The Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a key part of businesses success and helps you to identify developments within the market and emerging trends in the sector your business operates in. It can set the future goals and targets and how you will achieve these. All businesses should produce one, a good plan can save time and money and will clearly show the direction your business should take. Statistics show that businesses who produce and use marketing plans can out perform those who don't by around 30%.
Is it worth Having a Marketing Plan
Once written the marketing plan can be used at various stages in the development of the business. It should be used and not written and forgotten. However, you don't have to stick to it rigidly it should be flexible as things within the business changes and should be updated as the need arises. You need to strike a balance between keeping the original objectives and adapting the plan to cope with changes in circumstances. Writing down your plan helps to clarify your ideas and keep your business focused in the right direction by carefully looking at your sales strategy, product and customers, as well as alerting you to any potential dangers and opportunities that arise.
Within the Marketing Plan should be listed the various methods to be used to achieve the marketing goals of the businesses. Marketing the business to the audience and customer base chosen will depend to a degree on which photographic area you have chosen and who you are trying to reach.
A marketing plan should include the following main sections:
Marketing Review The purpose of this section is to review the current situation, to identify whether these is a market opportunity, and enable you to decide which target markets to go for. Within this section you need to cover :
See Market Review for ideas of tasks you might carry out to achieve this.
Objectives this should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and achievable. It should cover your market, territorial, personal and business objectives. These should be realistic and show what it is expected to be achieved in terms of turnover and profit. Also include here a reminder of your overall business strategy, such as what your business is about (business mission), and your strategy for achieving these objectives. Including them here will mean your marketing plan will stay focused and in line with your overall business plan.
Strategy looking at what resources are needed to achieve the objective. This is a summary statement that should include what the product is, its price (see here for how to go about Pricing of Products or Services), how it is to be promoted (link here to Getting your business in front of your customers) and where it is to be sold and distributed. If you intend to work across a number of areas then it is prudent to do an analysis for each one. For each area cover some if not all the following:
Actions summarising what the individual activities are that need to be carried out. Incorporate some of the following:
Hints and Tips
The number one task of any business is to market it. Marketing your business makes sales equals income. For an already established business Maximising Sales is the key, continuing to make sales equals more income equals profit equals a business to be proud of.
Marketing plans are usually used at the start up stage, but they should also be used when promoting new products or wanting to target new customer groups and above all they should be a tool used within the business and not written and forgotten about.