Developing a marketing plan is one of the best ways to stay on message and on budget to reach your potential customers. Follow these guidelines to create a plan that works for you.
Start by creating a detailed description of each type of buyer who uses your product or service; consider market size, demographics, unique traits and trends that relate to demand for your business.
Define what gives your product or service an advantage over your competition. Is it quality, price, or perhaps an excellent customer experience? Sometimes, an environmentally friendly certification or “made in the USA” on your label can be an important factor for customers.
Identify which sales methods work best for your business—retail, wholesale or your own online store. Detail each step your customer takes once they decide to buy.
Set marketing and sales goals
Set specific marketing and sales goals each year. Goals can include increasing email subscribers, growing market share, or increasing sales by a certain percent.
Create a marketing action plan
Make a list of marketing channels, such as online advertising, radio ads or billboards. Consider the pricing strategy for each and how you’ll use promotions. Also include how customer support will follow up after the sale.
Include a complete breakdown of the costs of your marketing plan. Try to be as accurate as possible. You’ll want to keep tracking your costs once you put your plan into action.
Measure and update your plan
Plan your process for comparing your marketing and sales costs to the revenue it generates to be sure you’re getting a positive return on investment, or ROI.
Some tactics are hard to measure — like print advertising or word-of-mouth campaigns, while others, such as social media, are trackable through analytics. Once you establish how you measure, it’s important to stay consistent to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Marketing plans should be maintained on an annual basis, at minimum. Measuring ROI will help you know which part of the plan is working and which part needs to be updated.
For more information or help with creating your marketing plan, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.