All businesses need strategic marketing plans, whether they’re start-ups or multinational corporations. A “killer” marketing plan is just as vital as your business plan. Its focus is on winning and keeping loyal customers, and it includes numbers, facts, and objectives. Plans should be done in one-year increments, though the thought may be daunting for the more creative types of businesses!
So, put on your business cap and begin with an overview of your company. A situation analysis is the first step in formulating your plan. What sets you apart from your competition? This is a snapshot of your companies goods and/or services. You need to understand your market to position your business competitively. Set attainable goals, and make sure your whole team understands the goals so they can help to achieve them.
- What are your marketing goals? Have them be measurable so you can gauge your success. Define your target audience and be specific: What are their demographics? What is their lifestyle, and why would they want your product/service? How can you differentiate yourself from your competition?
- Positioning, or the image of your product or service that you create in the mind of your target audience, is very important. It’s essential that you “stand out from the pack” by creating an image that’s unique and identifiable. All of your marketing materials should support this identity, from your business card to your website. A great design campaign should carry this theme.
- Come up with a promotion strategy to inform and persuade your customers’ purchasing decisions. The type and scope depends on your budget, but generally there are four types of promotional activities: Advertising, sales promotion, publicity/public relations, and personal selling.
- If you are unsure of any part of your campaign, you can test two different marketing plans and make changes according to your results. A marketing plan is not set in stone – it’s an evolving document that changes with the products or services you are selling. In that respect, it’s never truly finished but a work in progress.
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