The marketing plan or marketing business plan, is generally considered a road map. It indicates the path to follow for the success of a project. It helps you to build your project, to make sure of its relevance and reliability. Thus, it is bound to the long term vision articulated in the marketing strategy.
This reference document allows the manager to a check-up on the ongoing or upcoming actions at any time, and coordinate them when necessary. The marketing business plan has to evolve according to the needs that may change during the year.
Analyze Your Business Situation
It starts from an objective analysis of the situation, typically a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
What makes your company competitive, compared to the others? It could be a particular expertise, a USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your responsiveness, your notoriety, your image on the market, your customer references, your perceived value… anything that gives you an advantage over the competition.
Where are you not as good as you would like to be? Maybe a low performing sales team, a lack of visibility, a loss of resources, an unfinished product… Identify all the elements are not optimal and therefore likely to hinder the development of your product or company.
A positive change in the market. A new product that aligns with market expectations, new proposals for innovative services, a focus on added value, an improved user experience… anything that can influence your growth, including external factors you have no control over.
These are the obstacles that prevent you from developing, for example a human resources or legal problem, a serious move by a competitor, or regulatory or tax-related developments.
Analyze the Market to Complete Your Business Plan
Who are the customers? What are their expectations and drivers? Then answer these three questions:
- What consumer need is not yet met by the market?
Once you know that needs that are not yet covered, you can demonstrate your offering’s added value through your marketing actions. Listen and observe: there are lots of needs that are just waiting to be satisfied.
- How are these customers trying to solve these frustrations?
Study the advantages of alternative solutions, so your solution can be more relevant.
- How can your company provide a solution?
Position your company and/or your offering to gain credibility with customers.
Define SMART Goals
When you have done your analysis and answered these questions, you have all you need to set your SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).
Your marketing goals should be based on the combined understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and your knowledge of the competitive landscape.
The development of a solid marketing plan is based on concrete goals such as:
- Increase customer awareness of your business, brand, and products or services
- Improve the perception of your brand, your products or services
- Increase your web site traffic
- Increase key conversion rates.
Once you have decided on your marketing goals, determine the strategy you will adopt to reach them.
Develop your marketing strategy
Ensure that it fits the needs of your customers as well as possible.
Sell less but with a higher margin or, conversely on the contrary, prioritize sales volume and reduce the margin. Depending on the strength of your value proposition, you might need to disrupt the market by discounting your price. In some markets, customers look for low prices regardless of the product while others see a low price as a sign of low quality.
How and where are you going to sell your products and services, online or offline? Direct or through resellers?
How will you reach your potential customers? It can be offline or online: including events, fairs, print and outdoor advertising, SEO, and marketing automation, to name a few.
The strategic marketing plan articulates a strategy that is based on the analysis of the target, the positioning and the goals, as well as the actions that have to be pursued to achieve these objectives.
Discover the operational tasks you need to follow for a successful marketing plan strategy and how to easily create a marketing plan.