What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic road map for bringing a product or service to potential customers. It takes extensive research and strategic thinking to come up with an effective marketing plan. Marketing plans are a straightforward playbook that business owners use to outline advertising strategies that could generate leads and reach their target market.
Marketing Plan and Marketing Strategy
Many people use marketing plans and marketing strategies interchangeably. However, these two have different meanings. Business strategy and goals work together to implement marketing activities, having the answers to the why and whats of marketing.
A marketing plan consists of details that assist the company in reaching as many people as possible. It entails the values, goals, financials, and methods the business should use in everyday marketing to achieve its objectives. It’s all about how to use marketing activities to achieve business goals. On the other hand, the strategy only explains the objectives and goals behind your efforts in marketing.
Before knowing how a marketing plan works, it is better to start with it. The marketing strategy outlines the skeleton of the entire process that will help you in planning.
Purpose of a Marketing Plan
There are several purposes of marketing plans. They include the following:
1. Define the marketing objectives of a business that will work in line with the corporate vision and mission of a particular organization.
2. A marketing plan helps the business increase its consumer base.
3. The marketing plan lists and reviews the marketing mix in terms of the 8 Ps which include: product, price, promotion, people, positioning, process, physical evidence, and performance.
4. Strategies increase business shares on a market and increase brand awareness to potential clients.
5. Marketing plans contain detailed budgets for funds and resources to be allocated to help in carrying out activities on the plan.
6. A marketing plan has reviews and analyses of a market environment. Reviews and analyses are in the form of marketing research, computer analysis, customer needs assessment, studying new trends, and continuous market environment scanning.
Types of Marketing Plans
Marketing Penetration Strategy
If a business is determined to sell its current products to existing clients, it is using a marketing penetration strategy. Activities that dominate this type of marketing plan sample are the increasing loyalty of the existing clients so that they won’t be lost to competitors. It also helps to increase the frequency of product use and convert non-users to users. In marketing penetration, awareness is increased through marketing communication and activities. When a company identifies new uses of a product or service application, usage frequency is increased and new customers will join.
Market Development Strategy
Market development strategies refer to efforts in place to expand by selling current products and services in a new market. Some of these efforts involve going to new geographic markets like the international markets. Product awareness and distribution development channels are key activities when it comes to marketing. Some products may be modified to match the requirements of a local market. Market development strategy comes with some risk since the business is not a well-known market and the market is not familiar with the products and services offered. Returns of marketing investment on marketing development strategy take longer compared to market penetration strategy since it takes a lot of time to build awareness, product trial, and distribution.
Product Development Strategy
For firms that can leverage their existing customers to try their new product, a product development strategy is efficient. Research and development play a major role in this type of strategy. The time required in developing and testing new products may be long, but immediately after the product is developed, creating awareness and interest should be easy since the business already has a strong bond with its current customers. Product development also poses some risks compared to market penetration strategy. The risk is a result of the product not being able to be developed at an acceptable cost. Customer’s needs may not be reached by the new product.
Taking new products to new markets is called a diversification strategy. When a new business is in play, diversification can be recommended. It is the riskiest of all strategies and it requires patience when waiting for returns on investments. For a new market and a new product, there are a lot of factors that are not yet known to the business.
Components of a Marketing Plan
Objectives outline the anticipated outcome of the marketing plan with clear, realistic, concise, and reachable goals. Marketing objectives have specific targets and time frames.
The target market share, number of customers attainable, usage rate, penetration rate, and sales volume, should be used.
The market analysis includes market size, definition, structure, shares, trends, and competitor analysis. Consumer analysis consists of the target market demographics and their buying decisions. A customer’s buying decision can be influenced by loyalty, motivation, and expectations.
The target market focuses on the consumers based on their demographic profile like race, age, gender, and interests. The Demographic profile helps with a correct marketing mix for a target market segment.
The standard of any company or marketing strategy and plan is the SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis helps you define your company’s weaknesses, strengths, arising opportunities, and possible threats, enabling you to develop goals and objectives that are on point and vital to the overall business success.
The SWOT analysis assists in understanding what distinguishes you from your competitors and how to position yourself in a market. The analysis will also help you develop your messaging and unique selling proposals. Honesty is essential for any insightful SWOT. Using bullets, aim for 4–5 in each section. Limiting your lists will help you in focusing on the most vital points and help maintain your overall plan.
Completing a SWOT for your marketing plan is thoughtful when analyzing different segments of your marketing plan.
Social media, content marketing, and SEO are essential parts of an overall marketing plan, and each benefits SWOT in its way.
The marketing strategy section covers basic strategies according to the marketing mix. The plan focuses more on the 8Ps of marketing. Firms are at liberty to use the traditional 4 Ps of marketing, including product, price, place, and promotion.
The target market determines the correct marketing mix. The most costly options are sales promotion, advertising, and PR campaign. Referrals and networking are not expensive compared to the others.
Marketers should pay attention to digital marketing strategies that use social media to reach a wider audience and maintain cost-effectiveness. Social media has become increasingly popular in recent years and will overtake traditional methods.
The marketing team requires budgeting. It does not have to be Facebook, Google ads, or any paid campaign. As long as marketing tactics require great content and proper presentation, allocation of funds is necessary.
You can never afford to stop marketing. When you stop marketing, you stop having business objectives since there are no consumers. So if a company is still marketing its products despite its billions and market position, you should believe in it.
Investors need to know this information too. It shows that you know what you are doing. They’d typically much instead invest in helping you expand in this way than to pay for salaries or keep you afloat because your overhead is draining you.
The marketing strategy template section covers basic moves according to the marketing mix. The plan emphasizes on 8Ps in marketing. Firms can use the common 4Ps that are now considered traditional. 4Ps include the product, price, place, and promotion.
