Marketing is an essential tool to the success of running any business. If you do not get the word out that you exist your business will fail. Executing marketing projects without a plan is pure suicide. You will just be throwing your money away. Therefore, a good marketing firm will want to make sure you develop a marketing plan, which shows a concise plan of action. Developing a marketing plan is one of the most important things you will do for your business.
Developing a marketing plan will become easier once you've decided on your ultimate goal. It is recommended that you take the necessary amount of time needed to truly develop an act goal. This is actually the first step in developing a marketing plan. Detailed below are the steps you will want to follow when working on your plan:
Define your objectives – make sure you've taken the time to define your objectives. Make them realistic, easy to manage and something within the scope of your business. If your objective is to get more publicity the programs you implement will be different than if your objective is to drive sales. Making this distinction up front will help in the success of your plan.
Market research and competitive analysis – before you start thinking about the different types of programs you can implement, you'll want to make sure you have a complete understanding of your marketplace. Doing a competitive analysis is essential to getting the edge on your competition. Know who the players are, what they're doing and what's working for them. This will provide you with a yardstick to improve upon.
Developing your plan – after you've done your due diligence, you'll be able to determine which marketing programs will best suit your need. If you are looking to build your brand you will want to develop a plan that involves more promotional based programs. However, if you are looking to increase sales, you will want to tailor your program towards direct response programs.
Channel mix (television, newspaper / magazines, radio, web, outdoor) – choosing which channels to participate in will be driven by two main factors: your objectives and your budget.
Budgeting – allocating budget figures to the various channels will depend upon your ultimate objective. Formulating these numbers can be the trickiest part of your entire plan.
Copywriting and Design – if writing copy and creating beautiful designs is not your style, be sure to hire an agency or freelancer who knows what they're doing. Remember the pieces they create are a representation of your company. You get what you pay for. If you hire an agency based on price, beware that your marketing materials may reflect this.
Implementation – no one can do it all. If you've chosen not to go with an agency, than you'll want to consider bringing in an assistant to help you. Believe me this is more work than you think it is.
Program Tracking – you will want to make sure that every program you run has a way to track all incoming responses. You'll need to know which programs are working and which one's are not.
When developing a strategic marketing plan, give the above steps a shot. This will enable you to structure a marketing plan that will last you for the next five years. Creating a strong marketing plan is a way to ensure the success of your business.