The Marketing Plan as Navigation and Communication Tool
The purpose of Marketing plan is simple – to create a navigation and communication tool that serves as a road map for finding, keeping and growing the value of customers. Because Marketing is about creating customers, your Marketing plan must be customer centric, that is, it must focus on how to maximize the value to, for, and of customers. Therefore the Marketing plan must be developed with the customer in mind. This means you need some information; information about your customers, your market and competition. So while it may seem that a ready, fire, aim approach is faster, if your resources are limited, you may run of out gas before you reach your destination.
Before you hit the road, make sure your Marketing plan answers these 4 questions
1. Clarify and specify your destination: A meandering Sunday drive can be a fun adventure, but for your Marketing investments to pay off you need to know where do you want to go. How many and which customers do you need to acquire, which customers do you need to keep, which customers can you grow. This step often requires A thorough analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing your business and a good understanding of your existing and prospective customers’ needs and wants.
2. Pick your routing: What is/are the most effective and efficient routes to achieve results and reach your destination. Keep effective in the forefront.
3. Prepare for detours: While we hope for every trip to go smoothly it’s best to be prepared. What obstacles either from customers or competitors could you encounter along the way and how will you overcome these?
4. Resource your journey: What resources do you have and need to make the trip successful? Be sure you have the tools and skills in place before you depart.
Standard Plan Components
When you understand your competition, market, customers, and company you can set a course for maximizing your market opportunities. While there’s no one way to create a plan, like any road map certain elements have come to be relatively standard in a Marketing plan:
- A situational analysis that summarizes the market, industry, competitive, customer and company assessment and provides insight into the actions needed for the organization to capitalize on opportunities and offset challenges
- A set of measurable Marketing objectives that are aligned with the organization’s business outcomes Marketing is expected to impact. The objectives in some way reflect how Marketing will positively affect customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer value growth.
- A customer-centric strategy for realizing the objectives.
- Programs and activities with performance targets designed to implement and achieve the strategies and objectives.
- A calendar and budget.
The finished result should be a customer-centric measurable Marketing plan that aligns Marketing with the business outcomes, identifies, your objectives and provides direction for future Marketing efforts that everyone within the organization will understand and support.
Note: this article originally appeared at Vision Edge Marketing.
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