Marketing Plan

Marketing Planning & Strategy:

 

Fundamentals of Marketing:

 

Marketing gives you a better understanding of potential opportunities within the market that will help develop the vision of the company. Therefore, it is definitely a process worth cultivating. In this section, we will identify Marketing fundamentals that will help you develop your Marketing plan.

 

Is there a Market for Your Product or Service?  This must be the first question that you answer as you need to know whether your product will survive or not. Factors like competition, location, uniqueness and demand all need to be analyzed. One word to help you, Research. The key is to gather as much information as possible on the current Market situation. This will give all the answers you need. Better yet, you don’t need to do it yourself, there are plenty of marketing agencies out there who do Market research as part of their core products.

 

Getting your Marketing Message Heard: Why, who, how, what and when. Why you are in this business and What do you want to accomplish. Who needs to hear the message, How will the message best be implemented and when is the best time for them to hear it. Like everything else, in marketing measuring is extremely important. Failure to measure and you’ll end up measuring your failure. This is the conventional method that most marketers or professionals use to answer some very basic – but fundamental issues in marketing.

 

There aren’t many things in life that you would get into without a plan. Marketing is no different. Your overall marketing plan should cover at least a six month period, and should be made up of weekly and monthly marketing schedules. Figure out how much money is in your budget.

 

As we all know, marketing of any kind costs money. How much money you are willing to commit to the cause is going to determine some key factors about how that money can be best spent. Remember, you want to be economical but you also need to be realistic on what it will take to pull in the leads you need to close new and repeat business.

 

 

Marketing Plan Outline Guide

 

The marketing plan outline guide highlights some important key factors to consider in a marketing plan. It’s similar to a preliminary research or overview that is conducted before getting started on a marketing plan. It consists of the following: Product definition, analysis, market segmentation, alternative marketing strategies, selected marketing strategy, and short and long-term projections.

 

For additional information, please see other marketing related guides below such as product launch guide and 4P’s prior to completing your marketing plan outline. You may download your free copy below.

 

pdf_file| » Download Free Marketing Plan Outline Guide (3287 downloads)

 

 

 

Identifying Your Target Market:

 

Everyone or anybody might be potential clients for your product

However, you probably don’t have the time or money to market to everyone or anybody.  Who is your ideal customer?  Who does it make sense for you to spend your time and money promoting your service to?   You might define your ideal customer in terms of income, age, geographic area, number of employees, revenues, industry, etc.  For example a massage therapist might decide her target market is women with household incomes of $75,000 or more who live in the Uptown area.

 

Knowing your competition:

Even if there are no direct competitors for your service, there is always competition of some kind.  Something besides your product is competing for the potential client’s money.  What is it and why should the potential customer spend his or her money with you instead?  What is your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition?

 

Finding a niche:

Is there a market segment that is not currently being served or is not being served well?  A niche strategy allows you to focus your marketing efforts and dominate your market, even if you are a small player.

 

Developing awareness:

It is difficult for a potential client to buy your product or service if they don’t even know or remember it exists.  Generally a potential customer will have to be exposed to your product 5 to 15 times before they are likely to think of your product when the need arises.  Needs often arise unexpectedly.  You must stay in front of your clients consistently if they are going to remember your product when that need arises.

 

Building credibility:

Not only must clients be aware of your product or service, they also must have a positive disposition toward it.  Potential customers must trust that you will deliver what you say you will.  Often, especially with large or risky purchases, you need to give them the opportunity to “sample”, “touch”, or “taste” the product in some way.  For example, a trainer might gain credibility and allow potential customers to “sample” their product by offering free, hour long presentations on topics related to their area of specialty.

 

Being consistent:

Be consistent in every way and in everything you do.  This includes the look of your collateral materials, the message you deliver, the level of customer service, and the quality of the product.  Being consistent is more important than having the “best” product.  This in part is the reason for the success of chains.  Whether you’re going to Surrey, British Columbia or Toronto, Ontario, if you reserve a room at a Courtyard Marriott you know exactly what you’re going to get.

 

Maintaining focus:

Focus allows for more effective utilization of the scarce resources of time and money.  Your promotional budget will bring you greater return if you use it to promote a single product to a narrowly defined target market and if you promote that same product to that same target market over a continuous period of time.

 

Before you ever consider developing a brochure, running an ad, implementing a direct mail campaign, joining an organization for networking or even conducting a sales call, begin by mapping a path to success through the development of a consistent, focused marketing strategy.

 

 Determine Your Primary Target Market

  • Why your brand – product above others?
  • Who is most likely to buy your product?
  • Who are they – single or married? Are they business owners? Are they government agencies?
  • What is their income level, age, demographics, etc?
  • Where do they live, shop and follow certain trends?

 

These are the people that you want to target. One of the most common mistakes in marketing is answering “Everyone” to the question.

 

Who is your target market?”  It may be that you have more than one target market, but there is no product in the world that appeals to each and every person. Even Coca-Cola targets different people with different messages.

