A marketing plan is an operational document that outlines an advertising strategy that an organization will implement to generate leads and reach its target market. A marketing plan details the outreach and PR campaigns to be undertaken over a period, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives.
Every business should begin with a well-structured plan that has incorporated research, attainable incomes, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. This plan should operate as a guide throughout the development of your business. There are many aspects to a marketing plan, however, some key aspects that should be highlighted are:
Market Research is the collection and organization of data relevant to the company. The purpose of market research is to verify the market need, identify competitors, improve company offerings, satisfy customers, and more. All of which are necessary for determining the success of your business. It is important to know your competition to ascertain what sets you apart and develop your brand image, market research also allows you to know what other companies are offering and what consumers have come to expect as offerings, it also gives you the opportunity to see the need for your product to ascertain how well you will do and how you can satisfy consumers.
Once you have found your target market or niche for your product you can gear your marketing plan towards them and focus on their needs, perceptions, and wants. This will guide you in determining your strategies for pricing, positioning, and branding as this will determine how you achieve brand awareness and help to determine the typical price of your category of the product within your target market or niche. By researching your market, it will put you in a better position to promote and sell your product or service.
Budgeting your strategies is important as you always have to plan your marketing to ensure you are getting the best possible return on investment. Therefore, the aim of your marketing should not be to simply breakeven but to earn profit by investing a reasonable amount that would provide you the best return throughout your marketing strategies.
You should have the strategies you want to use or consider using such as Direct marketing, advertising, direct selling, or e-commerce. This is also partly dependent on your target market or niche as different strategies are more effective amongst different marketing segments.
Your marketing plan should always incorporate ways to test and monitor your results. Sales tracking, website analytics, survey, etc. are all methods of collecting and analyzing customer data. Monitoring and analyzing your data is important as it gives you the opportunity to make any necessary changes to your marketing plan to improve your awareness and return on investment.
Be sure to use your plan as a living document.