The foundation of a solid marketing plan is a solid marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should come from the research, questions you ask yourself and your audience, and brainstorming completed during the process of creating your marketing plan. For a small business creating a marketing plan might be quite challenging due to the lack of resources. Thus here are the components of a marketing plan and a step by step flow on how to create an ideal marketing plan for your business.
Components of a Marketing Plan:
- Brands positioning and the rationale for picking that positioning
- Target customer(s) and the rationale for picking that target or targets
- Competitive analysis
- Product portfolio analysis
- Product plan
- Pricing plan
- Distribution plan
- Promotional plan
- Budget outlining how much you will spend against each activity
- Focus chart (showing what portion of your focus or how many hours will go towards each activity)
Steps to follow:
1. Determine What Your Are Going To Sell And To Who (Your Target Market)
- Get a clear understanding of what you want to sell and what problem your product or service will solve for your customers.
- If your product or service does not solve a problem, you will have a hard time selling it.
2. Determine Your Positioning
- Determine your points of difference (what do you do hands-down better than the competition?).
- List what your competitors do better than you.
- List what you are you do a relatively similar job at when compared to your competitors (this is called your points of parity).
- Summarize the essence of your product and brand, emphasizing your unique points of difference in a short sentence.
3. Create Your Product Plan
- Analyse your competitor’s products and services to see what is working and what is not.
- Survey your customers and prospects to understand better what they are looking for and what they value.
- Create your product offering based on what customers want and are willing to pay for, not what you want to provide.
4. Create Your Pricing Plan
- Review the pricing strategies of your competitors to see what is working and what is not.
- Set your price based on value, not your cost.
- Analyse your price elasticity.
5. Create Your Distribution Plan
- Review the distribution strategies of your competitors and determine what is working and what is not.
- Survey customers and prospects to understand where and how they want to buy. If you can’t survey, brainstorm how you think they would answer.
- Brainstorm ways to increase the distribution of your product/service.
6. Create Your Promotional Plan
- Determine the message you want to communicate from your positioning statement.
- Review the promotion strategies of your competitors and determine what is working and what is not.
- Review what promotional strategies have worked for you in the past.
- Select the promotional strategies that will be able to convey your message to your target market best.
- Create a plan to maximize your referrals.
7. Create Your Marketing Budget
- Determine the amount you can afford to invest in marketing (the more, the better).
- List the cost, impressions, estimated conversion rate, the time required and ROI for each marketing method.
- Select the marketing methods that have a high return on investment and low time requirement.
- Create A Format To Follow
- Select The Necessary Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
- Conduct Research
- Answer the Questions
- Conduct Brainstorming
- Finalize The Plan