Tag Archives: marketing plan

Marketing Plan Template – before I finish…some useful theory

Marketing Plan Template – and finally…

Some useful ‘general’ Marketing Plan theory which you may find helpful when considering putting your Marketing Plan together.

  • Consider:  where are you now, where do you want to be, how might you get there?
  • Consider: PEST, the Political, Economic, Social and Technological environments.

Think about the following when evaluating where you are now:  Strategic, organisation, systems, productivity, functional mix, suppliers, customers, competitors, distributors, employees.

  • Objectives

Consider what you want to achieve:  Set objectives  – Increase trial, increase loyalty, widen usage, create interest, increase repeat purchases, increase upsell value, deflect attention from price, increase market share, increase volume.

  • Strategy

What is your commercial and brand strategy?  High price, low volume – low price, high volume? Bargain brands, premium brands.    Create a simple matrix and plot your position.  Then consider how you deliver on that position.  Existing clients, new clients, existing products, new products, diversification or new product development?   Also – consider where you are now and where you want to be – is there a gap?  How do you plan to bridge that gap?

Continue reading Marketing Plan Template – before I finish…some useful theory

Marketing Plan Template – Steps 9, 10, 11 (nearly there…)

Step 9

9.1       Organisational Implications

Another consideration that you should document in your plan is the overall organisational implications.

For example:  let’s work with the ‘moving into France’ goal and gaining 20 new French clients.  Not only does this have people implications – but it could also mean making an alliance in France and buying an office in France.  This is an extreme example – but it leads you to think about all the elements of planning. 

If your goals are to increase your customer base by 30% and therefore your people by 20% – can you house them in your current offices?  Would you need to move offices?  Could you outsource some elements? 

It’s important these decisions are documented in your plan, as these too need to be considered.

Step 10

10.1  Contingency / Options

I mentioned earlier that all plans need to be ‘flexible’ and ‘amendable’ – as very often you are working with assumptions.   The more planning of this type you do, the better you will become at it.  And therefore, over time, your assumptions will be hitting the mark.  However, particularly when starting off, you are learning the needs of the market and planning accordingly.  Therefore, some of that which you ‘assume’ is going to fall short of expectation.

That’s why it’s important to document some form of contingency – or have some alternative ‘options’ available to you.

It may be that you plan to do 12 business networking breakfast meetings in one year.  And this activity will generate 10% of the 25% new customer acquisition you have targeted.   So if you don’t achieve the set number of projected new customers to come along to these clubs – then you could be down on your overall target.

Therefore, your contingency plan could be that if after the first quarter you are X% down then you will promote FREE networking sessions with a major influencer, let’s say a Bank,  to get yourself in front of other potential new customers and assist with you meeting your overall target. 

Of course, these contingencies need to be documented and considered, as there are often implications for resource, both physical and financial.

Continue reading Marketing Plan Template – Steps 9, 10, 11 (nearly there…)

Marketing Plan Template Step 7 & 8

Step 7

7.1    Action Plans

Any strategies or marketing goals are simply just theoretical objectives.  It’s the Action Plans that really bring your strategy and objectives to life.

Your action plans are your implementation plans.  These are your ‘hands on’ rules of play.  Therefore, your Action Plans should be specific and detail:

Who, how, which, when, where and how….

  •          Who is responsible?
  •          When will it be done?
  •          How much will it cost?
  •          Which segment?

Very often these Action Plans are created in a calendar format.  This enables you to see the activities overall – and of course, look at how campaigns can be integrated.  It may be that you have an Email campaign to promote one product / service to a particular segment.  And you notice that you could double up with the same campaign to a different segment.  However, it’s only through having these clearly mapped out that you can spot these economies of effort.

Practical Exercise 

Creating an Action Plan

Continue reading Marketing Plan Template Step 7 & 8

Marketing Plan Template Step 5 & 6

Step 5

5.1    Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve created and agreed your ‘goals’ then you need to create the strategy to achieve them.  Two key factors are identified 1) who do you want to be targeting to achieve your goals? Effectively, identifying your ‘target market segment’?   Cover off the following points when identifying this segment:

  • New or existing clients?
  • How they buy?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What influences them?
  • How do they use your services?

And 2) your ‘differential advantage’ ie:  what have you got that will attract your ‘target market segment’ away from competitors and to buy your products and services.  Think about these areas:

  • What will motivate the market towards you rather than your competitors?
  • What have you got that will meet the needs of your selected segment?
  • What are the advantages you can offer over your competitors?
  • What are your competitors up to and how do you compete?
It’s important that you get your Marketing Strategy clear and succinct because your Marketing Strategy is the key driver of implementation.

Continue reading Marketing Plan Template Step 5 & 6

Marketing Plan Template Step 3 & 4

Step 3

3.1    Opportunities and Options

Let’s undertake a practical exercise here that will help you to complete this section:

Practical Exercise 2

SWOT Analysis

This is a great and simple way to offer a ‘this is where we are now’ it also helps you to focus on whether or not you have the competence and resource to take you where you want to go.

Take a look at the following areas and categories and assess whether you have strength or weakness in these areas.  

