Creating a marketing plan – expert advice from Alison Jobson at Straight MarketingClick here to view the transcript
The first step is defining exactly what youre selling. You need to understand and articulate what your product or service is, what the benefits to the customer are and why it is better or different to the competition. If you dont know this how will you create a compelling sales message that makes potential customers want to buy?
You also need to think about the pricing of your product or service. Will you price low to achieve market penetration and share for example or will you position yourself as a quality brand that commands a premium price? Generally speaking competing on price is a risky strategy as youre always under pressure to keep price low.
The next stage is identifying your target audience and your ideal customer. You need to know who youre marketing to. What do they read, where do they hang out and what are they interested in are the types of questions you should be asking to help you decide which are the most effective channels to communicate with them.
OK, so now its time to think about your objectives. What do you want your marketing to achieve? For example is it is sales growth, new customers, increased profile, all of the above perhaps? Having clear objectives gives you something to work towards and measure against. You need an end goal and a strategy to get there.
Next you need to determine what marketing tactics to use. There are broadly two categories. The first, offline marketing, the more traditional kind, covers things such as print advertising, direct mail and sales exhibitions. The second, online marketing includes anything involving the Internet such as website, email marketing, ecommerce and pay per click.
There are many options so the decision can be overwhelming. To be successful keep referring back to your target audience and thinking about whats the best method for them. A marketing campaign aimed at teenagers will almost certainly need to involve online marketing whereas this would be less relevant for a campaign aimed at the over 70s. Your available budget will also determine the types of activities open to you.
A mix of marketing tactics combined as an integrated campaign is generally more effective than one tactic in isolation. Once youve decided on your marketing tactics, time line them and then youre ready to go!
A marketing plan should be constantly evaluated and measured. Marketing is not an exact science and can be a process of trial and error. So its important to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns and adjust as you go along. A good marketing plan is one that is constantly evolving.