One of the most important components of running a successful business is reaching consumers and gaining customers. A company must assess which markets they want to reach and find inventive ways of linking their product or services with the end-user. This is where a strategic marketing plan comes in. A marketing plan is a field guide to promoting and selling a product or service. It outlines everything from the advertising budget, market research and target market to media buying.
Marketing continues to evolve with the ever-changing pace of communication and technological advances within society. With the advent of mass communications, the era of word-of-mouth marketing was no longer relevant. Professionally created advertisements surfaced, and the focus shifted to the consumer. Today, as a result of the Social Web, the relationship between buyer and seller is asserting its application in online marketing.
There are a few important features required to effectively execute a strategic marketing plan. It is essential to set up a marketing plan that reflects the overall goal of the organization. Lay out specific performance goals that are practical and achievable. Outline the company’s strengths, weaknesses and competition within the defined target market. Identify the market segments you wish to target and what media outlets will best reach them.
When defining corporate goals, make sure they are quantifiable. Goals should be measurable so you have a way to clearly know when they have been achieved. Many small business owners refer to SWOT analysis, which translates to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Once you can clearly define each of these, you can more effectively map marketing strategies. Make sure to keep view of the underlying corporate vision throughout the planning process.
Determine potential customers and what their preferred form of communication is through research of relevant demographic and lifestyle data. Identify the location and market share of your target audience. Follow market trends and stay in tune with the latest industry developments. These social trends are important since they affect your consumers, which ultimately influences purchase power.
Once you have a clearly defined target market, extensive knowledge of that market is necessary to ascertain the best way to reach the end-user. With less than ideal economic conditions, promotional items, coupons and trial offers are usually a sure shot with consumers. Organize specific channels to move your products or services directly into the market.
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