A marketing plan is a tool enabling your business to get as much value as possible for any money you spend on marketing.
Many businesses choose to approach the market randomly. Unfortunately, this attitude often results in waste of resources. A marketing plan can help structure the actions.
If you are approaching a new target group it is wise to double-check if you have selected the ideal target group.
If you estimate a sound correlation between your marketing costs and your earnings potential (commercial viability) you can go ahead with the planning.
It is important to have the necessary materials ready before initiating your
marketing. There is no point in starting before you have sorted out business
cards, stationery, brochures, and
a website, etc.
Some activities may suit your product/service and target group better than others. Always remember to relate expenses to earnings potential. Do not use expensive TV commercials to sell cheap pencils which are only sold in 50 shops.
A marketing plan is a tool that helps – and forces you to think in a structured way how you will market and sell your products and services. When you write down your plans they tend to be more real and fit for use.
A marketing plan could be structured like this:
1. Action plan for sales- and marketing activities
Write how you will manage the marketing in your business month by month. You might have an underlying description of the activities on another sheet of paper. When all the months are filled in you will have a good view of how you promote your business.
2. Calendar that shows what and when the activities will take place
Focuses on what you want to do and when you will do it. It always helps to put dates on the activities if you want to get it done. When filled out you can overview if you have the resources to execute your plans. If your marketing plan is not too complex you might do action plan and leave out the calendar.
You can download a free marketing plan template from this web site. It is not rocket science to develop a marketing plan, it is common sense. Use the template as guideline to develop your marketing plan.
Marketing and activity planning is not something to be carried out only once.
Your marketing plan must undergo regular updates and adjustments. It is also
necessary to run regular evaluations of the impact of your activities. What is
the feedback on your advertisement? Is the number of inquiries commensurate with
the marketing effort?
In connection with the planning you should also consider which activities to handle by yourself and which you need professional assistance for. Also, it is important to not launch more activities than you will be able to follow up on.
This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back.
John Ilhan, founder of the Crazy John´s mobile phones chain, Australia