Women In Business

7 steps to create a strategic marketing plan

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A strategic marketing plan makes all the difference when it comes to the success of your small business. It is your step-by-step plan of how you will handle the marketing of your business for the coming year. While the size of a marketing plan differs depending on the size of the company, developing this plan carefully is critical to its success. Even for a small company, a couple of months of work is normal when writing your initial marketing plan. Choosing the right strategies and how you will implement them is a huge challenge.

1. Get input

When you are creating the marketing plan for your business, it is important to take a variety of opinions into account. Get input from different departments in your firm: finance, supply, personnel, manufacturing, etc. The marketing team that is putting together the plan can take into account the different input in order to create strategies and goals that are realistic and achievable. The more people involved, the more likely your plan will include diverse marketing opportunities.

2. Instill confidence

A marketing plan is a roadmap to success. A company with a solid marketing plan that shares it with its employees will have a team that is confident in the direction the company is going. A marketing plan is something that most employees can get behind and be excited about. In fact, most employees will be excited to be included in the plan.

3. Be flexible

Track where you are going with your marketing plan and the results you are getting. When you first create a plan, you will not likely to have a firm grasp of what will be happening in a year or more. However, having a plan in place, even if it needs to be adapted later, is the best thing you can do to put your company on a path to success. Instead of wandering aimlessly, you have a direction in which to head.

4. Use it as a guide

The marketing plan is like a set of instructions for your company. Use it step-by-step in your marketing for maximum success. Your well-written marketing guide includes all aspects of your company from top to bottom and provides you with your to-do list in order to meet your goals for the year.

5. Write it

It is not simply good enough to have a marketing plan in your mind or in the mind of someone in your marketing department. You would not allow accountants and those responsible for finance to keep your business’s numbers in their minds.

Marketing is one of the most important parts of your business, and should be written down, so nothing gets forgotten, and if new staff join the firm, there is something to work from. With a written marketing plan, you have the proof of where you are going.

6. Go deep

It is critical to look at the big picture of your business when creating marketing plans. Step away from the day to day of your business and in a retreat-like setting, work with your top marketing people, uninterrupted, to come up with vision for the future of your company and a strategy to make it happen.

7. Keep it alive

The marketing plan is not a document that is created and edited once a year. Instead, it should be referred to monthly, and updated as often. By including monthly performance reports, you can also see the results of the marketing efforts you made. This ensures that you keep what is working and eliminate what is not.

The marketing plan is an evolving document. As each month finishes, add another month to the plan so that it always covers a full 12 months of business to come. After the marketing plan has been in place for a while, it should be expanded to cover the medium-term future which includes 2-4 years to come.

Check in on the progress of your plan regularly. After a couple of years, compare the results of different marketing plans to see just how you are going. This will give you an excellent overview of your company’s success.

About Kerri Gois

Kerri Gois is a freelance writer and marketing coordinator for BroadandSearch. An avid reader and social media addict who also enjoys learning how to code, but is a novice at best. She's extremely passionate about the Internet and Technology and lives in sunny San Diego with her puggle, Bernard.

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