The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and to plan your marketing activity for the forthcoming year. However, many businesses struggle with marketing planning and are unsure where to start and what to include.
The following outline marketing plan template should help you put together a basic marketing plan which will help you on your way to achieve business success.
We also have a fantastic new year Marketing Plan Offer for any new clients who would like help with their strategy and marketing planning.
Outline Marketing Plan Template
Before planning your marketing activity it is essential to understand your business and where you sit in the marketplace. A marketing audit should involve a review of your business and the external marketplace. This may include the following:
- An overview of the business, the 4 P’s:
- Product – what are your core products/services?
- Price – how much do you charge? Do you offer discounts?
- Place – where do you sell your products and how are they distributed?
- Promotion – what marketing have you done previously and how successful was it?
- A PEST Analysis – a summary of the political, economic, social and technological factors which may impact on your business/market place now or in the future. This could be extended to cover the legal and environmental factors
- A SWOT Analysis – identification of your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats that exist for your business
- Competitor Analysis – a review of your competitors and their strengths/weaknesses
A realistic statement of what the business wants to achieve during the timeframe of the plan (normally 12 months) and within the context of the market analysis.
Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited (SMART). They need to be quantitative and may relate to sales volume or market share.
A summary of how the objectives will be achieved. This should include the following:
- Target Market – who are your customers? Is there a market niche which has not been catered for? Can you offer something which meets their needs?
- Positioning Statement – how will you position your business in the marketplace and what is its unique selling point (USP)/point of differentiation?
- Branding Strategy – what does your brand look like (corporate identity) and what tone of voice should you use?
- Product Strategy – how can you improve your product/service? Would additional features or services add value to your offering? Are some of your product/service lines seasonally affected, if so how can you maximise the quiet times?
- Pricing Strategy – do you price low to achieve market share or charge a premium price for a high-end product? Should you introduce discounts/price incentives?
- Distribution Strategy – should you introduce new ways to sell your products/services e.g. using a specialist intermediary (such as an agent), selling through the Internet or mail order?
- Promotional Strategy – no matter how amazing your product/service you will not make a sale unless people know about it. How will you promote your business? The specific marketing activities can be detailed in the following section.
There are a number of marketing tactics available to you which broadly fit into the following 7 categories:
- Public Relations – media relations
- Digital – website, social media, mobile marketing, apps and location based marketing, viral marketing, gaming, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, video, QR codes
- Direct Marketing – direct mail, email marketing
- Advertising – TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, online, cinema, outdoor (bus shelters, billboard posters, buses etc)
- Direct sales – telesales, door-to-door, networking
- Events and exhibitions – trade shows, corporate hospitality
Select those activities which are most relevant to your target audience and your available budget. A successful marketing plan will utilise a range of marketing tactics within an integrated marketing campaign.
Timetable when you will carry out each of the activities you have selected from the list above. Some may be run concurrently and throughout the year whilst others will be one-offs. Allow some flexibility so that the plan can be adjusted if necessary during the year.
How will you measure the success of each marketing campaign to ensure effective return on investment? Build in regular reviews to evaluate the success of your marketing activities and make necessary adjustments to the plan.
If you haven’t the time to prepare the plan yourself or are still unsure where to start then please give us a call at Straight Marketing.
For a limited period (until the 31 January 2013) we are offering new clients a 20% discount on our fee for the preparation of a marketing plan. To take advantage of this great offer contact us today and quote “2013 Plan Offer”.
We have prepared marketing plans for many happy clients including Hosted Desktop UK, Fair Energy, Teign Housing and Sampson Hall,. You can see what they have to say about working with us by clicking here.