Marketing Plan: A Success Compass for Companies

Are you familiar with marketing plans? Are you aware of its significance to your company?

Regardless of how big or small the company is, marketing plan is needed to become successful. What is marketing plan? How vital is it in the success of companies? Whether you are starting a small or large company, you need it to guide you in your daily operation.

Significance of marketing plan:

  • It is a detailed analysis of the internal components of a business enterprise.
  • It presents an overview of the external forces which affect the company and ways of dealing with them.
  • It sets goals to guide the firm in whatever direction it undertakes.
  • It provides a benchmark for achieving future marketing incentives.
  • It offers strategies on how to launch a new product or service.
  • It presents ways on how to address or how to fix a problem.
  • It ensures that all your resources are properly utilized and properly targeted.

As a whole, marketing plan is a platform that establishes where you want to go, what you want to be and what road you like to thread.

When formulating your own marketing proposal, always remember to consider the current business scenario, your goals and strategies and your target market. It should be logical, goal-oriented and realistic. More so, you need to consider the elements of marketing mix such as the product, packaging and methods of distribution. You need to consider the five parts of a marketing plan such as:

  • Purpose/Mission – You have to explain the purpose of formulating your marketing plan. It should be concise and clearly worded for everyone to understand. To have an excellent mission statement, it should answer the following questions like: What services does the company provide? What is your business creed? What is your standard of doing business? What types of products you sell? Why are you in business?
  • Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis – As the phrase implies, you need to provide information of your strengths, weakness and the threats.
  • Marketing objectives – This part is crucial and important in the development and marketing of products and services. In this part, you need to identify your financial objectives, overall marketing objectives and marketing tactics.
  • Strategic marketing programs – It is the longest portion of the document because it details the strategies you need to implement to achieve a designated marketing goal. In this part, you need to consider the product, price, promotion and place.
  • Budget analysis and implementation – It is the final section of the document which analyzes and scrutinizes the company’s financial ability to carry out its marketing proposals. It defines the extent and the impact of marketing budget in the realization of the company’s projected plans. It is a precursor to the actual launching of products and services. It presents a projection of the potential success of the plan. It also shows time lines and organizes schedules.

With the steps and suggestions mentioned beforehand, you can now formulate your own marketing plan.

Create Steady Consulting Income by Using a Consistent Marketing Plan

The feast or famine syndrome is something all independent consultants, freelancers, or self-employed persons in general have to deal with. It’s the nature of business, particularly in some industries, such as healthcare. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will make the peaks and valleys of your cash flow a little less significant.

The problem that most consultants face is that from time to time, business starts pouring in and time becomes scarce. Many entrepreneurs tend to put marketing on the back burner when things get brisk, because they think they can’t handle any more business at that time anyway. As a result, marketing gets neglected until business slows significantly, and then rushed, unplanned, and last-ditch marketing efforts are thrown together in an attempt to bring in enough business to pay the bills.

What most freelancers fail to realize is that creating a marketing plan that should be followed no matter what, and sticking to it, will result in a much steadier stream of business and income. You will never eliminate the feast or famine syndrome entirely, but you can learn to plan and prioritize in such a way that a slow month or two isn’t a major issue. Having a basic marketing plan that is to be followed through consistently over a period of time, and having planned, well thought-out activities that are to be utilized to ramp up your marketing campaign during slow periods is the best way to keep your consulting cash flow more consistent.

Conveying a consistent message repeatedly and regularly to a target audience over a period of time is the most effective way to deliver your marketing communication. Whether your typical marketing plan is planned ahead for one month, three months, six months, or a year or more, it should be broken down into manageable pieces that are to be completed in regular intervals. This is to ensure that your efforts will be spread out pretty consistently, and not conducted in brief spurts. By planning activities that you will utilize on a weekly basis, you will ensure that your audience will have an opportunity to receive your message at least monthly, which depending on the nature of your business, may be frequent enough to keep your business top-of-mind.

Consistent marketing efforts don’t have to require a significant amount of your time or a lot of money. Many independent consultants primarily use free or nearly free methods of marketing their business with great success. Marketing strategies such as networking, maintaining an up-to-date website or blog, an article marketing campaign, and sharing your expertise on online discussion boards are all free or low cost ways to bring in new business. They are also all easily broken down into manageable goals and small commitments of time, and these are the types of marketing strategies that you want to focus on for your basic marketing plan.

In creating a weekly marketing plan, you should choose three or four activities that you would like to complete each week, and set a realistic goal for yourself that you are willing to commit to without fail. You could commit to writing two articles per week and submitting them to online article directories or to trade publications in your industry. You could set a goal to update your website or blog at least three times each and every week, or attend at least one networking event per week. You could set a goal of making a minimum of two new business contacts each week, using a combination of in-person networking and online social networking.

Ideally, your plan should consist of several types of marketing activities, but if your schedule truly does not permit that level of commitment, a minimum of two. Think about yourself and the marketing messages that you encounter each and every day. Seeing an advertisement or a mention of a business might impact you if the message is a good one, but seeing that same business again in a different medium or different context the very next day might make you think that this particular business must be doing quite well to be that prevalent in the media. A perception that a business is well established or does high quality will typically favorably influence potential clients or customers.

Be sure to have a back-up plan prepared in advance. There will still be slow times, and when you have extra time, you want to have well thought-out strategies that you can tap into. Trying to plan and execute marketing tactics at the last minute, during periods of stress, can only increase your anxiety. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude as an independent consultant, and you don’t want your clients or potential clients to pick up on your negative vibes.

While strategic planning might not be your favorite activity, having a consistent plan will allow you to stay more organized, more focused, and more able to devote your undivided attention to the needs of your clients. Your marketing message will be consistently delivered to your target audience, and your slow periods won’t be as severe. When those slow times do come, your back-up plan will be waiting to be implemented, and you’ll be back to being busy in no time.

Music Marketing Plan Part III – The Formal Plan of Incorporating Your Financial Projections