Are you looking to start a business or promote your exciting business? Whatever, you need a marketing plan before you get started. Having a marketing plan for you is essential as marketing is a key component of the business. Also, going through a SMART and effective marketing plan will help you promote your business to the next level. But before you start planning, you need to understand what marketing is all about.
Basically, what is marketing?
Marketing is a procedure of buying, selling and promoting products and services between customers, sellers, companies, organizations and businesses.
When it comes to marketing, it spans a wide range. You can see many sub-categories like b2b marketing, b2c marketing etc. However, your marketing plan as well as your marketing strategies should be more effective in the face of the current competition of the marketing industry.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a list of steps you need to follow up to develop and promote your business with productivity. It can be a piece of paper or a soft document. A marketing plan will help you reach target customers for your business and promote your business without wasting money and time unnecessarily. In addition to that, many people confuse marketing planning with marketing strategies. Those two are a little different but remember that marketing strategies also used in the marketing plan. So you can get it as a component of the marketing plan.
Different between marketing strategies and marketing plan.
|Marketing Strategies||Marketing Plan|
|The “Why” behind your marketing efforts||The readmap, the execution “Plan”.|
|Its purpose is to describe how your marketing goals will help you achieve your business goals.||Its purpose to lay out your marketing campaign efforts on a tactical level.|
|It outlines what offers you will deliver, who you will deliver it to, how you will deliver it, and who your competitors are.||It outlines what you will do, how and where you will do it when you will implement it, and how you will track success.|
|Your marketing strategy helps you make the most of your investment, keep your marketing focused, and measure your sales results.||Your marketing plan supports your strategy and is the action plan that you’ll use to implement your marketing efforts.|
Why you need a marketing plan?
A plan is a lot important for any process. So when it comes to business, the situation is the same. A marketing plan contributes to making correct and measurable decisions in the business process. The marketing plan also helps get a clear idea of how the business making a profit or a loss. Also, you can get a solid knowledge about;
- Target customers
- Segment management
- Your strength
In addition, as we study from CoSchedule, a marketing software solution provider, 313% of marketers report success using a marketing plan or strategy. So what we can get from that, a marketing plan is more effective for new businesses or exciting businesses.
Where you need to use a marketing plan?
Using a marketing plan is essential from small individual business to the finance department. That means no matter what is your business and how small it is, you need a marketing plan. Because going up without plan is like going to war without weapons.
Usually, the marketing plan uses in these states to make decisions about the business. That way, they can move that business towards its goals.
- Complete tasks
- Get analysis
- Apply strategies
- Find weakness
- Create promotional outlets
But marketing plan is up to the marketing team to decide when to implement it. Therefore, the marketing team has a huge responsibility. The marketing team implements effective marketing strategies of the marketing plan in consultation with the business owners and project managers when needed. They must always have a cordial relationship with each other because business and marketing always should be balanced.
How to write an effective and strategic marketing plan?
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
As we mentioned earlier, a marketing plan contributes to the growth of the business. So you should follow these steps to write any marketing plan. That way, you are able to write your own marketing plan like an expert.
- Market research
- Identify your target market
- Describe your product or service
- Identify your competition
- Describe your business state
- Finalize marketing strategies
- Define your contributors and their responsibilities.
- Plan your marketing budget
- Implement marketing strategies
- Monitor the results
1. Market research
Market research is the process of determining the viability of a product or service produce for prospective consumers. That means that you can get an idea in advance of how customers will embrace your product or service by exploring their aspirations.
There are two main ways to gather information.
- Primary research: Gather current information directly.
- Secondary research: Gather old information from existing sources.
Primary research is more effective because you can gather fresh and current information from your consumers.
For example, Toyota, one of the largest automobile company holds an annual drawing competition called “Toyota Dream Car“. It allows only for the children because they are the potential consumers. Yes, it little bit weird, right? How children buy cars? The answer is simple. It takes up to 4-6 years to release a new car based on a new concept. So Toyota is simply taking children’s ideas and concepts into their business and starting to develop cars.
2. Identify your target market
The target market refers to the group of potential customers who always need your products or service. Their needs also fall under the target market. Determining your target market is helps businesses to reach their target customers and detect other opportunities as well.
As the second step in the marketing plan, you can identify your target market by analyzing your researched results. For convenience, we can list the things like this to consider in the target market.
- Who needs your product or service
- What problem solve your product or service
- Other options for your customers
- What they expect in addition from you
Already you must have seen the above example of market research. In this case, Toyota is doing the best research to determine their potential consumers in their childhood. It is futile for a company to launch a product based on the needs of young customers because the company knows that it will take a long time to launch a product.
3. Describe your product or service
It doesn’t matter if you sell products or services. It’s essential to have a clear idea about what is you produce. The quality of the product or service is like the backbone of the business.
Business is all about solving problems for profits. If your product or service does not perfectly solve your customers’ problems, it will definitely cause your business to decline. So that’s why you should increase your productivity.
We can list the things you need to take care of your products or services before producing them to the market.
- What problem solve your product or service
- Why should people buy your products
- What the uniqueness of your product
- Is there have a reasonable price
Those are some main things that you should care about in debut. But don’t forget, there are so many things that you should know about your products or services. Such as material, durability, reliability etc. You can see any product launch in existing companies, how they describe their product or service to their consumers in a striking way.
