Success starts with a strategy and a goal without a plan is just a wish. Building a product or providing a service is easy the real fight comes in when you have to take that particular product or service to market. Big or small, every business understands this problem and that is why they hire the best of marketers to market their product.
A marketer is as good as his marketing plan and strategy. As daunting or technical this word may sound, let me assure you, it isn’t as intimidating as you might think it is.
Let’s decipher this code and dig deep in as to what is a marketing plan, how to create a marketing plan and its importance for businesses.
WHAT IS MARKETING PLAN:
A marketing plan is basically a business document outlining the marketing strategy over a fixed period which can be quarterly, half yearly or yearly. The document broadly covers marketing related details like tactics/campaigns, goals, costs etc.
Rather than being a static document, marketing plan is a dynamic one which keeps evolving from time to time as the business grows, as customer segmentation change and with new and changing marketing trends.
“A marketing plan details everything you need to know in order to promote your business”
Now that you have an idea about what is a marketing plan, let’s see how to create a marketing plan.
HOW TO CREATE A MARKETING PLAN:
Let’s follow a 4-step plan to create a marketing plan
Step 1: Situation Analysis:
Developing a marketing plan starts with situation analysis. Start with analysing the market, the upcoming trends which are bringing in the change in the customers perceptions.
Understand who your competitors are and what are they doing to cope up with the new market trends. Once you have analysed your competitors, it’s time to perform S.W.O.T analysis on your product.
Understand your product, make a list of its USP, its strengths, its weakness, its opportunity and the threats. Knowing your product well also helps you in positioning it in the marketing.
Read more: What is positioning in marketing? and how to create one for your product.
Step 2: Define your Target Market
The second step of creating a marketing plan is to understand who is your customer. Create customer segmentation basis the products/services that you have to offer to the market.
Create buyer personas for your target audience, identify their pain points, their goals and the drivers that enable their buying decisions.
Defining your target audience and creating buyer personas let you define the different types of marketing messaging that you want to adopt for communicating with your target group.
You can have more than 1 customer segments and basis those segments you can build on communication messages that can influence and drive them to purchase your product/service.
Step 3: Defining your Marketing Objectives:
The third step involves stating the objectives and the goals that you plan to achieve with your marketing plan. The objectives can be quarterly, half yearly or for one complete year.
The more defined and refined the objectives the better it is.
For example – Your Marketing objective can be to increase your social audience from 1000+ currently to 1 lakh + in one year. And it can be broken down to granular level by listing down the per quarter number targets which will ultimately help you achieve the final output.
Read more: What is marketing concept?
Step 4: Zero-ing on the media plan and the budget:
The final and the most important part of the marketing plan is to decide on the channels that you will use for your marketing plan.
Decision of channel selection will be based on the below three main parameters
- Product/ service being offered
- Target Audience
- Your goals and objectives
For example: A target audience of an age group between 25-40 can be best captured with the use of digital mediums.
For enterprise application software’s for which the target audience are VP’s, Head of Departments – the best medium to reach out to such audience will be through trade fairs, conferences etc.
Once you have decided on the channels best suited for your marketing plan, the next phase is to finalize on the costing part of it and decide on the budget that will be required for your marketing activities.
The thumb rule should always be that the value that is being delivered through the marketing campaigns should outweigh the marketing budget that you will be proposing.
Marketing Budget < The value that is being delivered through marketing campaigns.
Read more: What is marketing mix and the importance of having the right marketing mix.