Put simply, a marketing plan provides direction for your marketing activities and I feel that having one can make the difference between business success and failure. Marketing plans need not be long or cost a lot to put together and should detail what you want to accomplish with your marketing strategy and will therefore help you and your colleagues meet your objectives. They give focus to your business and help you stay on track.
Some have likened a marketing plan to placing a required destination on a road map and the journey to get there is the plan and this plan has detailed directions on how to get there in one piece, quickly and effectively.
But be realistic, within this “journey” as there may be a few bumps in the road, perhaps even a route diversion or two, or a stop for petrol, but if the marketing plan is carefully researched, thoughtfully considered and evaluated, it will help your organization reach its destination.
Anyway, I digress.
The SWOT analysis is probably the first step in putting together a marketing plan for your product/business. Within this SWOT you will be able to decipher where you stand currently, what your strengths and weaknesses are, what opportunities you see in terms of the size of the market etc as well as what threat your competitors pose.
Next, what is your brand? You should be able to answer this in 3 words. Your brand identity is a promise to your customers and this promise should stand for your professionalism, your USP and your reputation.
Once you have decided what your overall company destination is and gone through the process of defining your marketing objectives, what marketing tools would be the most suitable for achieving your goals – click here to see some of them you could use. Also, what have you tried to date? Have you tested using social media for example?
At this stage you are now able to move into the decision-making process for defining the actual tactics you will utilise……
What I will say is that, a marketing plan is not something to just pay lip service to or a box to tick in business. Without a coherent and well thought plan that you communicate internally, you really are missing a trick.
I have come across organisations who have said that they were too busy to do one or were doing well enough so didn’t want to commit time and resources to putting together a marketing plan only to regret it!
There is always the option of bringing in a marketing consultant to help you!