One of the key elements and the blueprints of any marketing effort & a key component of any business plan is a Marketing plan.
Offently people confuse marketing plans for marketing tactics, while the latter is the approaches that might be used within a marketing plan such as paid ads, outsourcing content writing a marketing plan is the blueprint that includes all those efforts
In today’s world, developing a marketing plan at the ready is no longer an option its a necessity for every firm or entity that wants to thrive in today’s competing market.
Realizing the importance of a marketing plan we decided to define what a marketing plan is, the difference between it and a marketing strategy and the key elements of a successful marketing plan
1) What is a marketing plan?
So first things first, what is a marketing plan exactly, well the world wide web is filled with definitions of all sorts & kinds but according to Wikipedias definition, its a comprehensive plan or blueprint that outlines your marketing activities for a given time, traditionally a year
Another definition, courtesy of finder.com, its that a business marketing plan is an outline of a businesses goals and chosen strategy to reach those goals in the currently existing market. Similar to your business plan, your market plan constantly and periodically needs to be updated & revised.
Through these definitions, it’s clear that a market plan is different than a marketing technique.
The difference here being is that the marketing plan refers and plans out all the marketing activities and techniques you will be using to achieve a specific business goal, while the technique is an approach or means to a goal but not a whole thought out plan.
2) Marketing plan vs Marketing strategy
It seems that there is a common misconception that a marketing strategy is the same thing as a marketing plan. They might appear to be the same thing, and exist in the same realm of marketing yet they are two different things.
The core difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy is that your marketing strategy describes or represents what you need to achieve your marketing efforts and make them come true, and is mainly shaped or Is sourced from your business plan.
As for the market plan, it mainly describes what you will be doing to achieve those objectives and how will you be doing it, in other words, its the practical manifestation of your marketing strategy.
3) Key elements of a Marketing plan
If you scour the internet for what are the key pillars of a marketing plan you will find many answers, they might vary slightly but there is a set group of elements that seem to be repeated in them all, and these are the ones we will be discussing now.
Same as any field in the world, The ground and cornerstone of any productive and fruitful work is solid research and marketing is no different.
Market research is all about collecting all the data you need about the market that is currently buying your goods aka your target market. Here’s an example of what type of data you would be collecting at this stage:
Product Data about what the competition is offering, current sales, suppliers you already have and might need, market & customer dynamics including but not inclusive to demographic, segments, buying decisions should be existing in your marketing plan template.
Target Market and Product
Your target market includes your target audience as part of it alongside all your potential target markets and a brief description of them.
As for the product or service your offering, try to best describe what it is, how it fits and relates to the market your targeting, what need does it serve and is it an existing need in the market or not.
Competition & mission statement
Research your competition discover who they are, what’s their unique selling point or USP & what differentiates you from them in terms of branding, quality, added value amongst other elements,
A mission statement is a motto or mantra of sorts which aims at summarising who is your main customer or user of your product and service, what your product and service is & what makes you different than then your competition.
- Price, placement, promotion & Branding
No market plan would be complete without the traditional 4 Ps of marketing aka, price, placement, promotion & product.
Prices refer to the selling price of your product or service, placement refers to where you will be offering your products or service, in a mega mal, small store or on the world wide web,
Promotion refers to how you will be promoting that product and service, spread the word about it & get it noticed, who will you be promoting it to and grab the attention of you target audience.
As for Branding its how you communicate what you’re all about in terms of values. image, identity, in other words, your golden circle ( why you do what you do, how you do it, and what do you do).
Marketing Budget and goals:
Consider how much of a budget your planned activities will take, how your gonna divide your budget, where will you sink most of your funds, what can you do internally & what will you need to outsource are things you should be asking yourself at this point.
You will also need to determine what are your goals, what do you aim to get out of your plan, do you want to increase your brand awareness, or due you aim to get sales and turn a profit? Since each objective will require a different approach.
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4) Drafting a successful marketing plan
Now that you know what are the key elements of a marketing plan its time to talk about how to build a successful one with a couple of quick pointers in what we believe is the right direction
Take your time researching & planning
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your marketing campaign is to do enough research before you begin spending yours or your companies money on a multi-channel marketing plan,
Research your customer what they’re looking for, where do they spend most of there time online, what you want out of it and everything else you need to make your plan a success.
Create S.M.A.R.T Goals and stick to them
When choosing the goals that you’re seeking to achieve from the plan aka our marketing goals are smart goals. The acronym smart stands for Specific, measurable, attainable relevant & timely.
A smart goal is One that focuses on a specific & identified objective like 50 likes instead of just engagement,
Measurable means that it is an objective that can be measured in numbers such as the 50 in the past example
Attainable means that its something that is possible to achieve, while relevant means that its related to the products or service that your selling. An example of a unrelevant objective is a shoe retailer having an objective or goal to sell 100 tea cups.
Lastly, timely means that its set over a specific period of time like a month, year, a couple of days or hours.
Prioritize your customer’s interest & speak his language
Imagine if someone starts speaking to you in Russian and you don’t know a single word in Russian, chances are you wouldn’t understand anything
Despite a miscommunication with your audience or customers may never be that severe,
but using phrases or examples that the generation, demographic or culture that your customers belong to cant understand or find offensive is equally damaging to your marketing efforts
Always prioritise the customer and be customer-centric, after all hes the prime user of your product and service, and understand that there needs or wants will surely change through time and you have to change as well and adapt to there new needs.
Identify your highest priorities
It’s extremely important to figure out what your high priority tasks are so that you know what tasks to arrange at the start of the year and need the most time. Make sure to discuss this with your marketing team, so that they can prepare themselves for these tasks and provide feedback, in the end, no one is perfect
One of the great ways to understand which is a high priority task and which is not is to use the Eisenhower grid or table.
Basically its a 2 by 2 square grid with each axis divided into two sections, on-axis holds the urgent and non-urgent sections and the other holds the important and non-important. Your starting point should be those that fall into the urgent and Important plot of the two axes.
SWOT analysis & keep an eye on the competition
Most businesses and individuals out there usually use a SWOT analysis when they’re venturing into the unknown ground or unfamiliar sector of business, but first things first what is a SWOT analysis?
The Acronym breaks down into four elements, Strengths, weaknesses, oppurtunities and threats
Strengths are your companies or firms strength points aka the points where you hold a superiority or edge over the competition, like MacDonald’s quick delivery.
Weaknesses are aspects or points of which your competition holds superiority over you or an aspect of your business or market you don’t necessarily excel in and might even suffer in.
Oppurtunities are chances, fields, sectors, technologies where the company can grow in market share or gain more profit or generally acquire a benifit in, like serving an untapped need in the market.
Threats are basically anything that could negatively impact the progress or any other aspect of your business, such as the appearance of a new competitor or a financial crisis
Threats can vary from natural to almost anything else. The advantage of performing this swot analysis is that it maps out a clear visualization of everything that is and is yet to come.
Now that you know what a market plan is, what is its key elements & how to draft one out its time you take the training wheels off and start your marketing plan journey, best of luck.
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