What Is A Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document which details a business’ marketing strategies and efforts for the coming year. It outlines their means of achieving set objectives and the timeframe for doing so. A typical marketing plan will also reflect a business’ present position in the market and how they have been performing so far. This gives a clear foundation on where the plan is going. It is also the document that contains what a business’ target market is.

The nature of the document is thorough, as it seeks to give a clear picture of what is actionable as far as sales objectives are concerned. Therefore, it has to reflect the situation of the target market and forecast sales for the coming year using the market situation analysis and marketing strategies set out

What Are The Key Elements Of A Marketing Plan?

There are a few factors that serve as the key elements of a marketing plan. Their presence makes for a comprehensive overall plan. Therefore, they should serve as the structure of your plan when you are first drawing it up.

  • Market research: This includes knowing what is trending in the industry, consumer behaviour, market growth and decline.
  • Target market: This is a concise description of who your potential customers are.
  • Budget: This is an overall plan of what you are going to spend on marketing during the year. In the plan, you will break it down month by month.
  • Market strategy: This contains your strategy for marketing your products and services.
  • Competitive analysis: You need an understanding of who your competition is, how they are selling their products and the strategies they are employing.

Why Your Business Needs a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is more than just an exercise in writing strategies for your business. The planning process helps you understand the various factors that may affect your success. It also helps you to develop detailed plans. A marketing plan will help you fine-tune your messaging, define your sales tactics, and help you build up your online presence from day one, giving you a head start on many other businesses. Your marketing plan also helps you to develop, handle, and analyze your everyday advertising campaigns. With a plan in place, you’ll be able to devote resources and budget to diverse marketing media that fit into the marketing strategy and monitor marketing return on investment and success against achievable objectives.

Is Marketing To Businesses Different From Consumer Marketing?

The nature of the marketing plan you will have to draw up for B2B marketing will be different from that of B2C marketing. Business-to-business marketing is more targeted, since you already know who you are marketing to. So, a marketing plan for this model focuses more on building networks and relationships than generally determining market behaviour.

What Should I Consider in a Marketing Plan?

Marketing strategies are determined by the business you operate, whether you market to customers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how large your digital footprint is.  To help, we should consider some core topics. Let’s dive into them.

Company Overview

The business description is just as it looks like in a brochure company profile: a rundown of the company. Factors, such as the name of the company, where the headquarters are located, and the business’s mission statement should be included. The business analysis of your marketing strategy often contains a study known as SWOT. This reflects the strengths, opportunities,  weaknesses, and threats of the company. Spend some time on the SWOT review of your business. The SWOT marketing analysis can give you real insights into what will work in your marketplace. 

Marketing Initiatives: The Plan's Basic

Marketing Initiatives aid a business owner’s understanding of the marketing department’s diverse goals. However, it mustn’t contain large-scale enterprise initiatives that are found in a business plan. The business initiative of the marketing strategy will detail marketing-specific actions. You may also define the objectives of specific programs and how they will be achieved. 

Goal Market or Target Audience

Here’s where you’ll be conducting your fundamental consumer analysis. If your business has already completed a comprehensive market analysis report, it may be simpler to bring together this portion of the marketing strategy. Ultimately, this aspect of your communication strategy can help you identify the marketplace to which you are appealing, your competitor’s insight, and your customer’s profile. A consumer persona is the potential customer’s semi-fictional profile, concentrating on attributes such as age, geographical location, work position, wants, desires, struggles, and pains.

Market strategy

Market strategy is using the information contained in the Target Market research to understand how you should approach your target audience. What’s your company going to give the customer that your rivals don’t already sell them? How are your products or services going to meet customer needs in a superior way to anyone else in the marketplace? What are YOUR Unique Selling Points? 

Each segment will include the “seven Ps of marketing” in a full-length marketing campaign. Such Ps include commodity, size, location, advertising, individuals, method, and physical proof. 

