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Marketing Tango

The Rhythm of Integrated Marketing

5 Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan - Tips for Small Business Success

Marketing Strategy

Mar 20, 2019

Marketing Strategy 2019A marketing plan is just as important to business success as a business plan. While your business plan focuses on your overall objectives and strategies, a marketing plan outlines how to get, convert and keep potential customers. Entrepreneur.com has put together a checklist of the top five essential elements for crafting an effective marketing plan that should help any integrated marketer draft a strong plan of action.

Step 1: Analyze Your Company’s Current Situation

You really need to understand your market—not just what you offer, but also what your competitors do. Ask yourself what is unique about your product or service, and how your competitors are appealing to the same audience you want to reach. Consider doing a SWOT analysis of your company: analyzing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

During this process you will not only look at any potential pitfalls, but you will examine how to strategically position your competitive advantages. This level of analysis can also help you better understand your audience, your key selling features, and any modifications/future expansion opportunities you will wish to consider.
 

Step 2: Flesh Out Your Target Audience

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that your audience is everyone, or that you can reach everyone in the same way. Build a simple demographic profile of your ideal customer, looking at age, sex, household income, geographic location, and lifestyle factors. Consider what types of people they are and what their purchasing habits will be like.

For integrated marketers whose businesses are B2B-focused, audience demographics will be slightly different—instead look at types of business, job title, business size, and any other relevant characteristics that are likely to influence their buying behavior.

Step 3: Determine Your Marketing Goals

Be specific about the measurable business goals that you would like to attain with your marketing plan. This helps you get on the right path, but also ensures that you stay there. For those marketers who are unsure how to get started, Entrepreneur offers this direction: Be Specific, Be Optimistic, Be Realistic, and Prepare for the Short- AND Long-Term.

Step 4: Familiarize Yourself with Marketing Tactics

Once you’ve figured out where you are, where you’re going, and who you are targeting, you need to figure out how to achieve your goals. What tactics will you use to reach your prospects, and keep reaching new people that match those initial prospects? Look into ways to reach your prospective customers at different phases of the sales cycle, from cold and uninformed, to hot and ready to close a sale.

Consider an integrated marketing mix including advertising, direct mail and email marketing, public relations, loyalty programs, events and promotional campaigns, and personal outreach in order to address the different types of prospects (cold, warm, hot). Do some research into where your audience gets their information on your product or service, and make sure you are there.
 

Step 5: Set a Marketing Budget

There is no question that you must include a marketing budget in order to successfully launch and run your business. The specific outreach mix that you use will often be determined by your budget, but there are options for even the smallest budgets, so don’t get discouraged.

Another valuable thing to remember about your marketing is to test, test, test! As you analyze the results of your tactical performance, determine the under-performers and the best performers. Shift your budget around so that you are funding those tactics that are most effective for you, and pull back on those that are not. Save up for some big, costly tactics, and double-down on the free and inexpensive ones if they will help get your message to your target audience.

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