business and marketing planning
Your marketing plan and strategy depends on your business
plan. It includes everything from understanding your target market
and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend
to reach that market (your tactics) within a certain timeframe
and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make
You don't have to write a complicated plan but, and this is particularly
the case if starting a new business or rebranding and moving your
current, you do need to get something down on paper and follow
it to achieve success.
There is a lot of information around about the best way to approach
business and mareting planning and what we've included below is
a summary of a more detailed plan we usually use to work with
Key steps to strating a plan include:
out your market research, including competitor activity.
Market information should include anything you need to
know in order to plans and make decisions.
You can carry out yoour own research among custmers,
focus groups and questionnaires and gain additional information
from libraries in the form od stats and demographic data.
All types of research need careful analysis.
The main things to identify are demographic issues and
trends, your customer and prospects profile and mix, product
and services mix, customer perceptions, competitor activities,
sompetitor strengths and weaknesses. If you undertake
customer surveys, keep the subjects simple and ask questions
with clear yes or no answers. If you want more detailed
answers try a focus group. Whatever you do, get the brief
Establish your business goals
Keep in mind the economy, other external influences and
your market research in developing these objectives. Think
about what you're aiming to achieve over the next one, two
and five years and try and prioritise these.
|Develop your mission statement
A clear description of your businesses purpose, from the perspective
of your products/services in your market, can form the basis
of your mission statement. This makes it very clear to your
staff and customers what you are there to do. It could be
based on something of a general nature in relation to the
industry in which your business operates but encapsulating
what's special or unqiue as well.
This is an excellent
way of focusing on your business's priorities and customer
|Outline your products or services
Here you need to describe clearly what you are providing
your customers with - both in terms of products and services.
Design your offers to emphasise your strengths, which relate
to your business goals and market research and make sure
you translate them into something which means something
to your customers and prospects. That is, in terms of something
beneficial to them rather than scientifically or technically
Translate features into benefits - you can do this by adding
"which means that" at the end of your offer. This
might be a significant benefit your competitors don't offer,
for example, delivery door to door, open 24 hours, free
expertise etc. Usually your competitive advantage is gained
by offering things your competitors can't and which makes
your customers feel will make their life better if they
Write your business plan
This deals with your whole business, its resource and management
and will include information from your market research,
your mission developed above and your products and services.
It will also cover public realtions, specific financial
goals, revenue and revenue growth and financial matters.
Quantify what you need from your
Before you develop what and how you are going to market,
you need to define your marketing aims. For example, profit
per product or service, customer satisfaction , increase
in sales (the percentage), market share etc.
Write your marketing plan
This is a statement, with relevant data, of how
you are going to develop your business. In other words it's
about what you are going to sell, to whom, how much, and
in what way (the activities). It will include how you're
going to measure it, the costs and any supplier and staff
issues influential on achieving your objectives. Being able
to refer to your business goals and mission statement is
useful in developing this plan.
What next? If you'd like some help with your
business or marketing planning, give us a call on 04 212 6160.