10 Questions You Need to Answer to Create an Effective Marketing Plan for Your
Dominate Your Market
A marketing plan is significant to your overall business and it is designed to reach your ideal target market. To create a plan that really works, you need to answer important questions about your business, vision, goals and your strengths and weaknesses, so you can create a marketing plan that supports your mission. These 10 questions are to help you create your marketing plan and dominate your market.
Before you start developing your marketing plan, you need a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Your marketing strategy should be directly related to your business's objectives. Based on what you want to achieve, you need to develop a plan that outlines what you want to do and the details on how to do it.
For example, if one of your business goals is to expand your brick-and-mortar retail store into an e-commerce website, your marketing strategy could be to introduce your products to a new national market segment. You would then break down your strategy even further into short- and long-term objectives while defining your specific marketing message.
If you don't have them already, create specific business goals to get started. Also, make sure you are attaching a specific timeline to your goals, such as a 90-day plan. Having a time frame helps you create a more targeted and realistic marketing plan.
Your mission statement addresses what you are trying to do and why you are doing it. If you have already created a mission statement as part of your business planning process, add it to your marketing plan.
Your mission statement is the foundation of your marketing plan. Although it may not play a direct role in your marketing activities, the mission statement provides focus to help you make sure that your marketing activities support the business' overall vision and objectives. It's an effective tool to refer to whenever you start to question if you are still on the right track.
If you haven't finalized your mission statement yet, do so now.
Your target market is the ideal customer for what you're offering. In your marketing plan, you describe in detail the demographics, traits, and trends of your ideal buyer in defining your target market. Understanding these people will help you create marketing materials that attract them to your business, so you need to research who these people are and what makes them buy your services.
The more details you include as you determine who is in your target market, the more targeted your marketing plan will be.
Conduct market research to learn about your market including its size, location, socioeconomic status, and other details you need to know in relation to promoting your business. Other information you should gather includes:
Create a sketch of the person or business that makes up your ideal customer. This exercise helps you identify specifics about that customer so you can personalize your marketing messaging.
One of the best ways to research your target market and prepare your marketing activities is to study your competition. Know who is out there doing what you do, especially if they are selling it to consumers who fit your ideal customer profile. Take a hard look at what your competitors are doing right, what they may be doing wrong, or what they're falling short on. You want to use this information to boost your competitive advantage by doing something new, different, or better than your competition.
One way to conduct a competitive analysis is with a SWOT analysis, a strategic tool that evaluates a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Take time to measure the SWOT of your top competitors, as well as your own business.
Conducting a thorough analysis of your competition will help you identify areas where you can beat the competition, fine-tune your niche market and make sure you are prepared to address competitive challenges.
Once you know what you're up against in the market, it's time to identify the approach that sets you apart from the competition.
A unique selling proposition (USP) outlines how your business, products, or services differ, in a better way, from your competition's. The statement identifies what makes your business the better choice, and why your target clients should choose you over the competition.
This unique selling proposition tutorial will help you craft a USP for your business.
If you have a traditional business plan, you already have spent a great deal of time researching the best price point for your services. As part of the marketing mix, pricing information, including payment details, is included in your plan.
In the pricing section of your marketing plan, give an overview of your product or service pricing and consider how other factors can impact supply and demand, thereby impacting price.
In most cases, you want to be able to support your price points by providing your customers with a clear idea of the value and benefits they receive in return. A high value proposition often leads a customer to make a purchase.
If you haven't identified your pricing perspective yet, do that now with an eye toward how it can fit into your marketing.
As a key element of the marketing mix, your promotional plan covers your USP, how your service will be sold, how you'll let your target market know about your offer, and customer service plans.
When it comes to reaching out to your market, you should combine a variety of marketing activities, such as:
Don't overdo it initially on promotional tasks. Select three to five specific activities that will best reach your target market and will help you execute your marketing strategy.
For example, if one of your goals is to provide five free initial consultations within three months, your promotional plan may include focusing on targeted leads through a cold calling campaign, a social media outreach plan, and a direct mail campaign. You can get some ideas on specific activities by browsing lists of 101 business marketing ideas, but remember, you want to keep your target market in mind when developing your marketing activities. Tweeting won't work if your market isn't on Twitter.
Complete this step at the same time as the next step since your budget affects the activities you can include.
While there are FREE marketing options, many areas of your marketing strategy won't be free such as website hosting or email list provider. As a result, you need a budget part of your marketing plan that has a breakdown of all costs related to marketing.
You may have an annual marketing budget, but you should also break it down into separate monthly budgets so that you can track results and modify the promotional plan to focus on the activities that provide you with the biggest return on investment.
