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Social Media Overload?…Time for a Marketing Plan

As I have mentioned in one of my first posts”Plan your social media time…“.and if you haven’t already sat down and decided how to move your business or brand forward online, then you need a marketing plan. First comes the strategy.

Somebody asked me the other day, what the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.  Well here’s my answer.

The strategy comes first.  It is formed by your overall goals for your business. It should include a definition, explanation and description of what you are all about. Whether you provide a service, product etc. It should also include a profile of the people that use your product or service, your clients.  The people who you are reaching out to. And, most importantly, you should be overfamiliar with your competition and know where you sit in the market and what makes you different.  Defining your company’s role in relationship to the completion is vital.  The strategy is to judge the effectiveness of your marketing plan.  It’s a way of totting up the facts and working out how to progress. A summary of your company’s product/service in relation to the competition.

The marketing plan is really the application of the strategy and should include details about your business, its USP, costs, and the sales and distribution plan.  On top of that you include your plans for advertising and PR, on and offline.

Either with or without the other would be a complete waste of time!  Without goals, how would you know if you’ve accomplished anything?

So let’s think and re-evaluate where we are at.  You need to write a list of targets for your company. What you want to achieve, consider your profits, your market.

Nowadays it’s so much easier to do market research.  It’s also easier to judge yourselves amongst your competitors.  Read my post about what you can learn…..

I came across this text from the Business Owners Tool Kit and thought I would share it with you, as it is a succinct and very detailed list of what your strategy should be.

  1. A description of the key target buyer/end user

  2. Competitive market segments the company will compete in

  3. Distribution channels

  4. The unique positioning of the company and its products versus the competition

  5. The reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers

  6. Price strategy versus competition

  7. Marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion

  8. Possible research and development

  9. Market research expenditure strategies.

An overall company marketing strategy should also:

  1. Define the business

  2. Position the business as a leader, challenger, follower, or niche player in the category

  3. Define the brand or business personality or image that is desired in the minds of buyers and end users

  4. Define life cycle influences, if applicable

Use the following checklist to help create your own marketing strategy.

Marketing strategy checklist

  1. Define what your company is

  2. Identify the products or services that your company provides

  3. Identify your target buyers/end users

  4. Establish the marketing category (e.g., fast food purveyor, high-end audio equipment sales, etc.)

  5. Determine whether your company will be a market category leader, follower, challenger, or niche player

  6. Describe the unique characteristics of your products or services that distinguish them from the competition.

  7. Define whether your pricing will be above, below, or at parity with your competitors and establish whether you will lead, follow, or ignore changes in competitors’ pricing

  8. Identify the distribution channels through which your products/services will be made available to the target market/end users

  9. Describe how advertising and promotions will convey the unique characteristics of your products or services

  10. Describe any research and development activities or market research plans that are unique to your business

  11. Describe the image or personality of your company and its products or services

Strategy statement tests.

If the statements in your strategy are measurable and actionable and work to differentiate your company and products apart from the competition, congratulations! If they are not measurable and actionable and do not differentiate your company from the competition, revise them until they are.

A good working marketing strategy should not be changed every year. It should not be revised until company objectives (financial, marketing, and overall company goals) have been achieved or the competitive situation has changed significantly, e.g., a new competitor comes into the category or significantly different or new products emerge from existing competitors.

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