Is your marketing plan ready for prime time?
When considering your marketing plan, it’s important you answer the big questions first. These might include:
- Which customer segments will you target?
- What will you offer them?
- How you will better meet their needs versus the competition?
The answers to these issues will set out the groundwork for you to build your strategy. Once they’re fresh in your mind, it’s time to bring your marketing plan to life and put it in to action.
To begin, you should have a line of sight from your chosen strategic goals though to the implementation of your plan. Using the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion, you can create a solid checklist for how you’re going to achieve this.
What’s your product?
Firstly, make sure your product or service offering is fully developed and ready to meet target customer needs throughout the customer journey: from ordering to delivery, to usage. This includes developing your brand name and the look and feel of product or service that will effectively communicate with the target audience.
How will you price it?
The right pricing strategy needs to be in place following your brand work. Consider: Are you a premium product or service or are you competing on price? Pricing strategy is key as it will impact on the numbers on a short-term basis and will affect customer brand perception in its own right. You may have researched some benchmarks, done some customer research or even be working with previous experience. Either way it’s critical you give this the necessary thought.
Who is your ideal customer?
At this stage, you need to define customer portraits that describe your ideal customer and select targeting parameters using descriptors. These can include: age, sex, geography and socioeconomic status. You want to cost effectively reach customers with the needs you’ve set during segmentation.
By hitting the right people at the right time, you can increase your marketing hit rate and extend your reach further into your target markets.
What are your key messages?
Make sure you define your key messages to talk to your ideal customers in a way that engages them. By reviewing your segment specific positioning statements, you can refine what you say and who to build more specific, effective communication.
We suggest using three key messages per need-based segment, then decide which communication channels would be most effective to reach your target customers cost effectively.
Implementing your plan
Finally, don’t forget to define the objectives of your marketing strategy. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What sales growth do you expect?
- What market share will you achieve?
- How many new customers would you like to buy your product?
- What customer satisfaction would you like to achieve?
You’re now ready to define your tactical marketing plan. This could include attending relevant trade shows, running advertising campaigns, using direct mail, employing sales representatives, developing a website and social media presence or building a public relations campaign etc.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing planning as each individual product or service requires a unique review to make it successful. However, it’s worth remembering that the overall impact of the programme will be greater than the sum of the individual elements as they should be working together for the end goal. Each of these activities should be costed, timed and allocated to a business owner who is accountable to make them happen on time and within budget.