4. Identify your competition
Market competition is the struggle you face from other businesses and companies when creating a new brand or building a new product. Some business sectors are less competitive while others are more competitive. It depends on the needs of the target customers.
Did you know that there were 804,390 business establishments in the United States last year?
Get a clear idea of how competitive the market comparing with business establishments per year.
Find more statistics at Statista
This competition also affects the price fluctuations of the goods and services in the market. In addition to that, unemployment in a country is also a major cause of market competition. Because of unemployment, they tend to be self-employed. Therefore, it takes a lot of effort to sell their own products or services in the market. As a result, the price of many services and goods have fallen. You can see it from high rate unemployment countries.
5. Describe your business state
Describing your business state is a particular aspect of a marketing plan. So you need to explain the whole business, including the purpose of your business and how competitive and unique it is. In that way, anyone can get perfect knowledge about your business by reading your business description.
The business description shouldn’t limit to one paragraph. So if you need to write an effective business description for your marketing plan, especially you have to include,
- Company name
- Type of business structure
- Company origin story
- Offered services/products and target audience
- Mission statement
- Short-term objectives
- Vision statement
After writing your business description, you are ready for the next step of the marketing plan.
6. Finalize marketing strategies
A marketing strategy refers to the tricks that a business works on to achieve its target customers and increase its sales. Also, marketing strategies are an essential part of the marketing plan. Choosing and creating your own effective marketing strategies will directly affect your business growth.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
When it comes to marketing, there you can break it down into several categories such as traditional marketing, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing etc. But keep in mind, there are four key elements in marketing which are called 4Ps of marketing and based on all the marketing strategies. Those are,
- Product: is a good or service that offers by a business or company to customers.
- Price: is the cost consumers pay for a product.
- Place: is the location that the company should establish and deliver their products to the market.
- Position: is a process that advertising, marketing and positioning strategies and build business relationships.
These 4Ps of marketing elements will help develop new marketing strategies and target the high potential customers for the business. We can see many branded companies use marketing strategies based on these 4Ps.
7. Define your contributors and their responsibilities.
A company is a structure of contributors. They have several posts and responsibilities. It makes the company powerful. You can check the basic Corporate Structure below:
A company’s stability can be maintained by dedicating responsibilities to each other and fulfilling their responsibility perfectly. It’s more important to define contributors and their responsibility in the marketing plan. Because it should be easy for anyone who checks the plan to identify their position and responsibilities. We can identify those responsible if the business goes on the wrong process.
8. Plan your marketing budget
A budget is a financial plan that includes how your business income and expenses implemented. A budget can make for a person, a business, a company, a government or anything else that makes and spends money.
But when it comes to the marketing budget, it refers to all the costs you spend on marketing and its related projects during a year or quart. As we mentioned earlier, after listing marketing strategies, you can get the estimated cost for each once. For example, there may be,
- Freelance fees
- Cost of content creators
- Advertising cost
- Cost of services
Listing estimated marketing costs is probably not enough to plan your marketing budget, so you can check more about how it implements in each industry from Hubspot.
9. Implement marketing strategies
In this step, you can implement the marketing strategies that you listed before. Always be careful of your target audience, so marketing strategies should implement at the right time in the right place for the right audience.
Before you implement your marketing strategies, you should know the buyer’s buying cycle. There are three instances,
- Awareness: Time when the buyer recognizes that your product or service meets their needs.
- Consideration: This is the crucial time when the buyer asks himself why he should buy this.
- Decision: Time that buyer make the purchase or not.
Because all businesses depend on the buyer’s decision. If buyers reject your product or service, then it will not be a business. If you want the buyer to purchase the product or service, you should follow all the steps in this marketing plan and get more experience.
10. Monitor the result
Final step. After completing all the steps above, you can monitor your results by your business analytics. In this step, you can determine the effective marketing strategies and what are should remove and replace from the marketing plan.
But how to monitor your marketing result correctly? And how to show your results to other business partners? In this case, you should know about Key Performance Indicators, “KPIs” for short.
What is KPI(Key Performance Indicator)?
KPI refers to an individual metric that helps to measure all the elements of the marketing process. Also, it helps to share marketing results and marketing plan with other business partners and understand it clearly.
For example, if you sell a product, you will create content to market your product to the targeted audience, then a significant amount of customers will engage with your content. They will pay attention to your product. Here, engagement is a KPI.
What happens if you operate without a marketing plan?
Marketing plan just like a map. So what would happen if you went into a dense jungle without a map? You will definitely get lost.
Maintain a business without a marketing plan is the same as the above example. There may be mistakes and missteps as you move the business forward. We can point out the disadvantages you face when working without a marketing plan.
- You have no idea what is the next
- You can’t make decisions
- It’s hard to analyze your budget
- It’s Difficult for the relevant parties to understand
- There is a high probability of financial fraud between the parties
Most people are struggling with planning their marketing plans. We think we have given a better explanation of the marketing plan and step by step how it works. We have tried our best to explain the wide range of marketing in simple. If you are interested in marketing and trying to start or improve your business, then here are some related posts for your purpose.
- How to reach a massive audience on Facebook without paying
- B2B and B2C marketing
- Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
These articles will help you to get more knowledge about marketing. If you think this article helps you to write your own marketing plan, then don’t forget to leave your comment with your experience.