5 Things You Should Always Include In A Good Marketing Plan
Anyone who has been in business for a length of time understands the importance of a good marketing plan. This is to say that there actually has to be a formally defined idea of what your company’s marketing will entail. The operative word here is ‘formal’. Far too often, brainstorming sessions about ‘shifting paradigms’ & ‘changing the game’ are used as stand-ins for marketing strategy. Unfortunately, no amount of dry-erase markers & whiteboard shenanigans can take the place of having a real marketing plan in place.
Two Situations, Similar Problem
Let’s say that you’ve been in business for awhile, but sales are slowing down. Clearly, what was working before just isn’t cutting it now. So, what do you do? A lot of companies, both large & small, start by trying to change everything at once. Unfortunately, if said changes go too far, the essence of who the company is & what it stands for gets lost, too.
Maybe you’re a fresh-faced entrepreneur getting set to take on the world. You’ve got a hot product/service that you feel will blow people’s minds. In order to get your name out there, you decide to go ape with your marketing efforts. There’s just one issue — how do you know that you’re reaching the RIGHT people?
At its core, a marketing plan is a guidepost for how a company operates. It helps establish branding and identity, all while getting an audience interested in your product/service. Because it is arguably the load-bearing heart of your business operation, your marketing plan needs to be sound. This, of course, starts with knowing what things you have to include in it. It starts with the following:
Starting any venture starts with a clear stating of what your goals are from the start. This is the birth of your business plan. It is the one thing that makes you state what you want your business to be It also happens to be a vital piece of information others will want to see in case you’re hoping to get financial support to get off the ground.
Your Audience, Defined
Remember the question about reaching the RIGHT people? You may not want to admit this, but it turns out that not everyone wants/needs/cares about your product/service. So, why would you spend money trying to reach them? By way of audience definition & customer segmentation, you can get a clear idea of where your marketing dollars need to go.
Aside from knowing about your ideal audience, you need to know how the market around your product/service works. Is there a seasonal element that could affect sales? How is your product/service different from others? How much competition do you have? Is the industry you’re in doing well or having a down year? The more data you can collect to answer these questions, the better equipped you’ll be in knowing how to market your product/service best.
Timeline & Budget
Similar to planning a vacation, you need to have a grasp on how much money you want to allocate to your marketing. You also need to formally note the timeline on which you’d like to reach the goals you outlined in your business plan. Rudimentary as these steps are, they keep you in check because at the end of the day, the numbers do not lie.
Open to Change
Finally, every good marketing plan out there needs to have room for tweaking. Buying habits & competitors in your market can change quite frequently. If your marketing plan isn’t dynamic enough to meet these changes, you could easily get left behind. Even bigger is the idea that once you execute your marketing campaign(s) & the numbers tell you something is ‘off’, you need to be able to tweak things to get back on track.
Let the good folks at MindEcology, an Austin advertising agency, help make your marketing plan become a true plan of action, with results to match.