How to Write a Marketing Business Plan?
The marketing plan or marketing business plan, is generally considered as 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 marketing strategy that gives the long term vision.
This reference document allows at any time to do a check-up on the ongoing or upcoming actions and harmonize them when it is necessary. The marketing business plan has to evolve according to the needs that may change during the year.
How to Write a Marketing Business Plan?
Analyze the Situation
It starts from an objective analysis of the situation by using a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
What makes your company competitive, compared to the others? It goes from an expertise, a USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your responsiveness, your notoriety, your image on the market, your customer references, your perceived value… everything that can be 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… It gathers all the elements which are not optimized and therefore likely to harm to the development of your product or company.
A positive change on the market. A new product in line 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 on.
These are the obstacles that prevent you from developing, for example a human or legal problem.
Analyze the market to complete your business plan
Who are the customers? What are their expectations and drivers? You then have to answer these 3 questions:
- What consumer’s need is not yet covered by the market?
Once you have in mind what needs have to be covered, you can demonstrate your offering added value through your marketing actions. Listen, observe, there are loads of needs that are just waiting to be satisfied.
- How are these customers trying to solve these frustrations?
Study the advantages of alternative solutions to be more relevant.
- How can your company provide a solution?
Position your company and/or your offering to gain enough credibility.
Define SMART Goals
When you have your analysis and the answer to these questions, you have all the cards in hand to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).
Your Marketing goals should be bases on the understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, combined with your knowledge of your competitive landscape.
The development of a solid marketing plan is based on concrete goals such as:
- Increase your notoriety
- Improve the perception of your brand, your products or services
- Increase your web site traffic
- Increase key conversion rates.
Once you have decided what are 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, on the contrary, prioritize the volume of sales and reduce the margin percentage. 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: events, fairs, advertising, SEO, marketing automation…
The Strategic Marketing Plan is therefore the strategy resulting from the analysis of the target, the positioning and the goals as well as the actions that has to be set to achieve these objectives.