Every business needs a marketing plan, whether a huge corporation or a simple one man band startup. That means you!
These 10 steps will be covered in three parts and will help provide the basic outline of what you need to do and how to prepare. Marketing plans are similar to your business plan and will help you keep focused and make decisions on how and where to resource and manage your channels. Having a marketing plan will not be a definite answer to success but will provide you with a better chance to achieve your objectives and ultimately accomplish the goal. Through the plan you will be able to work through checkpoints and deadlines that will allow you to track in detail when and how to action marketing activities, test, optimise and fine-tune until your plan is generating the most desired results. This is one of the most important factors as it will raise your success rate and ROI (return on investment). The research and effort you put into your plan will also provide you with valuable industry and business insight into your marketplace.
Even before you jump in and get started you do need to analyse your business plan first. Take time to review the goal's that you have already set against the products and services you are offering. Try to think about how your products or services are going to provide benefits to your prospective customers or client base. Look at your competitor analysis, how do you differ from them? and what makes you more prominent from the competitors in your market? Start off by organizing a brainstorming session which will help to determine your point of sale and USP (unique selling point) and how your marketing plan and activities will support this objective.
02 Identify Target Audience
Before developing the market plan your going to have to define your target audience. This is a vital part of the process to help you identify your potential customers, profile and market segment. Your services or products might appeal to broad range of people, however that does not mean you should be engaging time and money in trying to reach them all. Ditributing your startups limited resources efficiently and cost effectively is much easier if you have a clear definition of target audience.
Review and Consult your Business Plan
- All your future activates should align with you business plan.
- Before you kick of with your marketing your business, review what your offer is and decide how it satisfies a need for your potential clients and customers.
- Source and record from secondary sources of information.
- If your able to manage it you should also conduct primary research as well.
- Use your research effectively in your strategy, to determine your niche in the market.
Build Customer profiles
After completing your research, build customer profiles that align with your products and services. It will contain and in-depth description of who your core customers are most likely to be. This should include any demographic data and information that is relevant to your product, service and its effective sales delivery.
- Key demographics such as Location, Age and gender along with any psychographic data, that may offer insights regarding interests, behaviours or hobbies that are relevant
- It's an essential process to collect this information early-on in order to develop the marketing plan.
Locating your Customers
- Take this step literally, engage and find out which social networks or apps your prospective customers use. Which websites do they like and what are their interests.
- Try to determine as much as you can about possible chances you can reach to target your audience.
A/B Testing and fine tuning
- After you have established your target customer list and you have reviewed your planned campaign.
- You will need to set your targets so that you will be able to evaluate if and whether you hit can reach them.
- After you launch and run a marketing campaign you will have time to review optimize and fine tune, to build on your success.
- "rinse and repeat"
03 SWOT Analysis
Before you actually kick off and launch your campaign you need to know your position. Your SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is an assessment of your business' internal and external issues or factors that it's being faced with.
This is a crucial step in the marketing planning process because when you have determined these objectives you will need to make sure they are bulkt up on the knowledge you acquired from your SWOT analysis. The information there will help drive those objectives. If you gleaned useful insights from your research on certain untapped markets or entry point to your services that is not saturated it might be advantageous for you to get ahead of the completion and reach your target audience first. Above all it helps you establish YOUR place in the market.
Advantages of proposition?
USP's (unique selling points)?
Resources, Assets, People?
Experience, knowledge, data?
Financial reserves, likely returns?
Marketing - reach, distribution, awareness?
Location and geographical?
Price, value, quality?
Accreditations, qualifications, certifications?
Processes, systems, IT, communications?
Cultural, attitudinal, behavioural?
Management cover, succession?
Disadvantages of proposition?
Gaps in capabilities?
Lack of competitive strength?
Reputation, presence and reach?
Own known vulnerabilities?
Timescales, deadlines and pressures?
Cashflow, start-up cash-drain?
Continuity, supply chain robustness?
Effects on core activities, distraction?
Reliability of data, plan predictability?
Morale, commitment, leadership?
Processes and systems, etc?
Management cover, succession?
Industry or lifestyle trends?
Technology development and innovation?
New markets, vertical, horizontal?
Niche target markets?
Geographical, export, import?
Market need for new USP's?
Market response to tactics, e.g., surprise?
Major contracts, tenders?
Business and product development?
Information and research?
Partnerships, agencies, distribution?
Market volume demand trends?
Seasonal, weather, fashion influences?
Competitor intentions - various?
New technologies, services, ideas?
Vital contracts and partners?
Financial and credit pressures?
Economy - home, abroad?
Seasonality, weather effects?
Click here to Read 10 Marketing Tips for Struggling Startups - Part 2