 

Decide who is most likely to buy what you have to sell and target them. Your message to teenagers will be different than your message to housewives even if the product is exactly the same. Different markets may require different advertisements.

 

 

Product Launch Guide:

 

Launching a product takes proper coordination, and requires all departments to reach a deadline for launch-date. Depending on the size of your business, after the test-market phase, it is advisable to review and re-evaluate any new findings, and incorporate it into the launch pad as a second-tier test.

 

Typically, planning a product launch requires six main components, which extends to other sections. This free product launch outline guide will help you get started. For more information, you can view or download the PDF document below.

 

pdf_file| » Download Free Product Launch (3060 downloads)

 

 

 

The Building Blocks to Effective Marketing:

 

It’s More than Sales and Advertising:

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a one person shop, to be successful, you must have a marketing strategy and you must implement it consistently.  However, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t have to be a creative genius.

 

The key is developing a marketing strategy that forms a solid foundation for your promotional efforts.  Implementing promotional activities such as advertising, direct mail or even networking and one-to-one sales efforts without a marketing strategy is like buying curtains for a house you are building before you have an architectural plan.  How would you even know how many curtains to buy or what size they needed to be?

 

You can develop a strong marketing foundation by defining your product or service: 

 

  • Why does your brand or product exist?
  • Why is your brand – product or service better than others?
  • How is your product or service presented and/or packaged?
  • What is it that your customers are really buying ?
  • What distinguishes your product or brand in the current and future marketplace?
  • How many flagship-products do you have, developed or will be selling, and how will it fit for future market(s)?

 

You may be selling web-based software tools but your clients are buying increased productivity, improved efficiency and cost savings.  And if you offer several products or services which ones are the most viable to promote? To find out the answer, research, branding, innovation, data and observations are a good starting point.

 

 

Marketing Strategies:

 

Marketing strategy helps organizations to focus their attention to complete resource utilization to increase sales and win over their competitors. Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market.

 

When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives.

 

Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought strategy in a marketing plan means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign.

 

At regular time intervals, the firm should analyze the marketing decision. Usually this is done with the help of strategic models and the 3C’s model is considered for this purpose. To calculate the company’s strategic position, Ansoff matrix is used. The 3C’s model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign. There are three key parties involved in this model the corporation, the customer and the competitors. The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C’s or strategic triangle.

 

The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing.

 

When making a marketing plan depending on some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used below including 4Ps and 7Ps.

 

There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria:

 

Challenger, Leader and Follower are types of market dominance strategies:

Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Cost leadership, market segmentation and product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies.

 

Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Please see types of innovation below.

 

Types of Innovation Strategies:

  • Close followers,
  • Late follower,
  • Pioneers are types of innovation strategies,

 

Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps the firm to incorporate latest technologies.

  • Intensification,
  • Diversification,
  • Vertical integration,
  • and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies,

 

Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies.

 

A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough Market Research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have experience and know what tools to use when, how, where and why.

 

 

Marketing Mix 4P’s:

The marketing Mix 4P’s (product, price, place, promotion) model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not. Marketing mix 4P’s is an effective approach for developing a great marketing plan.  Please download your free copy below.

 

A detailed explanation of the 4P’s is as follows:

 

  • Product: Products are goods produced by the company on a large scale for the purpose of selling and earning profit.
  • Price: it is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors such as competition, market share, customer perception and product identity.
  • Place: it refers to the place where the product is sold, and can either be a physical store or a store on the Internet. It is also known as a distribution channel.
  • Promotion: in order to enlighten customers about a product, the marketer has to embark on promotion which involves advertising, public relation and point of sale.

 

pdf_file| » Download Free Marketing Mix 4Ps (1345 downloads)

 

 

 

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Marketing Mix 7P’s:

The good thing about the marketing mix 7P’s is that anyone can use it. However, if you are in the ‘Service industry’, integrating marketing mix 7P’s into your marketing mix may be more effective and practical. Similar to 4P’s, the 7P’s marketing mix consists of product, place, price, promotion, people, process, and physical environment. You may download your free copy here.

 

pdf_file| » Download Free Marketing Mix 7Ps (2629 downloads)

 

 

 

 

Marketing Management:

 

Marketing management involves choosing target markets that not only get new customers but also retain the existing ones. It is a business subject, which is based on research and study of practical applications of marketing techniques and management of the marketing resources. The one who excels in this field is known as marketing manager.

 

The job of the marketing manager is to influence the timing and level of customer demand so as to help the sales. It actually depends on the size of the business and environment in the corporate industry. Like if he is working in a huge production company, he will be the general manager of a particular product category assigned to him and he will be responsible for profit and loss with respect to the product. And in small business there is no marketing manager as his job is taken over by the partners of the company.

 

Creating and communicating best customer values can increase the number of customers. The steps taken and resources utilized to maintain existing customers and get new customers fall under marketing management. The scope is quite large because it not only consists of developing a product, but also retaining it. The term marketing management has many definitions. It actually depends on individual firms and how the marketing department functions and activities of other departments like operations finance, pricing and sales.

