEFITS OF MARKETING PLAN:
- It tells you things you didn’t know before.
- It helps you focus on areas you might otherwise miss.
- It helps prevent mistakes.
- It enables you to determine your critical success factors for success.
- It enables you to set clear marketing objectives.
- It means you can work out how to achieve these objectives.
WHAT IS MARKETING PLAN FOR?
- To show it to the people outside the business, such as bank managers, potential investors, advisors, accountants and prospective business partners.
- To tell you how your marketing operations are going
- To spot when things are gone wrong, and enable you to put them right.
Your marketing plan should contain exact tasks and specific targets. It will you things you didn’t know before and helps prevent mistakes by determining your critical factors for success and setting clear marketing objectives. It then helps you along the road to achieving those objectives.
“Your marketing plan is part of your overall business plan. Your business will take everything else into account.”