So, you’ve decided your company or organization needs a marketing plan? Now, what do you do? Where do you start? You can draw up a simple plan yourself, focusing on some key areas of your business. However, there’s also lots of expert help out there, to make sure you get together a plan that works for you now and in the long term. Here are some of the key ingredients that you need to think about.
This introduction to your plan should set out the current status of your company or organisation, and where it sits in the market. Here is where you describe your product or services, the competition and the challenges that you are taking on. This section should also be used to highlight any possible risks to your business over the coming year.
This part of your plan needs to focus on those who matter most – your target audiences. If the thrust of your marketing is towards consumers, you need to be including information about their profile. What’s their gender, age range, likes/dislikes, needs/demands? Depending on the kind of business you have and who you want to connect with, you may also want to be thinking about including details of audience categories – for example, farm workers, hairdressers etcetera.
Goals and targets
What do you want to achieve with your marketing over the coming year? This is the section of your plan where you highlight your goals. Think about what is realistic and achievable in your given circumstances and timescales. Don’t be too general, be more specific – particularly when it comes to talking about sales numbers.
Key actions and tactics
So, you’ve identified your goals, what you want to achieve for the business over the coming year. How are you going to make that happen? This is the section of your marketing plan where you need to pile in details of your strategies, and the actions you’re going to put in place to achieve them. If you want to pick up more farm sales for one of your machinery products, how are you going to reach more farmers? What are you going to offer them as an incentive? Email? Social media? Through your website?
Your actions should include everything relating to promotion, advertising, PR and other forms of communications. This area of your plan is fundamental, as it’s the backbone of your activities. But don’t feel like you’re on your own, companies such as Eventige.com can help you out with marketing plans.
For most businesses, it’s all about the budget – how much you can afford to spend on your marketing over the coming year. This last section of your plan should include a breakdown of the costs relating to your core actions and tactics identified earlier on. You may well need to revise your plans if the budget is coming in too high. And, of course, during the year your costs may change too. So, your marketing plan is a working document. You can make changes as you go along, but your guiding principles will remain the same throughout.