Tuesday 05 August, 2014

Marketing Plan – What Is a Marketing Plan and Why Should You Have One?

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you need a marketing plan. It’s essential for meeting your marketing objectives. Like a road map, it tells you where you need to go for this important aspect of your business.

A marketing plan is a document that describes in detail everything you need to know about your market, your products, your promotional activities, and so on. It’s important to have one for a number of reasons.

Reaching the Goals of Your Business

Every business needs goals and your marketing helps you achieve these goals. Through your marketing plan, you identify marketing objectives that will help you achieve these goals. From these objectives, you can extrapolate strategies and tactics which you can take action on immediately. By aligning with your business goals, you ensure that none of your marketing efforts are wasted.

Staying on the Same Page

Just like your business plan, your marketing plan spells out your marketing so that everyone can be on the same page. It’s like a roadmap that shows where you need to go. You can show it to employees, business partners, potential investors and other interested parties and they can take in your marketing activities at a glance.

Change Is Gonna Come

In marketing, change is truly the only constant. You can use your marketing plan to evaluate new opportunities or threats to your business. When there is a significant change in your market or industry, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board. You can make the relevant changes in your plan.

The Big Picture

Since your marketing plan presents you with the big picture, you can use it to have better control over your business. Looking at the big picture, you can more easily see gaps or weaknesses that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

What Does a Marketing Plan Need?

There are many different elements you can include in your marketing plan. Plans vary a bit from one company to another, but some of the key features include:

* An overview of your target market. This is a profile that identifies your target market’s demographics, psychographics and buying behavior.
* Analysis of your market including your competitors and other outside factors that influence your business.
* Your vision or mission statement. This is a sentence that sums up what your business aims to do for its market.
* Unique value proposition. Your UVP is similar to your vision or mission statement but it states more specifically how your products or services uniquely meet the needs of your market in ways your competitors’ don’t.
* Business goals and marketing objectives. These all need to be spelled out in your plan since they form the basis of all of your marketing activities.
* Evaluations of your market, your product and your business.
* A detailed budget for your marketing.

Start by brainstorming each of these above areas and drafting an outline. Once you write a rough draft of your marketing plan, you can go over it and edit and rewrite as many times as it takes. It may also help to look online at sample marketing plans to give you ideas.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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