In the business world, you may have heard the popular saying that goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Indeed, if you do not plan your business right down to the last detail, you may find that success is extremely elusive.
Of all the various plans that you need to develop for the success of a business, the marketing plan could be considered as one of the most important. After all, if you do not have a concrete plan about how you are going to market and sell your products, you can never achieve the success that you want.
Vital elements of a marketing plan
In order to develop a great marketing plan, here are some of the main components that you need to focus on:
- Analysis of various market segments: Your marketing plan should be clear about who the target audience for your business is. If you are planning to sell your products in different market segments, then a complete analysis of all the market segments should be available, as also customers' profiles from each of these segments. What are the factors that define your target market? Why will your products appeal to your audience? These are two vital questions that should be answered by your market analysis.
- Marketing goals and objectives: Every business markets its products or services with certain goals and objectives in mind. While the ultimate objective of any marketing plan is to sell more products, there could also be other goals for marketing. For example, you may want your target audience to view your products or services in a certain light as opposed to another. You may want your prospective customers to perceive your products as a necessity rather than a luxury item. Hence, your marketing efforts will thus be aimed at such goals, which is why it is vital that your marketing plan lists all these goals and objectives clearly. In addition to listing your marketing goals, you also need to mention how you are planning to achieve these goals through your marketing and promotional activities.
- Product details: A good marketing plan needs to have as detailed a product description as possible. Not only the types of products you are selling as well as their features and benefits, but you also need to list the disadvantages and ways to counter these negatives. The brand name of your products, as well as any safety instructions that need to be followed when using the products should also be specified. Other necessary information that needs to be mentioned in this section of your marketing plan includes packaging information, warranties and guarantees that will be provided with the products, information relating to repair of damaged products and also customer support information.
- Pricing details: No marketing plan is complete without adequate information regarding the pricing of products and services. The pricing strategy of the products should be mentioned, as well as the logic behind the pricing. You need to be clear why the pricing is competitive and how it will help to attract your customers. This section can also include information regarding discounts and rebates that you may offer with your products and services. If you plan to have annual sales or offer discounts based on seasonal events, you need to detail all this in your marketing plan.
- Marketing budget: An important aspect of any marketing plan, this section will help you to determine your exact financial needs for thorough marketing and advertising of your products. Your marketing strategy is likely to be implemented in several phases. Hence, the budgetary requirements for each phase of marketing activities should be specified clearly. You should also offer a classification of advertising costs depending on which advertising media you are planning to utilise. Make sure that you create a budget for initial promotional activities when you first launch your products, as well as for continued advertising once you have established yourself in the market.
- Advertising channels: Your marketing plan should clearly outline the various media that you will use for your advertising efforts. If you plan to use more than one advertising medium such as the internet, television, radio, and print media – your plan should detail the different media clearly. One of the main points to remember here is that your marketing efforts should be aimed directly at your target audience. Hence, if you are selling a baby product, it would not make much sense to concentrate all your marketing efforts through the newspaper as not many mothers read them. Instead, you could look at advertising through women's magazines and on online baby related websites, which would be a lot more profitable as it would get you the targeted eyeballs that you need.
Bottom line is when you are creating a marketing plan for your business, make sure you keep these points in mind so that you can develop a great marketing plan.