 

As indicated earlier, before deciding about a marketing strategy, the company must do an in-depth study about their business, and the market. This is where marketing management merges with strategic (business) planning. Usually the marketing strategies are of three types, customer analysis, company analysis and competitor analysis. Using the customer analysis, the market is broken down into different types of customers. The marketing management realizes the characteristics and other variables of each group.

 

They are geographical location, demographic, customer behavior pattern, trends and need. Like a group of people can be recognized who can be less price sensitive, purchases often and are growing. Such groups can be worked on by heavy investments as they are worth the money and time. They cannot only retain such customers and make new customers in this group but they can go to the very extent of turning back customers who don’t belong to this group. Understanding the needs makes customer’s expectations to be met per their satisfaction, better than the competitors, which will lead to higher sales and obvious profit.

 

Company analysis highlights the cost structure and resources of the company and cost position when compared to competitors. The accounting executives use it to learn about the profit earned by a particular product. From time to time, audits are conducted to study about the strengths of various brands of the company.

 

Marketers using Competitor Analysis build detail customer profiles. Using this method – in most cases, it gives a clear picture about the strengths and weaknesses of the firm, when compared to a competitor.

 

The competitor’s:

  • Cost structure,
  • Resources,
  • Competitive positioning,
  • Degree of vertical integration,
  • Product differentiation,
  • And profits are studied in detail and are compared to what company is doing in those regards,

 

The marketing management to do marketing analysis carries out marketing research.

 

The most common of such researches are:

  • Qualitative marketing research,
  • Quantitative marketing research,
  • Experimental techniques
  • and Observational techniques.

 

After all the studies and researches are conducted, it’s easier for the marketing team or manager to make strategic decisions and they then can design a marketing strategy to increase the profits and revenues of their company. The other goals can be profit over the long run, market share, and revenue growth.

 

 

Marketing Your Small Business:

 

Small business marketing may be the most important part in owning and maintaining a successful small business. A good portion of the marketing effort is determining the needs of your target market and then explaining that you provide solutions to meet those needs. Contrary to popular belief, it is a lot more than posting a sign or handing out flyers. Though many of the philosophies and tactics may be similar, small business marketing is an entirely different discipline.

 

Small business marketing may be the most important part in owning and maintaining a successful small business. A good portion of the marketing effort is determining the needs of your target market and then explaining that you provide solutions to meet those needs. Contrary to popular belief, it is a lot more than posting a sign or handing out flyers.

 

Though many of the philosophies and tactics may be similar, small business marketing is an entirely different discipline than marketing of large companies. Successful marketing is not just a tactic or strategy; it is an entire process and you are sure to fail if you are not enthusiastic about your small business.

 

Done properly, marketing can and will attract all the clients your small business can handle. But I would suggest you get to a place where you work only with clients who value what you have to offer. If you commit to following simple small business marketing systems, strategies and ideas you can significantly increase what you charge for your services. Unfortunately though, most small business promotions focus only on how great their products and services are. But you need to stay focused on what products and services your ideal clients want and need.

 

Here’s another big no-no to avoid. Instead of marketing only when you need money or cash flow, commit to marketing your products and services all of the time. It is very important to consistently market your products and services because as I have been saying for years, success is based on persistency and consistency, not magic.

 

Planning is also a key ingredient to the success of any small business. Developing a small business marketing plan will be one of the most crucial elements to your success. By creating your marketing plan you will eliminate the panic and need for an instant solution to financial problems because you can avoid many of the ups and downs that result from the all to common stop and start marketing. Your plan does not have to be set in stone, it can evolve as you and your business grow. The important thing is your dedication to consistency with your marketing.

 

The lack of persistency and consistency will lead to an unused marketing plan. This in turn will lead to spits and starts in your cash flow. Successful entrepreneurs who have a small business marketing plan make more money in less time. When you start to think of who your ideal client is and what products and services they want or need and then combine that with your marketing tools and techniques, an effective marketing plan is not far behind.

 

As you are probably starting to see small business marketing is an entire process, a synergy of the individual tactics and strategies. That’s right, small business marketing is a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Another common misconception is that small business marketing is just common sense. Nothing could be further from the truth. An understanding of how small business marketing is conducted is essential for you if success is your goal. You do want results and success don’t you?

 

It’s all about determining the needs of your target market and then providing solutions to meet those needs. So many people believe that marketing their small business is all about running advertisements, but it isn’t. If you are serious about your success in business, then make understanding marketing an on-going priority.

 

The ultimate result of small business marketing is to attract more new customers and persuade existing customers to purchase your products or services in higher quantities and more frequently. The successful can attribute their success to having a strategic plan and following it consistently. When you create a marketing plan you will be able to compete at a higher level. Your odds of winning the game significantly improve when you take the time to create a plan.

 

 

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