Mastering the basics of a solid marketing plan

Marketing is a crucial component of a small business’ success yet many business owners fail to create a marketing plan.

A solid marketing plan helps businesses to achieve their short-term goals and overall strategic vision. It also helps to ensure everyone in your business is on the same page as your business’ goals and marketing activities are clearly communicated.

Strong marketing plans include a business’s goals and objectives for the future and the way in which they are to be achieved. To do this, the marketing plan needs to include information such as costs, budgets, realistic timeframes and who is to be involved.

Most marketing plans vary between businesses and industries but the majority will cover these basic components:

Background/situation analysis

This section of your marketing plan will cover the background information about your business and the environment it is operating in. A background analysis usually provides insight into your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities as well as external threats. This analysis should also cover your business’ unique selling proposition which is what sets your business apart from competitors.

Objectives/goals

Marketing objectives and goals are at the core of your marketing plan. When setting objectives follow the SMART framework (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Your objectives will act as a guide for the types of marketing activities you employ. For example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness of a new product by 20 per cent in the next 12 months, you may decide to heavily promote this product on all your social media channels.

Target market/audiences

Clearly identifying your target market helps to better understand the types of customers you currently sell to, as well as the types of customers you would like to sell to in the future. Depending on the type of business, you may have more than one target market. One of the best ways to start defining your target market is using segmenting through demographics (age, sex, income), psychographics (opinions, values, attitudes), geographics (location, climate) and behavioural patterns (degree of brand loyalty, benefits sought) etc.

Marketing strategy and tactics

A marketing strategy provides the overall direction for your marketing tactics. Marketing tactics are usually referred to as the “marketing mix,” which includes product (or service), pricing, place, promotion, people, process and physical environment. Different marketing tactics will fall under each of these categories - for example, advertising is a promotional strategy whereas choosing the right price for your products or services is a pricing strategy. Often, all elements of the marketing mix will work in conjunction to achieve your long-term goals and vision.

Budgets

Assigning a budget for individual marketing tactics and the overall marketing department ensures an appropriate amount of money is dedicated to marketing efforts. Budgets will also help track and monitor your return on investments (ROI). If budgets are revisited regularly, they can be adjusted to reflect the results of your marketing activities.

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Bartlett
Business Development and Marketing Manager
p +61 3 9608 0123
jbartlett@moorestephens.com.au