Having a marketing plan is as important in any business as having a business plan.  It is the sole and most crucial aspect of a successful business. You can have the best of products or the best services in the world but if you dont market your business , it is just going to sit there staring you in the face.

Unlike your business plan that outline your business goals and how you want to achieve those goals, a marketing plan is an action plan, it details in steps  the action ,tools and tactic to be used in achieving sales and also to retain customers. In developing a marketing plan its important to focus on the marketing objectives and get everyone in the organization involved.

Developing a business plan does not have to be lengthy, most especially for small businesses or startups, think of it as telling a short story that describe all the key steps in your strategy in making sales.

Setting objectives

This is the first step in developing a marketing plan. A successful marketing plan depends on setting clear and SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable relevant and time-bound) that relates directly to the company business goals. Performing a S.W.O.T analysis identifying the strength, weakness, opportunities and treats surrounding your business can get you inform on setting your market plan.

Situation analysis/Market research

At this second step in developing marketing plan, you gather information about your customers and competition. You learn about the people you are going to sell your product or services to, their want, need and purchasing behavior. Also, you know your target demography, you select the right business location and you set your market price.

Market research helps you to make inform decision and directs you on how to respond to your customer’s demands.

Although, existing and thriving businesses conduct market research. it is particularly crucial for any startup to do a market research to know there is a potential market for your products before setting up at all.

Strategies and tactics

More than often, people even the so called marketing guru mix up the differences between market strategy and tactic. Now, a marketing strategy is the conceptualized idea you think of in your head on how to achieve your set marketing goals. You build your strategy around your goal(s).

Your our market tactics are step or actions you take on these strategies.

For example, your marketing strategy could be “increasing sales and market share of our product”. Tactics for this strategy could be Tv advertising, retail promotion, a banner ad campaign, email new letter etc. simply put, market tactics are actions you take to execute your market strategy.

Develop the plan – how do you do it

Each marketing tactics can now be broken down into specific action plans. Break it down into doable action steps so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. For example into quarter, then months, and the weeks. Your action plan should detail, what will be done, when it will be done, who is responsible for doing what and what will be the cost for each activity done.

Implementation of plan

The success of a marketing plan depends largely on how well its being implemented. Adequate resources and expertise is needed to implement each of your outlined action plans or steps. A key part of the resource needed in implementation of marketing plan is the people to implement it. They must be skilled in good and effective communication. The budget should be detailed and properly allocated for each set activity.