The marketing plan is one of the first steps in consolidating and starting a business. For this reason, it is necessary to carry out various studies in order to create a stable base that will allow generating actions to introduce the brand on the market and position it against the competition.
In the beginning, beyond the generation of implementation strategies, it is about knowing the terrain in which the company and the people are moving who are trying to reach. Therefore, one point that should be emphasized in the marketing plan is research and in-depth knowledge of all areas that may affect the business.
Below we talk about the considerations to take into account when starting a marketing plan, as well as the steps you need to take.
What is a marketing plan?
When talking about a marketing plan, you have to consider a broad context. Among other things, the possible reach of the brand in the market and the fulfillment of the goals set by the company must be taken into account.
Although there are several texts that emphasize the importance of a strategic plan, there are many occasions when there is a desperate focus on the concrete actions that need to be implemented to achieve mid- or short-term business results. However, these measures alone, without prior targets, could be ineffective.
For this reason it is important to distinguish operational marketing from Strategic Marketing, to achieve solid and stable growth over the years. In addition, it is necessary to have plans that take into account the needs that arise from growth and demand, such as: B. Larger facilities, an increase in headcount, a variety of suppliers, among other factors that are foreseeable to produce effects. minor minuses.
Regarding the above, the operational marketing It includes the tactics or specific actions to achieve short or medium-term goals based on the 4 classic Ps of marketing, namely: Price, Product, Distribution/Location and Communication. Meanwhile he Strategic Marketing tries to set long-term goals, analyze consumer needs and possible business opportunities, always considering the corporate strategy.
Finally, it is possible to define the marketing plan as a document that considers and reflects a comprehensive market study. From this it is possible to set objectives, both strategic and operational, which will become a guide for the actions that the company must implement in order to achieve its expansion and growth. It’s important to clarify here that marketing plans have an expiration date, so they need to be reviewed and updated from time to time to have working tactics going forward.
Importance of a marketing plan
The importance of a marketing plan, in addition to being a solid guide to the fulfillment of corporate objectives, lies in the support and justification of the actions and investments made to improve the visualization, communication and brand recognition of part of the commercial teams. Therefore, it is an essential task from the beginning of a company.
The main reasons for developing a marketing plan are:
- Get to know yours Buyer Personalityeither target market regarding your needs. This point is important because these needs, aka pain pointsThey are what your brand is trying to please. In this way, you can use your resources and communication strategies in a more targeted manner and maximize investments in this area.
- Analyze the external situation of your company, the factors that positively influence and drive growth and those that can hinder it.
- Get an idea of the actions that will be carried out during the year, the budget required and the expected result.
- Set metrics to evaluate the progress of the actions taken and the ROI (return on investment).
Steps to developing a marketing plan
As we discussed in the previous sections of this article, the foundation of a marketing plan is based on market research and studies. To conduct them, you need to start with a diagnosis of the current situation of the company. This includes an analysis of the macro environment and an internal analysis of the company.
1.- Situation analysis
To collect this data, a PESTEL-style study or analysis must first be performed, which represents an acronym with its acronym:
- Politically: Country laws and policies that interfere with the regulatory framework of the economy. Their effects can be classified as short-, medium- or long-term.
- Economically: Among other things, this has to do with the economic situation of the country in which the company is located, taxes, profit regulations. As in the previous case, the impact must be measured in the short, medium and long term.
- Sociocultural: Find out about the culture, social movements and interests of the population in the country and city where the company is located.
- Technically: How the country where the economic activity takes place deals with the issue of technology import, in addition to the new technologies expected in the future for the type of company.
- Ecologically: What are the restrictions on environmental waste generated by the activity carried out and what interest does the support for sustainability arouse among the population?
- legal: Consider any laws that encourage or discourage the formation and development of the business.
Thoroughly examining each of these areas will allow data to be obtained to measure the impact, both negative and positive, on agents outside the company. That is, all those factors that cannot be controlled.
In this sense, the data from the macro environment can only be identified in order to find the best option to take advantage of it or to reduce its negative impact by being prepared for the moment it occurs. That is why it is so important not to lose sight of them at any time.
On the other hand, the internal analysis of the company has to do with all those processes that the organization carries out and that are positive for it. In it, you must state the mission and vision of your company, as well as the products or services it offers, because based on this, you can generate the subsequent objectives and answer specific questions that arise along the way.
This way you can start by asking yourself what is your company doing better compared to your competitors? Likewise, you should keep an eye on the processes with weak points that need to be strengthened and the aspects that generate disadvantages compared to competitors.
In doing so, it is very important to determine the departments that make up the company, because when working in marketing there should not be information silos between these departments. With this in mind, the data (for analysis of actions) must be available for all areas of the company and be able to be brought together as a whole, since it works like a cogwheel, with the actions of one area affecting the others.
At this point, when you have all the information, it’s a good time to organize it through a SWOT analysis, which you can structure like I show you in the image below:
2.- Sector Analysis
Sector analysis is an essential part of any marketing plan because it seeks to analyze the geographical area and the people living in it who, according to certain characteristics, might be interested in acquiring your product, that is, your product Buyer Personality.
Start by studying the population of the area where you will start your business. Limit and preserve location geographic data to later segment by demographics target which one you want to go to. The most important demographic aspects in this sense are: gender, age, socio-economic status, marital status, occupation and degree. Depending on the product or service, you can add other demographics that will help you better segment the population.
