How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

Marketing is the soul of your business, it means anything you do for the promotion of your business comes under marketing. However, without a plan or strategy your marketing campaign will not deliver the desired results. Therefore, creating marketing plan for any business is vital.

Now the question arise; how to create an effective marketing plan for a company? We all know the format of a marketing plan. Whether you make a formal or informal proposal, a plan should be such which touches all the essential points to deliver the targeted goal.

To make an effective plan, there is a famous rule called 4P’s. Here, P’s stand for Price, Product, Promotion and Placement. In this another P is added called People. Today while doing digital marketing or the traditional marketing one should understand people or the customers you are dealing with. It’s important to figure out what is significant for the business, and later make a plan accordingly.

Generally, in a marketing plan the following points are considered –

Market Analysis: First analysis your broader market, where are the opportunities that you can look for? What are the scopes in the current market? After analyzing the broader scope of the market; target on the niche values.

Identify the Target Customers: Unlike the broader analysis of the market; here you aim on the targeted customers. You look for the scopes where you can promote or market your product to get the higher returns and acceptance. Here from targeted customers to clients, you also find out the needs and demands of the audience. Once you know, who all are your customers and what exactly they are looking for then you can jump to next step.

Marketing Plan: In this you perform, precise activities which helps in achieving the goals and objectives you are targeting at. Here, you plan how you will promote the product/service? What are the specific areas of promotion? What would be the budget of this plan execution? Etc. Plus, you also estimate the ROI of this marketing strategy.

Competitive Edge: It’s important to define your competitors too. One should know, what strategies are being used by the competitors to reach to the potential customers. If you know what your competitors are doing, you will be able to modify the plan and maybe your marketing analyst will come with something more innovative that can capture the mass attention.

Sales and Strategy Forecast: If you have a target to achieve you can plan out your work according. It’s just like keep the figures real and amenable. Unrealistic figures would not help you ever to get the target on time. Secondly with these forecast, you can compare your marketing strategies and come up with the best solutions for future activities.
These above tips are vital or the stepping stones for any business, but in reality, companies need to incorporate multiple web channels for their business marketing plans. Below are popular web channels that business uses for their planning and strategies:

Social Media Marketing: One of the most promising way of marketing in today’s date. From LinkedIn to Facebook and from Twitter to Google+, companies use these platforms to target the right set of customers. From a survey by social media – 93% of marketers use social media for business.

Mobile Marketing: Another most prompting way of marketing which is used in today’s digital world. The acceptance of smartphones and tablets has helped to change the way companies used to target their customers earlier; these days they implement strategies that reach customers on their devices itself. From a survey via Our Mobile Planet, 89% of smartphone users notice mobile ads.

Email Marketing: The marketing plan via email is quite an old one. It is an effective and popular way of promotion for many small business owners. Get the email data of your possible customers and send them your customize business emails to let them know what you are offering.

Blog Marketing: Blogging is a big focus when it comes to content marketing. Blog provides a personal touch and advantage to your social media marketing too. Here you have a freedom or control over the product or service you are marketing for. Companies are hiring full-time bloggers for this job. Although, 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger.
These are the points you should remember while making plan and strategies and how to reach the customers for a booming business.

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7 Urgent Things To Do Before Writing Your Marketing Plan

Have you ever wondered how to streamline creating a marketing plan?

Can I show you 7 simple questions to ask to help speed up creating your next marketing plan?

The first question to ask is, “Do I really need a marketing plan.”

You may not. If everything you are doing to bring in all the business you want, don’t change a thing. Even if you or your staff are bored with it. Let it keep profiting until it stops profiting.

Next ask, “What do I want a marketing plan to do for me and my business.”

Many marketing plans are written as part of a business plan. Also, marketing plans are written when looking for new or more funding. Most marketing plans are created as a road map, a guide to the next 12-18 months of marketing campaigns

Now, “What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?” Answer in a compelling way, why anyone would choose your products, services or ideas over all the other choices they have, including doing nothing.

Of course, you are making and “Irresistible Offer” every time you are in front of someone. Business and marketing are all about offers. You give me this and I’ll give you that. Keep in mind that without an offer, no business transpires. Think of the many times you have seen an advertisement or marketing message and couldn’t figure out what was being offered. Don’t make this critical mistake. State exactly what you will be offering in your marketing plan.

OK, “Where is your ideal future client or customer?” Not just anyone, but who is the ideal lead to generate for your products, services or ideas. Where can you find enough of your ideal future clients to be profitable? When you do find them, how much do you know about their hopes, aspirations, desires, fears, problems, etc? Take off your shoes and walk in your future clients shoes for a week and see, hear and feel what they see, hear and feel. Then and only then, will you know their real problems.

I’m sure you’ve decided on which, if any, of the many of the different “marketing media options you’ll want to test.” Options like direct response mailing campaigns, yellow page ads or email marketing. How about tele-marketing, newspaper display ads or Webinars? Networking, Social media marketing or pay-per-click marketing? We could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. Where are you going to spend your marketing budget

Finally, as long as you are going after new clients, “How are you capturing their personal information?” I don’t mean their shoe size, waist size or height (but you may need them depending on what you are selling). Are you asking for their name, email address and snail mail address? If not, how will you communicate with them in the future?

