Putting Your Marketing Plan Place
Without a plan your marketing strategy will remain as nothing more than words upon a piece of paper. A marketing plan will incorporate the practical elements required to move forward, taking everyone in your business with you.
What to Incorporate Into Your Marketing Plan
Before putting pen to paper it is important to think about those elements that should actually be included within your plan to ensure that nothing is neglected. The following list will help to get you started:
1. Clear Objectives
Having long-term strategic goals for your business or organisation is vitally important, but without specifying some clear objectives to help you get there that future vision will seem completely unattainable. The objectives that you set within your plan should indicate the steps that you must take to work toward that end goal. Why not split your objectives into different areas; for example if you plan to break into a new target audience then set some realistic and measurable objectives related to an increase of sales from that particular demographic.
2. Budget Considerations
It is important to consider the budget that you can afford to allocate to achieve each of the objectives specified above. This will help you to ensure that you don't pour too much money into just one facet of your business.
As with budget considerations, each objective should also come complete with a deadline. Without a time constraint you are likely to find that even your best ideas struggle to take form.
4. Performance Measures
How are you going to measure whether you have been successful in reaching your objectives? Performance measures such as sales forecasts and targets relating to the number of new customers or average profit per sale will help to keep you on track. An added benefit of such performance measures is that you will be able to see quickly if any of your marketing strategies simply aren't working, ready to take action accordingly.
5. Marketing Schedule
Communicating with new or existing clients might be as simple as picking up the phone or sending out a letter, but if you have no plan as to how and when you will achieve this simple end then you could end up inundating your clients with information, or not sending out enough to whet their appetite. Create a calendar incorporating key events related to your business; be they trade shows or particular times of the year such as Christmas.
6. Promotional Activities
As well as thinking when to schedule your marketing, you should also give some consideration to the activities themselves. Will you send out newsletters? Visit trade shows? Create individual account management systems to focus in on a small and loyal customer base?
7. The Full Range of Marketing Activities
Marketing isn't all about the occasional phone call and conversation, it can also incorporate elements such as the release of a new line of products or improvements to your distribution network. Will you provide training for your staff members when it comes to marketing? Or perhaps you need a better means of measuring how satisfied your customers really are? These are all considerations that should be incorporated within the marketing plan of your business, enabling you to give them the attention and the finance that they need to grow your company.
Creating your own marketing plan will stand you in good stead for achieving your specified goals, but it is also vitally important to invest some time and energy into studying your target market. Without understanding the ins and outs of the customers to whom you will be selling no amount of planning will really be able to help.
By Phillip John Reynolds
Image by Adam Borkowski
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