Got a great product or service? That’s good news, but the same is true of any number of companies that have failed to achieve success.
More often than not, a key element of their failure is that they simply didn’t let the right people – or enough people – know about what they were selling.
A marketing plan is a key part of any business. What do you need to know to create one that will work for you?
Elements of a marketing plan
There are five key actions you will need to perform as you develop your marketing plan:
Analyze the situation
Work out where you are positioned within the market, who your competitors are and how you can set yourself apart from them.
Identify your target market
Think about the demographics you’d like to reach and do your research to find out what people in that group are looking for.
Establish your marketing strategy
What is your unique selling point? What associations would you like people to make with your brand?
Establish your tactics
How will you turn your strategy into a series of deliverables? What daily or weekly actions will you take to get your message out?
Calculate your budget
Work out how much money you have to spend on marketing and divide it appropriately between different strands of your approach.
When you’re thinking about money, it’s tempting to see online marketing as free; of course that’s not true because anything that takes up a lot of your time is effectively costing you money.
At the planning stage, invest in a good website that will appeal to your target market and meet your strategic aims.
Don’t try to use all forms of social media and end up struggling to keep up; instead, choose the two or three best suited to your wider plan and develop a specific strategy for each.
Why it’s worth it
No matter what type of business you’re in, a good marketing plan can be the key to success. Wes Edens, who started out as a Finance and Business administration student at Oregon State University, has built his career on it, building up company after company to the point where he’s now a senior executive at Fortress Investment Group and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
He’s also used his astute understanding of marketing to help him decide which companies to put his money into – something small business owners need to be alert to.
Marketing and investors
Mr Edens isn’t the only person to make investment decisions partly on the basis of marketing plans.
They’re one of the first things that most prospective investors look at, not just because of their innate value but because of what they reveal about your capacity to manage money intelligently and make good strategic decisions.
This adds to the importance of getting them right.
Too many business teams treat marketing as an add-on.
If you want to be successful, it should be at the very core of what you’re doing.
Ultimately, it’s not your products or services but your message that will determine whether or not consumers want you.