For a business to be successful, it is essential to develop an efficient marketing strategy. These essential elements of a marketing plan are well-known to every successful businessperson. Unfortunately, many small business owners do not take marketing seriously despite being aware of its importance to the growth of their companies.
It has been observed that many smaller businesses conduct their marketing in a disorganized manner, focusing on branding, advertising, and sales here and there without a clear understanding of the impact of their efforts. Inadequate preparation of your marketing plan components could result in future resource and financial waste. In marketing, it is a good idea to have clearly defined objectives, activities, and methods for evaluating your efforts.
When you are just beginning to write a marketing plan, it is essential to concentrate first on the key issues you wish to address. Some elements of marketing may be situational, but the vast majority are derived from standard marketing principles. These principles are applicable to any business, from a small cafe to a global logistics company. To provide a solid foundation for your marketing plan, it is recommend that you give careful consideration to the following five building components:
1. Strategic Assessment
At the heart of the strategic assessment is the current operating environment of the company, product, or service. The following must be addressed comprehensively as central concerns:
- Analysis of the market: what is the product’s or service’s market potential?
- Who are the target audience(s) in question, and what is their purchasing behaviour?
- What competitors are currently operating on the market and how do they operate?
- What distinguishes your product or service from the competition? What is your unique selling point/unique value proposition?
2. Setting Objectives
What objectives do you hope to accomplish as a business or with your product? Here we distinguish between:
- Financial objectives are quantifiable with “hard” data, such as sales growth, market share, or return.
- Goals that are difficult to measure with data, such as customer satisfaction, innovation capacity, the organization’s customer orientation, employee engagement and satisfaction, customer acquisition, and corporate image.
- Do not rely solely on financial goals, as there is typically a lag in response to declining numbers. Oftentimes, goals pertaining to your market and customers serve as early indicators of a change.
3. Deciding on a Strategy
A strategy describes the means by which predetermined objectives will be attained and creates a competitive advantage. Porter’s competition matrix outlines three fundamental tactics:
- Differentiation via service and quality
- Achieving cost leadership by achieving a price advantage
- Market segmentation targeting new areas of interest
4. Strategic Execution
The most time and money-consuming part of any marketing plan is making sure the plan actually gets put into action. These are the four pillars upon which a marketing mix is built:
These tools are then allotted a portion of the marketing budget that had previously been established. Maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of the strategy’s execution is the target.
5. Performance Evaluation
The essential “last” step in a marketing plan is performance review, which determines how well the marketing instruments are contributing to the achievement of the goals set:
- Implementation flaws can be identified early on.
- The performance of teams can be measured and improved.
- In the event of deviations from the established profitability ratios for products, markets, segments, customers, distribution channels, and so on, countermeasures can be implemented or the marketing mix can be adjusted accordingly.
Success in marketing planning is not easy to come by, just like success in anything else. It requires a significant amount of tedious effort. Continue to review the status of the marketing campaigns against the objectives that you have set and compare your marketing plan with the actual results for the best chance of success. The next step is to take corrective actions in accordance with the requirements. Because of this, you will be able to improve your marketing initiatives on an ongoing basis and have an easier time planning for the future.
When you include all of a marketing plan’s components, you will ultimately put yourself in a position to help achieve the marketing goals you have set for yourself. In this way, we will push you to meet your sales goals, which will ultimately result in an increase in your bottom line (profits).