When we started this blog, the first thing we did was come up with a marketing plan. We set goals, came up with a mission, and developed a marketing plan of what we had to do to run a successful business. It’s not a hard thing to do, what is hard is implementation, follow up and tracking success. Marketing to many people is not the ‘sexy’ part of the business. But any successful businesspeople will tell you to have a Marketing Plan. The Best part of a marketing plan is it is your road map. Everything you do, every program you develop, even the people you hire and train have to do with your marketing.
Many business owners think that by simply placing an ad in the yellow pages, signing up for as many managed care plans as they can, customers will automatically flock to purchase their product or service. While true to a certain extent, but hundreds, of other potential customers may never learn of your business. What comes to mind, at the bank the other week, in a conversation with the bank officer, she didn’t even know about the 5 OD’s, 2 MD’s and 1 Optician within a 2 mile radius of where she worked.
Do develop an adequate marketing program. What you as a business owner must do is maintain a thorough understanding of your marketing program, and use it to extract advantages from the marketplace. Go over different strategies and techniques until you understand how to apply them to get the results you desire. Remember, your aim is not only to attract and keep a steady group of loyal customers, but also to expand your customer base by identifying and attracting, new customers and to reduce risks by anticipating market shifts that can affect your bottom line.
Marketing Plans do not need to be complex. They can be 1 pages or many pages. Plus you do not have to do this alone- involve your partners and your staff. Get the buy in- and you will achieve more. The whole office will be on the same page, the same team, with the same goals and objectives
Advantages of Marketing Plans
- Learning about your customers and competition
- Development of of skills, strengths and weaknesses
- Goal setting based on those strengths and weaknesses
- Setting strategies for achieving your goals
- Planning your growth
- Working through that plan to make it happen
The Four P’s of Marketing
To help you accomplish this aim, your marketing plan should include strategies typical of any marketing plan. The plan should especially include what marketers dub as the four P’s of Marketing:
#1 Describe Your Target Market
Identifying your customer by any of the below characteristics will assist you in products to stock, what products will attract your target market, hours to be open, staffing and more. As an example- Your office is in a new development, the buyers of the new housing are double income, married couples with 1 child. Average income is $100,000. Hours of operation will be very different, these are working couples and a few late nights might be better than a 9-5. Full collection of children’s and sports eyewear, should be a must.
- By age
- By sex
- By profession or career
- By income level
- By educational level
- By residence
For instance, here’s the stats on Encinitas, CA
Total Population- 60,888
For population 25 years and over in Encinitas
- High school or higher: 91.1%
- Bachelor’s degree or higher: 50.0%
- Graduate or professional degree: 19.7%
- Unemployed: 3.9%
- Mean travel time to work: 27.0 minutes
For population 15 years and over in Encinitas city
- Never married: 28.5%
- Now married: 53.8%
- Separated: 1.7%
- Widowed: 4.2%
- Divorced: 11.8%
8,115 residents are foreign born (7.7% Latin America, 2.8% Europe, 2.3% Asia).
|California:|| 26.2% |
Daytime population change due to commuting: -9,532 (-16.4%)
#2 Set Marketing Objectives
- What is your sales growth plan?
- What are you going to achieve? What resources do you have available to achieve? (time, money, staff, materials)
#3.) Identify Your Competition
Identify the five nearest direct competitors and the indirect competitors. Start a file on each identifying their weaknesses and strengths. Keep files on their advertising and promotional materials and their pricing strategies. Review these files periodically determining when and how often they advertise, sponsor promotions and offer sales.
- By market research data
- By demand for product
- By your nearest direct and indirect competitors
- By the strengths and weaknesses of competitors
- By an assessment of how competitors businesses are doing
- By a description of the unique features of your product
- By the similarities and dissimilarities between your product and competitor’s
- By a pricing strategy for and comparison of yours and the competition’s
#4.) Describe Your Product
Try to describe the benefits of your goods from your customer’s perspective. Emphasize its special features – i.e., the selling points. Successful business owners know or at least have an idea of what their customers what or expect from them. This type of anticipation can be helpful in building customer satisfaction and loyalty.
#5.) Marketing Tactics
- Promotion running, advertising, health care plans, trunk shows, online ordering
#6.) What are Your Needs
#7.) Identify Your Problems
#8) Identify Your Opportunities
#9) Cost Objectives and Budget
Many business set a percentage of sales to go into advertising and promotion. As an example if your monthly sales are $10,000, set aside 2% or $200 for promotional allowance. That would include yellow page ads as well. Would that be enough?
#10.) Write it, Implement it and Make it Happen!