Do you have a marketing plan for 2018?
Are you regularly reviewing your marketing plan?
Are you measuring marketing activity for ROI?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, then you most certainly are not alone. In fact, despite the critical importance of having and following a marketing plan, many businesses still do not have one.
Why is a marketing plan important?
Planning is crucial in every aspect of your business, marketing planning included.
A marketing plan enables you to understand who your target market is, how you communicate with them, which channels to use per your audience and your budget and how to measure the return on investment of your marketing activity.
Planning makes your marketing activity more efficient, more consistent and in the end, helps drive sales and awareness of your brand. Indeed, a marketing plan clarifies the key marketing elements of your business and maps out the direction, objectives and activities for you and your team.
Your plan does not have to be lengthy and can be a work in progress, it should however specifically define key information including your target market and value proposition, as well as tactical ideas and actions you wish to take to attract, acquire, retain and leverage customers resulting in increased sales and increased profit for your business.
10 Top Tips for Developing Your Marketing Plan
1. Know who you are and what you do
Define your Product/Service offering/what you do and who you are - Describe your product or service in simple and easy-to-understand terms. Consider this message to be a written version of your 30 to 60-second "elevator pitch" You can also include your company's mission and vision, point of difference and communicate the intrinsic benefit/value your customer will receive.
2. Identify your target audience
In conjunction with your company's product/service definition and culture essence elements, take the time to clearly describe your target audience. Be specific as to the demographics and psychographics of your ideal buyer. Focus your company's resources and marketing tactics on these groups.
3. Set goals & objectives
Set the bar as to what you want to achieve. Establish both short-term and long-term objectives for your company. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART). Tangible goals such as revenue and new customer acquisition will help you keep you on track and enable you to accurately measure return on investment (ROI) always. You marketing goals must be in alignment with your overall business goals.
4. Assess your competition
Who is your competition? What do and don’t they do well, what market share do they hold, what is their product/service offering, pricing, process etc. Gain insight into your competitors and understand the competitive landscape, this will enable you to better position, differentiate and target your audience refine your messaging.
5. Consider pricing
A guide for setting price involves estimating the monetary value your customer will receive, and understanding your financial goals and objectives. Also, remember to price your product/service at a rate higher than your fixed and variable cost (don't forget -- you are in this to make a profit). Margin is important.
6. Allocate a marketing budget
Marketing expenses can add up quickly, so set aside a specific dollar amount per month or per quarter. Evaluate your marketing decisions such as advertising based on the amount of business that an initiative generates. Track each initiative and continue with what works.
7. Create an action plan
Each tactical idea comes with its own set of action steps/road map. For example, if you want to create a promotional brochure, you need to write (or outsource) the copy, design then print the brochure. Take the time to list the details that will get you to your desired end goal.
8. Set timing
Listing action steps is not enough -- you must establish a timetable for each step. Be realistic so that you do not set unreasonable expectations, thereby creating frustration for yourself. At the same time, be careful not to set goals so far out in the future that there is no sense of urgency for you to act.
9. Be accountable
The best laid marketing plans fail when they are not reviewed regularly and followed. Stay on top of it and set aside time to refer to and monitor your plan.
10. Seek help from a specialist
Marketing Plans can be a bit tricky to develop and you want to have a good plan to be able to follow, and monitor to ensure your business stays on track. Consider using a marketing specialist to assist you in this process.
Creating and sticking to a marketing plan is the best way to keep you and your business focused, and on track for success. Writing the plan is the easy part; following and monitoring it tends to be more difficult for most people.
If you would like assistance in developing your marketing plan, please contact Reality Marketing via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.