Whether you’re starting a business or exploring ways to expand an existing one, a Marketing Plan is an important tool to help grow your business and increase sales. An effective Marketing Plan will enable you to take a targeted and cost effective approach with regard to your marketing activities to drive increased revenue and ROI (return on investment), rather than the far too common and wasteful "spray and pray" approach.
The purpose of a Marketing Plan is to help articulate a strategy for promoting your brand and growing sales or revenue for your business. It also provides insights into your market, your ideal customers and how to engage them in meaningful ways.
A Marketing Plan should also provide clarity regarding how your products / services are unique in comparison to your competitors, how you will price and distribute your products /services, and how you will target your ideal customer(s) with a specific and defined set of marketing activities, matched to your marketing objectives. A targeted approach will include the definition of marketing objectives, which may include increased brand awareness, or actual revenue increases through more sales, etc.
An effective Marketing Plan, carefully implemented, will drive the growth of your business through the use of carefully selected marketing tools and activities that are matched to your unique selling position, your brand and your target audience buying behaviours.
For existing businesses, a Marketing Plan should be updated annually as a way to guide growth and navigate the expansion into new markets. Your Plan should include explicit objectives for specific marketing activities such as your overall marketing strategy, sales strategy, SWOT, distribution channels, sales / marketing personnel, products / services, promotional plan and budget. A Marketing Plan is a complement to your Business Plan and the marketing budget is an input into your overall business budget.
The Benefits of Having a Marketing Plan:
1. Identifies your Target Market
Through market segmentation, an effective Marketing Plan will enable you to identify and understand your ideal customers, their needs, problems and values; and how your product / service meets their needs or addresses their problems in a way that creates value.
2. Identifies your Competitors
An effective Marketing Plan includes the identification of your competitors from a SWOT perspective so that you can determine how you can improve or augment your offering to be favourably compared to the offerings of your competitors.
3. Defines your Unique Selling Position
An effective Marketing Plan requires the definition of how your brand, products and services will be positioned in comparison to your competitors in the market, in such a way that makes your offering unique and preferable in comparison to your competitors in the eyes of your target customers.
4. Supports ROI on Marketing Spend
An effective Marketing Plan includes the definition of specific and measurable marketing goals, time-frames and activities. This ensures that you only invest in promotional activities that drive a positive ROI, ie: promotional activities that match your target market's purchase behaviours, etc.
5. Sets out Strategy to Target Ideal Customers
An effective Marketing Plan utilises market research to map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools that you will use. Again, this will prevent investment in marketing activities that don't support your defined strategy.
Many people engage us as business coaches to take a weekly / fortnightly step-by-step approach to the development of their own Marketing Plans and Business Plans, with the added benefit of our expertise and guidance throughout the process. In this way, you learn the essential aspects of running a successful business, while crafting your very own Marketing Plan or Business Plan over 8-12 weeks.
If you would like more information about how to create an effective Marketing Plan for your business, with our guidance in a coaching format, then please don't hesitate to contact us. Deb Banning, Co-Founder of Business Agility, has a Bachelor of Business / Commerce with double majors in Marketing and Business Law; and has also studied Digital Business Strategy at MIT. Read more about Deb's background, experience and qualifications here.
We are competent and qualified business coaches who are former CEOs and MDs. We know what it takes to be successful in business. We can help you to grow and improve your business. Book your free initial consultation now.