A marketing plan is a crucial component of your business, and how your service or product is promoted, perceived, and engaged with by an audience in the market. Without this, the fundamentals that drive your business will never reach their full potential.
Plans do not need to be overly complicated, lengthy, or even expensive. In many cases, keeping it simple is best. The key is to have a consistent approach that speaks to your customers on a regular basis. Your aim is to build trust and a solid relationship with your audience, so you are the first source they think of when they need something relevant from your business.
So what makes a good marketing plan?
- Market research & competitor analysis: Identify what your audience actually wants. Does your product provide something that people need, and are there businesses already doing this? If so, how will you do it better – what is your differentiator?
- Target audience: Who is your ideal client/customer? What do they do? How do they feel? What do they look like? This is the part where you really need to individualize profiles to understand your customer on a deeper level, so you can tailor your strategy to actually resonate with your target audience. The more specific you make this, the more successful you’ll be with your marketing.
- SWOT analysis: This is one of the best ways to understand your business’s current status and objectives. It is great to brainstorm this with your team, and bring in people from other areas of the business, such as colleagues from customer service and technical as you will find that each one will have some valuable insight into the current operations, and provide ideas. It’s important to remember that every customer touchpoint – any time a customer interacts with your business/brand – influences brand perception so getting people involved from across the business is important.
- Goals and objectives: Get back to basics. Why do you do what you do? Where do you see your business in five years, and how do you plan to get there? Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
- Budget: Like anything else, good marketing requires investment; this should come with some realistic expectations. You need to know how much you have to invest in marketing initiatives to be able prioritize effectively. This investment can be time, and money.
Once you’ve explored the fundamentals of your business, you will have a healthy idea of where your business is, and where you would like to go. It is now the marketing strategies and tactics that will take you there. We’ll cover these another time.