Once your plan is done, you need to take action on it. You need to identify the tasks you need to do to put your business marketing in motion. Your action steps help you stay on track so that you can make consistent progress without having to start from scratch each time you want to market your business.
To formulate your marketing plan action list, follow the same process for managing your daily tasks: take the end goal, and break it down into a series of single-step tasks that lead you to achieve your desired result
For example, if one of the activities outlined in your promotional plan is launching a direct mail campaign, your first few action steps may look like this:
Your action list can take a number of different forms, as long as it's created in a way that supports progress. Each action item should also include a due date that works with the timeline you created for your marketing plan. Typically, the smaller the steps, the easier it will be for you to complete tasks and build momentum.
Your business marketing plan is useless if you don't track and measure the results. You don't want to waste time and money on marketing that isn't bringing you clients or customers. You want your marketing to bring in business and give you a positive return on investment (ROI).
The way you track and measure your results depends on your marketing tactics. For example, online marketing can be tracked using analytics and other internet-based metrics, while tracking offline marketing methods requires a more manual approach.
In general, the more standardized your tracking system, the more relevant your results will be. By measuring your results, you will become much better at tailoring your marketing activities to focus on the areas where you will have the most success.
Success for Businesses Starts with Good Planning. Building a profitable business results from a good plan and hard work.
Planning, execution, and evaluation are all parts of running a successful business. Create a blueprint, follow it, fine-tune it, update it, and always use it as your guide for your business success.
Call me if you’d like a free marketing plan for your business!
Tabitha Vilardo, CEO
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, your marketing plan and marketing strategy are two separate elements of your business. Your marketing strategy is what you need to achieve with your marketing efforts, and it's shaped by and should reflect your business goals. Your marketing plan is how you are going to achieve those marketing goals, and it's the practical implementation of your marketing strategy. Both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan are necessary because they work together to promote and grow your business.
Why You Need a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan
If you try to achieve the "how" of your marketing without first knowing the "what," you risk wasting both time and money. Once you understand what you are trying to achieve (strategy), you are better able to decide how to reach those goals (plan). For example, consider a business that creates communication apps and wants to increase its revenue. The company decides that it needs to reach a new market segment. To effectively reach new customers that would be interested in purchasing its app, the company needs both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
Objective: Reach new customers and persuade them to adopt App A
Marketing strategy: Appeal to older consumers by showing that App A is easier to use than competitors for keeping in touch with relatives
Marketing plan: Develop commercials showing how easy it is for grandparents to use App A when video chatting with grandchildren
Implementation: Create a series of commercials, then air them during TV time slots with a high percentage of viewers over age 55
Without a marketing strategy, the company might choose forms of advertising, such as printed advertorials or radio spots, that can't effectively demonstrate how easy it is to use App A compared to competitors' apps. Or, it might create a video ad but air it online in a way that doesn't effectively reach older consumers. Either of these errors would prevent the company from achieving its goal of expanding into a new market segment. By creating a marketing strategy first, the business can create a marketing plan that effectively reaches and persuades a new market segment to trust and use its app.
What a Marketing Strategy Looks Like
When creating your marketing strategy, you should identify your:
Goals: Identify the short- and long-term objectives of the marketing initiative and how they interact with your overall business goals.
Target market: You should know what customers you're trying to reach, their perceived values, what drives their decision-making process, and the problem they're facing.
Competitors: Make sure to know who your competitors are, their market position, and their strengths and weaknesses.
External marketing message: Think about how you will solve your customers' problems in a way that aligns with their values.
Internal positioning goal: Identify what makes you different from competitors and why customers should believe in you.
If you don't have a good sense of your position in the market in relation to your competitors, you may need to perform a situation analysis. This will help you understand your business' strengths and weaknesses, as well as any opportunities or threats that could undermine your business goals. Understanding how your brand is perceived relative to competitors will allow you to create a more complete and effective marketing strategy.
Using Your Marketing Strategy and Plan
Once you have your marketing strategy completed, you can use it to create a detailed marketing plan that will achieve your specific goals.
As you map your marketing strategy into a marketing plan, be specific when deciding what, how, and why you will communicate with your customers. The more specific you are in your planning, the easier it will be to follow through with effective implementation.
If you would like a professional to create a strategy for you. Cornerstone Marketing Agency of Louisiana is here and we’d love to talk to you.
“A dream without a plan will fade” -Grant Cardone
Your online presence is important and we know a million small changes that you can make to your information online that can help your business grow. This isn’t a let me capture your email address and info so I can sell to you offer. It’s a legitimate offer to help you with little things that our trained eyes can catch. So, we’ve created this handy dandy form for you to fill out and if you want to have us look over your stuff then fill it out and we’ll get one over to you this week!
You‘re welcome 😉