The Fundamental Elements of an Effective Marketing Plan – Part 2

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the marketing plan process, setting a quantifiable goal might seem like somewhat of a challenging task. First, you need to start with your past, by reviewing past sales numbers, growth over the years in different markets, the size of typical new customers and how new product introductions have fared.

Realistic and feasible objectives

If over the last five years you’ve grown a cumulative 80% in gross revenues, projecting a 20 to 25% increase in the next year is realistic; 45% isn’t. Make a low, but reasonable projection for what you’ll be able to accomplish with marketing support, toward your new marketing objectives. Set modest goals to start, until you get a feel of the landscape.

It’s also a good idea to limit the number of marketing objectives you take on in a given year. Let’s face it, change can bring stress, befuddle staff and sometimes even confuse your target market. Keep your objectives challenging but attainable. It’s better to motivate yourself with ambitious, yet feasible targets, rather than disheartening yourself by failing at too many enthusiastic goals.

It’s good to make your objectives simple, concrete, countable, ambitious and above all, achievable. The following are typical marketing objective categories:

• Introduce new products
• Extend or regain market for existing product
• Enter new territories for the company
• Boost sales in a product, market or price range. Where will this business come from? Be specific.
• Cross-sell (or bundle) one product with another
• Enter into long-term contracts with desirable clients
• Raise prices without cutting into sales figures
• Refine a product
• Enhance manufacturing/product delivery

Having an eye for detail from the start

Here’s where you spell out how you’re going to make things happen. Each marketing objective should have several subsets of objectives and tactics for achieving goals. In the objectives part of your marketing plan, focus on the “what” and the “why” of the marketing tasks for the year ahead. When it comes to its implementation, focus on the practical, sweat-and-calluses areas of who, where, when and how. The key task is to take each objective and lay out the steps you intend to take to reach it.
One of the best ways to handle such details is through an activity matrix.

A matrix is a grid table that lets you plot actions across a timeline. When you’re developing a marketing plan, you’ll soon reach the point where you have to turn to your calendar to see when things should happen. A matrix provides you with a clear and very usable framework for such timeline plotting. The matrix should include everything that’s scheduled, when it’s scheduled and who the responsible party is. Remember to delegate responsibility as you go.

Crunching numbers: budgets and controls

Whether done well or poorly, business activity always costs money. Your marketing plan needs to have a section in which you distribute budgets for each activity planned. Those responsible for portions of the marketing activity should know exactly what funds are available to them. In fact, you would be wise to involve them in planning those budgets.

Be as impartial as possible about those costs you can anticipate. For things with which you have no budget experience, add 25%t to your best estimate. Your budget should allot separate accounting for internal hours (staff time) and external costs (out-of-pocket expenses).

Ultimately, marketing isn’t a science, but a skill in which you can make steady, incremental improvements. To find out how proper marketing is done, contact Fibonacci Marketing today. We’ll gladly help you out with the right marketing strategy for your firm.

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