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Marketing plans are underrated. As companies get busy, it’s easy to switch into a reactive mode, rather than a proactive one. However, where a business plan may serve as a map for your company, a marketing plan is most certainly the key or legend. This important piece adds detail and direction in the steps to increasing sales and visibility.
“The single most important thing for a small business to include in its marketing plan is a very clear understanding of its customers and its competitors,” said Robert Thomas, professor of marketing at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Every marketing plan looks a little different, but at its core it should explain your target market, where they will potentially see you or are currently seeing your competition, and your game plan for reaching them. Thomas suggests these distinctive checkpoints:
Define the need. What problem are your consumers facing that you solve? You must be able to articulate this before you can ever become valuable to your customer.
Define your market. Who are your customers? Focused and consistent brand communication will garner attention. However, it’s difficult to send a detailed message if you’re trying to appeal to everyone on a broad scale.
Define your competition. In order to figure out your competitive advantage, you need to study your opponent. Where are there gaps in the market not being addressed? And don’t’ make the mistake of assuming your only competition is direct competition. A sponge is as much a competitor for a dishwashing detergent as other leading detergents.
Define your brand position. Keeping all your research in mind now, write down your brand position statement. This should be a simple sentence defining who you are, what you offer, and how you accomplish that. Think “Problem + (Your Company) = Solution.”
This should give you a great starting point for creating an effective marketing plan. Other things to consider in today’s market though are social media and web marketing, as well as the tactics and brand personality you’ll incorporate to reach your consumer once you’ve figured out who they are and what they need. For more information on creating a detailed plan or campaign, please do not hesitate to contact us at (866) 796-6307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org