26 Steps for making your marketing plan

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The most important part of a business plan is the Marketing Plan, this plan must be geared toward the business’s

mission—its product and service lines, its markets, its financial situation

and marketing/sales tactics to achieve your Business goals .

MARKETING PLAN OUTLINE

There is no single “right” way to approach a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should be part of an ongoing self-evaluation process and unique to your business.

  1. Mission Statement
  2. State the purpose of the marketing plan.
  3. Review business goals and objectives as well as specific strategies to reach them.

Everything your company does should be guided by and consistent with your Mission Statement. This is a short (one or two paragraph) statement of the fundamental nature of your business, answering the questions: “What business are we in?” and “Who do we serve?”

The mission statement is the one place you can be general, rather than specific. This is your vision of the business: it’s philosophy, and what makes it different from any other business.If you don’t already have a mission statement, write one down. Refer to it often as you develop your marketing plan. An opportunity that takes you away from your business mission is not a good opportunity for you. A strategy or tactic that does not carry the business towards fulfilling its mission is faulty and should be revised.

Here are 26 Steps for making your marketing plan

  1. Diagnosis: Where are you right now?

In order to determine how to get where you want to be, you need an accurate, objective picture of where you are          now. Write a brief statement assessing the current state of the business:

  • Product/Service
  • Identify each product or service in terms of name, trademark, color, shape or other characteristic, including packaging and labeling.
  1. What is your competitive advantage? How does your product or service differ from the

competition in terms of exclusive processes or superior ingredients, or other features.

  1. What are your strengths versus your competition’s?
  1. What are your weaknesses versus your competition’s?
  2. Determine the cost of each product or service.
  3. Determine the price you charge for each product.
  4. What is your product’s/service’s personality?
  • Market
  • Identify your customers – include all demographic and lifestyle information
  • Who are your customers?
  • Male or female?
  • How old?
  • What education level?
  • What type of work? Profession?
  • What level of income?
  • How knowledgeable about your product or service?
  • What factors (e.g., price, availability, service, etc.) influence this

8: customer’s purchase decisions?

  • What other people (if any) influence the purchase decision?
  • How would you describe your customers’ personality?
  • Is there anything else unique about your customer?
  • 9: Meeting customer needs:

[A] What are your customer’s real needs?

[B] What are your customers perceived needs?

[C] Are you meeting either or both of these?

[D] If not, where do you fall short?

[E] What resistances do people have to buying your product or service?

Identify location of customers (local, regional, national or international).

10: Identify market trends – include information about market studies and test marketing.

11:List factors that affect purchasing such as:

  • Seasonal
  • Obsolescence
  • Tax considerations
  • Price
  • Availability
  • Convenience
  • Service
  • Emotional considerations; e.g., prestige, status, fear, pleasure, etc.
  • Gift
  • Any other factors you can think of

12: Write a brief paragraph that synthesizes all the factors that affect the purchase of your product:

  • Distribution
  • Identify the most effective methods for getting products/services to customers in the

13: Your target market ?

  • Do customers come to you?
  • Do you go to the customer?
  • Do you use dispensers, racks, etc?
  • Do you mail out samples, use trial offers, or premiums?
  • Do you use the internet.

14:Have you made it easy for customers or potential customers to get more information about your product(s) or               service(s)?

Identify the need for warehousing of products and distribution channels (for example internet) if not sold                     direct to buyer.

  • Promotional Strategy
  • What is your current image in the marketplace?
  • How are you perceived by your customers?
  • Is this accurate?

15:What would you like your image to be in the workplace?

  • Employee behavior
  • Customers satisfaction
  • Place of business atmosphere
  • Printed communication

16: What type of customers are you targeting with current marketing efforts?

17: How are your leads followed up?

18: Where/how do you get new business?

19: What is the source of your most productive referrals? Are you doing everything you can to manage that                           source(s)?

20:Review the Message:

Is your message written in terms of what the customer needs and wants to hear, or interms of what you want to           say about your business, product, service?

21: Your Promotional Strategy consists of blending and using each of the following components to the same end                  that is, with the same message.

  • Advertising
  • Personal Sales
  • Sales Promotion (coupons, freebies, name recognition, etc.)
  • Publicity and Public Relations

22:  Does your advertising message follow the AIDA model?

That is, does it:

  • Attract Attention?
  • Create Interest?
  • Arouse Desire?
  • Call for Action?

23:  Review of Advertising and public relations activities : Does the audience for the media selected match your                   target market profile.

24: Compare your marketing techniques with those of your competitors.

  • Pricing :[A] If your prices are higher, do they provide the necessary “added value” to justify the[B] If your prices are lower, do you know why they are, and is the lower price part of your
  • Review product/service costs for accuracy, including all variable and fixed expenses.
  • Be sure all products/services carry their share of overhead expenses plus provide for profit.
  • Compare prices for your products/services with similar products/services in the industry.

25: Identify your goal(s) for each segment or market. Your goals and objectives should beconcrete, measurable                   and realistic.

  • To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ within existing customer base.
  • To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ generating new customers.
  • To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ getting customers to use the product/service

more often

  • To enhance image, name recognition, reputation.
  • To introduce a new product or service (same area, new area).

26: A strategy is the general approach you will take to achieve a goal. The following list of common marketing                    strategies may help your thinking:

  • Personal sales calls
  • New logo, letterhead package, company brochure
  • Direct mail
  • Newsletters
  • Print advertising (newspapers, consumer magazines, trade journals)
  • Media advertising (radio, television)
  • Trade show exhibits
  • Public relations (trade press, speech making, feature articles, community relations/community activities)
  • Networking
  • Discounts for large volume customers

Summary  

” Don’t try to implement all possible strategies at once. Choose one or two strategies to

achieve each of your goals. In your selection, consider what you know about your product,

competitors and customers, based on your information above. Also keep in mind your

resources of time, budget and staff.”

 

 

Abdelrahman Sleem
Abdelrahman Sleem

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