How To make a marketing Plan
1. Conduct a market study
The key to success lies in getting to know your client “like the back of your hand”, without missing a detail of their needs, preferences, shopping patterns, the places they frequent, etc.
Likewise, market research allows you to know what your competition is doing and what are the trends in the market area that corresponds to your business. It is key to take the competition as a challenge, but without imitating what they do, since you can lose sight of your own business profile.
Knowing the strategies of your competitors only helps you to know the direction of the market and see how customers react to your proposals. This makes it easier for you to trace the route to follow.
To know where you are it is important that you have at hand the following data:
- Size of the market.
- How much is sold annually.
- How many companies are your direct competitors?
- Dimensions of indirect competition.
2. Develop the profile of your target audience
It is impossible that you can reach all segments of the market with your products and, if you make an effort to do so, you will probably spend too much money and get very little return on investment. On the other hand, if you carry out a segmentation of potential clients, the marketing work will be more efficient.
Defining characteristics of your target audience, such as if it is a woman or a man, what it is dedicated to, where you are going to contact it, and when it will use the product you offer, will help you to make the marketing strategy give the result you expect.
The basic elements that you should take into account when segmenting the market and preparing the profile of your target audience are:
- Geographic location.
- Demographic data such as sex, age, occupation, income and educational level.
- Indicators of lifestyle as personality, social class, values, etc.
- Behavior of purchase, willingness to buy, attitude, loyalty, etc.
3. Set your goals and budget to achieve them
Trace you realistic goals is essential in your marketing plan. This implies having specific, relevant, measurable objectives and whose scope can be achieved in a given time.
When you draw your objectives, always bear in mind the size of the market you are targeting, as well as the capacity of your business to respond to demand. If you set goals too high and then you can not produce in the required amount, you will be in trouble.
In order not to lose the focus of the business, you need to establish clear numbers for your objectives and set the compliance date. That is to say that you can consider covering 15% of the market in three months and, once that goal is reached, establishing new objectives and lapses to reach them.
A good budget, elaborated in detail, is essential for an efficient and realistic marketing plan. The general rule is that around 3% or 5% of annual turnover is invested.
Among the elements that you could consider, according to your objectives, are the following:
- Develop your website and maintain it.
- Apply a search engine optimization strategy.
- Develop your brand
- Print promotional material such as brochures, business cards, etc.
- Hire staff for marketing activities.
4. Identify the sales proposal that will make you unique
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) concept is vital for successful marketing, as it highlights what makes your product or brand unique. The USP is the reason why your customers prefer what you offer them and leave the competition aside.
Defining what makes you different from the rest of the market will not only fill you with pride and will be a reason for corporate identity, it will also be essential in your marketing campaign so that potential customers are attracted and your business stands out in the midst of the avalanche of offers that characterize the market today.
To clearly define your USP it is important that you answer the following questions:
- As for your products and services, what do you love the most?
- When your customers buy what you offer, in what way do they benefit?
- What attracts your customers to you and not to the competition?
- What are the most important aspects of your business when you have to explain to someone what it is?
When you have clear answers to these questions you will be on the way to aiming for the success of your business. There are two important aspects: generate economic benefits and profitability, without losing sight of the need to contribute something more to society.
5. Develop your commercial brand
Creating the brand of your business is not an easy task, but it is highly satisfactory because it is what will lead you to establish an emotional connection with your target audience, while making clear the objectives of the business and its philosophy.
The brand not only includes the design of a logo, a slogan and a selection of corporate colors. Implicit in the promise you make to each client to gain their trust. You will achieve this when you have defined objectives and are consistent in your approaches.
In the blog of your company and on the page on Facebook, just to put two current examples, the issues that are addressed must be related to the brand and business philosophy. The consistency in your messages is essential to achieve recognition from potential customers and also from those who have already purchased your products or services.
Being consistent is not about being rigid, but about maintaining standards for your brand. In fact, including variants that maintain attractiveness, that refresh the brand and give it warmth is also essential to attract followers.
Do a review of the attributes of your products and take advantage of those that you did not highlight in previous campaigns will allow you to attract new customers.
6. Choose your promotion strategies
The promotion strategies are practically unlimited, from the flyer to the sending of emails, through the handling of social networks and networking events, everything is valid in a marketing campaign.
The important thing is that these strategies must be defined taking into consideration your target audience, since it is not the same to address millennials, who do everything through technology, than to contact a target audience of 40 years of age, which is not digital native
Budget availability is another essential factor when it comes to choosing your promotion strategies. Remember that not always the most expensive is the most efficient. Get the most out of every cent invested by clearly stating what you want to promote and who you want to reach with your message.
The promotion strategies can be divided into three large groups and make use of them according to what you want to achieve at each stage of your marketing campaign:
- Attraction strategies : the objective is for the consumer to clearly receive the message you made for him and buy the product you offer. If you offer solutions to their problems and needs, you will have hit the nail on the head. Offering gifts, discounts and personalized treatment are part of a good attraction strategy.
- Momentum strategies : at this point, the incentive is not aimed at the consumer but at the people who are in charge of selling the product. It is important that these are impregnated with the corporate identity, as well as the business philosophy. For example, if your brand is fun, the customer service staff should be friendly and cheerful, but without excess. An excessive seriousness is not very consistent with the brand image in this example.
- Hybrid or combined strategy : as the name implies, this strategy combines elements of tactics aimed at attraction, as well as impulse. The stimulus is not only directed to the customer or final consumer, but also to the sellers.
The best promotion will depend on the marketing objective you pursue, whether it is to increase sales, position your brand better or retain existing customers. In all these cases, it is essential that the staff represent the brand well and be clear about how to approach customers.