A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines a business advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year.
Activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame
Section 1: Executive Summary
Section 2: Target Customers
Section 3: Unique Selling Proposition
Section 4: Pricing & Positioning Strategy
Section 5: Distribution Plan
Decide on a marketing plan
exactly how customers will be reached and how products will be presented to them.
Market research: Gathering and classifying data about the market the organization is currently in. Examining the market dynamics, patterns, customers, and the current sales volume for the industry as a whole
Competition: The marketing plan should identify the organization's competition. The plan should describe how the organization will stick out from its competition and what it will do to become a market leader
Market plan strategies: Developing the marketing and promotion strategies that the organization will use. Such strategies may include advertising, direct marketing, training programs, trade shows, website
Marketing plan budget: Strategies identified in the marketing plan should be within the budget. Top managers need to revise what they hope to accomplish with the marketing plan, review their current financial situation, and then allocate funding for the marketing plan
Marketing goals: The marketing plan should include attainable marketing goals. For example, one goal might be to increase the current client base by 100 over a three month period
Monitoring of the marketing plan results: The marketing plan should include the process of analyzing the current position of the organization. The organization needs to identify the strategies that are working and those that are not working
Consider how will you reach your customers. What will you say to persuade and convince customers that your product or service is better value, more timely, more useful, etc. to the consumer than the rival product or service? If it currently has no rival, how will you properly explain the purpose of and the consumer's need for the product?
What advertising and promotional efforts will you employ? For example, two for the price of one specials or free coupons inside those same kid-oriented cereal boxes? Where can you locate lists of the greatest concentrations of children under the age of eight or whatever group constitutes your market?
Build a dynamic sales effort
The word “sales” covers all the issues related to making contact with your actual customers once you’ve established how to reach them through your marketing campaign. In a nutshell, this part of your business plan is about how you will attract customers or clients for your product or services.
- What will your basic sales philosophy be? Building long-term relationships with a few major clients or developing a clientele of many short-term customers?
Basic marketing strategies include the following:
- Network, either in person or electronically, by participating in discussion groups online where your target markets congregate.
- Direct marketing involves sending out sales letters, capability brochures, flyers, or special offers on a regular, repeated basis to the same group of prospects. Direct marketing can only work if you speak the language of your target market and contact them regularly.
- Advertise in print media or directories, often with a specific offer to reap the benefit of an immediate response or sales. Advertising lends credibility (image advertising) and, like direct marketing, must be continuous.
- Devise training programs that increase awareness about your services.
- Write articles for local media or professional journals and newsletters that describe the benefits of your services.
- Direct or personal selling is the one-on-one selling, often on site at a prospect’s office or company. Direct sales are a particularly costly form of marketing since you only reach one person at a time. However, if you present your services to a group of people at a company, such as people from a particular department or several department heads, direct sales can be beneficial.
- Send out publicity and press releases through local newspapers, radio, and television stations.
- Participate in trade shows at the local or regional level.