One of the essential ingredients in crafting a perfect business operation is the creation and implementation of a marketing plan. Before writing a marketing plan, however, it is crucial to define and analyze your target market. This will help you understand its needs. Your market is a specific group of buyers who need services. To accommodate and integrate their needs well into your marketing plan, conducting market research is necessary.
According to Eric Lease Morgan, market research could come through the use of transaction log analysis, focus group discussions, interviews, and even digital tools such as survey research software. Such data gathering will be able to provide you with insights, and feedback reflects what your customers want and need. After that, you can begin writing your marketing plan as instructed below:
- Step 1: Prepare your mission statement.
- Step 2: Describe your niche markets and target audience.
- Step 3: Describe your services thoroughly.
- Step 4: Describe your chosen marketing and advertising strategies.
- Step 5: Identify and analyze your competition.
- Step 6: Your marketing goals should remain quantifiable.
- Step 7: Monitor the results.
Step 1: Prepare your mission statement.
Your mission statement should clearly describe the nature of your business, the services offered, and your chosen target market. It usually comes in only a few sentences. But bigger companies combine mission statements with vision statements, which then becomes two to three paragraphs in length.
Step 2: Describe your niche markets and target audience.
This section of your marketing plan should include a list of potential users and clients, along with specific descriptions. After this, identify their respective segments. These include specific types of people. For instance, segment your market according to age groups: the Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z. Furthermore, ensure that your plan includes niche markets. Within the target market of age groups, there may be niche groups such as the digital savvy and traditional media users.
Step 3: Describe your services thoroughly.
As mentioned, market research is necessary to fully understand your market and the services or products they may need. Once done, gather all the services you are currently offering and determine what other products or services you can provide. From there, determine the costs, staff, and expertise the entire production may require.
Step 4: Describe your chosen marketing and advertising strategies.
Keep in mind that strategies may work well for a specific target market, while others won’t. This means that using several strategies at once is necessary for reaching the pinnacle of success. The key to successful marketing is analyzing what makes a consumer use or buy a certain product or service and the specific type of marketing strategy they will mostly respond to. Due to this, you will need to learn about potential problems, industry trends, and buzzwords.
Attending professional conferences and reading trade journals are some of the ways you can keep up with the industry, as well as meeting the consumers face to face. Whatever it may be, though, the goal is to find out what works best for your intended markets. As soon as you’ve figured out a strategy that works, stick to it and repeat it. If it fails despite the right implementation, drop it straightaway.
Step 5: Identify and analyze your competition.
Part of the marketing plan is learning about your competitors. This enables you to know how to position your business strategically against them. To begin, write down your strengths and everything you wish to emphasize. Chances are that your competition will be offering something similar, so use this to determine which brands are your direct competitors. Also, determine how else you can make your services special. Do they benefit your consumers in a particular way, perhaps one that may be different from the others? Your answer will be the brand’s unique selling proposition, which will then be utilized in your marketing strategies.
Step 6: Your marketing goals should remain quantifiable.
It is integral that your marketing goals remain quantifiable. It should include the number of consumers you would like to reach, the number of clients you wish to acquire, and the amount of profit you wish to generate. As you establish your goals, ensure that you remain practical and realistic. Determine all the skills and resources available to you. Then, integrate and implement your goals into your marketing plan.
Step 7: Monitor the results.
By doing so, you will be able to determine which marketing strategies are working and which are failing. Are your strategies generating sales and leads? This can be identified through surveys and interviews. Getting to know your repeat customers is also crucial, as this is where you will be able to gather detailed feedback and suggestions to improve your business. Make sure that you listen to negative feedback. All customer comments are invaluable to the success of your overall marketing plan.
As a business owner, simply writing a marketing plan should not end there. Remember that your marketing plan should be visited regularly. Update it often and use it as a blueprint to track your goals. The business landscape is ever-changing, and if you wish to stay afloat, so should your marketing plan.