By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
Overview: Marketing Plan Essentials For Best Results
If you haven’t completed a strong marketing plan to complement your business plan, you’re missing some salient benefits.
An effective marketing plan generates revenue and alleviates uncertainty for your business.
In addition, a marketing plan provides you with tangible values:
- When employees are apprised of your marketing vision, you’ll benefit from more teamwork and employee loyalty. Provide them with an abridged copy of your marketing vision for growth.
- Development of a marketing plan means you are up-to-date on your company’s situation. You thoroughly know your company. You’re more aware of your dynamic marketplace.
- A malleable marketing plan is an action to-do list. At the minimum, it’s a roadmap to success in the coming year.
- When you get really good, you’ll think two to four years from now. Details won’t be forgotten. It keeps the focus on the long-term objectives.
So you need to begin with an executive summary. Keep in mind your preferred end results from the specific actions you’ll take. Include your resourceful ideas and voluminous research, but specificity in measurable plans is vital.
Your marketing plan needs four specifics:
- Situation analysis – a market analysis with customer data, segmentation, market needs analysis and market forecast; a SWOT analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; your brand’s personality; and competitive analysis.
- Strategy – including a mission statement, goals, branding, product positioning and pricing. In other words, remember the 4 Ps of marketing – product, price, place and promotion.
- Sales forecast – by product and market segment, sales channels, responsible departments and managers – all designed to be tracked.
- Investment budget – enough details about sales programs, management and strategies to track expenses each month.
You’ll need input from virtually everywhere in your firm – consider finance, human resources, manufacturing, and marketing. You’ll learn unforeseen insights on problems and opportunities.
It may be a bit hackneyed, but as part of your checklist in setting goals, consider the acronym, SMART:
- Specific – who, what, when, where, and how
- Measurable – determine how you’ll attain your goals
- Agreed upon – make sure there’s a consensus or agreement
- Realistic – Make certain you’re being pragmatic
- Target date – a feasible timeline is best
Marketing plans are also helpful for better time management — once you have determined the annual big picture for your goals — then determine the intermediate steps for each month.
Oh, and in this age, consider whether your business would benefit from branding and selling your business as green or how cause-related marketing can increase sales by double digits.
Again, even after you’ve written your marketing plan, remember you’re not done. You must be relentless in continuously monitoring your progress. Fine-tune your plan as needed. Figure out what’s wrong and what needs to be done to remedy any undesirable situation.
From the Coach’s Corner, for Internet resource links, consider: Why B2B marketers like content marketing; the 14 strategies to rock on Google; and the best practices to optimize your brand and manage your Web reputation.
“Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
-Dr. Peter Drucker
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.