The Advantages Of Creating A Marketing Plan
If you want to develop a successful marketing campaign that targets a particular segment, you need to understand the advantages of creating a marketing plan. A marketing plan serves as a blueprint for your company in terms of assessing your business and marketing objectives, understanding the demographic you are trying to appeal to, creating efficiencies, finding ways to track and measure outcomes, and deciding who will carry out the marketing activities.
Deeper Look at the Elements
#1. Assessing Your Business and Marketing Objectives
This is perhaps the most essential aspect as it relates to the advantages of creating a marketing plan. If you do not have defined goals, it will be impossible to formulate a strategy to achieve success. Here are some steps that you should take:
- Consider what you want to achieve in the short- and long-term. How will a marketing plan help you reach these objectives?
- Think about who the main competition is and consider their strengths and weaknesses. Also think about what marketing strategies they are using.
- Assess your business’s offerings and decide the best approach in terms of projecting your image.
#2. Understand Your Target Audience
There are very few products and services that appeal to a universal population. Therefore, you will need to focus the marketing campaign on a narrow demographic that will best maximize your profits. You will need to understand how they think, what will appeal to them, and what influences their purchasing decisions. Here are some questions to think about:
- Which demographic are you targeting? What are their wants, needs and motivations? What can you do to convince them to buy your products/services?
- Do they have discretionary funds to spend on products/services like the ones you offer? What influences them to choose certain goods over others?
- Why should they find your products/services and brand appealing? What problems do they face and how will your products/services help alleviate them? What do they respond negatively to?
#3. Consider the Best Way to Reach Your Marketing Strategies
Let us suppose your goal is to sell a product that caters to college students. Since they are less inclined to respond to advertising (and indeed are often critical of it), you will need to think of more effective methods to reach out to them. This means thinking outside the box and doing research and analysis. Here are some questions to consider:
- What forms of media do they use and how frequently? What marketing channels are you planning to pursue (i.e., P2P marketing? Online advertising? Print advertising?) You might even mix and match a few of them.
- If you opt to incorporate on-campus advertising what methods will you use? For instance, campus newspaper advertising? Flyers? Event marketing? Posters?
#4. Creating Efficiencies
Another of the major advantages of creating a marketing plan is that it allows you to create a streamline process and eliminate any unnecessary expenditures in advance of the campaign. Here are some questions:
- How broad or narrow is your reach? Are you hoping to reach a national audience? Regional? Local? Which colleges and cities would be ideal?
- Would it make more sense to create an in-house marketing department or should you worth with an agency that specializes in college advertising?
- Think about the logistics. How will you print and distribute your marketing materials? How much material will you use?
- Create a marketing budget and think about when the best time to advertise would be. In addition, consider how long the campaign will last.
#5. Find a way to Track and Measure Outcomes
As you get ready to launch the marketing campaign, it is essential that you develop mechanisms for tracking the outcomes. A lot of businesses regard this as low priority, but they should not underestimate its importance. Here are some strategies to think about:
- Figure out how you can track and record the results of the campaign as it proceeds. You can achieve this in a number of ways. For instance, you might place trackable QR codes on the promotional materials, include a discount or promo code on the advertising materials, use photo documentation to track the advertising campaign in real time, or even all of the above.
- Since you will certainly want to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy, you should think about whether it makes sense to create a Facebook page dedicated specifically to the marketing campaign or if it will suffice to use your organization’s main FB page. Also consider whether you will be using Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms. Keep tabs on traffic and the number of unique visitors.
#6. Decide Who Will Carry out the Marketing Activities
The best way to carry out an efficient advertising campaign and one that allows for accountability is to assign the various roles and responsibilities to the advertising staff. Delegate the following responsibilities to those who will:
- Determine who will create the marketing strategy and plan
- Put together a budget and schedule
- Gather and analyze data related to industry trends and the particular demographic being targeted
- Distribute packaging, printing, and materials
- Rollout and execute the campaign
- Decide whether creating an in-house marketing agency makes the most sense or if it should be outsourced
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