Writing the Marketing Plan
Promotional and Sales Strategies Necessary for Business Plans Marketing plans are a necessary part of a business plan large or small. Tips to map out the strategies a business needs to succeed and write a plan that works.
Marketing plans, simply defined, are written instructions on growing a business. As part of a business plan that is written solely to borrow money, marketing plans are not always given the attention that they deserve. Sample market plans are often complicated, and difficult to replicate. Business writers don’t always make it clear what an important investment a marketing plan can be.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” the old axiom goes. It may seem trite, but it’s true. Setting clear goals makes it much more likely that they will be achieved. A marketing plan is a set of goals. Writing down those goals much it easier to be accountable to them.
Creating a Marketing Plan
Writing a marketing plan is the time to focus on the company’s vision. The marketing plan should be developed by all of the people that guide that vision - whether it’s hundreds of managers or just one home business owner. Marketing managers from essaywritercheap.org say that a good marketing plan will take a couple of months to create, especially the first time, and it’s important to allow that time.
Developing a marketing plan is going to take some research, some business writing skills, and a fair amount of creativity. Brainstorming is very useful in the marketing plan process, so sole proprietors should recruit their most trusted friends and advisors to help them come up with new sales strategies.
Doing Market Research
Market research pulls from several different sources, ranging from government and chamber of commerce reports to customer interviews and mailed-out questionnaires. How much this all costs will depend upon the size of the business, but there are key strategic questions to be answered:
- Who is our market? Who does, or will, buy the company’s products or services?
- What economic trends are affecting this market? Larger economic trends like recession can alter many different businesses. Be aware of more industry-specific and geographic factors, such as a large vegetarian commune moving in next to a row of fast-food restaurants.
- What does the market need? Is there a product or service that existing customers are clamoring for? Existing clients are full of opinions, and these can lead to valuable insights.
The Financials of Marketing
Compile existing financial reports before readying a marketing plan. The profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and specific reports about sales of existing products and services should be readily available. Along with the market research, these reports will allow the market situation to be assessed.
The market situation section of a marketing plan should include:
- Geographic area served - if more than one, how much in each?
- Explanation of each product or service, including cost
- Details about the sales and distribution setup - how do the products and services get to the people that are buying them?
- Describe the customer - for each product or service, lay out the details of its customer. Draw this from sales figures, employee recollection, and any detailed research performed on the subject.
- Who are the competitors of the company? Where else do customers go for something similar?
- How have sales of each product or service been up until now?
The first marketing plan written is probably the first time this information will appear on paper. Some of it will be researched, and some of it will be based on management knowledge.
Strategies for Sales and Promotion
Once there is a narrative explaining where the company is now, move on to the threats and opportunities section. Significant creative thinking - the kind that separates employees from entrepreneurs - comes out at this point. Understanding the competition will help identify threats to certain product lines. Opportunities could develop from those threats or an entirely new direction. This is where it’s helpful to analyze demographic data for trends in the geography, age category, or gender of your customers. Are there ways to serve a customer segment better? Is there a category that the competition is serving well, and that could represent a new sales stream?
The Marketing Objectives.&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1655533389707455&usg=AOvVaw0oeUIw_xhm7ieRY7muugRR) section is where this all comes together. Having identified who is trying to take your business and how, as well as where growth opportunities exist, priorities can be made. Businesses of any size should take care not to select too many objectives for the coming year. One to three marketing objectives should be enough to add to growth if successful, but not overwhelming to analyze when the marketing plan is revised in a year.
Set Clear Marketing Goals
Marketing plans are only useful if they’re used. Each objective should have one or more clear goals attached. If a business objective is launching a new product, then a timeline for its release should be agreed upon. Methods of advertising and promotion should also be established. These goals must be written as clearly as possible so the marketing plan’s effectiveness can be evaluated.
Budgeting for marketing is only possible once the marketing plan is nearly complete. It’s a common business mistake to proceed with marketing without writing a plan first since it takes time and money. The success of the marketing efforts is difficult to measure without a plan, and one of the quickest ways to measure success is with money. The marketing budget should detail how much money will be allotted to be spent for each step. It should also lay out how much money the business hopes to make from each of the marketing objectives.
Marketing doesn’t have to cost money - writing press releasesor Wikipedia articles that inform the public can be part of a marketing plan. A business has more resources than money alone, and those resources should be allocated carefully.
Executive Summaries for Marketing Plans
Although appearing on page one, the executive summary can’t be written first. On one page it should lay out, in summary, the present business climate, and the marketing objectives. If the marketing plan is being written as part of a larger business plan, the business plan’s executive summary should serve that purpose.
About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is a content writer. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides it, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.
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