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Why is a marketing plan important and what should it include?

Why is a marketing plan important and what should it include?

Do you have a marketing plan for your business?

If you don’t, you certainly aren’t alone, in fact, despite the critical importance of having and following a marketing plan, many businesses still do not have one.

As the old saying goes, “if you don’t have a plan then you are planning to fail”, the same goes for having a marketing plan.

Why is marketing planning important for your business?

  • it gives direction and clarity for your business and it keeps you accountable

  • it provides a blue print that your team can follow and constantly refer to which also works in direct alignment with your business plan

Your marketing plan does not have to be lengthy and long winded, it should be brief, concise and to the point. So, you know you need one, but where to start!

What to include in your marketing plan for your business:

  • Assessment of the marketplace

What is the current situation, what’s happening, identify the trends and critical factors to be aware of in the marketplace that may impact on your business.

  • Competitor analysis

Look at your direct competitors, but don’t obsess over them. It’s important to be aware so that you can fine tune how you are different and position and promote accordingly.

  • SWOT

Explore and define what your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and how you can use these to gain and maintain a competitive edge.

  • Brand positioning

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. Confirm how you wish to position your brand in the marketplace and stick to it.

  • Unique Selling Proposition

What makes a customer want to come to you as opposed to your competitor down the street?

Have a think about what makes you memorable and different and work on ways to leverage this.

  • Products, Services & Pricing

Determine what products and services you wish to offer your customers and how to price these accordingly.

  • Target market

Who is your ideal customer? Knowing your audience is key and adjusting your marketing to appeal and connect with them is critical. What key groups, target segments do you want to reach out to?

  • Customer experience assessment

Assess your customer journey, all the interactions they have with you and your business, identify any gaps and work on improving for the future.

  • Marketing objectives

Set marketing targets that are aligned with your business goals and monitor these.

  • Marketing strategy and key tactics

Detail what your strategy involves and what tactics you need to deploy to achieve it. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing there is no silver bullet, a comprehensive and integrated approach is advised.

  • Activity schedule and budget

Outline planned activity in detail for each month, who is responsible, deadlines and cost etc

  • Metrics for activities

Being able to measure marketing activity is essential so that you can determine return on investment (ROI). Work out how you can effectively measure each activity highlighted in your marketing plan, if you can’t measure it, then you may want to rethink whether it’s worth doing.

Planning is crucial in every aspect of your business, marketing planning included. Planning makes your marketing activity more efficient, more consistent and in the end, helps attract and retain customers for your business. A marketing plan clarifies the key marketing elements of your business and maps out the direction, objectives and activities for you and your team.

Seek help from a specialist if required

Marketing Plans can be a bit tricky and time consuming and you want to have a good plan to be able to follow and monitor to ensure your business achieves its targets. It may make more sense to outsource to a qualified and experienced marketing specialist to assist you in this process.

Marketing planning support from Reality Marketing

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; executing and monitoring it tends to be more difficult for most people. Get planning and best of luck for 2019!

By Leonie Arnebark

CEO Reality Marketing

Authentic and practical marketing

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