The marketing plan is a tool which must ensure the most favourable marketing of your services.
Marketing is a prerequisite for your business becoming known in the market and generating earnings. However, marketing is often underestimated, and many businesses end up doing marketing campaigns without a clear focus.
Unfortunately, far too often, this means that the few funds allocated to marketing activities are spent to no avail. In this situation, a marketing plan would help.
Before drawing up your marketing plan, you must think about a number of strategic and practical matters.
First and foremost, you must decide which products and services to market. Then you must decide on the various sales channels to use, and only then should you start thinking about marketing activities for the individual products and sales channels.
For example, a product which is sold both to distributors and directly to end-users should not be marketed in the same way to the two sales channels.
Read and use the marketing plan guide below.
Marketing plan guide
The first step in your marketing plan is describing the products and/or services which your business wants to market.
Choose target audience
Then you describe your market, including customers and competitors. The better you know your market and your target audience for your product or service, the better you will be able to tailor your marketing.
If you already know your market and your target audience, it is a good idea to make absolutely sure that you have selected the right target audience:
- Assess the size of your target audience – how much can you expect to sell?
- Does the target audience need your product/service?
- Can you meet the target audience's requirements? (in terms of quality, service, price level etc.)
- Look at the competition – is the market fiercely competitive?
- What is the target audience's future potential?
Choose sales channels
A sales channel can be, for example, a shop or a webshop. It can also be a network of colleagues who refer customers to you. The best solution is having a small number of sales channels, each with lots of potential customers. Your sales channels are extremely important for your business and need looking after. The better your relation to the various sales channels (for example an agent), the more eager they will be to cultivate customers.
Once you have decided on your products, target audience and sales channel, it is time to define the marketing activities in your marketing plan.
It is important that you have organised the necessary materials before starting your marketing activities. Business cards, letter-headed paper, brochures, website etc. must be ready before you start executing your plan.
Make a budget
Finally, you must do a budget for your activities so that you know what your marketing plan is going to cost.
You get the best overview of your marketing activities by outlining them schematically. Below you will find a checklist which provides an overview of what you need to remember when making your activity and time plan.
Activity and time plan
|ACTIVITY / WEEK||1||2||3||4||5||Amount|
|Advertising||x|| ||x|| ||xxxxx|
|Follow-up by phone|| ||x|| || ||x||xxxxx|
|Sales visit|| ||x||x|| ||xxxxx|
|Write sales letters||x|| || || ||xxxxx|
|Send out sales letters|| ||x|| ||x||xxxxx|
|Follow-up by phone|| ||x|| || ||x||xxxxx|
|Sales visit|| || ||x||x|| ||xxxxx|
|Assessing effect|| || || || ||x||xxxxx|
- Select the activities which best match your current situation.
- Decide on a marketing plan period, for example 12 weeks.
- Leave space – perhaps an extra column – for noting down costs to see if you are keeping within your budget.
- Write down all activities in order of priority.
- Mark the weeks in which the activities will take place.
- Remember to allocate time for follow-up and appointments.
- Remember to assess the effect of your efforts on a regular basis.
Remember that summer holidays, Christmas and other religious festivals are 'dead' periods.
Update your plan
Marketing and activity planning is not something you just do once even though you would hope that your sales mean that customers come back.
The marketing plan needs updating and adjusting regularly, and must also assess the effect of your activities ever so often. How many enquiries has your ad generated? Is there a reasonable correlation between your marketing efforts and the number of enquiries?
When planning your marketing, you must also decide which activities you want to be in charge of yourself, and which to pay for. Also, it is important not to launch more activities than you can follow up on.