Businesses have so much competition these days that it can be hard for customers to even notice a business, let alone become loyal. A marketing plan will help to promote your business’ products and services, and determine future strategies on product development, market development, channel design, sales promotion and profitability. This will ensure your business is seen by its target market in a smart way and lead to better quality leads and more sales opportunities.
Creating a marketing plan involves researching the relevant industry, conducting market research on customers and competitors, defining your target market and customers, conducting a SWOT analysis to see where your business fits into the market, conducting a competitor analysis, setting goals and outlining the strategies to achieve those goals. The Australian Government’s department of Business has a handy marketing plan template you can access here to help make your own.
Businesses with marketing plans are more likely to succeed because they are organised, have strategic direction and have identified their targets. These plans connect your business’ skillset to customers which will garner results. Sitting down and creating a marketing plan requires time, commitment and research but will ultimately pay off and contribute greatly to the success of a business.
The first reason marketing plans are vital for success is they keep you organised and headed in the right direction. Research shows that marketers who proactively plan marketing projects and campaigns are 356% more likely to succeed. The same research shows marketers who are organised, set goals, plan ahead and document their strategy are more likely to be successful.
Creating a marketing plan will make sure that everything a business does is feeding into the bigger picture and is in line with their strategic direction. Clearly knowing marketing goals fosters focus and productivity as well as consistency, and consistency in leads will provide a solid platform for business growth. It will be much easier to plan ahead if there are consistent leads coming in!
It is important for businesses to clarify their goals and actually set out how those goals will be achieved, so they can become a reality. Without this, the marketing efforts will be inconsistent, scattered and directionless which won’t provide results. Clarifying goals also means staff will know their own and each other’s responsibilities and will be able to manage themselves better, turning your business operation into a well-oiled machine.
Taking the time to make a plan for your business’ marketing efforts will help you to formalise new ideas, meet deadlines and set a reputation: if you think ahead and remain consistent, customers and potential leads will be impressed and know what level of professionalism to expect from your business.
The next reason developing a marketing plan is so important is that it helps you to identify and reach your target market, so you can understand how to best meet their needs. Once you have figured out who your target market is, you will be able to determine what they respond well to, what they need and how to reach them.
Marketing plans will also identify competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. Businesses will be able to use this information to position their brand and services as better or different than the competitors, so their offerings stand out from the rest.
Once the target market has been determined, businesses will be able to create a strategy that reaches the target audience, including the messages, channels and tools that will be used. Different audiences will respond well to different messages and channels of delivery, for example a target audience of women in their 20s and 30s will respond well to social media marketing, but a target audience of people in nursing homes will require a different channel such as physical flyers to get a message across.
Some examples of marketing tools may include advertisements, search engine optimisation, social media, surveys, event marketing, video, direct mail and email marketing. Once a business knows what their target market will respond to, they will be able to target them in a smarter way. This will ultimately reduce marketing costs and improve the chances of turning leads into sales.
The final reason why marketing plans are important is they help businesses make sales! Marketing is what glues the skills of your business to the results: even if you have a great product offering, people will still need to know about it first to be able to buy from you.
Selling is the most fundamental element of business, and a business can’t succeed or continue without reaching people to use their product or service. Developing a marketing plan will help to map out and see how your product or service will need to be sold.
Basically, a marketing plan helps make sales easier. This is because sales efforts will be streamlined towards your goal, all staff will know their place to achieve the goal, customers will be target marketed specifically to what works best for them and your efforts will be consistent – a recipe for success!
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker.
Australian Government Department of Business, How to write your marketing plan, https://business.gov.au/Planning/Business-plans/How-to-write-your-marketing-plan, 2020.