So it’s that time again, you’ve got to decide what marketing campaigns, promotions and customer communications you intend doing this financial year. What will drive enquiries? What will grow your sales? And what will help you keep your existing customers?

Do you know which channels to use? How you need to talk to your customers and your prospects? Do you know where to find more customers?

Even before you start thinking about the actual messages you want to convey, how often and where, you need a plan with clearly defined objectives. (If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, how will you know whether or not you’ve achieved it?).

Here is an outline plan to help get you started. If you get stuck and need some advice, we offer a range of marketing audits and planning services. Just give us a call.

Writing a Marketing Plan

Answer these questions to get you started:

The Company

  • Where are we today and where do we want to be 1/3/5 years from now?
  • SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) – and be honest with yourself!

The Market

  • What / where is our current market?
  • Will that change in the future?
  • How big is the market?
  • Is this sufficient for any growth plans we have?
  • Who are our main competitors?
  • Evaluate competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • How strong is the competitive landscape?
  • What share of the market do we have (vs competitors)?

The Customer

  • Who are our customers?
  • Do we understand their needs (now and in the future)?
  • Who are potential customers?
  • Do we understand their needs (now and in the future)?
  • How are we rated for customer service? What do our customers think about us? How do we rate against the competition?

Now, armed with a good understanding of our business, the market and our customers, a marketing strategy can be prepared. Make sure you set clear timescales and be realistic with your expectations. Develop a list of objectives with appropriate action plans designed to accomplish them.

In addition, it is a well worthwhile exercise to review any marketing activity undertaken to date, with associated results. This can help shape the future activity plan.

Further, a robust measurement process should be developed to monitor all activity undertaken.

And remember, this needs to be a ‘living’, working document – don’t get hung up on it being perfect. You are bound to refine it over the year. A great timescaled plan can be the perfect starting point – that combined with a strong metrics regime, you can get started and further develop the plan as you go along.

Develop action plans that are cost-effective, realistic, and achievable with the resources to hand.

Good luck… and remember, if you’re ever in need of a helping hand, give us a call on 01482 652531.