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14 Steps to Create a Successful Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is part of a business plan and consists of a list of actions. Developing a marketing strategy is crucial for any business. If you want to your business to grow, you must have a marketing plan; otherwise your effort to attract customers will not be fruitful. Here is a guide, detailing the process of making a marketing plan and the fundamentals of marketing strategy.
Objectives of marketing plan
A business invests its time in planning marketing strategy with the sole purpose of identifying —
- Who are the target customers?
- In what way can the company reach them?
- How can they retain the existing customers?
Steps to make a marketing plan
Step 1 Executive Summary
An executive summary is a high-level summary of the marketing plan as a whole. As the term suggests, you will have to come with a summary of your plan. Keep your summary as short as possible – just a couple of sentences to sum up everything, covering each of the sections of your marketing plan in brief. When you read it aloud, it should not take more than 10 seconds to finish. Your executive summary will help in giving you and other constituents (e.g. employees, advisors etc.) of the company an overview of your strategies.
Step 2 Situational Analysis
In this stage, you will have to describe your company in brief, including customer base and your market at large. It has five sub-divisions:
In this section, you have to describe —
- Long and short-term company goals
- Evaluation of company work environment (such as a fast-paced shark tank or a laid-back ping pong environment)
- Your company’s estimated market share
Target customers analysis:
This part is dedicated to assess —
- The size of customer base (the number of potential customers of your products)
- Key demographics of your customer base (age, gender, social class)
- Key psychographics (what about your products and/or services provide true value to your customer base?)
- Buyer motivation and expectations
Here you describe —
- Market description
- Market size
- Market segmentation
- Porter 5 forces analysis (Threat of new entrants, bargaining power of buyers, threats of substitutes, bargaining power of suppliers, industry rivalry)
- Market trends
Here you need to discuss —
- Market position of your competitors (such as, are your competitors fully interested in the market or they are only interested in specific segments?
- Strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
- Estimated value of market shares
Current situation analysis:
Here we do PEST and SWOT analysis —
- Political and legal environment (review whether there are any specific regulations or laws controlling your products)
- Economic environment
- Socio-cultural environment
- Technological environment (are there any projected updates of techs)
- Internal strengths of your company (does your company possess a unique structure and efficient team to achieve the goals?
- Company’s internal weakness (in what way your company’s aspects hold you back?)
- External opportunities (what are the advantages that can easily help you for your betterment?)
- External Threats (what are the potential hazards that can destroy your business?)
Step 3 Marketing Research
This section is implemented in order to spot
- Information requirements
- Research methodology
- Research results
Step 4 Marketing Strategy of Product
Here we deal with three concepts, namely —
- Unique selling proposition (USP), the critical part of product selling that distinguishes your company from others competitors
- Product mix
- Product strength and weaknesses
Step 5 Pricing and Positioning Strategy
In this part, you need to describe detailed positioning plans of your products and how your pricing will support it. If you want your company to be known as a premier brand, your pricing should be as big as your thought.
Step 6 Promotional Strategy
Promotion is vitally important for product recognition. It includes —
- Deciding promotional goals
- Determine advertising reach, frequency of advertising, theme, and media (television ads, online advertising)
- Considering the alternatives of publicity and public relation strategies (trade show, press release, and event marketing)
Step 7 Distribution Plan
In distribution plan, you need to explain how your customer will buy from you. Will your customers purchase directly from your website or will they get your products from the distributors or other retailers?
Step 8 Offers
In this section, you create some unique offers that will attract new customers and bring back the past customers too. You can try some innovative offers like —
- Free trials
- Money back guarantee
- Combining different products and services
- Discount offers
Step 9 Marketing Tools
Marketing tools are the collateral you use to advertize your product to current and prospective customers. You can use your website, business cards, print brochures and catalogues as your marketing materials.
Step 10 Conversion Strategy
Conversion strategy is the marketing technique to turn prospective customers into paying customers. In this section, you plan which conversion-boosting strategies you desire to use. There are many such as improvement of your sales script, demonstrating testimonials of past satisfied customers etc.
Step 11 Partnerships and Joint Ventures
You can take up joint ventures and partnerships agreements with other organizations in order to reach new customer or better monetize existing customers. Here you have to be creative about your ideas. List such companies that can be beneficial to your business in this section of the marketing plan and reach out for them.
Step 12 Increasing Transaction Prices
Transaction prices refer to the amount that customers pay when they buy from you. In this part, you create plans to increase your transaction prices. There are numerous ways to do that, such as increasing prices, creating product and service packages.
Step 13 Retention Strategy
With retention strategy, you can increase revenues and profits by getting customers to purchase from you more frequently over time. There are number of ways to do it such as monthly newsletter or customer loyalty program.
Step 14 Financial Projections
This is the final part of your market plan. Include all your information documented in your marketing plan in your projections. The financial projections consist of —
- Assumptions (the promotional expenses you expect to incur and what your expected results will be in terms of new customers, sales and profits)
- Pro-forma monthly income statement
- Contribution margin analysis
After accomplishment of financial projections, you will set goals for which you company should aim at.
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