It is very important that you use this data to conduct an in-depth analysis. For example, start with the age groups and classify your target group according to their generation. Starting from what is known about the interests of this generation and taking into account the socio-cultural data you have previously obtained, you can create a very complete psychological profile of the interests and preferences of this age group of the population.
As a result, you will know more precisely which means of communication is best suited to convey your message, depending on the generation, which type of communication is most suitable and which type of product is more convenient to offer.
With this you can determine pain points your potential customers. They deal with those needs or deficiencies that you want to fill with your products and services. This way you don’t advertise a service for no reason, but offer them the solution to their problems, communicate them in the most convenient way for them, adapting the message to their interests. This combination is undoubtedly very beneficial for optimizing resources and increasing ROI.
3.- Competitive Analysis
In order to study the competition, it is necessary to be aware of it pain points or needs of our potential customers, since the competition is not the one who sells a generic product similar to ours, but the one who satisfies the same needs as us in terms of the type of consumer.
After analyzing who our competitors are, we need to know what position they occupy in the market. In this sense, depending on the market in which we are going to develop, there are different positions taken by the brands, defined by different criteria in relation to their competition and the scale / presence they have.
Therefore, find the position that your competition occupies in the market and determine the position that you will occupy, because depending on it you can work out your visualization and expansion strategies. The positions are:
- Leader: It is the one that takes a position and covers a large part of the market. They are recognized by other brands and their strategy is based on protecting and growing their market share.
- Challenging: They are the ones who take a stand-in position for the leaders and use aggressive strategies to constantly reposition their brands.
- Follower: They are the ones who base their strategies on coexisting between challengers and leaders without attacking them and maximizing their profits.
- Specialists: They are responsible for finding a niche or space in the market where they can gain a dominant position without being attacked by the competition. You focus on a smaller segment and dominate it to stay first in it.
4.- Market Analysis
After analyzing all the data of the environment and the needs that we are going to meet, it is time to focus on the product and the position that we are going to take. This point might be a bit more complicated than we think, as it is not easy to get the information we need to do it. However, there are tools to help you with market analysis.
In short, to develop this section you need data and statistics on the sales movement of the main companies in the sector in which you want to develop. The required data is summarized, among other things, in the sales of products in certain periods and can thus study their fluctuations. Also which products achieve higher profitability, in which geographical areas and in which seasonalities this happens. Based on the above, you can get an idea of how your business will move in this niche and what it will take to make it grow.
5.- Study on the product
In this section, it’s time to articulate your value proposition. Examine the characteristics of the product or service you will be offering, who will sell it, how it is made, what its life cycle looks like, how it can be supplemented or replaced.
In addition, it is necessary to examine how the market for this product moves around the price. It analyzes the consumer’s price perception, the price range that is managed for that product and what the sales statistics are for each price.
Finally, depending on the type of product, you need to evaluate all the possible sales channels that you could use. Likewise, you must define what is most economical in terms of cost and the certainty that the product will remain in its condition until it comes into contact with the final buyer.
For any marketing plan, it is necessary to have the data and insights from the analyzes mentioned so far, from which you can structure your strategy.
Structure of the marketing plan
The structure of the marketing plan begins with setting goals:
1.- Establishment and definition of the goal
Based on the market, competition, product and consumer analysis, you can define the goals that you want to achieve with your company. In relation to this, you can note: the expected customer retention, sales volume, billing percentage, brand growth and visualization, among many others that you may have depending on the niche in which you are developing.
To define the goals, you need to do it according to the SMART methodology. This means that these must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited. Likewise, it is necessary that you set KPIs (indicators) with which you can evaluate whether these goals are being achieved. If not, you can use these indicators to identify the areas where you need to make adjustments in your strategy.
2.- Marketing process
This section must contain all information appropriate to the product and its sale. It also defines the price it will have, the promotions and discounts that can be made and the logistics of its distribution.
3.- Marketing Strategy
According to the goals set, you must guide the marketing strategies required to achieve them. It’s likely that in a competitive world like the one we’re in today, you’ll need more than one approach and tool to do this.
Start by segmenting your audience by age, generation they belong to, interests and geographic area. Starting from there, it will be easier to develop communication tactics to reach them. Email marketing, network communications, influencer endorsement, copywriting, and content blogging are some of the top ROI strategies today.
Don’t forget that trading online is a must these days, so considering having a website in addition to SEO and SEM strategies is vital at this point.
Keep the essence and vision of your brand in mind so that whatever strategy you choose works. The idea is, regardless of the medium, to communicate the personality of your brand and how it differs from the rest of the competition in the market, how it can make life easier for your customers and why it suits their desires.
As you will see, the most important thing when executing a marketing plan is to analyze all the factors affecting the business. In order to design or execute a marketing strategy, it is necessary to have good source context on how the market is moving where you want to enter.
In addition to deciding what type of digital media to use or what type of advertising to run, it’s important to know the market and the person you’re trying to target. Marketing strategies are just means to communicate the message, but the foundation and intent of it is your business goals and what you want to show your consumers as a brand. Therefore, in order to be successful with your tactics and get a good ROI, it is essential to set measurable goals for what you want to achieve. Making sure you have these will reward your efforts.