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Five Steps to Creating a Great Marketing Plan

August 28, 2012

Your company may just have completed its first business plan, but have you made a separate marketing plan? You need one because it provides more detail on a vital function that would keep your new business alive, earning and growing.

What you put in your marketing plan may differ, depending on who you ask. Here however, we’ll teach you how to create a great marketing plan.

Step #1: Identify your strong points

The first step is to create a list of your company’s strengths, drawbacks and objectives. However, try to think of your business as an actual person with his or her own unique behaviour, temperament and individuality. Try to write everything down, like a brain dump. That means you shouldn’t revise or discard anything.

Among this list, look for your top priorities and mark them. If you really wrote everything (or at least a lot) down, then you have much more than you need, which is the point. You’re supposed to remove the less significant items from the list and transfer the vital ones to the top of the list.

Tip: Include your managers in this exercise. Their input could give you a different and practical perspective. For instance, your managers believe focusing on sales is a weakness but you don’t; you then realise that your business leaves nothing for product development.

Step #2: Outline opportunities and risks

Next up is to identify external opportunities and risks to your business, which are factors beyond your control. Examples of opportunities include market trends, new products—anything that could help your company. Risks could mean scientific developments that can cause problems ahead.

You then make a list of made-up companies and people who you think are your ideal customers. Like the list in Step #1, think of each as an actual person. For example, a stay-at-home mother or a fresh uni graduate.

Once your list is complete, think of specific means that would be effective in offering your product or service to each of these people. The twist here is that you have to do it in their point of view. Think of what media they use (e.g. e-mail, radio, TV, video games) as you flesh out your target market.

Step #3: Look for the meeting point

It’s time to piece your lists together by looking the connection between your personified company and your target market. Comparing what your company offers and your target market, which people can you remove from the list?

For instance, if you run a burger joint, then you can cross out vegetarians and people with dietary restrictions from your list of ideal customers. The objective here is to focus on the intersection of your company’s identity, strong points and target market.

Step #4: Establish quantifiable actions

With your meeting point established, you then think of quantifiable steps on how to achieve it; this becomes your marketing strategy. It should include sales forecasts, some sort of monthly assessment, a spending plan, and ways to measure your growth.

You then assign corresponding tasks to members of your team and hold them responsible for their accomplishments and failures.

Step #5: Assess regularly and make changes

To stay on top of ever-changing business conditions, your marketing strategy should always be assessed regularly; and if necessary, adjustments should be made to adapt to the situation. Take note that parts of your marketing plan would perform better than some, so see to it that you review often and rework your strategy.