Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Essentials Of A Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is usually part of your overall business plan, though it can be produced as a stand-alone document.

Effective marketing is crucial to the success of every business venture. Your marketing plan is the road map you will follow to achieve your goals. It lists your objectives and the actions you will take to achieve them.

Your marketing plan should not be a ‘static’ document – rather one you refer to and review on a regular basis.

In order for your marketing plan to be workable, it’s vital that everyone on your team knows what is required of them and when.

You should:

1. Set realistic, clear and measurable targets.

2. Set deadlines for achieving each target.

3. Determine a budget for each marketing activity.

4. Decide who in your team is responsible for each activity.

5. Brief your team/ colleagues on the details of your plan.

6. Set reporting guidelines, so that each member of your team can provide feedback at regular intervals.

It is generally helpful to include a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis in your marketing plan. Most likely you will already have completed one for your business plan, in which case you won’t need to start from scratch. A simple review/ update will normally suffice. A PEST analysis is also helpful for identifying and acting on opportunities and threats within your industry. PEST stands for:

Political and legal changes such as new regulations.

Economic factors such as interest rates, exchange rates and consumer confidence.

Social factors such as changing attitudes and lifestyles, and the ageing population.

Technological factors such as new materials and growing use of the internet.

Every marketing plan begins with an Executive Summary – an overview of the plan – though in practice it’s better to write this last to ensure you don’t leave anything vital out.

Your Business Strategy is also a vital part of your plan. It outlines:

Your Mission Statement.

What your business does/ is about.

Key business objectives.

Strategy for achieving objectives (overview).

Use the SMART acronym for each of your key business objectives and you won’t go far wrong:

Specific: We need to attract 10 new clients this quarter.

Measurable: How will you know when you have achieved your objective?

Achievable: Do you have the right resources in place to reasonably enable you to attain the objective? This usually comes down to people and money.

Realistic: Having a target which is considered unreasonable will only demotivate you and your staff. Great targets will stretch you and your resources and serve as a means of motivation.

Time-constrained: There must be a deadline for achieving each objective and this should be clearly stated in your plan.

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