If you are in business, then you already know that marketing is the most important way that businesses communicate with the public about their products and services. What you may not know is that marketing isn’t just an art but is also a science. If you run a small business, you may not have had experience developing a marketing plan to turn your efforts at promoting your business into a rational and scientific effort to target a specific audience with a carefully considered message, but with a few simple tips, you, too, can join the big boys in targeting your core clientele with a customized message.
Experts recommend that you begin a marketing plan by considering your marketing objectives. To do so, it’s important to use the SMART system:
- Specific. Develop a specific objective, not a general one. So, instead of saying “I want to bring in more customers,” you might say, “I want to increase in-store traffic by 15 customers per day.”
- Measurable. Once you set your objective, be sure that it is something that can be measured and checked to make sure you’ve reached it. For example, how will you count your customers in the example given above?
- Achievable. Your objective should also be one that you can realistically achieve with the money, manpower, and resources you have available. There is no point in creating a marketing plan that you don’t have the resources to achieve.
- Realistic. Similarly, the targets that you set should be realistic. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid ambitious goals that are a bit of stretch, only that you shouldn’t set goals that are impossible to achieve because stretching too far can be demotivating if the results are never actually achieved.
- Time-Bound. You should set a time frame for achieving your goal in order to motivate you to achieve the goal and not let it linger for some future date.
Once you have set your objectives using the SMART system, you are in a good position to begin developing a plan for action. In this case, the marketing plan is the system you will use to put your SMART goals into effect. The marketing plan should examine your path to achieving your goals. To do so, you should consider the product or service you plan to market, its price, where and how you will sell it, and how you plan to reach your potential customers.
Here is where marketing research becomes helpful. As you discuss and develop your plan, you should research your market to better understand your target customer’s wants and needs. How will your product meet a specific need? What makes it superior to the competition? Being able to quantify some of these questions with market analysis will help you to develop effective strategies to reach your customers. For example, how can you profile your customers? What is their income level? How likely are they to purchase new vs. used products? What education level do they have? What language do they prefer to receive messages in? By answering questions like these, you can develop a profile of your customer that will help you target your marketing to their values, attitudes, wants, and needs.
Once you’ve develop your plan for how you hope to reach your target customer, there are two more things your plan needs to specify to be effective: a budget and a delegation of responsibility. Budgeting is essential for the same reason as it is essential in every other aspect of business, and this hardly needs explanation. However, delegation might need a few words of explanation: While it might seem that everyone in your organization should be working toward marketing your product, you want to make sure that specific people are in charge of implementing each part of the plan. Not only does this create a sense of responsibility, but it also ensures that your organization isn’t wasting time and effort duplicating tasks.
Following a few simple steps for writing a marketing plan can help to make your marketing efforts much more effective and give you an edge over the competition when it comes to reaching your target audience. Otherwise, there are a lot of professional business plan writing services e.g. SmartWritingService.com from which you can order a customized marketing plan online.