- On January 30, 2017
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Why plan for marketing?
Without marketing, your potential clients will not know you are there or what you do. Reactive marketing that does not align with your business plan will be unproductive and costly as it may not reach your target market or give the right message.
A proactive sales and marketing plan, that is coordinated with your business plan, will help you set clear objectives, establishing direction and focus on your target market. Assessing and monitoring what your competition is doing will also help you to work out the best ways to keep existing customers happy whilst reaching and winning new customers.
Your marketing plan is a working document that will help you structure effort within the resources you have available, including people, time and money. It will support you in monitoring success and reviewing what to do differently to build on your success. It will also help you identify what is not working, so you can allocate resources more effectively.
‘A sales and marketing plan must be reviewed and revised regularly to gain maximum return and to make your vision become a reality’.
Align your marketing with your business vision
Your marketing goals are your route to achieving your key business vision goals. Consider the following before you start planning your marketing:
You need to be clear what you are offering and to whom.
- What is it that you will tell prospects that you do?
- What are the features and benefits of what you have on offer?
- What does your product offer that your customers’ value?
- Are you product or market driven? ie have you a product for which you are trying to find a market, or are you seeking to provide a service/product to meet market needs, or is it a blend of the two?
Your target market
Once you are clear on your products and services it will help clarify your target market. The clearer you are as to who will be most likely to buy your services and why, the easier you will find marketing. Consider:
- What is your niche market?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What solution are you offering them?
Your competitors and your pricing
You believe in the value of what you are offering, but your customers will be looking for the best solution to meet their needs at the best price. So to remain competitive, you need to know who else is offering the same solutions to your target market. Research your competitors.
- How do you compare on price and service?
- How have you arrived at your pricing? Is it competitive?
- Do the cost of your products and services look to match or to out price your competitors, or are you charging a higher price for a premium product?
- What do you do that makes you stand apart from your competitors?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses compared to yours?
- What is their unique selling point? What is yours?
Once you have addressed the points above, you will be ready to look at the success, or not, of your past marketing activities so you can explore what to repeat, ditch or try anew.