Annual Marketing Plan

2013 is well and truly here and many of us have already planned our marketing plan for 2013. For others, marketing is just now coming into focus. Often not knowing what to implement into the marketing plan can cause procrastination. Below are a few good points to touch base on when building your marketing plan for the New Year.

Customer Focus

Customer focus should be one of the first things to keep in mind when building a strategic marketing plan for 2013. Keeping budgeting, resources and a direct timeline of implication should always follow suit after gathering detailed information about your customers. Having a solid campaign of adequate customer information not only keeps the marketing strategy on target but also will help save time and money. Many times proper planning and management of marketing practices will help increase sales and definitely help in building brand awareness with the targeted audience.

Reviewing 2012 for 2013 Marketing Plan

Once you have your customer information and research in place, the next best step to take is to look back over all efforts made in 2012. A few questions to ask are;

• Did your sales objectives meet your expectations from a result of your marketing strategies?

• Did you connect with the important people-customers and prospects.

• Did your website connect with the target audience and help bring more awareness about your company?

• Were you able to set more prospect meetings to encourage doing future business together?

These are important pieces of the marketing strategy to take note of what parts of the planning from the previous year worked and what ones did not work. It is at this stage you can start to make adjustments to your marketing planning for 2013.

You may decide that your current marketing plan is highly successful and determine if major or minor adjustments need to be made going forward.

Businesses often find themselves on each side of the coin, but often many businesses fall somewhere in the middle. Many times some techniques worked well and produced decent results, where others were not effective at all.

Often small businesses do not have a marketing strategy at all, and find that without a detailed program, they often just try things as they come, and seem to be flying by the seat of their pants so to speak.

When this is the case, some companies often purchase newspaper advertisements for a short term, advertise on the radio, and even try a low budget TV campaign; because they think they have spotted a good deal at the time. Often this results in low disappointing results that end up a cycle of repeating similar tactics looking for the magic formula.

Marketing Plan Focus

In 2013 companies should focus on marketing plan initiatives that start with foundations that are solid to help attract more customers. In order to do this, companies should understand the demographics and needs of the purchaser.

If it’s a business to consumer sale, it is often easier to make up the customer base by using ready available resources; charge cards, sales receipts and email lists that help narrow down where the customer base is driven from, age group, frequency of purchase and the most popular service rendered or item purchased.

However, business to business marketing can be a little more complex in nature and may need to be a little more creative. Often small businesses face situations where a client sets aside a small portion of their budget to that specific firm, but may be spending a larger amount with a competitor. Misconceptions of products or services, or lack of knowledge of the business offerings often is the cause of this. The business to business marketplace can be more challenging.

By researching the client/customer, you will be able to uncover areas of concerns and successes with your existing customers/clients. By doing a little more background research, you possibly will uncover more important information such as spending habits of purchasers, age, location, and even reading habits. Many times this alone can help form a profile of potential clients by bringing you into new markets or business segments. All this would go a long way in helping you with qualified lead generation.

Customer background alone can help a company create and solidify a business marketing plan. Putting the plan in place with well thought out details is the best practice for creating success in 2013.

Marketing Plan Essentials for a Successful Business

A marketing plan enables you to draw an outline of the techniques to be employed in order to achieve the goals of your online business. Without a plan, the business will have no direction.

So why is it necessary to develop a marketing strategy?

  • To have a roadmap: The plan is a guide to realizing both your short-term and long-term visions for your business. You will be able to develop the right techniques for reaching out to your target market. The plan gives your business a sense of direction.
  • For branding: The marketing plan helps you in planning out the best methods of building the brand of your business. If for example your target market is college students, then the plan should be focused on branding your business as an entity for college students.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Developing a strategic plan for managing the resources of your online business can significantly reduce the operating costs. The plan makes the activities of your business more organized and efficient. You will be able to reap more for less.
  • Stability: The plan makes you business more stable in an unpredictable marketing environment. The online business environment is dynamic and new trends in marketing emerge every day. A well developed plan enables you to integrate the new trends and take advantage of them. You will be able to avoid reactionary marketing strategies which are usually ineffective in face of stiff competition.

Most online start-ups fail within the first year of their operation due to failure to create an effective marketing strategy. A great plan can enable a small start-up to be on the same level with already established online businesses.

