Learn the difference between these key business elements
Plans and strategies
It is not uncommon for people to confuse the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. I have found the easiest way to explain that the difference is like this:
Marketing strategy : your marketing strategy is an explanation of the goals you must achieve with your marketing efforts. Your marketing strategy is determined by the objectives of your business. The objectives of your business and your marketing strategy must go hand in hand.
Marketing plan : your marketing plan is the way you are going to achieve those marketing objectives. It is the application of your strategy, a roadmap that will guide you from one point to another.
The problem is that most people try to achieve “how” without first knowing “what”. This can end up wasting resources for a company, both time and money.
When it comes to marketing, we should always identify the what and then delve into the how.
If you are to remember a sentence in this article, it should be this: strategy is thinking and planning is doing.
Here is an example of how the two work together:
Objective: Obtain greater adoption in the market.
Marketing strategy: introduce into new market segments.
Marketing Plan: develop a marketing campaign that extends, identifies and concentrates in that specific segment.
A successful formula that can be used to better explain the importance of marketing strategy and marketing planning is similar to this:
Marketing strategy -> Marketing plan -> Implementation = Success
- Your marketing strategy consists of:
The “what” has to be done.
Inform consumers about the product or service offered.
Inform consumers of the differentiation factors.
- Your marketing plan consists of:
The “how” to do it
Build marketing campaigns and promotions that achieve the “what” in your strategy.
- Its implementation consists of:
Take steps to achieve the elements identified in the marketing strategy and the marketing plan .
If you are preparing your marketing strategy and your marketing plan for your business plan, these are the components that should be included in each section:
Components of your Marketing Strategy
- External marketing message
- Internal positioning goal
- Short Term Goals and Objectives
- Goals and long-term goals
Components of your Marketing Plan
Executive summary : high level summary of your marketing plan.
Your challenge: a brief description of the products / services that will be marketed, and a summary of the objectives identified in your marketing strategy.
Situation Analysis: This section should identify the following:
- Market share
Analysis of your client: How many clients would you like to obtain? What kind of clients are they? What are the values that drive them? How do you see your decision process? In which clients will you focus for the products or services offered?
Analysis of your competitors: What is your marketing position? What is your position in the market? What are your strengths when it comes to your competitors? What are your weaknesses? What market share are you looking for? What market share has your competitor already taken advantage of?
Identification of your 4 P’s (Product / Price / Distribution / Place)
Summary: summary of all of the above and how you will use this information to achieve the objectives you have identified in your marketing strategy. Be specific: the more specific actions you have, the easier it will be to follow the last step, which is the implementation.
As you can see, your marketing strategy goes hand in hand with your marketing plan. Without both, you will discover that you not only waste resources, but you could also end up stuck without an idea of where to go.
Do not forget to measure the marketing campaigns you launch so you can see what works and what does not. You can use this information to guide you in the future.
Steps to develop a marketing plan
Running a successful business is not like a field of dreams; You can build it but they may not come. The objective of marketing is to inform people about the product or service that it offers, and to persuade it to buy or use it. And for effective marketing, you must inform people about your product or service repeatedly.
To do this, you will have to devise a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
Marketing strategy versus marketing plan
The marketing strategy is determined by the general business objectives. It includes a definition of your business, a description of your products or services, a profile of your users or target customers, and defines the role of your company in relation to the competition.
The marketing strategy is essentially a document used to judge the suitability and effectiveness of your specific marketing plans.
To put it another way, your marketing strategy is a summary of the products, and position of your company in relation to the competition; Your sales and marketing plans are the specific actions you will take to achieve the objectives of your marketing strategy.
The marketing plan, then, can be considered as the practical application of your marketing strategy. The marketing plan includes details about the unique sales proposal of your company, the pricing strategy, the sales and distribution plan and your advertising and promotion plans.
So, in effect, you can not have a marketing plan without a marketing strategy. The marketing strategy provides the objectives for your marketing plans.
It tells you where you want to go from here. The marketing plan is the specific route map that will take you there.
Developing a Marketing Plan
Expecting to implement a marketing strategy without developing a marketing plan is like this analogy. The more detailed information that has been gathered in advance, and the more planning that has been done ahead of time, the faster and more enjoyable and more effective your marketing plan will be.
Follow these steps:
1) The first step is to create specific marketing objectives and write them down. What do you want your promotional efforts to do for you?
If you sell herbs, for example, you may want to increase your monthly sales by 25%. If you are a real estate agent, a good marketing goal could be to get 10 new listings every month.
My own marketing objective is to win a new customer every month. Whichever marketing objective you establish, make sure it is realistic; You must be able to achieve the marketing objective if it is going to motivate you or serve as a good benchmark to evaluate your success.
2) Now the difficult part. Under each marketing goal, write as many specific things as you can that you will do to achieve the goal.
If you want to increase your monthly sales by 25%, one thing you could do is place some ads. But when you’re working on your marketing goals, you need to take the time to think it through, so you can follow it effectively.
Just “placing some ads” is not specific enough to serve as a marketing goal. You have to consider what kind of ads and where you can place them to increase your monthly sales.
For example, you could write: “place an ad that describes the special offers in the local newspaper” as a marketing goal, or “place an ad on the local television station.”
Then there are specific actions to follow that will help you reach your marketing goal instead of just a vague idea. If you have trouble developing these specific activities, or to see how each marketing objective fits your marketing plan.
3) Review the list of specific activities you have done and review your marketing plan. Choose the ones that best suit your marketing objectives, and do the best job of guiding your clients or potential clients.
