The sole purpose of a marketing plan is to focus on the marketing of a business. As a businessman you have to take marketing very seriously and the best way to do this is to make a detailed sales and marketing strategic plan that points out your marketing goals. The plan will also outline the steps required to be taken for the achievement of these goals. Investors usually scrutinize the section involving the marketing strategy before they decide to fund a business venture.
Treat your organisation as a human being, a separate entity with a unique character and its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Make a long list of pros and cons of your product or service basket. Do not edit or leave out anything when you are making this list. Following that, arrange them in order of priority.
You might do away with those which seem not that important. This requires realistic inputs from the managing committee as well. Their reticence might jeopardise the whole point of the list.
Next up are the concealed strengths and weaknesses of your business environment. Treat these as external factors, factors which cannot be controlled but can be anticipated, predicted and be prepared for. A new opportunity can come in the form of unexplored markets, exclusive features of your product or a sudden change in technology.
Threats to your business can be in the form of ground breaking changes in technology, a sudden slew of new competition or legal changes in business laws. Think of yourself in place of your targeted statement ie; the target market and depending on your products, figure out what message to them would convince them to acquire the products that you have to offer.
Then compare and merge these two lists. Learn to understand where the identity of your business fits in the current competitive scenario. The utility of this step is strategy. Focus on what’s most in line with your identity and on what’s most attractive to your target. Drop off the less important points from the list. This will be your formula for success.
Your market research will reveal the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths of your position in the current business environment. You will have a clear picture of the current position of your offering vis a vis that of your competitors.
Knowing the USP or selling point of your product/ service offering is very important. Your USP will be the focus of your entire marketing plan. This information will give you an idea of how to move ahead of your competitors by pitching your USP to your target audience.
Metrics is very important if really want to have concrete information on marketing. Your marketing strategy should include the metrics of marketing basics. Focus on sales figures (daily, monthly, annual), review statistics, measurable budgets for tracking financial data. Non financial data can be analysed by number of leads generated, phone calls mad, back links to your company blog/ website, view count of your page, customer conversion rates and other criteria.
Human Resources are important. Learn to place key people as responsibility holders for certain postions and take feedback for the success or failure of a particular project from them. Finally, be open to evolution, to adapting to change with the business and its requirements. Review, revise and re-plan to accommodate changes in your strategy as you gain more and more experience.