A strategic marketing plan will help you:
- Generate Leads to Your Business
- Set Up Key Tracking Systems
- Improve Your Bottom Line
- Gain New Customers
- Identify which current and new customers are your best prospects
- Evaluate your company data against your industry or market
- Set a baseline of simple but key tracking systems to learn what works
Advantage Marketing’s 12 STEP PROCESS:
- Positioning Your Product and/or Service
- Draft a SWOT Analysis That Evaluates Your Business in Fresh Ways
- Create a Strategy That Will Address Your Specific Needs and Goals
- Define Your Target
- Create Persuasive Messages For Your Target
- Select Your Marketing Channels
- Create Consistent Marketing Collateral
- Draft The Plan
- Create a Marketing Calendar
- Track Results
- Create Reports
- Review The Plan, Progress and Results Regularly
Key steps to creating a strategic and practical marketing plan:
Many business owners blur the lines between promotion, advertising, and public relations. Those are the channels of a message or campaign, not marketing itself. The four P’s of marketing are:
- Product: Having the right product or service for your market.
- Price: Selling your product or service for an amount that makes your target customer feel it is a good deal for what they purchase.
- Promotion: Creating appropriate perceptions across multiple marketing channels.
- Place: Distributing your product to locations where your target customers can readily find it; getting the right product or service at the right price in front of the right customer.
- Strengths: What makes your business thrive?
- Weaknesses: What are your vulnerabilities?
- Opportunities: What market conditions or segments can lead to growth?
- Threats: How are competitors snapping at your heels?
- Keep in mind that a high volume of sales is not always the key. The goal should be profit. The goal of marketing is to generate the interest or recognition that will lead to increased sales and boost profits.
- Where do you want your company to be in a year?
- Who should you target? Identify your target by industry, annual sales, age, gender, number of employee’s, location, etc.
- What do those customers need?
- What do you want them to purchase?
- Where do your target clients shop for your services? (e.g. internet, tradeshows, etc.)
- We will help you identify the right message, taglines, and opening and closing statements. Some people call this the promise, and others call it the main point. They are short concise statements—just a line or two—that tells your target why you’re different and better.
- When we craft a persuasive message, it’s not just your advertising message we’re talking about. It’s your whole marketing program.
- We think about your words and pictures! From the billboards crowding our highways to the graphics competing for attention on the web . . . we are very visual!
Before you can actually start in the selection process to identify the best marketing channels, you must first learn and familiarize yourself with the various channels that are available that may fit your needs and budget. Below is a short list of the many options.
- Your Company’s Website
- Email Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Search Maps (Google +)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Display Advertising
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Online Public Relations
- Networking and Referrals
- Trade Shows & Expos
- Educational Seminars
- Printed Presentation Collateral
- Direct mail (postcards or sales letters)
- Television Ads
- Displays & Signage
Consistency: It’s one of the fundamentals of marketing. Consistency of your message strengthens what you are communicating about you, your company, and its products and services. Your message should be harmonized across your organization within all marketing campaigns and channels, as well as amongst your employees and anyone else that represents your company.
Now that you have an overview of goals, customers and market conditions, you can start to execute your plan. The plan should be simple to follow and use, and should consist of a written outline to share with staff or outside consultants for future reference. The plan should cover:
- A summary of your market position and goals.
- A definition of what you expect to accomplish in a specific time period (e.g: “We will sell 150 widgets by the fourth quarter.”)
- A list of target markets, including segmentation and niche areas.
- An appropriate strategy for each segment or market.
- Expenses and resources, and how they will be allocated.
Creating a simple calendar or list that maps out the dates and timelines when marketing tasks will be performed. These tasks should first be outlined on a yearly basis, and then added as daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal events.
- Test, track and modify efforts with web analytics, call tracking and client management systems.
- Include benchmarks to review whether your marketing efforts are on track and meeting your expectations.
- Calculate (by each channel) the cost of marketing communications and compare with pre-determined specific sales forecasts.
For various campaigns, check progress with tracking methods (such as a spreadsheet in Excel) that includes specific sales and customer data.
- A regular review of marketing plans and activities is crucial to long-term success.
- We recommend a formal review every six months (or twelve months minimum) to determine necessary changes, progress, and results.