If You Don't Have a Strategic Marketing Plan, You're Setting Yourself Up for Failure
Once you've laid out and implemented your strategy, you'll start to see major wins.
Formulating the proper components of a marketing plan is critical to effectively help business owners set goals, turn their targeted audience into a steadfast and loyal customer base and assist with establishing a guide to organize and structure priorities. Within a marketing plan, it's important to implement practical marketing strategies that can create a stable foundation for the overall flow of the company.
Understanding the need for a marketing plan will ultimately help business owners minimize risk factors and set actionable goals, which will eventually help the company's position in the market advance. This applies to established businesses as well, as there is always room for improvement.
Now, let's dive into what components make up a good marketing plan. Of course, some of the specifics will vary based on the types of businesses as well as what industry it falls in, but ultimately, here are some key elements business owners should consider.
Goals and procedures
Strategic marketing plans should list the company's goals and procedures. These goals help justify the resources in production, distribution and marketing while the procedures assist with converting certain objectives into reality. For example, a goal may promote the intention of refining a company's public brand or likeness while the strategic procedures serve to distinguish the most pertinent formulas and techniques necessary to achieve those favorable results.
Furthermore, these goals and procedures must be clear and concise for the employees to easily comprehend and deliver.
Define your target market
Breaking down your target market allows a company to examine and explore the groundwork necessary to maximize sales and the overall growth of the company. This helps develop effective marketing-communication strategies to foster the needs and characteristics that the company must have to attract the right audience.
Take, for example, cleaning tools or disinfectant sprays. While a traditional household will benefit from a clean home, commercials and ads tend to target the female head of the household. This strategy, however, doesn't always work, as many times it's the individual who benefits from the product itself that the company should focus more on.
We can also consider the example of children and toys. While parents ultimately have the final say on whether a toy is purchased, a child plays a significant role in persuasion. Therefore, if the targeted audience caters to kids, the likelihood of purchase also improves. This is why analyzing the targeted audience in such fine detail becomes extremely significant for the company's progression as a whole.
You can start with market research, then analyze the demographics they belong to, and from there, you'll begin to understand the consumer's routines, needs, wants and lifestyle. Following your market research, you can test your findings and validate demand. This allows you to outline your marketing tactics more efficiently, and then you can focus on developing the product or service and eventually on the promotion of the business.
Develop a strategic marketing process
Strategic marketing processes are the applicable methods used based on a more categorical marketing plan. This plan spells out how a company intends to go to market, the avenues it considers on attracting and leveraging and the key components of the business that will be affected by any sort of marketing drives or initiatives. These processes essentially turn your marketing plan into a series of steps to help you recognize and reach your comprehensive marketing and sales objectives.
This can include identifying and defining your mission statement, which establishes the company's core principles of its brand. You can expand even further by outlining a vision statement that works alongside it. This, in turn, will help convey the company's purpose and value proposition: the primary reason why a consumer should consider purchasing a product or service from you.
Determine the ultimate channels for promotion
This is probably one of the most important facets of your marketing plan, where you aim to promote your product or service. You must be aware of what your customer's needs and expectations are so you can target them wherever they are, be it at home on the internet, in their cars listening to a radio ad, watching a commercial on television or physically at a store.
What's important isn't so much focusing on all possible channels. It's focusing on the right channels to maximize the growth of your business. Some channels like this may include but are not limited to websites, social media, print or online magazines, pay-per-click marketing, email marketing, SEO, press releases, chatbots, webinars, seminars and word of mouth.
Follow your marketing budget
While most business owners are aware that establishing a marketing budget is key to a business's survival, following the budget set forth is even more important. Sometimes, business owners may overanalyze the competition by investing aggressively with expensive media ads, commercials or billboards in hopes of competing with their larger counterparts. However, making these types of potentially irrational decisions can harm the company more than help. It's much safer to maintain a more conservative marketing budget, spread out over time, staying within the boundaries of the company's marketing allocation, which will help the overall operating budget stay on track.
All in all, having an effective marketing plan is vital to the success of one's business. While these points are nowhere near all of the steps a business owner needs to focus on to help a company remain intact, the plan itself does help the business owner and management team make more sound decisions, which allow the business to grow, increasing potential market share and profitability. It provides a roadmap to align the company's functional activities — thus increasing operational efficiency. It builds a company's foundation.
As a business expands, especially amidst ever-changing industries and world markets, the likelihood of it maintaining a steady climb relies on the strength of its foundation and structure. Therefore, if there's a solid marketing plan in place, the company's stability remains grounded and prepared for any obstacle ahead.
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