The importance of planning and writing a plan need to be realized by every entrepreneur who wishes to be successful. A well written plan is integral to the marketing success of any SME (small and medium enterprises). Adequate planning facilitates effective promotion, better sales and revenues. It also allows an entrepreneur to identify the right business opportunities, arrange the necessary funding and focus his energy on taking right actions required to achieve the desired goals. The key to writing a good marketing plan is to understand the requirements of the customers and taking action to deliver the requisite product and services to them. Read on for tips about writing a thorough marketing plan
Pre-requisites of Writing a Marketing Plan
Writing of a marketing plan is highly crucial for enterprises looking for funding for their projects or looking to market their products and raise awareness of their brand. This means the plan should clearly specify the goals and ways to achieve them. Before you start writing a marketing plan, it is essential that you identify your target market and identify their needs. This is possible via market research and a thorough analysis of the customer needs and behavior. A good research will throw up many business opportunities for you besides giving you an idea about the market demography. So before you write a marketing plan you should know about:
- Who is the target audience?
- What kind of products are they looking for?
- Is there any time pattern when they demand these products?
- What is the price they are willing to pay?
- Which brands are being used by them currently?
- What is lacking in the existing products?
- What factors or incentives will help them choose a product?
Now once you have identified your target market clearly and know about the customer requirements, you can easily write a marketing plan. You should also be clear about the purpose for which you need to write this plan. It may be for submission to a funding authority or for a company’s internal requirements. Whatever may be the purpose, keep the marketing plan simple while keeping options open to modify it according to the actual experience.
Steps in Writing a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is highly important if you wish to justify your company investment and earn some good profits. The following components should form an essential part of your marketing plan:
Target Market: The plan should specify about which customers are being targeted and what strategies will be used to reach them. The marketing plan should also clearly specify the ways in which the enterprise wishes to reach them and satisfy them. The plan should also talk about strategies to stay ahead of competition.
Product Profile: Existing and Future- The plan should clearly specify your business’ product profile. Based on the market research done, the plan should specify the changes that are required to provide products demanded by the target market. It should also mention the costs likely to be incurred for achieving such changes. Break down the market into various segments and clearly specify their individual features.
Promotional Strategies: The next step is to specify the various promotional strategies for different markets for varied business opportunities. This is important because customers in different regions may respond to the same product in a different manner. Different type of promotional strategies may need to be developed for fulfilling the requirements of targeted customers in different locations or of varying age groups. These strategies should take into account the life cycle stage of your product and decide the price of various products accordingly.
Competitive Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Products: The marketing plan should talk about your competitive strengths and weaknesses in relation to the other players in the segment. Do not forget to highlight your unique points and use them to build a better market position.
Threats: Identify the threats that may restrict you from achieving your set goals or sales figures and list out the possible options in such a scenario. The marketing plan should talk about the possibility of an untoward development or happening that may hinder your business’ marketing plans.
Goals and Financial Projections-A good marketing plan is one that clearly sets out the marketing goals and provides data about how much you intend to sell, at what price and what is the level of income that is expected to be generated. All this will help you get the necessary financing or funding the various promotional and other expenses. The plan should set out the budget requirements of the chosen strategies and plan out their funding accordingly.
Tips for Writing an Effective Marketing Plan
An effective marketing plan is one which:
- Focuses and clearly states an enterprise’s goals
- Provides a clear picture of the targeted markets and strategies for capturing those markets
- Present a true picture as this will help you in setting realistic goals and actually achieving them. A rosy picture may get you the necessary financing, but inability to produce results will create bigger problems for your SME.
- Includes a mission statement or a summary in the beginning providing the purpose of writing this marketing plan.
To remember these points while writing a marketing plan for your SME and you can boost the chances of making good profits on your company investment.