It amazes me all the time how little companies actually do any marketing planning at all. The number one response I hear is that we sort of know where we want to go, but don't know how to get there. For us, I say, "GREAT!" I am glad to hear it! That's what I can help with. First, let me start by answer why you need it. Marketing planning helps you identify products and services that meet the needs of your target market. Good marketing helps your customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition. Yes, you MUST have something different.
Next, a good marketing plan will better reach your target audience, increase your customer base, and ultimately increase your bottom line. It's often required when seeking funding and helps you set clear, realistic and measurable objectives for your business. Developing a marketing plan requires yes, time, commitment of key leaders, and plenty of research, and of course marketing expertise. It is a very valuable process that WILL greatly contribute to your business success.
Marketing is a MUST for all businesses - big or small, without customers/clients, there is no business. The one issue we seem to face is how often business leaders feel they know what to do because they THINK they know. Why not everyone is a marketer, right? It's tough for some business owners who get random phone calls all day from various sales reps peddling their advertising space or the next best marketing scheme. The problem is that there is NO one person is evaluating what if any of these tactics are truly best for the business and instead there is what we call a "shotgun" approach. "Let's just hope it sticks mentality."
Many smaller businesses don't place enough importance on marketing expertise. They often see it as something that requires a lot of money and fancy advertising campaigns or now social media they don't want. However, marketing is about much more than advertising and sales. I just heard someone say yesterday, "I don't know what the difference is between marketing and sales." About the Author: Kelly Jackson, President KRJ Marketing+ 18 Yrs of Marketing Experience Marketing Consultant, Writer, Graphic Designer, Media Guru www.KRJMARKETING.com 314 278.8241 | 314 394.1750 | firstname.lastname@example.org Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter
This is the issue. Marketing differs from selling because it's not involved in the exchange of money, it's thinking about the business in terms of customer needs, client satisfaction, and how the business can best meet those needs. Marketing helps you find out what makes your business unique. Building your brand is a crucial part of building your business. Questions you need to consider to build the foundation of both your business and brand include:
what are the needs of your target customers?
how do your competitors meet the needs of your target customers?
how can you help your target customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition?
You've probably already considered some of these questions when preparing your business plan, but many businesses don't realize that these questions are also marketing fundamentals. So if you've already addressed these critical points, you've made the first steps in building a successful business and brand!
A marketing plan is a strategic document that is subject to evolution. One of the greatest benefits of developing a marketing plan is that it helps you to focus your resources and plan for your business growth. IT'S A TO DO LIST!
The planning process helps you to understand the different factors that may affect your success. Instead of worrying about the future, you can actually have a sense of control over your business and livelihood. Instead of wondering how to get there, you can get some answers and get on track to meeting those goals!
Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to:
identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs
identify your competitors and what your target customers think about your competitors' strengths and weaknesses
position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition
set specific, measurable goals and timeframes for your marketing activities
map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools you will use.