Businesses that are very successful in their marketing sector invariably start by creating a strategic marketing plan. A marketing plan enables you keep track of your monthly, quarterly or yearly performance while putting tabs on sales and manufacturing report, thereby enable you market your business with much ease. Although, there are many benefits that come with a clearly stipulated marketing plan, many business managers and owner often rely on their own intuition to make several business decisions. This informal knowledge can never be reliable when it comes to providing all the necessary facts that are needed to achieve a specific result.
Creating a Strategic Marketing PlanWhy Create a Marketing Plan? Creating a marketing plan is important for any business because without one, the business efforts to lure or attract more customers are more likely to be inefficient and haphazard. The main focus of the marketing plan should be ensuring that products and services meet the needs of all customers and developing a long term and profitable relationship with customers. The plan may also help identify new markets that a business can successfully target in future.Once you have the plan in place, you have to monitor its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments to ensure its continued success. The guide is the key to identifying your customers and a plan on how to reach them. Key Elements When Creating a Successful Marketing Plan One of the most important key elements when creating a successful marketing plan is to acknowledge that all your existing customers fall within particular groups that are characterized by their specific needs. You can identified these groups through conducting a market research and then address their needs more successful compared to your competitors. You can create a marketing plan that makes most of your company strength then match them to your customers needs. For instance, if a group of customers are looking for quality, then your marketing plan should draw attention to high quality services that you are providing. Once it is done, decide on the suitable marketing activity that will make your target market knows about your products and services and how you meet their needs. This can be done through, exhibitions, pubic relations, advertising and social media platforms. Remember, limit your plan to activities that will only work best for you. Another key element that is often overlooked is monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the business marketing plan. This control tool will not only help you see how your plan is performing but will inform you of the future adjustments you need to make. A simple tool could be asking your customer how they heard about your product and services. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses Your business marketing plan has to take into account your business strengths and weaknesses because they will certainly affect your sales. You can employ a simple SWOT analysis that looks at your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. At this point, conduct a market research on existing customers to get honest picture of your business reputation in the industry. Strengths These include your personal customer services that your business offers, special features and benefits that your products offer and special knowledge and skills your team has. Weaknesses These include your limited financial power, inefficient accounting unit and lack of an already established reputation. Opportunities These may include high demand of your products or services, high level of technology employed by your company and use of internet to reach your new customers among others. Threats Threats are emerging new competitors, more attractive competitor’s products, new legislations and downturn in economy that influences demand. After doing all the analysis, you have to measure all the potential effects each element can have on your marketing strategy. For instance, if new rules and regulation will increase the cost of marketing in anew market, you may consider looking for another opportunity and dropping the existing one. Creating Your Strategic Marketing Plan Now that you understand your business’ internal strengths and weaknesses, your external threats and opportunities, you can now create a marketing plan that is in line with your business strengths and matches with the opportunities available in the market. You can also identify all the potential weaknesses and try to eliminate them. Draw a clear plan that set all the actions that need to be followed towards achieving your goal. Make sure that your plan answers the following questions.
- What are currently happening in business environment? Are they threats or opportunities?
- What are the business strengths and its weaknesses?
- What are the stipulated goals that the firm wants to achieve? Make sure they are realistic
- Who are the most profitable customers you want to reach?
- How do I target the potential customers?
- How do I improve my customer services? Remember selling to an already existing customer is cost effective
- What are the most effective ways of distributing your product and services?
- How do tell that your marketing plan is working?
- Before you look in new markets, think of ways that can help you get the most out of the existing customer base already in your control. It is usually cheaper to solidify your reputation in an existing market than converting new potential customers.
- Always seek feedback about your marketing plan; this will help you spot weaknesses in your plan that will be otherwise very hard to spot.
- Come up with a plan that calls for action with set of aims, dates, and actions to be taken, cost, resources to be allocated and the selling program me to be implemented.
- Never make any assumption while creating a marketing plan. All information used should be well researched to avoid poor decision making during the formulation of the plan