Marketing Plan

By Pat Smith

The reasons to create a marketing plan are endless. Not only does a written plan help determine how and when products will be advertised, they also help owners decide which marketing strategies are best suited for their target market.

Trying to run a business without a marketing plan is like drifting out to sea in a life raft. Instead of having a boat with a motor and steering, companies will bob and float until they sink or are rescued. It only makes sense to devise a navigational chart so you can reach the destination.

Not only do business marketing plans provide direction, they are also needed when companies are seeking working capital or want to bring in investors. Owners will want to make use of a high level marketing plan that includes detailed information about the company, management, objectives, strategies, actions, and financial forecast.

Companies that want to develop a plan for implementing strategies and monitoring results may want to use a marketing action plan instead. This kind of plan is helpful for figuring out the best marketing strategies; objectives for each strategy; action steps required to meet objectives; financial costs and man-hours needed to complete strategies; and required monitoring systems.

Plans will vary according to the company's needs, but should include market forecast, sales forecast, marketing budget, and objectives.

Market forecast can be determined by conducting market research. Understanding the wants and needs of consumers and clients is vital for writing a marketing plan. Gathering data using a variety of methods helps companies figure out how well a product or service will be received in the marketplace. It also aids in discovering the best advertising methods to maximize marketing budgets.

Figuring out advertising methods helps to establish sales forecast. If a company wants to double or triple their sales, owners need to know which advertising methods will reach the highest level of buyers. Knowing the exposure and anticipated conversion rates can provide fairly accurate assessments of future sales.

Expense budgets have to be developed for each strategy. Most companies use a variety of advertising mediums instead of relying on one source. While traditional methods of print, TV and radio are still beneficial, companies also need to look at online marketing and mobile marketing.

As mobile phones and handheld devices evolve a greater number of people will use these devices to access the Internet. Making use of mobile marketing now will give companies an advantage when the strategy becomes standard protocol.

Anyone entering into Internet marketing ought to create a detailed strategic marketing plan. This venue involves creating a web of interconnected content to develop a solid foundation of inbound links.

There are dozens of online marketing strategies, with new ones being added all the time. A few of the more popular include websites and blogs, podcasts, online videos, local listings, link building, and social media marketing.

Monitoring Web performance is essential for learning which venues provide the most bang for the buck. However, it can be challenging to obtain accurate ROI with Internet advertising because so many variables can skew the numbers.

Many companies find it advantageous to hire marketing technologists to develop digital advertising tracking programs. These professionals analyze data and create support systems to ensure marketing goals are met and to boost sales revenue.

Operating a successful business requires research, planning, and action. Creating a solid marketing plan from the start will help owners achieve their goals, as long as they stick to the plan.

Online Marketing DNA offers personal business coaching to help owners implement a marketing plan and stay the course. We also offer business analysis to review current business marketing plans and unveil areas that need strengthening. We invite you to learn more about our Web marketing services and welcome serious business inquiries.