How do you write a marketing plan? Did you ever consider writing a marketing plan 3 to 5 years ago? Or was your business run based on wherever the wind takes you?
If you did in fact have a marketing plan, then Kudos. But as the years and trends change, so does your marketing plan. What worked 5 years ago may not be as effective in today’s market.
A man approached Entrepreneurs.ng, requesting a business plan to start a paper company. While we acknowledged his request, I could not help but wonder if he still had a market for that kind of business. As we know, computers and digital notes are taking over.
But a study showed that paper still had a large market. Many still liked taking notes, and handbills are still a thing. Hardcover books and magazines are still in vogue as some folks like to recline in the evening with a good book. See? There was a market after all.
A marketing plan through comprehensive research and analysis finds your target audience and organises the tactics and strategies you will use to engage them. It also helps you keep track and measure the success of your campaigns.
I will not bore you with the definitions of Marketing and Sales Plan as it was covered in a previous article. In the article, we talked about How to create a small business marketing plan. It focused on the step by step guide on how to conduct a marketing plan.
Here, we will outline the types of marketing and sales plan to choose from and explain when you need a marketing plan. Then finally show you how to write a marketing plan.
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Types of Marketing Plan
Just because you own a business and everyone says you need a marketing plan, does not mean you draw up one without direction. There are different types of marketing plans to choose from and they are dependent on your business structure.
Marketing Plan For A New Product Launch
A marketing plan for a new product launch differs in the sense that your focus will be on the strategies and tactics to gain customers and sell to them. There are different kinds of marketing strategies and they differ from marketing plans.
The Difference Between a Marketing Strategy And a Marketing Plan
What? They are different? Yes, they are. A marketing strategy specifies which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software will be used to carry out a plan and measure its success.
A marketing plan, on the other hand, serves as the framework and entirety of marketing strategies, connecting each strategy to a larger marketing operation.
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Content Marketing Plan
In this plan, you will look at the different ways you can use content to market your products. Examples are email marketing, blog posts, user-generated content, checklist, infographics, social media and so on.
Social Media Plan
Your plan will involve strategies for leveraging social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Quora, Medium, Nairaland and the likes.
Annual/Quarterly Marketing Plans
Because of the change in trends, this plan is very important. It will help your business stay in the loop of things and be alert to market changes. You analyse and draw up this marketing plan within the stipulated period. This can be done either quarterly or annually. You do not want to do it too often as the chances of a market changing monthly are slim.
Paid Marketing Plan
Here, you can have paid promotional campaigns on social media. It highlights other strategies like traditional advertising and its kind.
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When You Need A Marketing Plan
I could go on about strategies and plans but it will all be information overload if you do not when you need a marketing plan. These are the signs that tip you off:
Big Ideas With No Budget
You have probably seen the future of your business. It’s glam and very prosperous. But what imagination cannot do, a budget will. Writing a marketing plan with a budget will help you achieve the financial dreams you have for your big idea.
Sales Team Without Strategy
So, you just opened a spa and have employed three salespeople for the business. What do you do with them? Do you say ‘go ye into the world and bring customers’? They can try, but you might end up firing them because they have gone without a strategy.
While they may be talented salespeople with ingrained sales talent, a strategy will help guide them and yield better results. Your marketing plan will give your sales team the exact channels they need to engage and bring in customers.
Someone To Lead The Sales Team
If you have a marketing plan, you can know exactly what you are looking for in an employee and not just someone who has had sales experience. Marketing is not an informal activity in which your team performs random marketing acts, but rather a logical process that creates a customer experience and guides prospects through a coordinated buying journey.
See also: 10 Ways To Increase Sales And Win More Customers For Your Business
Sales People Are Plenty But Customers Are Few
You have tried different tactics, rebranded, changed the team, and outsourced your graphic designer…yet customers are still not trooping in. Then you need a marketing plan to identify the problem and work on solutions.
Your Target Audience Does Not Understand Your Business
Have you been trying to explain the product and services you offer but get a blank stare from people who should be your customers? If you have potential ideal customers who are unaware of what you have to offer, you have a major problem.
How To Write A Marketing Plan
It looks like you need a marketing plan, doesn’t it? Here, we will show you how to write a marketing plan for your business. Follow all the steps below and you will have your marketing plan.
