A goal without a plan often leaves you at crossroads. Well, it is a fact that to have a thriving and booming business it is crucial to have a Marketing Plan. But, mere words “Marketing Plan” are enough to make you jittery and send you into a frenzy regarding how to formulate it. Doesn’t it? But, as laborious as it may seem to design it, creating a Marketing Plan doesn’t require you to have a degree in Marketing. Before leaping into the essential steps of forming a Marketing Plan, let us deduce its basic meaning.
A Marketing Plan is a document which outlines the details of your business. The document helps you garner knowledge of the customer base, analyse competitors, screen the target market, promotional strategies, budget setting, forming marketing goals and tactics etc. It comes handy to promote your business to an outstanding level. An ideal Marketing Plan should span one year to achieve long term and short term objectives to keep your business on track.
A good marketing plan can also be a PowerPoint template which helps you keep your business focused, avail the right opportunities with the customers and expand exponentially in a small time. Seems a lengthy task, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to as long as you have some simple steps etched in your mind. Here are seven steps for you to create a substantial Marketing Plan.
8 effective steps for you to create your perfect Marketing Plan:
1.) Conducting a SWOT Analysis
This section deals with outlining your current business propositions, a general audit of your business structure. It includes the term of your company, product information, solo or partnership firm, online or offline store and services granted.
You are the architect of your business and so, conducting a SWOT Analysis shouldn’t be that difficult. The first step to draft a Marketing Plan is to write an executive summary of your business by analysing your business’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for advancement and threat from competitors. To make it more simple, just follow the 4 P’s- Product knowledge, Pricing, Promotion and Place of selling.
2.) Identify Target Market
You must have heard of the phrase “Target Market or Target Audience” umpteen times but what is it? Target Market primarily means the consumers or the customers to whom you’re selling your product. It is one of the most crucial goals of the Marketing Plan to determine your Target market to know about your ideal buyers.
But, how to choose your customer? For this, you need to collect a demographic survey involving their age, gender, location behaviours and decisions etc. based on your product. There is no hard and fast rule to gather this data on these parameters. Just choose the ones best suited for your business. For example- If you’re selling maternity and baby products, your target market should be new mothers and infants.
What attracts them towards your product? What challenges do they face? Which platform do they go to get any information? Gathering intel regarding these questions would save your time and money, giving you a target supply market. If you’re new in business, try to piece this information from your competitors.
3.) Know your Competitors
What a business world it would be if you had no competitors intruding your business! But, unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Once you start selling your product, it is imperative to have your competitors. Also, it is possible that there may be potential companies with the same product as yours who are already excelling. Considering this, you must be unique in the market.
Make a Competitive analysis projecting the type of competitor you’re facing like Direct or Indirect Competitors, Tertiary and Potential Competitors. Make a chart consisting of these four columns and jot down the main points. You should also dig out what makes your product different from others. Have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) which gives you leverage over the other competitors. You can collect competitive data based on these four points too: Biggest, Best, Closest and Catching up competitors.
4.) Establish Goals
Setting and defining goals is one of the most important points of the Marketing Plan as it gives you a clear objective as to what to achieve. No activity is effectively performed without assigning some aims. Then why not your business too?
Establishing goals include setting targets, objectives and aims that you want to achieve in the short and long term. These goals can be based on the SMART framework i.e. Specificity, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Here’s a lucid elaboration of the aforementioned parameters:
- Specific- Keep the goal precise, concise and clear. Avoid ambiguity.
- Measurable- Making sure that these goals can be quantified.
- Achievable- Avoid establishing impossible and grandiose goals. Start with simple.
- Relevant- Your goals should be in alignment with your own business and product.
- Timely- Set a definite time to achieve these goals.
Based on these parameters your goals can be lofty or limited. The important point is to work towards achieving these goals in a specified time. This will help you keep your business lucrative.
5.) Use Templates:
One of the best ways to kickstart your marketing plan and campaign is by using PowerPoint templates. You can leverage ready to use templates on SlideModel for creating lucid and intuitive market plans. The template offers an array of benefits for your business. It offers consistency throughout the slides. A consistent design is a must to engage with your audience. Right from the beginning slide to the end, templates offer eye-catching design. This attracts your viewers and can help you further bind their attention to the plan.
Oftentimes we are required to make amendments while creating a marketing plan. The template provides out of the box flexibility and ensures ease of formatting for creators. This will help you save huge amounts of time and resources. PowerPoint templates can be a game-changer for your business’s marketing plan. Companies these days have started using presentations as the primary touch-points with potential leads, stakeholders and investors.
6.) Formulate Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve identified and laid out a plan regarding your consumers, competitors, and goals, your next step is to build marketing strategies to actualize these objectives. Your first manoeuvre should be to list your goals separately and start making plans to achieve them one by one. Designation of plans should be done skillfully which motivates you to accomplish those goals. Your strategies should not be too complicated lest you should feel disappointed later by failing to fulfil them.
Here is an easy example for you to follow:
Goals- Strategy to increase your online promotion of a product through social media.
Strategies- A Powerpoint Template consisting of the following points:
- Research social media platforms.
- Which platform is most used by your targeted audience?
- Contacting social media influencers to endorse your product.
- Engaging with users and customers.
- Targeted ads based on SEO
And, much more. It’s not that strenuous to create a Marketing Plan if you know what you’re doing!
One doesn’t need to be a math wizard to understand that Budgeting is a paramount part of the Marketing Plan. Afraid of numbers? Don’t want to create those excel sheets and ledgers? But, budgeting is a significant part of the financial angle of the business.
While formulating your business plan, budgeting should focus on the market- related activities. What is the cost of your product? How much salary are the employees getting? How much do you want to spend on promotions and branding? Who will fund the business? How to spend money on marketing, sales, and events? A smart marketing budget template would go a long way in executing a good Marketing Plan.
8.) Adoption of Promotional Techniques
The channels that you are choosing to advertise your product also form an important part of your Marketing Plan. Depending on the product (s) you should choose these promotional techniques wisely. Some fundamentals of promotion include direct marketing, advertising, public selling, word of mouth, sales promotion. For inbound marketing, you can create your own website and social media page. Providing keywords for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) goes a long way to advertise your product.
You’re all set! Now that you’ve read all the steps to a successful Marketing Plan, you just need to formulate one for your own! You can create a quintessential Marketing Plan based on your business which can be simple as well as complex but, always remember, the simpler it is, the easier it will be for you in the long run.