4) Then, using your calendar, decide what promotional activities you will do when. You can divide your marketing plan by months or by quarter, but be sure to include not only a description of the activity or event, but also a reference to which marketing objective relates the activity or promotion event, and a cost calculation.
Update your plan regularly
Once you set up your marketing plan, remember that it should be an organic and living document, not something that you put in a nice folder and file somewhere and never look at it again.
Take 15 minutes every day to review your specific objectives and activities; What did you do that particular day to help achieve the marketing goals you have set?
What do you need to do tomorrow? Too often we make plans or make a list of objectives and we become so entangled in all the things we have to do to run our businesses that we put them aside.
Dedicate 15 minutes a day to review your marketing objectives, your marketing plan and your marketing activities helps you stay focused, route and market your products or services effectively.
How to find and sell to your target market
When I teach small business classes about marketing strategy, I often ask participants: “Who are your customers? Who will buy your product? “ I am often surprised that, otherwise, small business people have no idea who will buy them, or assume that” everyone “will, instead of targeting the target market.
Assumptions of this type can lead to wrong decisions, wrong prices, an incorrect marketing strategy and, ultimately, a commercial failure.
Finding your target market is key to success
Learn how to create an effective marketing strategy.
The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy your product or service. The task becomes determinant, as close as possible, exactly who these people are, and “pointing” to the marketing efforts of the company and the dollars towards them.
You can also build a better and stronger business by identifying and serving a particular group of customers: your target market.
Becoming a specialist is key
One of the first things you should do is to refine your product or service so that it does not try to be ‘all things to all people’. Become a specialist!
For example, an ecotourism company makes some specific decisions at the beginning of its market planning. As a boat rental company, they know there were many boat rental operators in the area and also party boats. So they decide to offer excursions or letters of special events, and they do not allow alcohol on board or fishing rods.
Yes, this decision caused them to lose a percentage of the market, if it could be, but it also gave them a “niche” that they could capitalize on, and they expanded their market in a way that other charter operators could not take advantage of.
Then, you should understand that people buy products or services for three basic reasons:
- To meet basic needs.
- Solve problems.
- To feel good.
You will have to determine which of those categories is your solution or product, and be prepared to market it accordingly.
Your product or service can also fit into more than one category; The charter business is primarily aimed at people who just want to feel good, spend a day on the water, relax and wait.
But it also addresses people who have visitors coming from other cities, or even from abroad, because it represents a solution to the problem of “What will we do while our company is here? How can we entertain them or show them our area? “
Zero in the target market
The next step to create an effective marketing strategy, is to focus on your target market through the use of market segmentation.
First, is your product international or national in scope? Or is it more likely to sell mainly in your own region or community?
In the case of the charter business, its primary market is actually national or international: tourists who come to this area from all over the world. Its secondary market is local: people who have a special event to celebrate, a company meeting or a retreat to plan, or a company that comes from outside the city.
Let’s say that your primary market is local or regional, and that you live in a community with a population of 25,000 people. The first thing you should do is investigate the demographics of your community, and divide them into market segments:
- Age: children, adolescents, young, middle, elderly
- Gender: Male Female
- Education: high school, university, university
- Income: low, medium, high
- Marital status: single, married, divorced
- Origin: ethnic and / or religious
- Family life cycle: newly married, married between 10 and 20 years, with or without children.
This information should be available to you through your city, hall, library or local Chamber of Commerce, and the more details you can get, the better.
Next, you must segment the market as much as possible:
- Lifestyle: conservative, exciting, modern, economical
- Social class: lower, middle, upper
- Opinion: easily directed or stubborn
- Activities and interests: sports, physical exercise, shopping, books
- Attitudes and beliefs: environmentalist, aware of security.
Note: if you are a B2B company, you should also consider the types of industries available to you, your number of employees, the annual sales volume, the location and the stability of the company.
In addition, you may want to find out how they buy: seasonally, locally, only in volume, who makes the decisions?
It is important to keep in mind that companies, unlike people, buy products or services only for three reasons:
- increase revenue
- maintain the status quo
- decrease expenses
If you meet one or more of these corporate needs, you may have found a target market.
Describe your ideal client based on your market research
Now you should have an emerging idea of who you think is your ideal client or who you want it to be.
Depending on the nature of your business, you could even write a description of your client. “My target client is a middle-class woman between 30 and 40 years old who is married and has children, and is environmentally and physically fit.”
Depending on the numbers you discovered in your research, you may know, for example, that there are approximately 9,000 of those potential customers in your area!
It may be that 3000 of them are already loyal to a competitor, but that leaves even 6000 who are not, or who have not yet bought it from anyone. Do the research!
Extend or re-segment your market if necessary
Many times potential customers do not know your company, or can not tell the difference between your company and other people.
It is your job, once you know who your best customers are, to “target” the group you have identified, even if you have competition.
In addition, you can decide, through the example above, that you also want to expand your target market to include women 50 to 60 years of age.
If you go back to the basic reasons why people buy goods or services and can find ways to direct their efforts to that age group, you can succeed in capturing a larger part of the market!
On the other hand, what happens if you “specialize” your product or service and then investigate your target market, only to discover that there are probably less than 75 people who will buy from you?
First of all, if those 75 are corporate clients that will spend hundreds on your product or service annually, then you have nothing to fear.
But if those 75 are only going to spend $ 10 each decade on their product or service, then you should go back to planning your business, and perhaps determine a broader target market.
At least, however, you are armed with all the information you need to start over or go in a different direction.
Let’s face it: there is a market, and a target market for everything.