A marketing plan is a critical component of any business plan. It outlines a marketer’s strategies in the quest for success. A great marketing plan should clearly describe who your prospects are and how you plan on reaching them. Both large and small businesses need to give marketing the attention it deserves by coming up with an in-depth layout of the marketing strategy.
As you create a marketing plan, you focus on the “what” and “why” factors. The most important elements that you need to keep in mind are:
Before you can come up with a marketing plan, you need to know and understand the specific demographic that you’re targeting. Carefully study your niche to learn about their struggles. Afterwards, identify ways in which your business can solve their problems.
Developing clear insight into why people would be interested in your product/service means that you first have to figure out the main problem that your product will solve.
Your marketing plan should offer solutions to your potential customers’ needs and wants. Make sure that you do it better than your competitors can.
Acknowledge that your competitors are also interested in getting the attention of the same audience as you are. Study them in depth; see what they’re doing different that could potentially lure your customers away.
Always come up with original ideas for your products and services. This will always give you an upper hand over your competitors.
A declarative statement
Write down a simple declarative statement that states exactly how you intend to meet your customers’ needs. Stating your company’s position for your customers promotes value. It shows that you’re focused on solving their problems.
Conduct an audit
If at first your marketing plan does not give you the results that you expected, stay calm. To recover, you need to audit your business. The audit will help you understand your products, how they help your customers, and how they do it.
Another thing that you need to assess is your marketing platforms to make sure that they reflect your brand’s message.
What are some of the ideal marketing approaches?
After you have figured out all the elements of your marketing plan, it’s now time to reach your customers. How do you go about it? There are so many marketing channels that you can use to publicize your brand. We’ll have an in-depth look at the 3 main tech-driven channels that most marketers use:
In today’s world, social media is an essential part of any company’s marketing strategy. This can be attributed to the fact that you can find customers on at least one of the different platforms that exist.
If you cannot manage to have an account for all the platforms, find out which is the most beneficial and focus on that. Start by figuring out where your customers spend most of their time and then set up camp on that platform.
To reach out to your customers, actively post your branded content on your platform of choice and keep them engaged.
Email marketing is not a new concept; over time, it has proven to be effective for most marketing campaigns. Some of the email marketing techniques include sending out newsletters and transactional emails.
For your email marketing to be successful, you need to segment the prospects on your email list based on their activities. Segmenting your market helps you to increase your open rates and minimise by a great percentage, the number of un-subscriptions.
Most people almost always have their phones or tablets with them. This has resulted in a change in the way marketers target their prospects. Marketers are now planning to implement marketing strategies that will reach the customers on their gadgets.
How to Successfully Implement Your Marketing Plan
We have already seen how creating a marketing plan requires you to have some hard facts and back them up with some creative ideas. A winning marketing plan is of no use if it’s not implemented in the right way. Implementing a marketing plan is totally different from creating one; it’s a continuous process that keeps evolving throughout the product’s lifecycle.
While implementing a marketing plan, there are a couple of factors that you need to focus on; the “where”, “when”, “how”, and “who.” These will guide you on who’ll do it, where they’ll start, when they’ll do it, how they’ll do it.
The heart of the implementation is the actual “doing” of the planned marketing activities. You have to actualize what you stated in your marketing plan in order for you to complete your initiatives. For successful marketing implementation, you need to:
- Co-ordinate. Know who is supposed to be doing what and when they should do it.
- Eliminate potential distractions. Only focus on what will bring the expected results.
- Be thorough and pay attention to details.
- Stay up to date with what’s going on in the industry.
- Never procrastinate. If you sit around and do nothing, there will be no progress.
- Always under-promise and over-deliver. Not the other way around.
- If you cannot handle a task, do not hesitate to outsource.
Here are some steps that you ought to follow if you want to implement your strategies the right way and get the most out of it. These steps will set up your marketing efforts for success:
Divide your marketing plan into segments
Dividing the plan into smaller chunks makes it easy to handle. It also makes it easier for you to assign the tasks to different people. Since the implementation process is gradual, breaking it down will allow you to highlight what should be complete in a set duration.
