Everything that you do and want to accomplish will require some type of planning activity. Sometimes you simply don’t have a written plan but you make a plan in your mind. Plans are outcomes of planning activities where you address what you need to do to achieve something something you want to achieve.
Marketing function is one of the most important functions in your company and a vital part of your entrepreneurial success. Without marketing your businesses will don’t have or will have very low number of customers. Without customers or with very low number of customers, you can’t sell enough quantity of your products and services. Without enough sales, you don’t have enough revenue. Without enough revenue you can’t make a profit.
Marketing presents continuous process that every business must perform from the beginning. If the marketing is a process then a marketing plan is the tool for implementation of that process.
Writing such a plan is not simple task. But, if you have one, it will help you to know what action steps you need to take in order to attract enough and the right type of customers for your business.
Marketing Plan: What Is It?
In the simplest way marketing plan is a blueprint for the activities related to communication of the messages about your products or services, or you business as general to your customers or potential customers.
In other words the it is a detailed roadmap that outlines all your marketing strategies, tactics, activities, costs and projected results over a period of time. It is the detailed written document setting the necessary marketing actions that your business need to take to achieve one or more marketing objectives. This plan contains various strategies formulated to achieve the business growth and profit objectives.
So, marketing plan outlines the specific actions you want to take in order to build an interest to potential customers and clients about your products and/or services. Then to persuade them to buy the product and/or services that you are offering.
The purpose of marketing plan is to:
- coordinate your business goals,
- define the market create proper market segmentation,
- define marketing mix and
- systematize activities about chosen marketing strategies.
Continuity of the Marketing Plan
While a marketing plan will give you important part of activities for your business, every entrepreneur should update it regularly. This plan once has been written needs to be updated on a regular basis. You must to remember that marketing and its activity planning is not something to be carried out only once.
For example, you can choose 10 different marketing weapons for the next year. If you measure the effects from implementation of those marketing weapons, you can easily see that some of them will work well, but some of them will not give you desired, or targeted results. You must to change something in those marketing weapons that not give you desired results. Maybe you will change some marketing weapons with new one.
Another example is change in business strategies that also must be included in marketing plan. This will also require change of marketing strategies and marketing objectives, that on the other side will require change in marketing weapons you will use.
It can be simple Microsoft Word file or maybe Microsoft Excel that you can modify whenever you need to modify it. It is not a static document, but very dynamic document that will be changed on continuous base.
You must to remember that a good marketing plan is never finished, and maintaining a marketing plan is an ongoing process?
Marketing Plan: Why It Is Needed?
One of the biggest mistakes is when entrepreneurs neglect to develop a solid marketing plan.
With good marketing plan you can:
- Follow up the marketing activities and see what is good and what not.
- Analyze your market and you will have solid knowledge about your target customers, market segments, your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
- Timely change your marketing strategies and tactics.
- Know how you spend your marketing money.
- Know real ROI from your marketing money.
Implementation is a vital step for every plan, not only marketing plan. Your marketing plan is effective only if you have capacity to implement it.
Do you really need a plan if you don’t want to implement it?
You must implement every step covered inside your plan if you want your marketing activities to be effective. If you implement every activities obtained in one marketing plan you will know what to exclude next year, or what to add as a new activities.
Because of that you must to:
- Make good analysis about your target market.
- Choose the best marketing weapons for that target market.
- Write good marketing plan.
- Implement activities from your marketing plan.
- Check the implementation process.
- Improve your marketing plan for the next planning period.