Did you have a vision when you started your business? Is your marketing plan helping that vision come to fruition? By focusing on your vision when creating and implementing your marketing plan, your prospects for success are much greater as it makes it easier to remain on course. The key components of your plan should be actioned and followed consistently to ensure you achieve your ultimate goal – your vision.
While keeping your vision in sight, consider the following elements which are essential for inclusion in your marketing plan:
Know and understand your target market and your product/service. How will you satisfy your customers’ wants/needs? Where will you position yourself in the market? Be ready to serve what, where and when required and determine to build solid relationships with you customers.
Research and analyze your competition; find out their strengths and weaknesses. Do a frank and honest SWOT analysis of your own company. While recognizing your weaknesses and working to overcome them, focus on your strengths and use them to your advantage -differentiate your product/service and outsmart the competition.
Set measurable goals and objectives. You may, for example, plan to achieve 20 sales or recruit 5 clients in any given month. Or you may plan to secure a 5% profit on your bottom line for a specific quarter. These are not vague goals; they are specific, measurable and timetabled.
Keep your plan focused, concise and to the point. Don’t complicate your plan by including non-specific variables and going off in tangents;- this will only lead to confusion, and an increased workload as you try to reign yourself back in. This is not to say you don’t include all that are pertinent!
Review and update your plan on a consistent basis. It is often said that a bad marketing plan that is consistently followed through is better than a good plan that isn’t followed! Bare this in mind. Who in your company is going to be responsible for ensuring your plan is carried out, reviewed and any changes actioned?
Your marketing plan should be flexible enough to take into account unforeseen changes in market forces. You may, for example, have to reconsider your price, distribution or your service provision. Perhaps you haven’t quite realised your objectives within your stated timetable, in which case you may have to revise and review these and set new ones. No matter what interruptions or unforeseen events occur, get back on track and follow the plan consistently. Remember, your marketing plan may not be set in stone but your vision should be!