In business, there seems to be no end to the number of plans you have to write. From the big picture business plan that you draft before even starting up your dream company to the small, day-to-day marketing meeting plans you write to ensure you’re making the most of your team’s time, it can start to seem overwhelming.
Even though it can get to be a lot of work, one plan you don’t want to miss out on making is your marketing plan. After all, even the best business will fail in a short time if no one knows about it. Here a few of the things you’ll want your marketing plan to address:
Your Marketing Mission Statement
As with any plan, you should start with thinking about your mission statement. What is the overarching goal of your marketing strategy? Answer this question first, but don’t be afraid to come back and revise it. Your answer will shape how you answer other questions in this list, but you may also find as you think about future questions that your mission statement is not quite what you thought at first.
Your Target Market
You want to be as specific as possible here, because broad answers (like “The entire city of London” or “people who want to get in shape”) will not be nearly as helpful as having a specific type of person in mind (like “20-35 year olds who are looking to purchase their first new car” or “elementary school teachers who have limited time but want to avoid weight gain”).
Since these answers are so specific, it’s a good idea to have a list of people you want to target, and you may find that a single strategy you choose can market to several of the people on this list at once. That’s a good thing!
Your Unique Contribution
To answer this question, you may want to first think about your competitors. What do they bring to the table? What do they miss? Are you filling in those gaps? Figuring out the unique strengths of your business and highlighting those can give you a competitive edge.
For example, if you own a coffee shop, maybe you are more careful about ethically sourcing your coffee beans than your competitors. Highlight that in your marketing, and you’ll find that anyone who’s concerned about this issue is coming to you instead of your competitor up the street.
Your Promotional Plan
How are you going to get the word out about your business and its unique strengths? Try brainstorming a list with your team just to get as many ideas on the table as possible. Then go back and evaluate these ideas in light of your previous answers. Consider choosing a mix of creative and traditional ideas and test out which works better for you.
For example, you might choose a really creative promotional product and a more traditional one to distribute, and poll your customers in a few weeks to get their opinions on each of the options. There is a huge variety of products that you can print your logo on.
Thoughtfully planning your marketing strategy can help you get more customers through your doors with the least expense, so be sure to spend some time thinking things through before you act.