Chapter Seven: Developing your Marketing Plan
"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the produce or service fits him and sells itself"
Peter F. Druker (American Educator and Writer 1909)
Your marketing plan is the foundation for all of your marketing efforts. A building without a firm foundation will fall!
Section 1: Situation Analysis
This introductory section contains an overview of your situation as it exists today and will provide a useful benchmark as you adapt and refine your plan in the coming months. Begin with a short description of your current product or service offering, the marketing advantages and challenges you face, and a look at the threats posed by your competitors. Describe any outside forces that will affect your business in the coming year--this can be anything from diminished traffic levels due to construction if you're a retailer or a change in law that could affect a new product introduction if you're an inventor, for example.
Section 2: Target Audience
All that's needed here is a simple, bulleted description of your target audiences. If you're marketing to consumers, write a target-audience profile based on demographics, including age, gender and any other important characteristics. B2B marketers should list your target audiences by category (such as lawyers, doctors, shopping malls) and include any qualifying criteria for each.
Section 3: Goals
In one page or less, list your company's marketing goals for the coming year. The key is to make your goals realistic and measurable so that you can easily evaluate your performance. "Increase sales of peripherals" is an example of an ineffective goal. You'd be in a much better position to gauge your marketing progress with a goal such as, "Increase sales of peripherals 10 percent in the first quarter, 15 percent in the second quarter, 15 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in fourth quarter."
Section 4: Strategies and Tactics
This section will make up the bulk of your plan, and you should take as much space as you need to give an overview of your marketing strategies and list each of the corresponding tactics you'll employ to execute them. Here's an example: A client of mine markets videotape and equipment. One of her goals is to increase sales to large ministries in three states by 20 percent. Together we've developed a strategy that includes making a special offer each month to this prospect group, and one of her tactics is to use monthly e-mails to market to an in-house list.
Your tactics section should include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows and special promotions. You can use a paper calendar to schedule your tactics or use a contact manager or spreadsheet program--what matters most is that you stick to your schedule and follow through. A plan on paper is only useful if it's put into action.
Section 5: Budget Breakdown
The final section of your plan includes a brief breakdown of the costs associated with each of your tactics. So if you plan to exhibit at three trade shows per year, for example, you'll include the costs to participate in the shows and prepare your booth and marketing materials. If you find the tactics you've selected are too costly, you can go back and make revisions before you arrive at a final budget.
You can adapt this plan as your business grows and your marketing programs evolve. Soon you'll find it's a simple tool you can't afford to be without.
Some Important Information:
• A marketing plan never uses direct quoting within its contents,
• Use single spacing
• It is important that you write your marketing plan in third person (there is no “I” in a business marketing plan), using your own words, and/or paraphrasing instead of direct quoting. Never use anyone else’s words verbatim.
THE MARKETING PLAN IS THE FOUNDATION FOR ALL MARKETING EFFORTS.. The Role of Marketing in an Overall Business Strategy
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FYI Here are 20 Marketing Tips…Every Entrepreneur Should Know!
1. Understanding and adapting to consumer motivation and behavior is not an option. It is an absolute necessity for competitive survival.
2. The most important order you ever get from a customer is the second order.
3. In direct mailing, spend 10 percent of your budget on testing.
4. A well-designed catalog mailed to a qualified response list will probably bring a one-percent response.
5. Processing and fulfillment costs incurred from the time an order arrives until it is shipped should be kept below $10 an order.
6. Know the power of repetition. Be sure your message is consistent.
7. The two most common mistakes companies make in using the phone is failing to track results and tracking the wrong thing.
8. Marketing activities should be designed to increase profits, not just sales. Check your math.
9. It costs five times as much to sell a new customer as an existing customer. Who are my existing customers?
10. Selling what your customers need, instead of what they want, can lead to failure. Do your homework.
11. Don’t think that product superiority, technology, innovation or company size will sell itself.
12. Don’t neglect or ignore your current customers while pursuing new ones. What strategies do I have in place?
13. People don’t buy products; they buy the benefits and solutions they believe the products provide. What are the benefits of your products?
14. Any decent direct-mail campaign will cost $1.25 per piece.
15. The average business never hears from 96 percent of its dis-satisfied customers. Don’t neglect clients. Do you have follow up?
16. Fifty percent of those customers who complain would do business with the company again if their complaints were handled satisfactorily. What is your plan for keeping customer satisfaction?
17. It is estimated that customers are twice as likely to talk about their bad experiences as their good ones. How can I put out the fires before they start?
18. Marketing is everyone’s business, regardless of title or position in the company. Do you have a well written marketing plan?
19. Exaggerated claims can produce inflated expectations that the product or service cannot live up to, thereby resulting in dissatisfied customers. Is your Marketing in line with your product?
20. Get to know your prime customers—the 20% of product users who account for 80% of the total consumption of that product class. Who is your ideal customer? (Chapter 5)
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