Plan

Do not confuse the marketing plan’s expenditure item with the commodity price or any business finances. Your budget explains how many resources the company has committed to the communications department to implement the strategies and goals described in the above items. Depending on how many costs there are, I suggest working your expenditure down on what you should rely on. Examples of marketing costs include a publicity department, advertisement tools, sponsored advertisements, and conferences (hosting and/or attending activities). 

Marketing Channels

A great marketing plan will incorporate a rundown of your channels. While your organization could use specific advertisement space to advance the item itself, your marketing channels are the places you will distribute content that educates your purchasers, produces leads and spreads mindfulness about your brand. 

What Are The Typical Marketing Methods I Can Use?

In marketing, you will need to understand two things, namely, the needs of your target market and how best to meet them. If that is the case, the method you use should be a swot analysis. Make a list of every element of your target market, especially in relation to demography. Then research what they need specifically. Determine how to reach them and how much you are going to sell to them.

How Often Should I Audit My Marketing And Update The Plan?

Your marketing plan is designed to determine your marketing activities over a period of one year. However, there are variables in the plan which are subject to change. Therefore, to better achieve your goals, there is a need to periodically carry out checks on the plan and see if any updates are needed. This can be done monthly or bi-annually, depending on how unstable market elements are.

What Is The Difference Between A Marketing Plan And An Advertising Plan?​

These terms can be a bit confusing, but they are not the same. Advertising itself is a part of the marketing process. It is the paid effort a business puts into getting the word out about their products and services, while marketing involves selling those products. A marketing plan reflects what a business’ target audience is and how to reach them and make sales. Your advertising plan focuses on how to get your brand name across to that target market and make them loyal customers.

What Am I Most Likely To Get Wrong?

Always assume everything in the plan will take longer to happen in real life and consequently adjust your terms. These delays will also translate into incurring extra costs, so you can go ahead and reflect that in your budget. Another area you likely to get wrong in your marketing plan is your pricing. This is more likely to happen when you are just starting. It is advised you have you price on the higher side and come down with time, since it will be more difficult increasing it later.

How to Make a Small Business Marketing Plan

This shouldn’t be a serious issue. If you are just starting out, you will notice marketers putting a whole lot of unneeded effort into dividing their list into segments. This practice hardly yields results. Instead, begin small and use behavior data or demographics to target your customers.

Every business needs a marketing plan, irrespective of size. Therefore, even your small scale business needs it to grow. However, if you’ve never put one up before, it’s hard to know where to go. That is why we also developed a 7-step framework to support small business owners concerned about putting together a communication campaign.  Understand that your marketing strategy differs in complexity based on the intent or the form of the company for which we intend it. For example, you might develop a marketing campaign that outlines the entire marketing strategy of an organization, or just concentrates on a single medium such as SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing.

Assess your business’s actual position

What is your business’s present condition? Considering this can help decide the type of marketing plan that best suits the company. Each situation is unique, so it’s important to know yours to find out what kind of marketing activities will go into your plan.

Determine what you can invest (time and/or money)

Once you have taken stock of your business and set some reasonable marketing goals, the next step is to determine what you can invest. To complete the first step, you needed to have a vague idea of the assets you had at your disposal, but now you need to get a little more specific.

Goals – build realistic targets

Where do we want to go? The creation of general goals is easy; developing SMART goals is harder. Companies who use numbers alone sometimes neglect core concepts within the company. It’s quick to get numbers-driven; having ‘softer’ targets is more challenging. Setting smart goals challenges a business owner’s thinking. It gets owners and managers to look at the business rather than just sales.

Identify the Biggest Gap in Your Marketing

Now that we understand reach, engagement, and Conversion, the hard step is to understand and identify where your biggest problem lies. Talking about it with someone else can add a little wisdom and help you solve your question. Take a quick peek at the figures with your trusty lawyer. 

Putting an action strategy together that prioritizes activities

So you have all the components to bring together a communication campaign. The next step is to write and organize the things you want to achieve. That might sound like a step not required, but you should do it. You want a fun to-do list to return to if you have a brief  moment to focus on the ads.