Marketing and business planning











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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 a sale.

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 our clients.

Key steps to strating a plan include:

Carry 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 right.

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 service.


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 great!

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 get it.


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 marketing
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.

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