A marketing plan is important for big and small business alike. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
You plan your vacation. You plan a shopping trip. You probably even plan tonight’s dinner. Big business or small, if you want to grow you need a plan for that too.
Small business owners in particular often shy away from creating a marketing plan for their business. They may not be trained in marketing or think it’s too complicated. But NOT developing a marketing plan is sure to limit growth and success. Here’s a plan outline anyone can follow:
Primary business objective
If a business owner, why are you in business? If part of a larger organization what objective(s) have identified by management?
At the end of the planning period what sales volume do you want to have achieved? Keep it real, but stretch for success.
Based on your goals, identify objectives to meet them. Add customers or increase current customer business? Market share increase? React to new competitors? Develop new products? Focus on particular product line or market segment? These are the kinds of things you need to think about.
What do you need to do to meet the objectives. Be specific but keep it broad.
OK, now you can get down to the tools. Identify how you will go about implementing each strategy.
Once you have tactics, you can determine how much you need to spend. Be realistic here. If you want a 50% increase in sales and need multiple tools to get there you must allocate proper resources to be successful. If the price tag is too high narrow your focus and prioritize your strategies and objectives.
Identify how you will keep score. Don’t wait until the end and just look back. Build in frequent, periodic check points so you can identify issues before it’s too late to correct them.
Take time to think through these steps and you will have the road map you need to focus your marketing efforts and make all the right decisions along the way.
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