Double or Nothing… Written Marketing Plans Increase Success

Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes. However, studies show that businesses with written marketing plans always do better than those who undertake ‘random acts of marketing’.  Sometimes more than double the business. Marketing plans aren’t just a pretty brochure or a Facebook page. A marketing plan includes a broad range of information that points towards specific goals. It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. What does the marketing plan actually do? Marketing plans are a repository of information that guides you in productive promotion of your services and products. A marketing plan defines target markets, draws a competitive position picture, identifies how to reach target markets, articulates how you differentiate yourself from others and clearly outlines a service model.  Perhaps most importantly, marketing plans must include a realistic snapshot of your resources including people, financial, external communication tools and more. Here is a quick outline of some components you should include in your plan:

  • What are your goals— identify what you have to offer and what success looks like to you.
  • Target markets— define the market demographics, in other words… who you are selling to.  Include details like age, gender, interests, ability to consume and obstacles that impede purchases.
  • Budget—  how much money can you allocate to marketing your service or product?
  • Price— what is the cost to create your product and how much do you want to sell it for.
  • Brand— identify what makes your product desirable and then build your brand from the buying motivators.
  • Referrals— who can send you business and how will you reward their help?
  • Your offer— what is your message and how are you going to deliver that item to consumers?
  • Strategy— what approach to marketing communications will reach your desired audience?
  • Tactics— these are the daily/weekly/monthly activities that you will do to gain visibility and credibility for your products and services.

There are many things that could be included in a marketing plan. Starting with the above items will provide you a solid foundation to develop your success over time.  Like I said before, marketing plans do not need to be fancy or complicated, but they certainly do need to be carried out over time.  Don’t write the plan and leave it on a shelf.  Use it to guide your decisions so that all of your activities push in one direction towards achieving your short and long-term goals.