Now grab a piece of paper and start answering these questions.Doing so will focus your marketing plan and anyone reading it will know exactly the what, where, when, who and how you are planning to market your business.

OK, I admit it; there are more than 7 questions to answer. You should have seen the ones I edited out. I’ve saved them for another article in the near future, so keep checking back.

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Planning for the Discovery Meeting for Your Free Marketing Plan

If you plan on taking advantage of the offer for a free marketing plan, then you need to know what you have to get together before you have the discovery meeting with your consultant. Your consultant will then create your free marketing plan that will include recommendations for what additional marketing services can help your business.

What is a discovery meeting?

The discovery meeting brings you and the marketing professional together to talk about different marketing services offered. They will be looking to understand your business better – in its current state and your future vision. The marketing consultant will also explain the variety of marketing services offered so you will be better able to understand the final marketing plan when it is delivered.

What are some of the marketing services offered?

Marketing services go far beyond keyword research and website optimization. It can include everything from brand development, SEO consultation, telemarketing services, email marketing, white papers, publishing and more. A marketing plan doesn’t create a path from point A to Point B; it takes a dynamic approach to identifying the influences on your demographic to then create a multi-channel marketing web that is specific to your brand, product or service.

What do I need to have ready?

To prepare for your discovery meeting you first have to contact Marketing.com using their online form, chat option, or via email or phone. They will want a brief overview of your product and services, and then they will schedule the discovery meeting. For the discovery meeting you will want to bring along:

• The existing marketing plan or strategy
• Analysis reports
• SEO strategies
• Product/service descriptions
• Development descriptions
• Demographic information

The marketing professional will then be able to look at these and ask more specific questions to gain insight into what would be the best marketing services to include in your plan.

What makes up a marketing plan?

The marketing plan is the overview of multi-channel approaches you should be implementing to develop and retain your prospects. It may include a call for brand development and demand generation as well. If your existing strategy is somewhat successful, but you want to grow – the marketing services it recommends may be more focused on customer relations – such as social media marketing, email marketing and telemarketing services.

What happens next?

After your discovery meeting, your consultant will complete and finish your free marketing plan for you. Once you have reviewed the plan, it is time to decide what will be your strategy of implementation. This can involve an analysis of your competition to begin to prioritize what areas of your marketing need the most attention first. The strategies are considered dynamic and are responsive to the ongoing data analysis of your SEO performance that you should be collecting and reviewing on a regular basis. With your marketing plan to guide you with marketing services that will be effective for your business, you can increase your presence, influence and retention quickly.

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10 Steps to Design a Successful Marketing Plan

Generally, companies are broken down into four levels of hierarchy, the corporate, the division, the business unit and the product level. The overall plan of the company is designed at a corporate level. As part of this planning, each resource is allocated to each division of the company. Next, division level planning allocates resources to each business unit of the company. In addition, business unit planning designs a strategic plan for each business area, which determines each of the marketing objectives/goals, strategies and tactics, that have to be consistent with the overall strategic plan.

Therefore, a marketing plan, according to Kotler, is a “written document, which includes the objectives, strategies and action plans regarding the elements of the marketing mix which facilitate and enable compliance with the strategy dictated at the corporate level”.

So in order to bring success to your business, you need a strategic marketing plan. Strategic plans are classified according to their time frame to long, medium and short- term plans. Usually long-term plans tend to be between 5-10 years at corporate level, medium-term plans 2-5 years and short-term consists of a time period ranging from 6 months to 1 year.

A proper marketing plan has 10 sections.

Executive Summary: the marketing plan like all the documents that are submitted to established executive bodies must begin with a brief summary of the whole plan, with basic numerical data and info.

Mission and Vision: the marketing plan includes the company’s “reason of existence”, values and its future intentions and strategic approach.

Situation Analysis: this section includes all the market research results with various subsections. It includes an external analysis (macroenvironment and microenvironment analyses) and an internal analysis (with the assistance of various internal matrices such as BCG Matrix and General Electric Matrix).

SWOT Analysis: the company’s strengths and weaknesses and environmental threats and opportunities for the company, this is the basis for defining the marketing objectives and strategies.

Objectives: the goals that the company plans to achieve, that can be classified based on their characteristics as quantitative or qualitative.

Marketing Strategies: based on the objectives, a marketing strategy is the roadmap to success.

Marketing Mix: one of the key points of the marketing plan is the design of medium and long-term approach of the 4 Ps (price, place, product, promotion).

Action Program: on this section all the actions to be performed are gathered with specific information, timetables and responsibilities among the personnel.

Provisional Income Statement: the plan must include an income statement with any inputs for which the marketing department is responsible for.

Monitoring and Control: the purpose of this section is to make sure that all 9 sections are followed and the proposed objectives are being achieved.

