6 Steps to a Successful Marketing Plan
A quick snapshot to effective marketing
A marketing plan serves as a roadmap for your marketing activities to reach your goals. To lay out an effective plan, begin with understanding the market and then plan out the tactics and strategies required to reach out to your ultimate customers. To put it succinctly, a marketing plan should cover the strategic four 4Ps- Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
Chalk out your marketing plan by following a simple step by step procedure as under.
1. Identify Your Business Goal
The first step is to spell out your business goal in your marketing plan. Say if you are company producing shoes, then your business goal could be like, “producing 1000 units per month” or “diversifying you business to other sectors”. The objective should be clear, feasible and realistic and not exaggerated or overambitious.
2. Define Your Target Customer
The marketing plan should have a clear picture of the target customer. ‘Are they individuals or a company’. Lookout for some clearly identifiable and unique characteristic features. Do they fall into a certain age group, income group or geographic location? How do they buy your type of products or services? How often do they buy them? What features are they particular about?
3. Leverage Your Product’s USP
You do not market the product or the service, you market the benefits attached to them. Describe these here. Do mention the distinctive and unique features (USP) that your product has which sets it apart from your competitor’s product. While thinking of the USPs, you must keep in mind to market the strengths of your product and minimise your product’s weakness and at the same time develop strategies to take advantage of your competitor’s weakness.
4. Position Your Product
It is very important to understand as to how you want your product to be perceived or positioned in the minds of your end customers and your competitors. Base your positioning on the benefit your product provides, your customers and the positioning of your competitors. Ask yourself- Do you want to promote your product as one having the best quality with little reference to price or do you want to promote your product as the cheapest in the industry?
5. Decide Your Marketing Tactics
Here, you should describe the marketing tactics that you intend to use to reach out to your customers. Take for example advertising (print, radio, television), public relations, sales promotion, Classified ads, Contests, Public relations, Free samples and many others “The means of marketing should depend on the type of product that you are selling. Online or web marketing is best suited for us” says Mr. Vishal Bisht, CEO, Marksman Technologies, a company into E-learning and IT services.
6. Budget Your Marketing Expenditure
Here you need to mention the amount of money that you plan to invest in your marketing activities. You can break it into monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The amount that you have allocated for your marketing activities will depend on your type of business and the goals that you have set. Keep track of how effective a marketing tactic is as you need to get maximum returns on your investment.