Jono Wilson, Managing Partner at Barnett & Turner, explains the importance of marketing and how you had better take an active part or risk losing out to your competitors. What was it that drew you into your current profession? I would hazard a guess that marketing, business development or sales were not high on the list of attributes or duties you considered important. However, these key skills are now paramount in the success of your company and will become ever-more critical as time goes by.
This means that if you don’t have a dedicated team or department devoted solely to this important function, then you, as the business owner or leader, usually have to develop the skills and ability to source and bring in work yourself.
Whilst everyone knows you should have a business plan, many business leaders do not put much importance or time into a workable marketing plan which focuses on winning and keeping clients and customers.
A good, workable and flexible marketing and business development strategy highlights all the tools and actions you need to develop and implement to achieve your sales goals. It is your plan of action, outlining what you will sell, who will want to buy it and the tactics you will use to generate leads and to turn prospects into customers.
So what is a Marketing Plan?
In simple terms, marketing plans are detailed documents that summarise the market knowledge you possess and the strategies needed in achieving set objectives over a particular period of time.
Listed below are four essential areas that must be covered in your marketing plan before you proceed with any specific marketing activity.
1. Consolidation – Assess your current situation.
- What resources do you have available?
- Analyse and summarise where you are in your specific market.
- Do a SWOT Analysis – internal strengths and weaknesses; external opportunities and threats.
- Assess your competition – what they are doing and where, along with their prices and exposure.
- Are there other factors that may cause future opportunities or challenges in terms of social, economic, political or technological issues?
2. Develop your marketing strategy, including the development of:
- Your business mission and vision.
- Your business objectives.
- Your marketing objectives.
- A comprehensive description of your target market and customers.
3. Develop your marketing programme. The 4Ps
- Your product messaging.
- Your pricing strategy.
- Your promotion plans.
- The ‘place’ or channels you will communicate across.
4. Determine your controls, benchmarks and measurement process
- Budgets and resources.
- Critical success factors.
- Key performance indicators.
Remember, you don’t create a marketing plan just to put it away, never to see the light of day again. It should be a workable, dynamic, measurable and flexible document to which you refer on a regular basis and which is updated and amended as conditions or situations change.
If you would like to discuss anything related to this article please do not hesitate to call Barnett & Turner on 01623 659659 or email Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org