This guide will help you organize yourself to successfully sell yourself, your product or your service with maximum results. Before starting, learn about and study your target audience. Ask yourself five questions: What does your target audience want? When do they want it? Where do they want it? How do they want to buy it? How much are they willing to pay for it? Then, use the following six steps to help you create your marketing plan: fact base, problems and opportunities, objectives, strategy, budget, and project sales and profit.
Fact Base involves collecting facts and data about your business or what you are trying to do. Write a simple statement of purpose of what it is you want to do, positioning your goals to your target audience’s needs and wants. Display, thoroughly explain, and analyze your data about your sales statistics, trends, markets, product/service, competition, delivery/inventory/customer service, distribution/sales, customer/target audience’s attitudes, and promotional material. Add photos and visuals to lighten the material and make your marketing material more interesting, memorable, alluring, entertaining, and exciting.
Make a list of all the problems and opportunities you are faced with in order to further analyze each and find an effective solution. Where there is a problem, there usually is an opportunity waiting to be discovered. Knowing your market trends, competitor weaknesses, and your own strengths can eventually lead to profit. An effective analysis involves identifying problems because the data is unusual or off from your usual statistics, removing anything or anyone that worsens business activity, and removing obstacles that hinder goals. Then list the opportunities clearly in specific terms to communicate the objective.
List each objective in terms of quantity and time frame, identifying product/service, market and geographical location with specific details and statistics. Making assumptions about your objectives involves making guidelines that will help you implement your marketing plan. These assumptions are usually unexpected happenings that can occur and affect your implementation of your plan. In other words, prepare for the worst. Group each assumption in the area that it affects in order to organize them.
Create your strategy that will help you implement your plan and reach your goal. It should include product/service information, pricing, promotion, advertising, distribution, customer service, packaging, merchandising, and sales. The strategy is the action of the plan. Concentrate on the target audience’s needs, wants and attitudes as well as the marketing mix. In your strategy, list who will perform the action, what the action should be that will lead to your goal, when is the deadline, what is the sequence that should be taken toward your end result, and what form of marketing would you be using. The target audience includes the buyers, buyers’ location, the price range they are willing to buying it at, their age and their income. Know your target audience well. The four marketing mix include product/service, place, promotion and price. Describe the features, benefits, performance and unique attributes that stand out about your product/service. Make it easy for your target audience to buy it and/or use it, with main concentration on distribution and sales. Create promotional material in the form of advertising, brochures, postcards, business cards, newsletters, websites, profile pages, trade shows, publicity and/or press conferences. Create awareness for your product/service with positive, factual, entertaining and attractive information in order to get as much exposure as you can. Provide clear communication with your target audience as well as attractive packaging and merchandising, and special incentives in the form of discounts or a gift with purchase. Offer free samples, demonstration kits, free gifts with your personal logo, or hold an event or party to introduce your product/service to the public. The price is the monetary value placed on your product/service that depends on its quality level as well as all the work and effort that created it. Analyze and evaluate each strategy, looking for compatibility in internal and external forces that can affect the implementation of your plan, as well as checking your resources, time and risk factors. Create backup strategies in case the original strategies fail. Also, creating backups allow you to analyze a wide arrange of choices in order to choose the best strategies. Backup strategies further allow you to be prepared for unexpected circumstances and happenings that can change your present plan.
Next, consider the budget. What will it cost you to implement your marketing plan? Separate the costs of implementation into two groups: marketing costs as well as the shipping and receiving costs. Shipping/Receiving costs tend to be fixed and not easily controlled, while the marketing costs are easier to control and may vary. Always monitor the progress of your marketing plan, making sure the budget has not changed. Controlling your budget helps you achieve your objectives. Check budget monthly to control it and make sure it is on track.
The final step involves forecasting of sales volume and anticipated profit. Comparing the forecast statistics with actual statistics can help find problems that caused the budget to go off track as well as find a better opportunity to fix the problem. This section involves all the sales, costs, gross profit, and before-tax profit.