These are the steps for creating a proper marketing plan:
- Step 1 – Situation Analysis
- Step 2 – Objectives & Issues
- Step 3 – Target Market analysis
- Step 4 – Marketing Strategy
- Step 5 – Marketing Programs
- Step 6 – Financial Plans
- Step 7 – Measurement & Controls
- Step 8 – Executive Summary
Step 4 – Marketing Strategy. At this point, you should have a good understanding of the business situation and associated marketing situation. You should have a clear understanding of the business objectives and critical issues that exist and their effect on the marketing plan going forward. Your target market should be clearly defined and you should have a consummate understanding of the value your firm brings to the target market.
Congratulations my fellow Modern Marketer, you are now ahead of about 80% of your peers even if you stop right now. But please, DON’T STOP now, we’re coming up on the fun part. You are now ready to begin formulating your marketing strategy.
But first, spot quiz! If you can’t articulate these two foundational elements of your plan, go back to Step 1 and involve your key stakeholders until you can nail these two points down.
The Marketing Strategy is quite complex and I can only hope to highlight the major sections in this blog post. This is where you bring in the famous ‘4 P’s of the Marketing Mix’. You’ll clearly talk about Product, Pricing, and Place (channel). The fourth P, Promotion will be discussed in our next blog post about Marketing Programs.
Product Marketing Strategy. You should be able to articulate a product (or service) strategy and how it aligns with the business strategy. The product strategy should address the current offering, future road map, and how each product fits the positioning and supports the value proposition. Product marketing strategy can become very complex in a short time. I strongly recommend you work with your product managers and business leaders on this section.
Pricing Strategy. Every company should have a stated pricing strategy. The pricing strategy must align with the positioning and value proposition. For example, if you position your brand as high value with premium pricing, you should not worry about winning business by being lowest price. It takes a very different infrastructure to compete on low price than it does to compete based on differentiated brand offering.
Place. Place means channel. How will your offering make final content with the end user? This decision goes hand-in-hand with the other 4 P’s and especially pricing. Should you make the decision to use distributors or resellers, your gross margin requirement may be different than if you choose to sell direct. This decision also affects your marketing programs which we will discuss in the next blog post.
Disclaimer: I understand this is a very broad overview of a highly detailed subject. My purpose here is to help you start thinking about this process. The process of writing a plan is extremely helpful in building a profitable and growing business. You should find a good reference to go along these posts. I recommend, ‘The Marketing Plan Handbook‘ as a great reference.