Before developing a marketing mix that will successfully yield high ROI, it’s essential to know what you’re trying to say, who you’re trying to say it to, and how best to say it.
Creating a marketing plan allows you to address all of these, and it is something that no SME can afford to be without. Today’s commercial landscape and technologically savvy consumer means that the marketplace is full of competition – both domestic and international.
It is a climate where only 20 percent of SME’s succeed over seven years and yet, remarkably, only three out of 10 SME’s have a marketing plan. It is interesting to note that the proportion of SME’s that succeed is remarkably similar to the proportion that has a marketing plan.
Discovering the issues that matter
In developing a marketing plan, you are able to discover, evaluate and prioritise the issues most salient to your business. It is only possible to develop a strategy for building your business with an explicit understanding of these issues and priorities.
You might find that you need to complete some research conducted whilst constructing a marketing plan. This is important to uncover who is the ideal target for your brand, as well as how to best reach them – two essential factors to consider if you wish to communicate effectively and efficiently.
Creating a strategy
Armed with this information, it is then possible to develop a strategy that will achieve the highest ROI and penetration of your target. This strategy will craft a proposition for your business – a ‘game changing’ idea that will help you differentiate from competitors and increase market share.
Last but most certainly not least, the strategy will determine the messages your brand should put forward and the best channels to get this message to your target.
After this stage you will be able to have a better idea of what sort of marketing investment you need to drive the results you want for your business.
When you have decided on a strategy, have prioritised channels and tactics and decided on a budget, you are ready to create your plan. The plan should have tactics structured into a timeline that will clearly show when different things should happen. The plan should also include detailed costs for each tactic in each month, so that you can manage cash flow accordingly. Measurement is a really important part of the strategy – and results need to be factored back into the marketing plan regularly so that successful strategies can be prioritised and increased, whilst reducing resources dedicated to strategies that prove less effective.
The marketing plan is therefore a foundation on which all marketing decisions are built from. Without a comprehensive plan, it is all too easy for your business to go off track.
The cliché mantra ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ definitely holds validity when it comes to allowing your business to prosper – and developing a marketing plan is the best way you can prepare