You know, some Fortune 500s actually increase -- not cut -- their marketing efforts when times get tough. Well, even if they cut the budget, the pressure is on for every employee to make lemonade from fewer lemons than ever.
But a few go kamikaze, if you will, stepping up their marketing. The thinking is, when fewer dollars are circulating in the economy, out-marketing your fearful competition will drown them out. Your brand, then finally has a more dominant presence and gets atop the probability of eroding sales during bad times.
So to armour-up and prepare for war, look with fresh eyes at your marketing efforts. Re-evaluate the components and essentials of your marketing plan.
Some areas on the list that follows may need racheting up ASAP. You may wind up with a 30-page PowerPoint document, so roll up your sleeves and have fun planning:
~ Do your homework online and offline,
~ Think seriously about what should yield better results.
You may not feel you need all of these sections in your plan, but here's what many businesses typically consider. Cherry pick what you need and bypass the rest.
A Strategic Marketing Plan requires you to think through and write up (at least) four, distinct sections.
I. MARKET RESEARCH
- First do your homework, pinpointing your market
- ~ Geographic (e.g., is it your hometown vs. your state vs. your country vs. the world?)
- ~ Demographic (e.g., profile of your customer's gender, age range, profession, lifestyle interests, etc.)
- ~ Psychographic (e.g., the mindset of a consumer motivated to buy... what do they really want? Status, alleviation of a certain fear or worry?)
- ~ Behavior (e.g., buying/spending habits, values, barriers/preferences to buying, etc.)
- ~ Study the market trends and competition inside out, top to bottom
After studying your market, it's time to officially write out (and budget) your blueprint. Usually as PowerPoint document and primarily with lots of bullet points so it's not too wordy, a marketing plan typcially includes:
- Situation Analysis
- ~ This page or two summarizes your entire "deal" in a nutshell. It's a narrative (i.e., paragraphs telling a story) of your business model and vision; factors necessary to succeed; competitive environment; and key threat and opportunities.
- ~ What need does your product/service fill?
~ Who are your target customers?
~ How do you fill those needs?
- ~ What's your service style and business values?
~ Who else is involved in making it happen?
- ~ Describe unique attributes of your products/services that distinguish you from the competition
~ Describe the image or personality of your company, products or services
- ~ Define whether your pricing is above, below, or on par with competitors and why
- ~ Identify the distribution channels necessary to get your products/services to the target
~ Outline any research or development activities unique to your business
- ~ Revenue potential (e.g., what's your monthly/annual sales goal?)
~ Market share potential (e.g., % of business that should be yours)
~ Profit potential (e.g., what are your expenses, what's left once paid?)
- Marketing Objective(s)
- ~ Write section defining your target market
~ Commit to a target sales volume in dollars and/or units
~ To do this, what is needed primarily? Creating marketplace awareness first? Or the market knows you, now you just need promotional activities to induce sales?
Congratulations: You've now done much of your "big thinking" diligence. You've committed to paper who you are and where you want to be. You may not need all of these sections, you might even need some that aren't covered here. Every business, every plan is unique.
In future articles, I'll go through the next steps: creating Strategies, Tactics, and a Budget.
I'd be happy to take a look at your marketing plan if you'd like a fresh set of eyes on it. For a free marketing consultants service, just write me at info[at]petleopard[dot]com
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