Apart from these 10 sections a marketing plan in order to be successful it needs to have 3 characteristics.

The plan must be flexible, because the business environment is changing rapidly and the plan needs to be able to adapt in order to achieve the objectives that have been set.

The marketing plan must be clear and precise in each section order to avoid misunderstandings within the department.

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Marketing Plan for Your Business Success

A quote that I use on a regular basis is “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” by Benjamin Franklin. In business, the most important plans to have are a business plan and a marketing plan. Today we will discuss the marketing plan. The marketing plan shows the direction of all marketing and advertising efforts. Remember, marketing is the total efforts of getting together buyers and sellers, whereas advertising is the types of communication used in marketing. Advertising includes TV, radio, online, print, and other mediums. Let’s go over some important parts of the marketing plan that will help your business succeed.

Situation Analysis – This is the current state of your business. It is where the question of why you are in business is answered. What products do you offer? What problem are you trying to solve? Also, how is your business different than others? The situation analysis is a look at the inner-workings of your business to identify product and service offerings, differences, and the main reason why you exist. Business owners can build a firm foundation for their mission and vision statement with this information and are better able to communicate their value to customers.

External Environment -The next part of the marketing plan is the external environment. What is going on outside of your business? Business owners should take a look at what is going on in the external environment or industry. Are other businesses in your industry succeeding or closing shop? Is the industry in a growth or declining phase? Could there be threats that could jeopardize your business operations? Industry information can be found online at http://www.sba.gov.

Target Market – Based on research, the target market section defines the ideal customers for your business. Who and where are your ideal customers? It defines income, gender, and level of education for your target market. When defining your target market, business owners should look at census, demographics, and other secondary information. A clearly defined target market enables business owners to better use resources to obtain new customers.

Advertising Mediums – There are many options available in advertising mediums. For example, TV, print, billboards, email, flyers, social media, and radio are some common mediums. Business owners should consider different advertising mediums to reach their target market. If your target market has high usages of the Internet, then use online advertising mediums. Take into account your marketing budget as well when choosing mediums.

Marketing Budget – The marketing budget explains how business owners will pay for marketing efforts. A marketing budget should be based on a percentage of gross sales, advertising mediums utilized, and other factors. Some marketing expenses to include in the marketing budget are tradeshows, events, and sponsorships.

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Project Risk Management and Assurance

Why do so many organisations embark on high-risk projects without demanding robust project assurance?

Projects fail for many reasons. Recent global studies indicate that inadequate risk management is a common cause.

Successful project managers aim to resolve high levels of exposure before they occur, via systematic risk management processes.

Many projects are inherently exposed to myriad risks and are often significant in scale, complexity and ambition. Delivering large-scale projects can often be adversely impacted by a bias towards being over-optimistic.

Imperfect, insufficient or inadequate data increases exposure that often results in over-estimating benefits and under-estimating costs.

Managing macro and micro-level events related to achieving project deliverables, whilst balancing the needs of many stakeholders, has become increasingly important.

Assessing risks at both portfolio and work-stream levels helps increase confidence that risks are understood.

Projects are often prioritised relevant to their levels of perceived exposure and one has its own risk profile.

Project Risk Management

Project risk management focuses on identifying, analysing and responding to project events.

It should be designed to systematically identify and manage levels of uncertainty and potential threats to delivering project objectives successfully.

Risk management processes should be iterative throughout a project’s life-cycle and embedded in project management planning and activities. Smaller projects often require minor work and periodic monitoring.

Complex projects need formalised processes to analyse, manage and report risks.

Good reporting relies on clear descriptions of all exposure, their impact on the projects, and potential costs for mitigation and inaction.

This helps ensure project personnel understand the potential impact risks may have on projects’ success and have prepared strategies to minimise negative consequences.

Problems occur when there is limited visibility of risks at project and portfolio levels or approaches to risk-management are ad-hoc and inconsistent.

Further problems can arise when risks are identified but recorded at a very high level accompanied by highly subjective risk ratings, rather than being the result of more substantive risk assessment.

When these problems arise, an organisation would benefit from clearer, more formal and wide-spread processes for capturing and monitoring risks.

Project and Portfolio Risk Assessments

Project and portfolio risk assessments should be undertaken to understand their risk profiles and associated threats in achieving business objectives.

Assessments should identify the action plans to address the risks identified and allocate executive responsibility to manage them. Additional risk assessments should be carried out on selected projects (perhaps by prioritising them by value or complexity).

Risk management processes should be on-going and monitored throughout a project’s life-cycle.

Regular risk reports would provide Project Sponsors, Senior Responsible Officers and Steering Groups with better visibility of projects’ risk profiles.

Whether you’re responsible for overseeing or managing a project, robust project assurance will help you address the risks that threaten its success.

Mark Gwilliam FCCA CA is the founder and Director of Business Advisory Services.

From humble beginnings, the firm has grown from strength to strength.

It has matured from a small accounting and tax services practice to one that helps small business owners, entrepreneurs and executives navigate complex challenges; including strategy, risk management and internal audit, managing shared-service centres and operations.

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