A marketing plan is a definitive guide for where the business wants to be in future. It usually is an action plan based on your marketing strategy to educate and attract potential customers and eventually buy your products and services. A marketing plan usually adheres to broader business objectives and helps achieve corporate objectives by optimizing the utilization of its resources.
The marketing plan can vary depending on what goals the business wants to achieve, some business might be inclined towards increasing their customer base. Some of the objectives could also be broadening customer awareness for brand positioning, content-marketing for improving brand authority in the initial stages. Later on, the focus can be shifted towards acquiring more customers, improving conversion rates and engaging customers. The marketing plan also consists of a layout that includes budget, timeline and resources need to achieve goals set for your business. A sound marketing plan helps business heads to monitor and improve expectations for their functional targets.
Your marketing plan can be a completely separate plan or a part of your overall business plan. In any case, it must reflect the value of your products and services to your target audience.
You need to conduct market research before creating a market plan. The research will provide you with the information that will give you a clear direction for your marketing plan. You will need to collect information about your target audience that will help you gauge their requirements and preferences related to your product. On that basis, you can perform a feasibility study of your product and services to figure out the ROI of your investments.
Market research will allow you to monitor trends in the industry, economic future, information about your competitors. This will arm you with vital information that can help you decide how you can gain a competitive advantage in pricing and customer services.
From the data collected, you can segment the audience according to geographical location, demography behaviour and lifestyle. On that basis, you can test out how best to reach your target audience. You can ascertain which social platform are your target audience the most on and which advertisement medium is best suitable for maximum exposure.
A typical Marketing plan document consists of the following:
1. Marketing plan Overview (Executive summary)
This part of the document will consist of a summary of your marketing plan, to allow a glance of your plan for those who may not want to read the entire document.
2. Business Overview
This part of the document will consist of general information about the business highlighting the vision and mission statements and information about the current state of the business in the market (market position).
3. Audience Analysis report
- The size of the market is a factor that lets a business decide the feasibility of the product in terms of the number of potential customers.
- Key demographics
- Key demographics include attributes that are related to age, gender, marital status, ethenic background, education level, income band, family size and geographical location. This data is crucial to ascertain the affinities and interests of your audience.
- Affinities and interests
- Audience interest and affinities can help tune the content of your marketing efforts and can also help a business highlight the benefits and features that interest potential customers. This data includes personal preferences like places, choice of brands, and so on.
- Unique selling point
- This section should clearly describe the USP of your business. USP is the competitive edge that your business has in the marketplace over other competitors that includes benefits to your customers that are unique to your product or service and customer service advantages that only your customers get.
4. Delivery and Distribution plan
Your distribution and delivery plan defines how you are going to deliver your products or services to your customers. Your distribution channel should be cost-effective, customer-friendly and appropriate to your product or service. Some ways of distribution and delivery include retail, wholesale, direct to homes or businesses, or online.
5. Marketing Objectives
Here you can describe the marketing objectives of your business for the future. The goals you set should be realistic and well-conceived. Some of the goal sets from a marketing point of view could be sales objectives, customer acquisition, brand positioning and so on.
6. Marketing Plan
It includes an action plan on how your services or products will be promoted and this varies from business to business. Depending on your marketing objectives it can consist of mixed media marketing, traditional marketing, online marketing and plan about how the sales support for customers will be provided.
7. Marketing Budget
Here you can categorically describe the breakdown of marketing budget that relied on the cost-benefit analysis and should result from an increase in ROI over time.
Take your time to create an excellent marketing plan as it is the foundation of your marketing activities. Keep your marketing plan current and keep revising it to stay on top of your marketing game.