7 Essential Things Your Marketing Plan Needs

Last week we talked about taking responsibility for ourselves and our business. So, with that said to also ensure we are taking responsibility and on the road to great success I want to make sure you have all the tools you need to do that. Today we will discuss the basics you need in any marketing plan.

Every marketing plan you have should include these 7 things:

Your plan should have and know it’s segmentation. Segmentation is perhaps the most important because segmentation is your audience, who you are going to market to? Don’t know your segmentation, then start doing research as quick as possible. Again, you need to know your audience so you know who to market to and how to market to them successfully.

A marketing plan needs to have a back up plan. From a competitive standpoint having a back up plan is ideal. Having a back up plan should also include you doing a little research on your competition. Your back up plan should include responses or comebacks to competitor campaigns as well as alternative marketing you can carry out when needed.

A marketing plan needs to feature your points of value. Why should the consumer buy from you instead of the competition. Your points of value will be what sets you apart from the competition. Your points of value will be the benefits of buying products from you and/or using your services. So, be sure to have strong points of value and let your audience know what they are?

Your plan needs to have a strong message and positioning. Be clear with your message. The worst thing you can have is confused potential clients and clients, so BE CLEAR. Use your points of value to create and send a strong message to your potential clients and position yourself on top.

A marketing plan needs to have goals with set deadlines. When developing your successful plan be sure to set different benchmark goals to reach. Also, when setting goals set deadlines for reaching the different goals. We all know having personal and business goals are important and for those same reasons having marketing goals is important too. Goals with deadlines help you to stay focused.

An effective plan needs a plan of implementation. So, you’ve developed the perfect marketing plan,so? That marketing plan can’t be successful if you don’t implement it. So, on top of developing your marketing plan you need to also have a plan for implementing your marketing plan and getting your message out to your audience in a successful way.

A marketing plan needs a budget. You want to develop and implement a marketing plan you can afford. So, set a budget and keep all your marketing within that budget. Need ways to market on a budget check out my blog called 6 Ways To Market On A Budget for tips as well as I did a whole series on free marketing outlets you can use to market.

Having a marketing plan with these elements will put you on the road to success. So, be sure your plan includes these 7 essentials things today, your marketing and business success depends on it.

Sample Marketing Plan – 6 Steps For Creating a Marketing Plan

Sometimes finding a sample marketing plan to use as a guide for writing yours can be a challenge. The problem is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan that you can specifically use for your business without some kind of modification.

In this article I will outline the 6 necessary elements you need in your marketing plan and some applications that will help illustrate each element. The six things you must include: an evaluation of your marketplace, the profile of your ideal customer, what you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing, the big picture view of media tools, an accountability structure that will aid in implementation, and strong financial proof that your plan will work.

Evaluate your marketplace

No matter what format you use the concept of evaluating your market is always the first step. In this part of the plan you research your top 5-10 competitors and come up with a list of strengths and weaknesses for each. You do the same exercise on your own company. This will help you create a clear picture of how you are different from everyone else.

It is on this foundation that your marketing efforts should be built. In the car rental business Hertz has always been the number one company. This made Avis come up a slogan that could help set it apart… “We’re #2 but we try harder.” This helped position Avis as a company that would work harder for you by giving you that extra level of service.

Profile of your ideal customer

The worst thing you can say about your product or service is that, “everyone has a need for it.” Segmenting your market and defining a specific profile of your best customers will help build your marketing plan in strong and healthy ways. The benefit of clearly defining your target market will not only make your job of creating and choosing marketing materials easier, but it will also save you money because you can focus your efforts on a very specific market segment.

What do you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing?

You can’t measure the success of your plan unless you have clearly defined benchmarks for comparison. Every marketing effort needs goals. They can be long-term or short-term but need to be measurable. Also, part of your plan should include evaluation points to gauge progress of your efforts.

Getting the big picture view of media tools

Before choosing what media tools you are going to use in your campaign it is essential to evaluate each tool based on the information you gathered in the first three sections of your plan. Can you effectively deliver the message of how you are unique through a particular tool? Does the tool clearly reach the ideal target market? Can it help you achieve your goals without making you go broke.

If you have done the appropriate research these questions are typically easy to answer. It is only when you decide on your desired media tool first before evaluating it’s attributes on a big picture level that you can get yourself into trouble.

Creating an accountability structure that will aid in implementation

All of the best laid plans are for nothing if you don’t have a proper implementation system. In most sample marketing plans you can see how a typical marketing calendar is laid out. It really doesn’t have to be that difficult or pretty. You simply need a week-by-week list of the specific marketing activities you want to accomplish in order to complete your overall plan. This involves taking each marketing strategy and tactically dividing it into weekly chunks. The marketing calendar should also contain the evaluation points we discussed before to help measure the progress of your goals.

Having strong financial proof that your plan will work

The final element of any plan should include a budget that gives strong financial proof that your plan will work. This is accomplished by projecting sales as a result of your marketing efforts, accurately costing out the various pieces of your marketing mix and then doing an ROI analysis (Return On Investment). Your ROI analysis should clearly show that your marketing efforts will produce a return. If your company has a long sales cycle then sometimes this will involve simply a break-even on the marketing costs up-front with the promise of larger future sales.

These six necessary elements should be included in any sample marketing plan format you are evaluating: an evaluation of your marketplace, the profile of your ideal customer, what you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing, the big picture view of media tools, an accountability structure that will aid in implementation, and strong financial proof that your plan will work.

The Key Ingredient to Marketing – The Marketing Plan

You may have heard the term marketing plan, but do you really know what it is and how it helps lead a business toward success? The sole purpose of a plan is to outline in writing the specific actions you plan to take in order to attract the attention of potential customers. Then the marketing plan goes a step further because it details out how you intend to persuade these potential customers into buying the product or services your company offers.

It’s about the strategy

In essence, the plan is the guide you use to implement your marketing strategy. This means that the key ingredient to marketing your business is the plan itself. This plan spells out what your business goals are and then draws you a road map on how to reach your goals.

There are two ways that a marketing plan can be developed. Some businesses have someone dedicated to their marketing efforts or they hire a third-party marketing professional to create it as a standalone document. Other businesses include it as part of the overall business plan. Either way, the marketing plan has the same intention; it’s the blueprint for communicating the value of your business to your customers.

The difference between strategy and a plan

People often confuse a marketing plan with strategy. While marketing strategy is part of the marketing plan, there is a difference between the two. The marketing strategy involves the goals of the entire business including a definition of your business, a description of your products or services, a profile of your target market (current and potential clients) and a definition of your company’s unique selling proposition (USP), which is what makes you different from your competitors.

While the plan includes the strategy, the true part of the plan itself is the specific actions you’re going to take to achieve the goals you’ve established with your strategy.

Some of the items your plan includes are pricing (for each product or service), the sales and distribution plan and how you plan to advertise and promote your business.

So, can you have a plan without a strategy? No.

Can you have a marketing strategy without a plan? You can, but it’s a complete waste of time. Again, the marketing plan is your road map to achieving your strategy. You wouldn’t go on a long road trip without first mapping out the route from you home to your destination, so why in the world would you have a business without a plan for marketing it and attracting business?