Most businesses start off as great ideas for products and services. And they have a good potential of becoming big in their respective industries. However, they're missing an important component to running and growing a successful business - a marketing plan.
Some may think that outlining their marketing strategy is optional or unnecessary to the success of their company. But the truth is trying to wing this part of the business could be your downfall. Check out this guide on how to create a strategic marketing plan to help your business survive and thrive.
What Is A Strategic Marketing Plan?
After you've set up all the basics of your company that makes it exist (i.e. products, services, location, prices, legal paperwork, etc), the next step is to let people know that you're out there. This is where a strategic marketing plan comes into play. You use this plan to outline any efforts that will push your business towards sales and growth.
The marketing plan outlines all short-term and long-term activities in regard to how a company will reach its customer base. It takes into account various essentials to making a sale, including demographics for the target audience, market research, etc. All of these aspects combined together allow you to basically develop a compass to navigate the direction of your company and each step, turn or twist is a practical step towards the larger goal.
The marketing plan also includes details on advertisement budgeting, department roles, current and past performance and gaining a competitive advantage.
Choose a Focus Goal
Now that you know what a strategic marketing plan is, it's time to choose a goal to focus the plan on. Choosing the overall goal would be based on what you would like to see or accomplish for your business over a certain timeframe. For instance, you may want to focus on increasing sales, establishing your brand as an authority or bringing in new customers.
You don't necessarily have to focus on one goal at a time. But it's best to give each goal ample time and attention to flourish. You could also try batching focal points that are relevant, such as getting existing customers to buy more and offering them new and/or exclusive offers.
Just remember that your goal sets the tone for the rest of the marketing plan outline.
Perform Market Research
You can focus on market analysis now that you've figured out what the aim of your strategic marketing plan is going to be. But how exactly do you perform market research? This common marketing question comes up a lot when its time to develop a strategy.
Proper market research includes everything you need to know about your industry. This includes past and current statistics on basic and in-depth information, such as market size, growth, competitor details and any significant movement, changes or trends that may affect advertisement.
This step of the marketing strategy requires you to go where the customers are. Here are a few practical steps you can take to get the information:
- Online surveys
- Phone interviews
- Focus groups
- Competitor marketing break-downs (see how they are currently interacting with the audience and what works or doesn't)
- Visiting forums
This part of the plan is focused on the most important part of making any business successful- customers. Now that you have the information that you need about your audience, it's time to filter and target. You should be revisiting your initial goal during this time to use the data gathered appropriately.
Decide your target audience and develop a strategy with what you've learned about them to accomplish your goal. For instance, if your goal was to gain new customers then you should take the information that you know to go attract your target clientele.
You'll also need to pay attention to integrating demographics and psychographics about your target audience into this portion of the strategic marketing plan. This is how you'll be able to advertise to the consumer accordingly. Researching and gathering data was to figure out what they want- now it's up to you to give it to them.
At this point, you've figured out what your goal is, what you're up against and who you're talking to specifically. It's time to develop a plan for delivering the message in a way that will help you reach your initial aim. This includes everything that has to do with advertising your business so that you can reach people.
In this step, you are choosing the best ways to captivate your audience. For instance, you may want to run a marketing campaign on Instagram versus Facebook since you've found out that your audience spends the majority of the time on that platform. You'll also be able to map out how much it would cost to execute all of this and allot the appropriate budgeting funds.
This step also takes all the creative aspects into account. You should know which type of tools (video, blogs, etc.) attract your audience more and the aesthetics that capture their attention best. Of course, it will take some trial and error so you should account for running split tests during campaigns.
Hiring the right creatives, such as graphic designers, copywriters, etc., to help portray your brand's identity correctly is important.
Ready to Develop a Strategic Marketing Plan for Your Business?
As you can see, the highlighted details above are enough proof of why a strategic marketing plan is essential to the success of your company. Although you may have a good product or service, if no one knows you exist then you won't make many sales or continue to scale your business.
Give your business the best chance at surviving by creating and following a marketing strategy. If you're looking for more advice or information on marketing, business or careers, check out some of the helpful articles on our website.