From this exercise you can cover Background Analysis and Opportunities and Options – so keep to the key areas.  If you identify an opportunity when going through the points – then note that down, also do the same with threats.  It may be that you realise through this quick analysis that a key competitor is much stronger with technology than you and therefore, you have identified a threat.

Options to be explored may be: shifting into a new market segment, adding new products to your current offering, enhancing service levels or investing in technology.

Marketing Strengths

  •          Image among clients
  •          Market share
  •          Reputation for quality
  •          Service levels
  •          Effectiveness of communications
  •          Geographical cover
  •          Globally connected

Financial Strengths

  •          Profitability
  •          Cash flow
  •          Debt carried
  •          Technical skills

Operational Strengths

  •          Efficiency of projects
  •          Corporate leadership
  •          Motivation of employees
  •          Entrepreneurial skills
  •          Range of products / services
  •          Technological development
  •          Differentiating factors

Step 4

4.1    Marketing Objectives

Overall Marketing Objectives: (These top line business objectives ‘should’ theoretically speaking, fall out of your strategic business plan (providing you have one!). 

  Continue reading Marketing Plan Template Step 3 & 4

Marketing Plan Template Step 1 & 2

Step 1

1.1    Background Analysis

Your plan has to be understood by all that read it.  It’s got to be clear and simple and easy to follow – and give a ‘snap shot’ of your business to whomever you need to read it.  Therefore, the analysis and evaluation section is really a ‘this is where we are now’ and ‘this is where we are heading’ section.    It should answer the following questions:

 

1.    How well are you performing now?

2.    What are the contributors to your success or failure?

3.    How optimistic are you about the future?

 

Let’s look at an exercise to help you funnel down what you need to include:

Continue reading Marketing Plan Template Step 1 & 2

Necessary ingredients for your marketing plan…

The development of all plans, at any level and of any type, will only be as good as the objectives and methods, and the process documented for delivery.  The following key stages are typically addressed when putting together your Marketing Plan.  Whether strategic, operational, short-term or long-term these stages apply:

  •          Background Analysis
  •          Current Performance (sales figures and profit)
  •          Background Analysis
  •          Opportunities and Options
  •          Marketing Objectives
  •          Marketing Goals
  •          Financial Goals
  •           Marketing Strategy
  •          Target market segments
  •          Differential advantage
  •          Marketing Mix (the resources you use to implement your plan)
  •          Product
  •          Price
  •          Promotion
  •          Distribution
  •          Services
  •          Team
  •        Action Plans
  •        Budget
  •        Organisational Implications
  •         Contingency
  •          Monitor  and Evaluate

In this marketing plan template guide in the coming posts we’ll work through each of these stages helping you to understand what you need to consider when putting your plan together.

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Need to create a Marketing Plan?

A couple of years ago I created a Marketing Plan Template, a practical resource which provides a good starting point when wanting to put a marketing plan together.  It doesn’t just highlight what goes into a plan – but it provides practical exercises too.  So I thought I’d share via the blog…

Why create a Marketing Plan?

Whatever led you to dive in starting your own business; whether redundancy, sheer chance, a new product or idea, the need to take control – life running your own business can be pretty hectic.

Being organised definitely helps to keep an element of order to how you grow and manage your business – and part of being organised is business is ‘good planning’.

Time does not stand still – and therefore, neither can your business – you need to plan a means of developing your business, serving customers, getting new customers and retaining the ones you have; innovatively, simply and effectively (nothing too difficult there then!).

In an ever changing business environment you need to be sure you have considered every resource to help drive your business.  The internet has opened the playing field, and reduced the barriers to entry – and so even the smallest businesses have significant opportunities for growth, development and brand visibility. 

Simply committing your ideas and plans to paper gives you a blueprint to refer to.  It’s your business plan.  And a key component of that business plan is your Marketing Plan.  Your ‘Marketing Plan’ is the ‘HOW’ you are going to deliver your business objectives.

About the Marketing Plan Template

Continue reading Need to create a Marketing Plan?

Implementation – it’s key to success

Some key frustrations of small business owners have been identified as:

 

  • Lack of progress in growing the business
  • Wanting to take the business to the next level but unclear on to how to do this
  • Implementing change – creating a plan of action and sticking to it

 

To add to this – often there are personal frustrations too:

 

  • Too much time consumed by the business
  • Weekends and evenings impinged upon because of business commitments
  • Friends and family time reduced

 

Sound familiar?  If so, let’s take a look at how the practical step of creating a plan of action – can help to ease the way forward – and ultimately help business owners create businesses that provide them with a particular lifestyle of choice.

 

 

Plans are nothing, planning is everything – and implementation is follow through

 

In a business era where long-term fixed business plans don’t often work for a business that needs to react quickly to market change – plans are still necessary.

 

Having a focus – a path to follow, however short or long term that plan may be – helps to ensure that a business keeps on the right track, something to focus progress – and importantly, measure success against.  Plans can be flexible, fixed, changed on a monthly basis – whatever works for your business.   But you need a strategic direction. 

 

Creating your plan is one thing, and in my view, a significantly important part of the process – but what is absolutely crucial to success – is implementation.

 

Fail to implement and nothing happens.

 

 

So let’s take a look at first things first…

  Continue reading Implementation – it’s key to success