Let’s take it a step further and discuss the essentials in developing a reliable marketing plan:

  • Determine your target market: You should identify your target market. Conduct a market research for establishing the right customers for the product or services offered by your online business. This will enable you to determine the best way to reach out to potential clients.
  • Branding: You should be consistent in creating brand recognition for your business. Marketing online should be centered on creating a unique business personality that can resonate to potential customers. All marketing efforts should be focused on creating a recognizable identity for your online business.
  • Goals and objectives: Set short-term and long-term goals for promoting your online business. The marketing plan should be drawn from the goals of your business. Goals also help in defining the budgetary allocation to your marketing campaign.
  • Budget: Work out the budget for your business. Map out your monthly and annual budgetary needs. Determine the costs of running a marketing campaign which should be in line with both your short-term and long-term goals.

And, don’t forget about the 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion — the graphic below has key

It is important that you satisfy all of these when creating a marketing strategy.

Embracing a good marketing strategy guarantees you of a ready market for your products and services. It also makes your enterprise successful and on a competitive edge by addressing the market forces of demand and supply. Once you have formulated the perfect marketing strategy and have the right product being offered at the best price, at the most convenient location and using the best promotional tactics, you get an edge over your competitors. All you need to stay at the top is adapt to the changing environment.

Creating a marketing strategy can take about an hour to do — and it can be the BEST hour you’ve spent on your business yet! Get in there, set your goals, create a marketing plan and stick to it!

To your success,

April

How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

Marketing is the soul of your business, it means anything you do for the promotion of your business comes under marketing. However, without a plan or strategy your marketing campaign will not deliver the desired results. Therefore, creating marketing plan for any business is vital.

Now the question arise; how to create an effective marketing plan for a company? We all know the format of a marketing plan. Whether you make a formal or informal proposal, a plan should be such which touches all the essential points to deliver the targeted goal.

To make an effective plan, there is a famous rule called 4P’s. Here, P’s stand for Price, Product, Promotion and Placement. In this another P is added called People. Today while doing digital marketing or the traditional marketing one should understand people or the customers you are dealing with. It’s important to figure out what is significant for the business, and later make a plan accordingly.

Generally, in a marketing plan the following points are considered –

  • Market Analysis: First analysis your broader market, where are the opportunities that you can look for? What are the scopes in the current market? After analyzing the broader scope of the market; target on the niche values.
  • Identify the Target Customers: Unlike the broader analysis of the market; here you aim on the targeted customers. You look for the scopes where you can promote or market your product to get the higher returns and acceptance. Here from targeted customers to clients, you also find out the needs and demands of the audience. Once you know, who all are your customers and what exactly they are looking for then you can jump to next step.
  • Marketing Plan: In this you perform, precise activities which helps in achieving the goals and objectives you are targeting at. Here, you plan how you will promote the product/service? What are the specific areas of promotion? What would be the budget of this plan execution? Etc. Plus, you also estimate the ROI of this marketing strategy.
  • Competitive Edge: It’s important to define your competitors too. One should know, what strategies are being used by the competitors to reach to the potential customers. If you know what your competitors are doing, you will be able to modify the plan and maybe your marketing analyst will come with something more innovative that can capture the mass attention.
  • Sales and Strategy Forecast: If you have a target to achieve you can plan out your work according. It’s just like keep the figures real and amenable. Unrealistic figures would not help you ever to get the target on time. Secondly with these forecast, you can compare your marketing strategies and come up with the best solutions for future activities.

These above tips are vital or the stepping stones for any business, but in reality, companies need to incorporate multiple web channels for their business marketing plans. Below are popular web channels that business uses for their planning and strategies:

  • Social Media Marketing: One of the most promising way of marketing in today’s date. From LinkedIn to Facebook and from Twitter to Google+, companies use these platforms to target the right set of customers. From a survey by social media – 93% of marketers use social media for business.
  • Mobile Marketing: Another most prompting way of marketing which is used in today’s digital world. The acceptance of smartphones and tablets has helped to change the way companies used to target their customers earlier; these days they implement strategies that reach customers on their devices itself. From a survey via Our Mobile Planet, 89% of smartphone users notice mobile ads.
  • Email Marketing: The marketing plan via email is quite an old one. It is an effective and popular way of promotion for many small business owners. Get the email data of your possible customers and send them your customize business emails to let them know what you are offering.
  • Blog Marketing: Blogging is a big focus when it comes to content marketing. Blog provides a personal touch and advantage to your social media marketing too. Here you have a freedom or control over the product or service you are marketing for. Companies are hiring full-time bloggers for this job. Although, 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger.

These are the points you should remember while making plan and strategies and how to reach the customers for a booming business.