Everyone knows you need a business plan. Many businesses, however, don’t realize a marketing plan is arguably more important. Unlike your business plan, a marketing plan focuses on getting and keeping customers. A good marketing plan spells out all the tools and methods you’ll use to achieve your revenue goals.
Your marketing plan is your plan of action that includes what you’ll sell, who’ll buy it and the methods you’ll use to generate leads and sales.
Developing a sound marketing strategy is vital for your business. Without it, your efforts to attract customers are likely to be ineffective and inefficient. You need a flexible strategy that can respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand.
A good marketing strategy may also help you identify whole new markets that you can successfully target.
1. Identify your business and marketing goals
Start by identifying your overarching business goals to define a set of marketing goals to support them.
Once you have identified your overall business goals, define a set of specific marketing goals based on those goals. This can help define both long-term and short-term marketing goals using our business and branding goals model.
Make sure your overall strategies are practical and measurable. A good marketing strategy will not be changed every year, but revised when strategies have been achieved or your goals have been met.
2. Research your market and profile potential customers
Research is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Gather information about your market, such as size, growth, social trends and demographics (population statistics such as age, gender and family type).
Use the market research to develop a profile of the customers you are targeting and identify their needs. The profile will help to reveal how they buy, where they buy and what they buy.
3. Profile your competitors
Develop a profile of your competitors by identifying their products, supply chains, pricing and marketing tactics.
This will help identify your competitive advantage. This is what sets your business apart from competitors.
4. Develop strategies to support your marketing goals
This is where you list your target markets and devise a set of strategies to attract and retain them.
Identify your strategic marketing mix using the 7 Ps of marketing.This helps you choose the right combination of marketing across product, price, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence, to help your marketing strategy be a success.