1. Research Your Market
It’s all good that you are pumped and ready to write your marketing plan, but the first step isn’t writing, it is research. You need to find out how viable your product is. Will it be accepted and who will you be marketing to.
You need to find out where your customers are and what value you will be giving to them. What will you offer that is different from your competitors? The answers will form the basis for your SWOT analysis, which is included in your marketing plan.
2. State Your Business’s Mission
For example, Entrepreneurs.ng’s mission is to be everything to the entrepreneur. So, our marketing mission then becomes attracting entrepreneurs, educating them and offering services through business registration, consulting services, business clinics, book sales and other entrepreneurial services. Your business mission should be specific to the services you offer.
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3. Establish The KPIs For Your Mission
KPIs are Key Performer Indicators. It will help you track how well your business’s mission is doing and if you are meeting your short term goals. If we were to continue with the example cited in the above point, what then will be part of our KPI?
We can track organic page views on our site. These KPIs assist you in setting short-term objectives within your mission and communicating your progress to business leaders.
4. State Your Value Proposition
Have you heard of the popular story about two men who went to an ancient part of India many years ago? They were in the shoe business and wanted to expand to these parts. Bros A and B met the people and realised they did not wear shoes at all.
So, Bros A went home concluding that he couldn’t sell to these people as there was no market for it. But Bros B went home and got to work immediately, concluding that they were his customers and they needed shoes. He was set on convincing them to buy his affordable shoes.
What value does your product bring? Does it solve a problem? Does it meet a need that is unique to your product alone? This is how you separate your business from your competitors.
See also: Value Proposition – Understanding Different Drivers Of Value Proposition
5. Identify Your Target Audience
Draft your buyers’ persona. You can pick four genres of people you think should purchase your product or service and analyse them thoroughly. These are some of the questions you need to answer.
- What are their ages?
- Where are they?
- What do they do?
- How much do they earn?
- Why will they need your product/service?
See also: 21 Ways To Acquire Customers For Your Business Explained In A Video
6. Describe Your Services
After knowing your target audience, you need to spell out the services you are offering them in your marketing plan.
Take stock of the services you currently provide and consider adding new ones. Determine how much staff, expertise, and money it will take to provide these services.
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7. Map Out Your Marketing Strategies
This is where you will write out all the marketing strategies you intend to use. Different strategies work better for different target markets, so several may be required to succeed.
You will choose the campaigns, content, channels, and type of marketing plan that guarantee your business’s financial success. Understanding what makes someone want to use or buy services, as well as what type of marketing strategy they respond to, is critical.
The strategies to choose from can fall under any of the different types of marketing plans we stated earlier. Strategies include:
Channels for marketing
Mention the social media platforms you will use. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email marketing, etc. Also state your direct marketing approach, like flyers, handbills and special offers.
How you will engage them
Will networking and meeting up with them at events work? Write it down. Also, social media will be good here too, press releases, TV and radio ads. How about training? Create an awareness campaign for your target audience.
Volume of distribution
How often will you use the above channels? Will it be a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly plan? It will be determined by your workflow and the short-term objectives you set.
How you will track your KPI
The daily and monthly plans you set, how will you ensure that you meet them? These will have to be tracked too.
8. Set Your Marketing Budget
A plan without a budget is just a wishlist. Go over your strategies and assign a cost (based on market research) to each activity. Use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense.
9. Identify Your Competition
Your product is one in a million, that is all great. But there are competitors out there, whether direct or indirect. Once you find out who they are, draw up your SWOT analyses.
It will help you identify your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats against your business. You need to find out what their unique selling point is and how yours can trump theirs.
10. Set SMART Goals
Do not go jolly-riding on your marketing plan. Your plan has to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. In simple terms, lay down plans that are doable.
That’s how you write a marketing plan.
How To Get A Marketing Plan
We have taught you how to write a marketing plan, however, accomplishing all of the steps yourself can be time-consuming. Therefore, hire a marketing consultant to ensure you get the best marketing plan tailored to your business and target audience.
Entrepreneurs.ng is fully equipped to create a comprehensive and strategic marketing plan for you. Our qualified consultants research and analyze the market of your choice before developing attainable goals to help your business meet its financial objectives.
We are only a call away. Call or send a message via WhatsApp to 08038874148. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you written a marketing plan before? How did it influence the financial status of your business? We’ll love it if you share your thoughts in the comment section.