It goes without saying that no business can operate successfully without a smart plan in place. Planning helps business owners in controlling their projects, resources and budgets. It’s easily the most important part of running any business. When it comes to marketing, there’s nothing better than a carefully prepared and perfectly executed plan. It will help you develop a long-term view of your business, maximize your efficiency and build your competitive advantage. Here are some key tips on how to draft a great marketing plan for your business.
Establish the basics
Before you start to put your marketing plan into reality, you should establish these three ground rules to ensure your plan is truly applicable and relevant. First, you should set yourself a deadline for drafting your plan – remember that it’ll be an iterative process and might require more time than you’d expect.
Assign roles in your team and ensure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are. Identify who should be doing what and by what time. Lastly, think about your marketing budget – laying down your plan without a budget is pointless. Make sure you know how much you’ll be able to spend on your marketing efforts and shape your plan in accordance with that figure.
Assess your current marketing strategy
Have a look at your current marketing materials and assess them carefully, establishing which ones work for your target audience and which don’t achieve the desired effect. Assess the overall effectiveness of your marketing so far – have you been generating great results? Have you created a close relationship with your audience?
Make sure you have a firm grasp on how your brand is perceived by consumers and your current clients. It’s possible that the way you see your business and the way they see it might be completely different. Great marketing can bridge this gap and help you deliver the right message to the right people.
Define your goals
Every plan needs to have a goal, even if it’s a relatively abstract area – without a goal, you won’t be able to measure your success. The goals of your marketing plan should be specific and measurable. They should also be realistic – setting the bar too high will negatively affect team productivity and morale.
Your plan should also be substantial; after all, you’re investing your time into building it from scratch. But it should also be flexible, helping you to respond to sudden changes and developments in your industry.
Identify your target audience
There’s no good marketing without a clear target audience in mind. It’s critical to know the key facts about your audience – their age, gender, geographic location, preferences and needs. All of this will help you determine what the best places and strategies to reach them are. If you’re targeting a specific niche, make sure to understand it very well. Addressing general audiences may be easier, but it is also much less gratifying.
Build your strategy
What does this mean exactly? Basically, you should determine the logic by which you aim to achieve your marketing objectives. Your strategy should comprehensively outline all of the ways in which you’ll promote your product to your target audience.
Marketing strategies are there to increase sales and build brand awareness. Make sure you use all the weapons in your arsenal to build an effective outreach strategy to power your general marketing plan.
When building your marketing plan, don’t forget that it should have an end goal, fit your market and be flexible enough to meet your audience half way if things change rapidly and you need to respond.
A great marketing plan will also be easy to understand – if it isn’t, implementing it will become a nightmare for your team. Write your plan, execute it well, and you’ll be on your way to building a strong brand that resonates with your target audience.