Writing a Successful Marketing Strategy

Writing, developing and implementing an effective and successful Marketing Plan begins with a sound market and industry analysis and finishes with a Marketing Strategy and Marketing Programs, ready for implementation. The marketing plan should not be developed and implemented independently; rather, the marketing plan is more effective if developed with your Business Plan products and services section and finally implemented with your company’s strategic and sales plan. In this article I provide an overview of what an effective marketing plan contains and how to successfully build that marketing strategy and plan.

There is a certain approach and building-block process to developing a Marketing Plan. The place to start is analyzing your Industry: its current state; who the major participants are; changes in the industry; opportunities, economic modeling forecasts; and examining who else may enter the industry. With that completed, move on toward determining how distribution works in your industry and how technology affects its distribution systems.

After your analysis on the Industry tier is complete, it is time to differentiate your focus to analyzing and defining your Market Segments. Determinants of Market Segments are Demographics, Geographic’s, Customer Needs, Buying Patterns, Psychographics and so forth. Once your Market Segments are defined and analyzed, then for each of the Market Segments, explain how the Market Needs lead these identified groups to buy your products and services.

With your Market Segmentation Strategy outlined, you can now narrow down your Target Markets, determining what Market groups are more important to your operation, along with, the Target Market Niches you can effectively target. It is vital to narrow down what your Target Customers’ needs and characteristics are, along with, what makes certain target groups more advantageous to operate than others.

The next step in the Marketing Plan Process is to analyze Market Trends from a Strategic stand. Look at Market Trends as a way to get ahead of the market direction, knowing with a probability of certainty where it is going before hand. Having established the nature and direction of Market Trends, you can now adeptly and realistically visualise your Market Growth and specific Growth Rates. Your Growth Rate Projections should identify in detail the relationship between your potential customers, sales, revenues and ultimately, profits.

With Market Trends and Growth rates determined, it is time to explain the Nature of your Competition, why customers choose one supplier over the other and why customers will buy from your company instead of these competitors. Provide a detailed competitive summary of your Products and Services’ Variables, ranking them in comparison to your Competition (example variables: Pricing, Sales, Trends, Positioning Clarity, Quality, Value, Reputation, Packaging, Advertising, Customer Service, Target Market Focus, Innovation, Brand Awareness and so forth).

Having established your Competitive Gap Threats, you can now develop a detailed Analysis of your Competitors. You must show how you can bridge your Competitive Gaps, clearly expose you can effectively compete, and what areas your business is better than the Competition. It is important at this juncture to exemplify how Competitively Positioned your Company will be in the Market. Specifically, what is your Positioning Strategy and what your areas of specialty and customization? With your Company’s Competitive Positioning Strategy clearly defined and established, you can clearly explain your Company’s Competitive Edge.

Two parts remain: your Marketing Strategy and Marketing Programs. These two parts of your Marketing Plan are closely linked as your Marketing Programs will implement your Marketing Plan’s underlying strategies.

Remember that the term “marketing” is defined as the broad effort to generate sales leads on a larger scale basis and it entices customers to look and consider a company’s products and services. Some important components to consider include products and services, unique company aspects, positioning, and attracting and maintaining a certain market.

This is further developed in the core elements of the Marketing Strategy.

— Positioning Statements: Strategic Focus on the most important Target Markets; the Market’s most important Needs; and how your Products and Services meet those Needs. State the Main Competition; how your Products and Services are better.

— Pricing Strategy: Provide a Price Breakdown of your Products and Services and relate your Pricing Determinants and Strategy to your overall Marketing Strategy. Consider things like: What your Products and Services cost you to produce and sell; what your Margins will be; Discount Policies & Strategies; Dealer and Distributor Margins; Recouping R & D costs; Possibility of Pricing Wars; Critical Supply and Demand factors; How Pricing will change over time, etc.

— Promotion Strategy: This component of your Marketing Strategy will answer how you spread the word about your Company to future Customers, and how you will Promote your Products and Services. Elements to consider: Advertising, Public Relations, Trade Shows, Events, Direct Mail, Internet Strategies, Seminars, Sales Literature, Expected Response Rates, Promotion Costs, Name identification, Brand Loyalty, Advertising Budgets, Incentives; Advertising Message, Theme and Vehicles; Customer Communications and so forth. It is important to determine the Marketable Differences in your Products and Services over your Competition.

— Distribution Strategy: How will you / who will distribute your Products and Services? What is Unique in your Distribution Strategy compared to the Competition? What are your Distribution Strengths? Types and numbers of Sales People? Sales People Compensation Structure? Sales Territories? These are some of the questions you should be asking while developing your Marketing Strategy’s Distribution System.

The last Section of your Marketing Plan deals with your Marketing Programs. Areas to consider include:

? Defining Marketing Programs
? How the Marketing Strategy will be implemented
? Identify specific Marketing Plans
? State Market Gaps and how they will be met
? How implementation of your Marketing Programs will be measured and quantified
? How your Target Markets relate
? How you will capture Markets others are competing for

The Marketing Programs put your Marketing Strategy into action, bringing “life” to your Marketing Plan.

Start out the new year strong with good Business Turnaround Services to pave the way for success. Consider using SBA Business Plan to increase your likelihood of business success and growth. Frank Goley is a highly experienced business plan consultant, and he is author of a business plan book. Frank also writes the business success blog, and he has written over 170 articles on business success.

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