The target market influences the marketing mix. The most costly options when it comes to marketing are sales promotions, advertising, and PR campaigns. Networking and referral techniques are less expensive.
Marketers need to focus their attention on digital marketing strategies that use technology to reach a broader market and have proven to be efficient.
Digital marketing channels have become popular, overtaking traditional marketing methods. Digital marketing encompasses trending methods, such as social media for your business.
Other strategies in line with the marketing strategy include pricing and positioning system, distribution strategy, conversion strategy, and retention strategy.
How to Make a Marketing Plan
Marketing plans depend on different factors affecting a business. Some will go for short-term goals while others will prefer long-term. The following are some methods that can help when making a marketing plan presentation.
Define Your Goals
Your first step when writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Even though the task is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business’s primary mission statement. Be specific, but not too clear if you have a lot of space left in the marketing plan, elaborate on how you will acquire new consumers and accomplish the marketing mission.
For instance, when your business mission is to provide mortgage loans to clients, your marketing mission can be to get in touch with people who need mortgage loans, refinance, and others who want to buy houses.
Choose Your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A good marketing strategy presentation dictates how the business will track its marketing progress. First, you will need to identify your key performance indicators. Key performance indicators are metrics that measure different elements in a marketing strategy. Key performance indicators help establish short-term goals in your plan and present your progress.
Let’s take an example of a marketing mission with the above step. If part of our mission is to provide mortgage loans, we can track visits to the website using organic page views. Here, organic page views are a KPI, and we can use it to see if our number of views per page keeps growing over time.
Create a Buyer Persona
Plans on marketing always begin with a customer in mind. Customers are the ones who receive your promotional messages. That is why you should be relevant to information sent to the clients.
Many business owners don’t take it seriously when spotting their target audience. Other marketers make an educated guess based on interactions with existing customers, while others go by who they think their customers might be.
A buyer persona is a fictional presentation template of your ideal customer based on research and data about an existing customer.
A persona provides marketers with references for who they are marketing to. Personification ensures that messages and activities are directed towards a group of customers who match your ideal persona profile. For example, a buyer persona provides information that answers the following questions.
• Who are your ideal customers?
• What is the type of challenges your consumers face?
• Where would they like to be found?
• What are their media consumption habits?
• What are their unlimited needs?
• How can your business solve customers’ problems?
Research Your Competition
It is important to visit your competitors once in a while and carry out a competitive analysis.
Competitive analysis can assist the business in establishing everything that will make your product and services unique. Research lets you know which attributes of your product can be used in marketing to attract your target audience.
The fact behind the competitive analysis is to understand how your rival business is conducting themselves in the marketing field and not copying their actions. Understanding their modes of operation can help your business spot opportunities that will help market your brands in thoughtful methods.
There are several ways to conduct a competitive analysis. The most common is using your competitors’ insight loops to know their mindsets.
Product positioning is a method that can help you to determine the best way to show the benefits of your product to your target audience. This can be done by understanding your market position, the needs of your customers, and the messages that you want to communicate. This strategy is essential because it can be the foundation of your entire marketing strategy. By knowing your audience and understanding the benefits of your products, you can create new market segments that you may have not considered before.
Baseline and Merits
To ensure that you are marketing your business appropriately and reaching the right audience, it is important to know where your business stands. This is why every marketing plan should be based on a clear and defined baseline. A baseline is a starting point of the values your current marketing plan is achieving. A baseline is presented as a metric when expressed in numerical form.
An example of a vital metric in a marketing plan template is customer engagement. Engaging describes how you interact with your customers verbally or via messages and calls. Engaging customers is an intelligent metric since engaged customers are more likely to pay for the services offered by the business.
By knowing your current engagement levels, you can identify a baseline to measure your progress accurately and see what’s working for your company and what’s not.
Keep an Eye on Your Results
Knowing your progress will help you in understanding your marketing effectiveness and determine the return on investment of your marketing campaign.
Measuring your marketing plan depends on your baseline metrics and chosen KPIs. Metrics and KPIs should help a business answer the following questions.
What metrics and KPIs should a business track?
What tools and platforms will I use for tracking results?
How often should I measure the outputs of my marketing strategies?
Answers to these questions can assist you in spotting trends that will bring more impact to your business. For instance, if videos on social media add more value, go to market strategy and consider generating more videos for your marketing plans to come.
How to Administer a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan should be updated and revised due to changes in the market environment and customer preferences. Budgets, metrics, and schedules should be used when measuring progress toward goals set in the plan. Assessment should be continuous to make sure goals are achievable. If a strategy is not working in a particular environment, it should be analyzed to make sure it is effective. It is irrational for the marketing manager to notice abnormalities and wait to analyze when the situation has already occurred at the end of the year.
A marketing plan is a vital step in any business especially when it comes to the lending field. Mortgage lenders might have everything they need to start a business but no one knows about the company or the type of product and services being offered. Marketing efforts create awareness, bringing new clients and potential leads to your business. Mortgage companies can invest in marketing be it a new or an established business. Every time the marketing environment should be surveyed to give business owners insight that will assist them in making crucial business decisions. Loan rates might be lowered, increased, or maintained depending on the customers and the current business environment.
Businesses cannot operate efficiently by letting the consumers be the ones coming to us. Product and service providers should focus on market segments that match the services being offered. As long as the business is relevant with the type of service they offer and its pricing strategy, investment returns will be seen sooner than expected. Digital marketing is on the rise. Most business owners strive to create an online presence for their products and services. Even if your business is doing fine without an online presence, maybe it’s time to try and have a marketing plan for your company revised. Investors generate a lot of revenue from social media platforms with citations to their business page or from any other online platform.
Remember to have patience when executing a marketing plan. There are different types of marketing plans and some of them take time to have an impact on the return on investment.
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