How to Write a Marketing Plan in 7 Easy Steps

One of the most important steps that are taken in a business operation is writing a good marketing plan. The target market is the particular group of customers who require services. A marketing plan is made up of a number of components. A marketing plan is a very important document as it shows what has happened in the past and tries to justify it. In addition, it also explains where the company is headed for in the near future. In fact, a marketing plan is very important for those companies who are seeking funding for new business ventures or in order to expand the currently existing products or services.

business planThere are various reasons why a marketing plan is written. For one, it is required as a component of the annual planning of the marketing department. It is also required for plans that are meant to introduce a new product or service into the market or improvements to the existing services. The marketing plan is also an essential part of the overall business plan. The following steps are to be followed in order to write up a good marketing plan.

1. Describe the target market

Here, one should write down the clients or users they intend to serve as well as potential clients and customers. Once done, identify the various segments of the market that may be handled by different people in a company. It is important to target the right kind of people and niche as it comes in handy later on.

2.  Come up with a mission statement

The mission statement describes clearly the purpose of the business, the market it serves and the services and products it offers. For simplicity, this is usually summed up in a few sentences. A mission statement is different from a vision statement which states more of it’s future ideals – what it wants to be, what role it plays in it, etc.

3. Describe the services offered

Market research is very important as it is a key component to identifying the market and what kind of products and services they require most. One should make a catalog or a portfolio of the services that are currently offered in the market and also decide which new services to provide. Research helps to differentiate the business in a crowded marketplace.  This description should include parameters such as costs and manpower required.

4. List down the marketing and promotional plans

Different marketing strategies are required for various target markets and one may need to combine several strategies in order to achieve their goals. The most important information for successful marketing are the factors that lead to someone buying a service or product offered and the kind of marketing they are likely to respond to. This requires some knowledge of industry trends, needs, buzzwords and problems. This goes a long way in determining what will work best for the particular kind of market that one serves. Marketing strategies may include but are not limited to:

  • direct marketing
  • networking via social media and other online channels
  • print media
  • press releases

For campaigns that worked, it is advisable to rinse and repeat. Those campaigns that don’t do well or fail, it is wise to drop them. In order to do this, however, it is vital to keep statistics of marketing campaign performance (see #7).

5. Understand the competition

This is an integral part of the market planning process and involves learning as much as one can about the competition in order to uniquely position oneself to take full advantage of the business’ strengths and thereby gain more customers. This is a way of carving out a niche for oneself in the ecosystem.

6. Establish quantifiable marketing goals

This may be the number of new customers to be acquired, the reach in terms of audience, or even a targeted income. The goals should be practical and realistic. Having the goals in place, one can then commit the resources available to achieve them. The budget may be a limiting factor at this point.

7. Carefully monitor results

This is very important as it enables one to determine which of the marketing strategies are working.  This feedback comes in very handy when deciding what changes to make in the strategy. Focusing on strategies that work saves money for other endeavors.  Having done this, the marketing plan can now be improved for even better results.

When writing a marketing plan, it is important to have efforts focused on taking care of customers as they will be the ones who provide repeat business. Stay focused on the target market and avoid scattering marketing resources on ineffective marketing.

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