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Is Your Marketing Part of Your Business Strategy?

By Guest Blogger

February 2, 2015 0 Comments
Effective Marketing Plan

Occasionally, we have guest authors submit articles to our blog which our readers may find relevant. The following article was written by Angela Rutzick, Principal of A-Type Marketing, which is a partner company of Analytix Solutions.

6 Components of an Effective Marketing Plan

Whether your marketing plan is informal for in house use for your sales and marketing team or a more formal, elaborate marketing plan to secure additional funding, a good marketing plan should accomplish two things:

  • Support your business goals and objectives
  • Provide a foundation from which a tactical plan is developed

Here are six components that every marketing plan should have:

1 – Look Inward

Make a very specific list of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Get input from your team to help you prioritize in terms of what is most important. A strength could be excellent customer service. A weakness could be lack of follow through. A goal may be to capture 10 or more customers each month.

Some questions to get you started might be:

  • What does your company do well?
  • What makes you stand out from your competitors?
  • What advantages do you have over similar businesses?

Make another list of business opportunities and threats. A business opportunity could be new markets, a new product or service or even a joint partnership.

Some questions to get you started might be:

  • What do your customers complain most about?
  • What are the unmet needs of your sales force?
  • Is there a product or service that your competitors do not offer that you could offer?

2 – Look Outward

Do your market research and find out who currently buys your product or service. You can do this research online or even at your local library in various trade publications.

Some things you want to consider:

  • Customer buying habits in your industry
  • Market size, demographics and market growth
  • Industry patterns including seasonality or decline
  • Current trends
  • Benchmarks in the industry
  • Suppliers, partners, or other vendors that you will need to rely on

3 – Learn About Your Audience

The more you know about your target audience the more you will know about where and how to communicate with them.

Make a list of everything you know about them.

  • What organizations do they belong to?
  • Are they more apt to read a newspaper or access information via the internet?
  • How does your product or service help your customer?

For instance if you are a restaurant owner and serve organic farm produce and wild caught fish, your audience may be people who are concerned with the environment and health and may have higher than average incomes. It is important to continue to drill down to be as specific as you can about your target audience.

4 – Define Tactics

Once you understand your market, you can identify tactics to get the word out about your product or service.

Some tactics may be:

  • Direct marketing – sales letters, brochures, flyers
  • Online marketing – website, social media, e-newsletters
  • Advertising – print and online media, directories
  • Training programs – to increase awareness
  • Write articles, give advice, become known as an expert
  • Direct/personal selling
  • Publicity/press releases
  • Trade shows, webinars

There is no one size fits all but rather a mix of different tactics that you will determine best fits your business.

5 – Define Budgets, Track and Measure

There are several ways to determine your marketing budget.  Regardless of how you decide to set your budget, it’s critical to follow the performance of your marketing efforts closely. One way is to be vigilant about tracking how each customer finds you. Include the question on any inquiry form on your website, or ask each time a new customer comes in to your brick and mortar store, if you have one. That way you will know how much you’ve spent to attract that customer. If that customer comes back and spends more, then your marketing cost of attracting that customer goes down and your profits go up.

Here are some ways to keep your plan current:

  • Organize a monthly review of your plan so you can make needed adjustments
  • Compile data that will track and measure success
  • Revisit your objectives and strategy to determine what went well, what you would do differently next time, etc.

6 – Set Timelines

Every good action plan, needs a timeline to help put it into action.

  • What will be done or needs to be done to get your plan in order? List specific tasks or jobs.
  • Your time frame. When does it need to be done? When will everything actually be completed?
  • Resources allocation: Know where every dollar is spent and where every dollar comes from.

Timelines help keep you and your team accountable.

Though a marketing plan may sound like a lot of work, it will map out some of the decisions you have made to determine the success of your business. It will provide you with long-term planning and short-term implementation. At a minimum, it describes who your customers are, where they get information, and how you are going to reach them. It is not a crystal ball but it will provide you with a detailed, tactical plan to ensure that every action you take is geared towards achieving the strategic goals of your business.

For more information on Analytix Solutions, visit us at http://www.analytixaccounting.com.

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