Writing a marketing plan

by Leon Gettler | |   Growing Your Business
Writing a marketing plan

How do you create a marketing plan that's clear, concise and convincing?

Good marketing plans need to be clear, concise and convincing. More to the point, anyone creating the plan has to be able to sell it and get support for their recommendations. Good plans are also built around rigorous analysis. Who are my current customers? Who else will buy my product or service? Why will they buy it? How many will they buy? Where do they live? What is the size of the market? Is it growing? Are there segments of users who are not happy with the competition? And do any of these segments present an opportunity? It is impossible to create a good plan without understanding customers, the competition and the market. These insights are critical and you can only create a powerful plan if you know the business inside and out.

The people at Business IT say it is impossible to create a good plan without understanding customers, the competition and the market. These insights are critical and you can only create a powerful plan if you have a solid business plan. Marketing plans are built around three foundation stones: goals and objectives, strategic initiatives, and tactics. Every marketing plan needs these three sections - even short plans of just a page or so. If it’s any longer, people won’t read it and any document that is too large is hard to change, which is something that could be disastrous in a fluid market.

David Lavinsky at Forbes says every marketing plan should identify the customer being targeted, defining their demographic profile (e.g., age, gender), psychographic profile (e.g., their interests) and their precise wants and needs as they relate to the products and services on offer.  It should also have the unique selling proposition, the pricing and positioning strategy, and the distribution plan.

Jane Toohey from Marketing Angels says every marketing plan needs to be based on business objectives and extensive research. It also needs to profile the target market and identify the ideal customer.

There also needs to be a CRM plan. Toohey writes: “A plan for regular communication keeps you top of mind and is crucial for building loyalty, word-of-mouth and frequency of purchase."

•    How will you communicate with your customers and get to know them even better?
•    How will you entice them to keep coming back?
•    How do you give them a sense of investment in what your business is doing?”

And of course, there has to be a website and online plan.

Entrepreneur.com says it’s important to get everyone involved in creating the plan.

“Who should see your plan? All the players in the company. Firms typically keep their marketing plans very, very private for one of two very different reasons: either they're too skimpy and management would be embarrassed to have them see the light of day, or they're solid and packed with information . . . which would make them extremely valuable to the competition.

“You can't do a marketing plan without getting many people involved. No matter what your size, get feedback from all parts of your company: finance, manufacturing, personnel, supply and so on - in addition to marketing itself. This is especially important because it will take all aspects of your company to make your marketing plan work. Your key people can provide realistic input on what's achievable and how your goals can be reached, and they can share any insights they have on any potential, as-yet-unrealised marketing opportunities, adding another dimension to your plan.”

How do you do your marketing plan?