Set Yourself Up for Success in 2017
Marketing Plans that Work
By: Eric Wiedenmann, President – Market Development Group, Inc.
Having an effective marketing plan is “your roadmap to success.” Having no plan or an ineffective plan is planning for failure. During the past 39 years, I have written, edited, revised or read 100’s of marketing plans. Whether an organization is a public or family owned business, mature or startup business, or a provider of manufactured products or services there are 10 essential factors in common required to have an effective marketing plan. These factors are briefly summarized below:
- A great marketing plan must be built on realistic assumptions. When you act on things that you wished were true then you are going to make some really bad calls.
- The plan must be financially sound. It must drive profits and create value to all the stakeholders. A company cannot survive very long without profits.
- The plan must have a clear picture of the problems solved or value added to the target customers. Customer pain points or motivations must be well documented as there is no business without satisfied and sustainable customers.
- An understanding of the strengths and weakness of your company relative to the competition is critical. This is needed to drive successful competitive strategies such as being the low cost producer or having a premium position by having the most features/benefits.
- The plan should be well organized and it should contain a one page executive summary, table of contents, range from about 10 to 25 pages depending on the complexity of the business, and have backup data such as articles, assumptions, and other supporting data.
- Primary and secondary research from customers and target customers, competition, economic trends and any other area that impacts the success of the business must be conducted in a timely manner.
- The plan must have the support or “buy in” of top management and/or the business owners. This is needed to obtain the resources needed to implement an effective plan.
- The plan should contain no more the 3 to 5 five strategies. Having move will dilute the efforts and reduce your chance of success.
- Specific milestone dates, budgets, and responsibilities must be clearly stated. What gets measured gets done. Without this, you only have a “vision” without measurable accomplishments.
- Quarterly reviews are needed to make adjustments to the plan since events beyond the control of the company will always occur.