Marketing is not as simple and basic as most would like to think. It is a long and multifaceted management process that involves four main components. These are commonly referred to as the 4 Ps – product, price, place, and promotion. This means marketing entails product development, price determination, distribution channels to get to customers, and promotional strategies. Coordinating these 4 important components requires meticulous planning. After all, if you do not plan you are planning to fail. In case you are wondering how best you can draft or come up with a marketing plan; that is what this article is all about.
What Must It Contain?
You start your plan with a summary where you lay out what your business is about. You are looking at elements such as business name, background, vision, mission, and the like.
Marketing Goals And Objectives
Here you will be discussing what are setting out to achieve marketing-wise. You will detail the specific activities or projects you intend to do towards your marketing efforts. You can also go as far as breaking it down to key performance indicators, responsibilities, time frames, and so on.
This section will need some form of market research. What you are doing here is analysing your target customer. You will profile or describe the attributes of that customer. As is usually the case in market research you will come up with a profile of your ideal customer. Your ideal customer is the one who belongs to your target market. How old are they? Where are they found or stay? What is their occupation? What are their income levels? What are their pain points or challenges? (Essentially those that you wish to address) These are some of the things you get to describe under this section.
There are several players already operating in the industry. Some of them can be providing more or less what you are or are looking to provide. This necessitates the need to study your competitors. What do they offer? What are their prices? Where are they located? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What loopholes are there that you can capitalize on? How much of the market do they command? These are some of the questions a competitor analysis must answer.
It is seldom an incomplete plan without doing a SWOT Analysis. It should be mostly easy to come up with. This is because the preceding sections would have somehow covered some of that. You are detailing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a startup or business.
When you get to this part you start delving deeper into how you will strategically engage the market. Here you will explore your products, your pricing, your placement, and promotional approaches. Furthermore, you will explore the various types of people central to your marketing efforts. These are people like customers, staff, shareholders, suppliers, authorities, and so on. You will also discuss the process i.e. how you will roll out the marketing strategy. How will you measure performance i.e. your KPIs? This will also come in here.
What type of marketing material or content will you use? Where will you propagate that content? We are talking about which platforms you will market your brand on. Will it be on the internet, social media, or print media? This is all pertinent to marketing channels. You also will have to demonstrate the rationale behind settling for those marketing channels.
Your marketing plan must include a budget. Having a budget helps in later on determining whether or not there was a good return on investment. I once did an article on how much your marketing budget should be, be sure to check it out. Anyways, I mentioned in that article that your marketing budget must range from 6 to 20 per cent of gross revenue.
If you had not yet drafted a marketing plan for 2022 then this article came at a good time. It is not too late to start working on one. You will also get to use it at any other time when say, you want to pivot, scale or introduce new products or services. What I discussed with you are guidelines, so bear in mind that marketing plans do and can vary from context to context. Please do take having a marketing plan seriously. In engaging prospective investors or partners, it will become handy since it will mostly be requested for.