The Fundamental Elements of an Effective Marketing Plan – Part 1

We’ve all heard about a marketing plan. But what exactly does it entail to implement an effective and successful strategy for your company? There are a multitude of ‘how-to’ guides and books, each of which having a different version on the fundamental elements of a marketing plan.

No matter how it’s systematized, a marketing plan should be a candid, easily understood company document. It should provide you with a clear direction for your marketing efforts for the coming year, and it should give a perceptive look into your company for all readers.

The Writing Phase

Before you begin to write, gather some much-needed documents. Doing this will help avoid interruptions in the thinking and writing process. So be sure to have the following in place/handy:

• Your company’s latest financial reports and latest sales figures by product and region for the current and the past three years or for however long you’ve been in business.
• A breakdown of each product or service in the current line, along with target markets
• If your company is rather sizeable, an organization table
• An understanding of your marketplace: competitors, geographical boundaries, types of customers, existing distribution channels, latest and most useful demographic data and market trends.

Market Situation

Forget guesstimations. This part should contain your best and most clear-headed description of the current state of the marketplace. Ask yourself:

• What are your products/services or product/service lines?
• What is your sales and distribution setup?
• What geographic area do you sell to?
• Describe your audience in terms of population, demographics, income levels and so on.
• What competitors exist in this marketplace?
• Historically, how well have your products sold?

Consider each of your products or services up against the matching products or services of your competitors, and think about how well you stack up. Is there any significant market opportunity for you that neither you nor your competitors are currently exploiting?

Threats and Opportunities

This phase should focus on the good and bad implications of the current market:

• What trends in the marketplace are against you?
• Are there competitive trends that are threatening?
• Are your current products positioned to succeed in the current market?
• What trends in the marketplace favour you?
• Are the demographics of your market in your favour or against you?

Marketing Objectives

Paint your picture for the future: What marketing objectives do you want to achieve over the course of the plan? Each objective should include both a narrative description of what you intend to accomplish accompanied by a concrete plan of action. Simply stating what your objectives are within the marketplace isn’t providing much guidance.

But saying you want to go from 0 percent to 8% of the local market in two years is easier to understand – and verifiable. If you’re not sure of the size of the local market, then aim at tangible figures in sales. Liaise with your accountant to let you know whether you’ve succeeded or not.

Granted, the whole process of creating a Marketing Plan might not seem as mind-boggling or time-consuming as you might have thought it was initially, but it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

If you need some advice and practical insight on how to go about a Marketing Plan, why not get in touch with our team at  Fibonacci Marketing? Our team will be more than happy to brainstorm bags of tips and tricks which will surely help your company take the next step forward towards success!

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