You will find that many instructions to drafting a marketing plan are filled with marketing jargon; buzzwords that seem impressive but have little meaning upon closer investigation. This tutorial provides instructions on how to construct a marketing plan in plain English.
WHY DO YOU NEED A MARKETING PLAN?
Simply put, the purpose of designing a marketing plan is to map out how you will acquire more clients for your organization, as well as which strategies and approaches you will employ and when.
It should describe who you intend to sell to, how you expect to sell to them, and how you intend to make them aware of your business.
The marketing plan may be incorporated into the business plan as a supplement to investor presentations, or it may be written as a distinct document.
Focus should be placed on acquiring new customers, convincing existing customers to purchase more frequently, and reactivating dormant customers.
The key to writing an effective marketing plan is to keep it brief, succinct, and simple for the rest of your team to comprehend.
BEFORE WRITING A MARKETING PLAN, YOU MUST
You must identify the target audience for your product or service, or establish that there is no target audience.
Too many small firms fail as a result of insufficient market research. Do not rely solely on the opinions of your friends and relatives, as they might not be the most objective observers.
A market from which you can benefit will consist of people who need or perceive a need for your product and who are prepared to pay for it. Understanding your consumers will enable you to determine the most effective method of selling to them.
Consider your product or service and who is likely to purchase it. Remember that if you seek to sell to everyone, you will be less successful than if you target a certain market segment. A product or service that targets everyone is one that targets nobody.
CONDUCT IN-PERSON INTERVIEWS
Face-to-face market research should be conducted when applicable. Ask passersby if they perceive a demand for your business type in the neighborhood and how much they would be ready to pay.
EVALUATE THE MARKET
Identify your competition and attempt to identify any flaws in their strategy. Can you profit from this? Exists substantial competition in that field, or will you be filling a void? If not, could you identify a more acceptable location?
HOW TO CONSTRUCT A MARKETING PLAN
The two components of your marketing plan should be the brand proposition and the communication plan. The brand proposition describes why you exist and how you fulfill a need, while the communication plan explains how you intend to spread the word.
You must explain the rationale behind the brand you intend to develop. Why should individuals care? A distinct brand proposal will consist of:
The brand’s raison d’être should describe what you do – we exist to…? Try describing what you don’t do if you find it tough; sometimes that’s what sets businesses apart from the competition. For example: “We are a locally produced soap that uses only cruelty-free, vegan ingredients.”
A purpose does not need to be a flawlessly worded tagline, nor is it likely to be noticed by the general public, but it should reflect what your company stands for.
Who you believe should notice and care about your product or service, and why. The greater the specificity, the better. If you have multiple targeted client groups, you should establish priorities, maybe differentiating between their value and the sequence in which you will pursue them – these are not usually the same.
Try not to conceive of your target consumer in terms of demographics, such as “young mothers aged 25 to 34,” but rather in terms of ideals, such as “environmentally conscious women who support local independent businesses.”
Imagine your ideal consumer and draw a day in their life to gain insight into their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. Are they fiscally responsible? Explain how a more costly bar of vegan soap is a better value than inexpensive shower gel. Creating this pen picture may also help you determine the optimal moment to contact them.
What is unique about you? What makes your firm superior to the competition; some use the term unique selling proposition (USP), but it’s truly what sets you apart from the competitors. You must illustrate how your product, service, or company strategy provides people with a reason to believe you.
What is the narrative behind the name? If this is not immediately apparent (generally a good thing with a name), then what is the origin of your company’s name? Exists a story that could be used in marketing or a press release?
The tone of one’s voice is crucial. The manner in which you wish to seem to potential consumers, the terminology you would use, and your house design must be consistent. For example, if you are establishing yourself as a financial advisor, you would want to be reassuring and patrician. A novelty item for children may be eccentric. Even though company is owned by Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has a Sixties counterculture aura.
Create a mood board to illustrate your brand’s tone of voice and comparable brands or services with a similar attitude.
If the brand proposition aims to excite everyone, the communication plan is how the message is delivered. This will again be determined by your target audience. Among the marketing channels to consider are:
Direct marketing by mail or hand-delivered flyers.
Where does your target audience like to use social media? Instagram, TikTok, or, if the audience is older, Facebook.
Out-of-home advertising — renting space on a digital billboard may be less expensive than you believe. Even in the high-traffic Soho district of central London, digital screens cost £700 for two weeks of exposure.
Events and trade exhibitions are the finest places for B2B companies to meet new consumers.
SETTING A BUDGET
You must also consider the expense. Establishing a budget is essential and will help you control your advertising expenditures. Consider which of these marketing techniques will yield the highest percentage of return.
You may even question comparable businesses in a different region about their advertising strategies. You would be astonished by the time generosity of others. Speak with others in a similar circumstance, but preferably not the businesses with which you would directly compete.
DELIVER THE MESSAGE
Having well-defined objectives will allow you to track your progress over a specified time period.
Does the message you are conveying need to be succinct and to-the-point, or are your customers willing to invest more time in understanding what you have to offer? Regardless, the following considerations should be included in your marketing materials to increase their persuasiveness:
Describe the issue your customer is experiencing and the necessity for your product or service.
Stress the importance of resolving this issue as soon as feasible.
Explain what makes your company unique and why others should do business with you.
Provide instances of satisfied customers and their remarks, if available.
Clarify prices and payment procedures in a succinct manner.
If possible, provide a quality guarantee for your service or product, or offer incentives or discounts for answering within a specified time frame.
Additionally, read the top six small business ideas for 2023.
SET OBJECTIVES AND EVALUATE PROGRESS
Having well-defined objectives will allow you to track your progress over a specified time period. Utilizing “SMART” objectives is an effective method for approaching this subject. Your objectives should be specific, quantifiable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound. You may add sales goals, the amount of profit you hope to reach, target levels of inquiries, etc.
Once a month, you should perform a brief evaluation of your progress to determine how you’re doing and whether your goals need to be modified. However, do not quickly modify your targets if you are missing them. There may be another aspect of your marketing plan that might be altered to increase your success.
Reviewing the strategy might also assist you in learning from your mistakes and adjusting accordingly. Always keep your desired outcomes in mind when composing your marketing plan. The business plan is consequently an essential instrument for drafting your company’s future.
BEST ADVICE FOR WRITING A MARKETING PLAN
Make it brief, clear, and simple for the rest of your team to comprehend.
Conduct preliminary market research, if required on the street
Develop a brand proposition and a communications strategy.
Aware of your budgets
Set objectives and evaluate progress