Before you start marketing your products and services, create a marketing plan. The marketing plan will help you organise your thoughts and keep your marketing on track.
The following headings are offered as a guide.
Set out the current position. This will include:
- background information.
- Information on competitors.
- a brief description of what it is you want to market.
- the unique selling propositions.
- a summary of any existing marketing/promotional activity.
The context sets the baseline from which all future marketing can be benchmarked and evaluated.
The aim is the overall goal that you wish to achieve by marketing your product or service. For example, to be the number one product in its sector within the locality.
The Strategy covers all the elements that need to be done to reach the aim. This would include: advertising campaigns, demonstrations, websites, newsletters, press releases, promotions etc.
Based on the strategy, the objectives are the stepping stones that need to be achieved. They are specific goals and are normally SMART. For example, to increase sales by 20% by the end of the year, increase footfall to the store by 10% by the end of next month, to increase traffic to the website by 30%.
To achieve the objectives, customers need to be identified (Primary Audience) along with those who may influence (Secondary Audience). As well as defining the audience, create a list of triggering points where the products or services being marketed will be needed.
The messages will change depending on the target audience. All messages will focus on benefits rather than any features and represent the overall brand. They will be both strategic (long term brand building aimed at influencers) and tactical (buy now aimed at customers) and feature strong calls to action. All messages should be clear, simple and easily understood. If there are several messages that need to be addressed, use different adverts for each to avoid mixed messaging.
List the various media that will used to reach the target market and why they have been chosen. These will include traditional media like TV, radio and press as well as digital and social media.
Create a timeline of what needs to be done and when.
List all the resources that will be required to carry out the marketing plan. This will include, people, equipment and a budget for advertising.
State how you will measure the success of your marketing.
The seven Ps of marketing
The seven Ps of marketing will help with adding detail to your marketing plan. Click on the links in bold for further information.
- Product – These are the aspects of your product or service that are important.
- Place – When and where your products and services are available
- Price – The cost of buying and using your product.
- Promotion – The way you communicate with your customers
- People – Any human contact with the customer
- Processes – Any process that leads to you obtaining or keeping a customer.
- Physical Evidence – How you physically look to the customer.