The Marketing Plan in it’s most simplest form is a summary that says “this is how we are going to launch new products/services while maintaining these existing products/services”. It references a calendar of promotional activity and clearly states how the plan will be monitored and measured. Your Marketing Plan should consider:
1. The business you are in – what are you selling? see the blog titled Part 1 if need be.
2. What makes you different? You’ll want (at least) one real point of difference.
3. Who are your customers. Are they business customers or consumers or both? What are their needs? What is their day to day like? Where do they go for information, research, answers online and real world. Philip Kotler says that your market should have certain characteristics: Measurable (how big is it, what are their characteristics, purchase patterns, preferences) Substantial (your market has to be big enough to profitably fulfill the need) Accessible (self explanatory I think) Segmentable (you should be able to segment your customers so you can better focus your message… typically segments respond differently to different marketing initiatives. Actionable (you need to be able to access and service these customers in a cost effective way)
4. Point of Sale – does this happen in bricks and mortar, online, by phone, d – all of the above? You may use a different approach to eBay if you are selling windows and doors.
4. Pricing – what does the buyer have to give you in exchange for your product/service.
5. Communicating to your market – aka Promotions. If you really know your market, you will have insight into where your communication dollars will be best spent. understanding your customer is critical in making sure your dollars fall on likely converts.
About knowing your customers… I know… but it’s important – spend the time (and if need be, some dollars) in getting to really know your market. Knowing your market will allow you to effectively reach them in a holistic/integrated approach that will yield you far better results than simply winging it… there are a ton of (free) resources out there that you can use to research your customer. (Ahah, I should probably start posting those to that Nearly Free page then, huh?