A marketing plan is an essential tool for business.
Developing one will help you think about what makes your business unique and how to get the message out to desired audiences through a variety of channels.
A marketing plan is strategic
Just as you plan for other aspects of your business, such as inventory, production and billing, thinking ahead about your marketing efforts is key to staying competitive. By plotting your marketing strategies ahead of time, your business will run more smoothly and your efforts are more likely to pay off.
A marketing plan helps you stay focused
Your marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your goals—one that will get you there on time and with minimum stress. A plan will help you coordinate your efforts and be proactive. With it, you are more likely to be realistic about your time and energy. A plan will help you stay organized and on track throughout the year. Your marketing is more likely to get done when you take the time to identify what you want to do and when you want to do it.
Write it down
Plan your efforts by first identifying your market and then letting it determine how to proceed. Which events and opportunities will help you accomplish your goals? Is it in your best interest to attend an association meeting that your clients are involved with? Think strategically about where you need to be. Consider what business you’re in and the natural cycles of your industry. A marketing plan may include marketing objectives, strategies, brand positioning, messaging and public relations activities.
Use a calendar to keep on top of your marketing efforts
Once you have identified the events and activities to target, incorporate your marketing plan into your current time management system. Some people find it easiest to use a wall calendar. Others like a desk calendar or a computerized program.
Set goals & assess your efforts
Think about the marketing ideas you want to implement. Determine how to implement ideas, assign each a date for completion, then work backward from your deadline. Also, be sure to examine your ideas to see whether any can be used to achieve more than one goal. Think about whom you want to reach when you want to reach them and how you’re going to do it. Then mark it on your calendar. When you plan your marketing efforts and merge them smoothly with your other responsibilities and commitments, they are more likely to pay off.
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© SCORE. All rights reserved. This article provided by SCORE (www.score.org), Mentors to America's Small Business. Since 1964, SCORE has helped over 9 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. Get free advice from more than 12,000 volunteer business mentors in over 340 chapters across the nation. Learn more at www.score.org