What is a marketing plan and why have one?
Almost everyone in the creative industry has heard of a ‘marketing plan’. But, despite its common and self-explanatory name, many smaller businesses don’t place enough importance on marketing to realise the benefit of a marketing plan.
The reality is, a business can only survive through establishing a customer base. But, if it does not plan out how they can most effectively attract and retain customers, they severely stunt their company’s chance of success. So, what exactly is a marketing plan and, more importantly, why should a business (of every size) have one?
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a report that outlines the most important goals your business aims to attain and how. It details the strategies a business will implement to create market leads and reach target audiences. Within this, important deadlines should also be included.
Each company tailors its marketing plan, based on general background and market research. This is to ensure it can meet its unique goals in the best way. Still, good plans integrate common elements to ensure it is a worthwhile investment.
Typically, a marketing plan should include:
- An overview of your business marketing and advertising goals
- A description of your business current marketing position
- A description of your current or a prospective target audience or audiences
- A selection of campaign tools, including platforms (general and specific like the Internet and Facebook social media)
- A timeline detailing when tasks within your strategies will be completed
- Key performance indicators for tracking the performance of your marketing efforts and,
- Metrics for measuring the results of your marketing efforts for feedback
How having one helps you as a business owner
By developing a market plan, your business can reflect and refine what it is and how it’s unique from competitors. Thinking in this broader way is key to staying competitive. Just by developing your strategies ahead of time, your marketing plan acts as a point of reference that helps you maintain the appropriate focus on what’s necessary to reach your goals.
You can also make adjustments to ensure your best return on investment. This is because your pre-planned strategies set benchmarks and facilitate feedback based on your findings of how they perform. This means you can use them as a tool for future improvement on how you should execute and co-ordinate efforts.
Overall thinking about your business marketing goals and the best methods of executing those goals will pay off. You just have to learn how.