Marketing Plan Step-by-Step Guide and Templates

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marketing plan

The success of your business can hinge on how well you market it. The quality of the service or product can be irrelevant when you don’t have the proper outreach for your target audience to discover you. So, a marketing plan is in order. Read on and you’ll find the key areas your plan needs to focus on, no matter what size your business. From marketing for small companies through to large corporations, this marketing plan guide will help you succeed.

The Overview – An Executive Summary

It’s best to start your marketing plan with something simple, such as an executive summary. Effectively, it’s the contents of the plan laid out in a simple format. It’ll be helpful to keep track of this as you write, as it’ll prevent going off on tangents or mixing too much information into a single segment.

Some people actually like to write the executive summary afterwards, as they have a much better idea of what the plan will include. It’s completely up to you which way round you do it, just make sure you keep notes.

The Customer – Target Audience

To know your customer is to know the path to success. Exactly who are you looking to entice with your marketing? This section can get a little complicated if you go quite deep on information such as psychological profiles, but it’s all worthwhile if you can get a better understanding of who exactly you’re selling to, and how to target them specifically.

We like the idea of drawing a ‘picture’ of your target customer(s) and annotating them, to explain exactly who they are, where they’re from, what they like, and why they buy. Sometimes a visual image is easier to create than a list.

What You Do Best – Unique Selling Proposition

What makes your business unique? No marketing plan is worthwhile without this. A company cannot expect to succeed if it doesn’t do something competitors don’t, so you have to identify what sets you apart from them and how to focus on it. If you don’t have anything that sets you apart, then you may need to revise your business until you offer something unique to the market.

You should hopefully have come up with a USP when writing your business plan. However, if not, now is the time to get your thinking cap on. This is particularly important when marketing for small companies. What makes you different to the big-name corporations doing the same thing?

The Cost – Pricing Strategy

Your brand needs to match your prices. If you are offering a premium product, are your prices properly aligned with this? While it can be beneficial to provide a good product at a lower price than competitors, customers know you get what you pay for. Something too cheap may ring alarm bells in their head. Keep the pricing reasonable, but play into customer expectations of the product.

It’s a good idea to go back to your target customer in this section of the marketing plan. What is their budget? How much disposable income do they have? Are they likely to spend that money on whatever it is you’re offering?

Marketing plan step-by-step guide and templates – Next up: Distribution, special offers, marketing materials and more…

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