Every business owner knows that a good marketing plan is a key to the successful operations of any organization. With the help of a marketing plan, a company firmly establishes the goals, the target market, the line of work, the products, and the means of achieving long-term success in the field.
For this reason, the marketing professionals have to pay extra attention to all aspects of a marketing plan in order to make it close to perfect. In spite of the popular belief, a marketing plan will not promise immediate and lasting success; however, if decently researched and done correctly, a coherent marketing plan will allow a company to attract and build continuing positive relations with the investors, vendors, and customers. In this review, we will outline the crucial aspects, which need to be taken into account while developing a marketing plan.
This section needs to be the first thing anybody sees in a marketing plan, as it makes a brief introduction to the goals of a company and the strategies of achieving them. Consequently, this segment has to be written last, as a good marketing plan will be checked thoroughly and revised several times before the final version.
This section is essential for any business, as it allows the investors, vendors, and customers to understand what your company does and the reasons for doing it. It is important to set the achievable goals for a definite period of time, as the uncertain phrasing might drive the customers and investors away. For example, it is better to plan the 7% increase in sales in the next quarter than to plan to expand the company and to keep the customers happy (which is obvious enough). The mission statement of a company is a focal point, through which the business operations can be traced back to the start.
In this section of a marketing plan, all possible characteristics of the potential customer pool need to be thoroughly researched and presented. As famous Peter F. Drucker, a founding father of the management theory, said, “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”. The importance of knowing who your customers are cannot be emphasized enough. The clear understanding of the target clientele will allow a company to adjust the ad campaigns, increase the return on the financial investments, and conduct as much business as possible.
Analysis of the Competitors
Conducting a research of the competitive businesses is just as important as researching the target clients. These two sections are closely connected to one another, as defining the target market will ultimately lead to the already existing companies, which offer similar services or products. With the help of the SWOT analysis, you will be able to assess the strong and weak points of the competitors and compare them to the strengths and weaknesses of your own company, eventually developing a unique selling proposition for your target market.
Unique Selling Proposition
So, you have identified the competition. Now it is time to make your business known to the target customers using a slogan and an offer, which will resonate with the clients. One of the most famous unique selling propositions is “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free” by Domino’s Pizza. It might be a bit wordy; however, it sends a clear message and gets the job done. As a result, every customer of Domino’s Pizza knows what to expect from their products and services.
Promotional Strategies and Budget for Them
For big companies, this section can be divided into two separate segments. For the small companies, a marketing plan can introduce the strategies for promoting the products and services and the financial plan for them under one section. Essentially, this is where a business owner outlines the promotional strategy for a business, which usually includes no more than 5 marketing activities.
Tip: in small businesses, where the budget for promotional plans is limited, it is recommended to utilize a 80-20 plan. 80% of the planned budget can be directed to the conventional promotions, for example, public relations and ad campaigns. Another 20% of the financial funds can be spent on more nonconformist strategies without the risk of losing too much money if these strategies fail.
Pricing and Distribution Plans
The investors, vendors, and customers need to know that you have the best prices possible in your field of business. A business owner has to be able to justify the pricing strategy of a company by offering a clear indication of the products and the benefits of conducting business with this particular organization. A distribution plan is an indispensable part of this process, as any changes in the product supply and delivery might have a substantial impact on the pricing strategies as well.
These are the most crucial aspects that have to be addressed in effective marketing plan writing. It is always a good idea to use a template for an initial version of a plan in order to grasp the idea, adding more and more sections if needed (for example, marketing goals, metrics, customer retention, and so on). Hiring an outside specialist who will have an impartial perspective might also be an advantage for your business. Without a working marketing plan, a company is basically aimless, and the marketing strategies of a business without a plan are more susceptive and significantly less efficient as a result.