It does not matter what kind of business you are, marketing approaches that are one size fits all tend to not be as successful as tactics you develop and/or customize for your business. To that end, writing or modifying a marketing plan is essential to the success of your business. Such a plan outlines the market research you have conducted as well as information on your location, target customers, the services or products you focus on, pricing strategies, your competition, and promotion and advertising. With that in mind, here are four key components of any marketing plan.
1. The Marketing Plan Matches Your Personality
It is important that your marketing plan is compatible with your personality. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, feelings of failure and perhaps even actual failure. Personality compatibility helps ensure you will be passionate about the marketing you do and innately connected to it. For example, say that you are a social butterfly with an outsized personality. A personality-compatible marketing plan might include an emphasis on trade shows, conventions, door-to-door visits, live product demos and other events that involve interacting with folks. However, when you are introverted, this type of marketing might sound like torture. Chances are good that you would thrive more with a plan that calls for reaching potential and established customers through email, postal mail and social media platforms.
2. The Marketing Plan Gives the Scoop on Your Business
Any quality marketing plan must explain your products or services and your marketing area. For example, do you market/will you market to a neighborhood, a city, a region, the nation or even internationally? If you market regionally, nationally or internationally, are there certain areas you plan to focus on? Include sections titled something like:
•ABC’s Products (or Services)
•ABC’s Marketing Area
•What Makes ABC Unique from Competitors
•ABC Competitors’ Promotion Tactics
•ABC’s Promotion Tactics
•ABC’s Distribution Approaches (connect this section to where the business is located)
You have a lot of flexibility in the titles. You can keep them simple and straightforward and in third person, or you can go for first person with something like, “Our Products,” “What We Sell,” “Our Competitors,” and so on.
3. The Marketing Plan Provides a Full Portrait of Your Customers
You must do some research on your customers before writing a marketing plan. Find out such information as the age, income, sex and addresses/region of your target customer base. Take at least one paragraph to explain what your ideal customer looks like. What are his or her pain points, what does he or she need, and how does your business product or service address these needs? As you write about your targeted customers, cover such areas as where they shop, their routines, where they learn about your products or services and what they like best about your business (for example, affordability, selection, service or reliability). Also detail what they tend to not like about your business and potential customers you are not reaching but could or should reach.
4. The Marketing Plan Connects Your Budget and Marketing Methods
Explain previous marketing efforts, especially those that have been most successful. Go into numbers, for example, the cost of marketing compared with other business operations such as sales, and the cost of marketing per customer. Discuss marketing tools that your budget allows; common examples include social media, community involvement/outreach, press releases, newspaper ads, advertising on buses and the Yellow Pages. Classify each marketing expenditure as inexpensive (social media, possibly), moderately expensive (trade shows) and expensive (outdoor advertising and television). Explain how you measure the effectiveness of each method, and talk about marketing campaigns or approaches you would like to try in the future.
With a sound business plan, you’re sure to fulfill your total business potential. Best of luck!
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