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How to Develop a Marketing Plan
Successful companies develop a marketing plan, usually as part of an overall business plan, which outlines areas such as:
  • Who the target customers are;
  • How to reach the target market;
  • Strategies to retain the target customers.
An effective marketing plan will act as a reference document to execute the marketing strategy. Companies that develop a marketing plan will have an advantage over the competition through a methodical approach to creating products and services that best meet the customer's needs.
Elements of an Effective Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a roadmap used to attract customers and dramatically improve awareness of your company. There are several key sections that should be included in a marketing plan including:
  • Target market – describes the customers that are being targeted and defines their demographic profile (age and gender), psychographic profile (their interests) and their precise needs as they relate to the product or service that you are offering.
  • Unique selling proposition – this is what will distinguish your company from its main competitors. Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business distinct from the competition, sales will not happen.
  • Pricing and positioning strategy – this involves the value of what you are selling relative to the competition and creating a distinct impression of your company in the consumer's mind. For example, if you want to become known as a high-end brand, having a low price may discourage customers from purchasing.
  • Distribution plan– describes the network of how customers will purchase the product or service, whether it be through a website or a retail store.
  • Offers – special deals that will attract new customers and drive past customers back to you.
  • Marketing materials – the collateral used to promote the business to current and prospective customers. This can include collateral like the website, billboards, print ads and social media campaigns.
  • Promotion strategy – outlines how new customers will be reached and can include tactics such as news releases, events, trade shows and TV ads.
  • Online strategy – most customers go online to find reviews of products or services to purchase. The right online marketing strategy in place can help to attract new customers and gain a competitive advantage. The components of an online strategy include how keywords will be optimized, search engine optimization, paid online advertising and how social media will be leveraged.
  • Conversion strategy – the techniques employed to turn prospective customers into paying customers.
  • Referral strategy – "word of mouth” marketing can be very effective and is executed by encouraging, informing, promoting and rewarding customers to think and talk as much as possible about the company.
  • Retention strategy – attracting new customers is equally as important as having customers return. By using retention strategies, revenues and profits can be increased by getting customers to purchase from you more frequently over time.
A great marketing plan needs to clearly define objectives and how they will be achieved.
Marketing Plan Help Online
Writing a marketing plan can be a daunting task. But, business consultants online deliver business wisdom, advice and mentoring in a structured way. Taking the time to develop a marketing plan has many benefits and business plan help is available to give your company that extra edge.
Our Mentor Engine™ matches you with the qualified and experienced mentors who give you confidential, personalized business advice and feedback that you can measure.
" provided me with more feedback in a few sentences than my previous employer provided me in 6 years! — Laureen O'Neill
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