Set the right expectations
If you would like your marketing efforts to bear fruits, you need to give it time. Don’t expect to start seeing returns immediately. Also, if you set unrealistic goals you’re most likely going to be disappointed.
Make sure that your entire team knows what the expectations are. Setting the expectations up front will help everyone else to be on the same page as you.
Provide your team with the resources
First, ensure that everyone on your team knows what is expected of them. The team could include some employees from your company as well as members from your partners from whom you’re outsourcing.
The next thing you should do is to make sure that they have all the resources that they need.
Stay in communication
Do not just delegate the tasks and abandon the team members. Let them know that they can always come to you at any time for discussions. If you don’t leave your door open, the team will not have someone to tell about the challenges they’re facing or about new opportunities.
If there are any changes to the original plan, communicate. You should also be ready to listen to any new ideas. It could turn out to be hugely rewarding.
Monitor/track the progress
Follow each member’s progress very closely. This is really important so that you can help anyone who is stuck. Monitoring also helps you to find incompetent members and change their assignment immediately.
If you don’t monitor the progress, you can’t tell how well the implementation process is fairing on. Regular monitoring helps you gauge the temperature of your efforts to see what’s working for you and what is not.
Hold regular meetings with the members to go over the entire process as a team. This will help everyone to understand how their individual efforts affect the overall outcome.
Allow room for improvement
It’s obvious that the marketing plan that you came up with is not perfect neither is completely exhaustive. There are things that you could always improve on. These improvements will help you remain competitive in the market.
If at first the marketing plan is not working for you as you’d hoped, find a way of refining it. Sometimes a small tweak could make a huge difference.
Reward and correct
Incentives work miracles. Congratulate and reward all the employees that do an amazing job. If any of the team members has failed at their job, have a talk with them in private and give them another chance to correct their mistake. Let the members know that if they keep repeating the same mistakes, they’ll be put off the team- this should help to keep them on their toes.
Wait for the results
Once everything is rolling smoothly, you can now relax and wait for the results.
Let the team know that their marketing efforts were a success and celebrate together. This helps create a boost for morale. If the results were not as good as you anticipated, you should still communicate that to the team so that new ideas can be generated.
Evaluating Your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan contains details about your company’s strategies for promoting your products and services to your target audience. In short, it’s your company’s blueprints for your marketing goals.
A marketing plan should be evaluated regularly to make sure that it’s still effective. The review allows the marketer to make appropriate changes when need be. This might be necessary in the event of changes in the marketplace. You shouldn’t just put your marketing plan in motion and leave it alone.
To properly understand whether or not your efforts are delivering the expected results, there are a couple of factors that you need to check:
The return on investment is the best way to tell if your marketing efforts convert some of your audience into customers. With time, you can measure the conversions in terms of the profit earned.
Return on investment checks whether the money that was put into your marketing plan has resulted in a profit. Always measure the amount spent on each marketing campaign to see which elements of the whole plan justify themselves financially.
Looking at the numbers is a great way to see how your plan is working. If you notice that your total sales for the duration of the campaign have improved, then you can conclude that your marketing strategies are working.
While looking at the sales numbers, you should also consider other factors such as a rise in prices.
Your customers’ responses are very important in helping you to figure out if their needs were met or not. The reactions reveal what the customers feel about your products.
The customers’ feedback provides you with insight into which elements of your marketing campaign works. For example, you could ask the customers how they got to hear about you to find out what strategy brought you more customers.
Feedback from your Salespersons
The salespersons that are out in the field have a feel of what the market actually is like. They have an easy way of finding out if the customer’s needs were met. Your salespersons are your soldiers in the field. Their feedback will help you determine which one of your campaigns are effective.
Assess the marketing materials that you have been using in your campaigns. Look at your brand and check to see if you would still be impressed if the roles were reversed. Looking at things from a customer’s perspective will let you know if you need to revise your plan or not. It might also provide you with opportunities for new ideas that will attract a larger customer base.
In the real sense, any marketing plan is better than none. To make it a good one, tailor it in such a way that it gets you the results that you expect.
You also could have a brilliant marketing plan but if it’s not implemented and evaluated as it should, it will not bear any fruits. A good implementation plan directs your marketing efforts so that you’re not implementing your campaigns blindly.