Whether you are a small business, with a limited number of products and services, or a large corporation with a global focus, you need to be able to reach out to potential customers. We all know the value of being on social media and the power of targeted advertising.
What most businesses don’t understand is that, as with most things in life, if you want to be successful in the world of marketing you need to have a good plan.
The average person on the street won’t buy your product if they don’t know what you offer or where to find you. Marketing is designed to help you do this. Your plan is a strategic part of developing your brand and appealing to potential customers. It includes all the things that you can do to promote your wares, understand your target audience and measure success so that you know what lies on the road ahead.
Your Marketing Plan as a Strategic Document
Putting together a coherent marketing plan enables you to focus on what resources, in time as well as money, you need to promote yourself. It also gives you a lot more control over the future because you have a clear path to follow.
For example, it gives you ample opportunity to understand your key target market and find out how they relate to your product or service – what they are looking for, how you fulfil that and how you can improve your message. You can take a closer look at competitors and discover new ways to grow your brand and position it so that you have a better chance of growth and success.
All this gives you a lot more control over things like your product development and your business growth and marketing budget. You’ll have a clear idea which marketing activities are taking place at any one time and how you can bring them all together to create a powerful campaign. For instance, you can make sure that your messages on Twitter have a similar look and feel that matches your branding on Facebook. It also means any team you have understands what you are trying to achieve allowing you to manage performance a lot more productively.
Creating a Marketing Plan
A lot of work needs to go into any marketing plan but for all of them there are key components which need to be included:
- The first thing is to carry out a situation analysis. Where are you at the moment and how do you fit into the market place? Until you understand this, you can’t plan the future.
- That includes understanding your target market at a deeper level. The more you know who you are marketing to and what they want from your product the better.
- Next on the list is your marketing strategy. What is your product, how is it going to be priced, how are you going to promote it and where are you going to sell it?
- What are your objectives for each marketing campaign and how are you going to implement these?
- And, of course, you’re going to require budgeting for your marketing plan. You want a good ROI if nothing else.
For most businesses nowadays, particularly smaller ones and start-ups, the majority of marketing takes place online. For a start, it’s a lot more cost effective and reaches more people than many other, traditional forms of marketing. The mistake that businesses make, however, is not bringing all the different strands together in a coherent plan. They’ll ‘dabble’ on social media, post a few blogs and try a little pay per click advertising without understanding how these can work together and become more powerful as a whole.
Putting together a strong marketing plan means you have a deeper understanding not only of what you are likely to achieve but how you are going to do it. It keeps your ship on a tight rudder and should, if you make the right choices, lead to a future of growth and prosperity.