How to make a successful marketing plan?

How to make a successful marketing plan?

Whatever the size of the company or the field of activity, marketing must be at the heart of the concerns. It’s a necessary discipline to acquire and retain new customers, influence brand awareness and grow revenue.

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To do this, any effective marketing strategy must be based on a detailed and concrete marketing plan. This document, a real common thread, makes it possible to identify market opportunities, set objectives and define the means to be implemented to achieve them. Here are the steps to establishing a successful marketing plan.

Why make a marketing plan

Carrying out a marketing plan is essential to implement the marketing strategy of the brand. It brings many benefits.

To begin with, the marketing plan is useful for identifying and better understanding changes related to the external environment of the company. It provides an overview of competitors and the market. This allows the company to better understand new trends and the strategy to adopt in order to grow and differentiate itself.

The marketing plan also makes it possible to identify market opportunities, assess its challenges, set marketing objectives, determine effective positioning and develop growth strategies. To do this, the company must carefully analyze its market, its prospects and its customers and define a differentiated offer based on its positioning. Thanks to this study, the brand can then develop an action plan based on its marketing mix and customer segments.

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Furthermore, the plan contributes to forging a strong brand image in order to position itself on the target market and attract the various customer segments.

With a marketing plan, the company has a global and clear vision of the actions to be taken to achieve its objectives and is able to measure its return on investment. The brand can therefore focus on activities that generate a good ROI. Depending on the results, the marketing plan is to be optimized and perfected for the following year.

1 – Analyze the company internally and externally

The first step in the marketing plan is to take stock of the situation, the environment and the competition. The company must, first of all, know each other perfectly.

To achieve this, it is possible to rely on the SWOT matrix, whose acronym stands for ” Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats or “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats” in French. Internally, this tool highlights the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Namely to bet on its qualities and skills to take the advantage on the market, but also to study the weak points to be filled. Externally, the SWOT matrix identifies the opportunities for growth and development of the company, as well as the obstacles it can potentially encounter in the market.

The SWOT study can be supplemented by the PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Sociocultural, Technological, Ecological, Legal) to carry out an external study on these six criteria. It thus benefits from a complete inventory in order to make strategic decisions consistent with its environment.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to study the competition carefully. The company must take the time to do an in-depth competitive analysis in order to identify the differentiating elements of its offer and the appropriate positioning.

And finally, it is necessary to do a market study, an essential step to assess the characteristics of the market and the viability of your project.

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2 – Define the objectives

The marketing plan must include precise and concrete objectives that the brand must determine over a period. These vary according to the sector of activity of the company and its maturity. They must be selected carefully to bring the expected growth.

Goals can be related to:

  • The increase in sales
  • Increasing market share in a target market
  • The increase in the notoriety of the company, a product, a service
  • The acquisition of leads qualified
  • Customer loyalty
  • The increase in the average basket

Each objective must be associated with a key indicator which makes it possible to analyze the results. They must therefore be measurable.

3 – Identify target markets and audiences

This step is particularly important, because if the targeting is poorly defined, marketing actions are doomed to failure. It’s about reaching the right target, at the right time, through the right channels.

The company must therefore know its targets perfectly to perform effective segmentation. For this, it must create a portrait of the consumer (buyer persona) who could potentially buy his product. To achieve this, it is necessary to study various criteria:

  • socio-demographic (age, gender, income level),
  • geographic (type of dwelling, location, climate),
  • psychographics (purchasing behavior, desires, dreams, needs, fears, opinions, issues).

Once the portrait has been made, the brand has a representation of its ideal client.

4 – Determine product positioning

Product positioning is a crucial step in offering a differentiating offer to its customers and standing out from the competition. To establish it, the company must successfully identify its competitive advantage and the raison d’être that makes it unique.

The product must meet the expectations of the target, whether in terms of need or quality.

To do this, the company must rely on the marketing mix or the 4 P method to determine the right positioning. This tool makes it possible to review the commercial levers available to the brand. This is to determine:

  • the product policy (product)
  • the pricing policy (price)
  • distribution policy (square)
  • the communications policy (promotion)

5 – Set product pricing

Defining the price of the product requires relying on several criteria including:

  • seasonality depending on the product and demand
  • production costs
  • competitive intelligence
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The pricing is also decided according to the market positioning strategy.

6 – Choose marketing channels

It is about selecting the appropriate communication channels to use to reach the target.

The company can opt for digital tools such as social networks, videos, emailing, natural or paid referencing of its website or even display advertising.

But we should not rule out the traditional channels of marketing campaigns either: brochures, billboards, events, media relations.

The brand can also use less conventional communication techniques such as street marketing where the guerrilla marketing.

7 – Plan the marketing budget

Last step of the marketing plan, the budget is an essential phase. It makes it possible to assess the company’s financial means and to plan the distribution of the costs of the actions to be implemented. It has a direct impact on the success of the marketing campaign.

The budget must take into account the degree of maturity of the company or the offer. For example, the launch phase generally requires a greater financial investment. Subsequently, when the product reaches a certain maturity, the marketing budgets are revised downwards.

8 – Measure the performance of marketing actions

The company must be able to measure the efforts and investments dedicated to campaigns, for each marketing plan. This is why the objectives defined upstream must be quantifiable and must be based on performance indicators.

This monitoring makes it possible to analyze the successes and flaws of campaigns in order to optimize them or redirect messages and channels if necessary. This step pushes companies to reflect on the areas of improvement to be made to the actions in progress and to decline in a future marketing plan.

To measure them, the company can use its CRM if it has one. Thus, it can easily integrate marketing actions, define their objectives and monitor the ROI of each.

To go further, download this free guide to marketing campaigns and use it to build successful marketing campaigns for sales teams.Create marketing campaigns for the sales team

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