Is Your 2010 Marketing Plan Complete? Five Simple Marketing Planning Tips

Is your 2010 Marketing Plan complete? Why do you need a marketing plan, NOW? We are nearing the end of 2009, which means we are about to begin 2010. Consumer confidence is rising. Unemployment seems to be stabilizing. The US dollar is strengthening. New and existing home sales are getting better. I believe 2010 will be the turning point in this prolonged recession.

Frankly, no matter how the economy is performing in any given year the first quarter of every year will more or less establish how your business will perform through the remainder of the year. I hear plenty of people say that they will wait until the Holidays are over and then get started. WRONG. Procrastination will kill your business so don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Remember the time tested motto; “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Not to worry though, you do not need to hire expensive consultants or create elaborate PowerPoint presentations with charts and graphs to construct an effective marketing plan. However you do need a plan which will provide you with roadmap that you can follow and drive action. Very simply a marketing plan can help you:

1. Identify your target audience or those most likely to buy your products/services
2. Evaluate your company against your competitors
3. Test and track results so in the end you know what works

Five Simple Marketing Planning Tips

Tip 1. Define Your Mission Statement
Everything starts with your Mission Statement. The mission statement should ultimately define your goals and objectives. It says what your company does and who it does it for. It provides the proverbial umbrella by which all other goals and actions will take place. Why does your company exist? What do you plan to do and for whom?

Tip 2. Consider the 4-P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, Place
- Product: Describe your product/service in easy to understand and simple terms that everyone can understand.
- Price: Evaluate your price so as to create a sense of inherent value that your customer will receive and more importantly benefit from.
- Promotion: Make sure you keep your brand message consistent across all marketing channels (you don’t want to confuse your customers).
- Place: Identify the best places to distribute your product/service where you can reach your target audience and they can easily identify it. Will you use newspapers, billboards, email, direct mail, telemarketing, Blogs, Social Media, etc.

Tip 3. Know, Listen, and Target Your Audience
Make sure you take the time to clearly and fully describe your audience. Try to be as specific as possible with respect to demographics and psychographics of your target audience most likely to purchase your products/services. Listen to your customers and conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis identifying your company’s: Strength’s, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Target your audience using some of the aforementioned distribution channels.

Tip 4. Set your Goals, Objectives and Budgets
A. Establish what you would like to achieve. Make sure the goals you set are meaningful, detailed and measurable. Refer back to these goals regularly as they will help you stay focused.
B. Set both short-term and long-term objectives. Short term objectives should be considered within the next 12 months.
C. Establish a marketing budget. Expenses can add up quickly so make sure you have established a specific dollar amount you will spend. Consider your marketing strategies and tactics based upon this budget. Track and review it regularly so that you can adjust your tactics according to those that are producing better ROI (Return On Investment)

Tip 5. Track and Measure Results
Set-up benchmarks or targets in your plan: either quarterly, monthly or weekly. Tracking and measuring the results of your marketing efforts is as important as the plan itself. Not everything you implement will work. Therefore you need to take inventory on what is and is not producing a positive ROI and where you should alter your tactics. Use a calendar to plot out your marketing strategy. Plans are great, but in the end if you don’t follow them and be accountable, it will not succeed.

Finally, markets are constantly changing so be ready. Rather than sitting back, waiting for something to happen, review your plan every 6-12 months to see if you need to adjust your goals accordingly.

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