Promotion is vital to sell your products or services and gain an outstanding ROI. It can seem like an easy job where you have to spend some money on promotions and post pictures on social media. On the contrary, it is quite challenging.
A marketing program without a proper plan can confuse your target audience and even harm your business. Besides, marketing introduces your product to potential customers, so it is vital to get it absolutely perfect.
That's where a marketing plan comes in— the first step in this program. The plan provides a basic outline to carry out the agenda successfully.
So, what exactly is a marketing plan? Why does your company need one? Keep reading to get a closer look at the marketing plan and its benefits.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a functional record that outlines a marketing strategy. After the plan is drawn, the organization will implement it to reach a broader range of potential customers in its target market.
This plan will detail everything the organization should do to conduct a successful marketing program. It includes information on the target market, level of expected outreach, PR campaigns, and budget allocation.
It will also help the company measure the program's success after its completion. The components of a simple marketing plan format include but are not limited to—
- Comprehensive market research to aid in the pricing of the product or service
- Details on competition and new entries
- Selection of platform (TV, radio, magazines, specific social media platforms)
- Branding and messaging designed to the likeness of the target audience
- Accounts on the actions and timeline of the program
- Tracking the performance and measuring the results of the marketing program
So, you can consider it as a process of writing a marketing plan template to sell products to potential consumers. That will, in turn, help you achieve financial gain.
A marketing plan timeline is a chronological representation of the plan— encompasses your objectives, strategy, budget, and action plans. It will systematize your plan to provide a detailed schedule to follow.
So, how long does it take to create a marketing plan? Typically, it will take around 6 to 12 weeks to complete a plan. It varies on the resources available, budget, and the size of the project.
For instance, it will take about 4 to 6 weeks to create a 12-month digital marketing plan. On the other hand, creating an overall marketing 4-year plan will take more than 12 weeks.
How Can Your Company Benefit from a Marketing Plan?
No matter the size of the business, a marketing plan can be helpful. It can coordinate your company's objectives and define an appropriate marketing mix. Plus, it can systematize each activity to efficiently carry out the tasks to fulfill the company goals.
- Practicality - A marketing plan allows you to have a more explicit focus on tangible targets. It can help you create a more practical plan and implement them accordingly.
- Consistency - It will provide your team with consistency and ensure the efforts are not fractured and ineffective.
- Priorities - A marketing template will help you prioritize your strategies based on their attainable results.
- Budgeting - It will push your team to stick with the budget, even on segments of the strategy.
Along with these factors, a good marketing plan can even help you attract new investors.
How to Develop a Marketing Plan
Building a marketing plan requires a lot of time and effort. Before kick-starting the strategy, you need to ensure that keen and talented executives lead the marketing team.
So, how to make a marketing plan? With a suitable budget in place, here's how you can move ahead:
Step #1. Analyze the Market
Analyze the market and the position of your business among the competition. You run a thorough SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Document your strengths and weaknesses and research your opportunities and threats regarding competition and other market factors. Take a closer look at the maturity of your offerings, relevance of current messaging, and channel partners.
That will also help you locate your target audience and their level of interest in your product or service. Plus, it will lead you to discover growth opportunities.
Step #2. Set Your Objectives
Once you know your business's stance in the industry, you can draw out a set of suitable objectives. You should work around the five elements of a marketing plan called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
You should also allocate your budget for the marketing activities ahead here. You should spend about 6% to 10% of your gross revenue as a rule of thumb.
The early phases require more funding than the later phases since you have established a marketing foundation.
Step #3. Outlining the Plan
After putting together enough research and resources for the program, it's time to consider how to achieve your goals. You should start by choosing marketing activities to reach out to your target audience.
For instance, if you are targeting a young demographic, it is wiser to run a social media campaign. It will yield more attention than spending money on newspaper or billboard advertisements.
You should also choose multiple strategies to ensure your messages reach your audience. For instance, besides running social media campaigns, you should provide offers and discounts.
Step #4. Keeping Up with Your Plans
You should create a marketing plan timeline that will allow you to keep track of the activities. Then, you should analyze and adapt to the changing market trends.
You should be open to tweaking your plans as required, especially in an ever-evolving digital marketing world. Plus, you should develop a contingency plan in case of any mishaps.
How Can Technology Help in Marketing Strategies?
Modern technologies like organizational software with marketing business plan templates enable you to streamline your plans with much ease.
This software can even provide you with a step-by-step template and marketing plan worksheet, among other features. It can refine your strategies and help you achieve your goals with greater efficiency.
For instance, StrategyX provides a strategic marketing plan template, making your workflow more smooth-running. It lets you measure and monitor your marketing activities and results in an integrated dashboard.
Furthermore, it will be complete with the 10 steps in the strategic marketing planning process for compelling results.
With adherence to the plan and assistance from technology, you can expand your reach to potential customers. Plus, you should leave some space to refine your plans as you go.
No matter the size of your business, a marketing plan backed by research and effort can reap tangible benefits. So, you can achieve your sales goals and take your business profits to the next level.