With a good marketing plan, you reach your target groups, increase your customer base and improve your bottom line in the end. Without customers, your company will not survive, and in order to attract and keep customers, your company needs to market itself.
It is unlikely that people will just come to your store or website and buy something from you without knowing who you are, what you sell and why they should choose you instead of a competitor. Marketing helps your customers understand how your products or services differ from those of your competitors, and the marketing plan helps you develop your products or services so they, in fact, satisfy the needs of your target group.
Marketing is for all companies – both big and small
Furthermore, a marketing plan is often needed when you look for financing and, in any event, it helps you set clear, realistic and measurable goals for your company. Developing a marketing plan takes time and commitment. At the same time, it is a very valuable process that can contribute tremendously to the success of your company. Many smaller companies don’t place enough importance in marketing. They often view it as something that requires lots of money and fancy advertising campaigns. But marketing is much more than advertisements and sales.
What makes your company unique?
Building your brand is an important part of building your company. Some of the questions you need to consider in order to create a solid foundation for your company and your brand are:
- What are the needs of your target groups?
- How do your competitors try to satisfy the needs of your target groups?
- How can you help your target groups understand why your product or service is better than or different from that of the competition?
You probably already thought about some of these questions when you created your business plan, but many companies are not aware that the questions are also fundamental in their marketing. If you have already dealt with these critical questions, you have taken the first step towards building a successful business and a brand with impact!
A marketing plan is a strategic document
Research for and preparation of your marketing plan gives you the chance to:
- Identify your target groups and understand how your products or services satisfy their needs
- Identify your competitors and learn about their strengths and weaknesses
- Position your brand, your products and services, so your target groups see your company as being better or different from the competition
- Set specific, measurable goals and timeframes for your marketing activities
- Work out a strategy for how you reach your target groups, including what channels and tools you will use
A marketing plan gives you control over your company
One of the biggest advantages of developing a marketing plan is that it helps you prioritise your resources and plan your company’s growth. The planning process helps you understand the different factors that can impact your success, so instead of worrying about the future, you can achieve a high degree of control over your business and your livelihood. In many ways, your marketing plan is a useful tool in the daily running of your business. When developing your plan, you will set goals and milestones that will help you to:
- Budget and allocate resources
- Motivate yourself and your staff
- Make your marketing activities more effective
It is important to have a marketing plan – and to keep it up to date
Your marketing plan is not a document you create once and then file away in a filing cabinet. It is a living guide that you should develop as your company grows and/or changes. Therefore, make sure you regularly review and revise your marketing plan.
Remember: Having an effective marketing plan requires discipline, time and focus, and the process of creating it can seem challenging. On the other hand, the process and the results are particularly rewarding. You get the chance to be creative – and it is also fun!