Wednesday, April 17, 2024

7 Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan

Developing a marketing plan can be an ominous task for most business owners, so much so that they often neglect to create one at all. Having no plan results in spending precious marketing/advertising dollars generally with the wrong mediums.

By having a concrete marketing plan, you can select which mediums make the most sense for your business and have a gauge with which to measure and/or accept or reject, with confidence, the offers presented by the many sales reps that approach you.

In order to create an effective marketing plan you must first define your competition, your business/sales goals, your uniqueness and your target market. After you have defined these things you can then begin to evaluate the vast array of advertising mediums, allocate funds proportionately and plan your annual calendar.

Seven Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan

STEP 1 – Evaluate Your Competition

Create a strengths and weaknesses analysis of your business and all of your competition. Try to shop your competitors if possible. Evaluate every detail and compare it to your business and its processes.

STEP 2 – Set a Sales Plan

Know your numbers. Understand what your lead product or service is, what your margins are and what cross sell opportunities exist. Set your sales goals, which will ultimately help you plan your advertising plan, based on concrete financial data.

STEP 3 – Create a Unique Selling Proposition

Whether your distinguishing feature is customer service or offering hard to find products, shout it from the rooftops. Your customers and prospective customers must know what distinguishes you from your competition.

STEP 4 – Define Your Target Markets

Understanding who buys and needs your products and services will assist you in creating the right message, best packaging, and selecting the best mediums in which to advertise.

STEP 5 – Select the Right Advertising Mediums

There are more advertising mediums available to small businesses than ever before. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages and you must evaluate each based on your results from steps 1 through 4. Visit for your FREE copy of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Advertising Media chart.

STEP 6 – Map Out Your Marketing Calendar

Begin by thinking about holidays, the seasonality of your product or service, what your target market will be thinking about during specific times of the year and how you can take advantage of the things that are already going on around you.

STEP 7 – Evaluate Your Success

Track your results from each method so you can continue to make better decisions or tweak the small details that will help you to realize your sales and profit goals.

Nicole Shields, advertising agency founder, is the author of the e- book How To Create An Effect Marketing Plan In 7 Steps – Trade Secrets Used by Advertising Agencies Revealed at

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