A simple way to ensure business profitability and healthy cash flow is to focus on what drives both. What drives revenue needs to be understood. How saleable is the product or service and what’s the market? What marketing is working and how much is it costing to acquire a customer? Is it profitable revenue? How [...]
The 12 Point Approach to a Great Marketing Plan
Marketing planning provides a holistic and considered approach to business growth, guaranteeing optimal use of resources by avoiding wasted ad hoc expenditure on reactive and untargeted activities.
The marketing plan extends from the business plan and ensures all marketing activity is aligned with the company's values, vision and mission.
Plans should be succinct serving as living documents and summarised in one page.
A marketing plan comprises two sections, the second of which utilises the findings of the first.
i)Analysis: product/service overview, market definition, trends, marketing audit and SWOT;
ii)Strategies: objectives, target market, strategies
The following outlines the 12 step approach to a great marketing plan.
Write a short description of your product/service, describing its core benefit. Which customer needs does it fulfill?
2. Customer Profile
Describe your ideal customer. Are they an individual, business or both? If individual: where do they live, what is their age range, relevant buying habits and to which media are they exposed? If a business: which industry sector do they come from, what size business are they and where are they located?
3. Market Definition
Research to measure your market potential. Identify if a genuine need for your product/service exists and whether sufficient people want your product/service. If you are an established business: research to track new trends and needs. The ABS has a multitude of statistics relevant to your industry. Industry articles are also useful.
4. Market Influences
An environmental scan will reveal key influences impacting your customers. In addition to a competitor analysis, these could include economic factors such as interest rates, technological trends such as increased usage of the internet or demographic influences such as the ageing population Are the identified trends potential opportunities for your business or threats to be minimised?
5. Market Segmentation
Break down the overall market into subgroups of customers who are alike in some way. If individuals: they may be of the same age range, residential location and display similar buying habits. Segmentation facilitates the tailoring of your marketing messages resulting in targeted and cost effective communications.
Review current marketing activity. Which marketing activities worked, which didn't? What are the sales patterns? Which products/services are most profitable? Review current customers. How often do they purchase? When do they purchase? Which customers are the most profitable? Consider each role in the buying process to further highlight and prioritise marketing communication. For example - who influences the decision to purchase your product/service; who initiates the actual buying process?
7. SWOT It!
Steps 1 -8 provide a solid overview of the situation in which you operate. This information can now be summarized in a SWOT. The Strengths & Weaknesses relate to your business/product/service and the Opportunities & Threats to the external environmental. Strategise to utilize your strengths to exploit the opportunities in the market place.
8. Objectives & Target Market Selection
Set SMART objecitves (Specific, Measurable, Accessible, Realistic and Timebound) relating to Sales, Profit, and numbers of customers. Objectives can be set for a period (6 or 12 months) then broken down into smaller units, such as month or week and tracked. Confirm target markets. These can be more than one - depending on resources.
9. Strategise - 'The How To'
Strategies cover Product - Experience; Price; Channels and Promotion and include definition of your market positioning (your position in the market as perceived by your customers I relation to your competitors) and your unique selling proposition (USP) - how your product is differentiated from others in the market place.
10. Action Plan & Budget
Establish a calendar detailing proposed activities by month. MS Excel or Project are handy for depicting all activities and timelines in one chart.
Set budget, break down by month and activity.
12. Review & Evaluation
Measure the results of each activity and then compare against objectives. Ensure customer information is captured to add to your customers' profiles. Seek customer feedback. Feed results and information back into the planning cycle.
Following these steps will result in a great marketing plan and ensure you star in your marketing outcomes.
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