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A Marketing Audit is the first stage in being able to plan for the year ahead. As we discussed, the audit enables you to review your activities to identify what worked and what needs to be refined.

The second stage is Planning, so you can gain insights into the your market and the actions that are required to achieve your goals. This stage incorporates the development of a Marketing Plan that provides both a short-term and longer-term vision to position your business in the marketplace.

A Marketing Plan is a high level strategic document that should support the direction identified in your Business or Strategic Plan. The Marketing Plan explores how you can achieve the outcomes you have identified in the Business Plan, as well as the resources that are required.

You need to start with strategic marketing planning, as the right strategy will ensure that your tactics or actions will deliver results. Begin by understanding your current market position, competitive pressures and the value that is provided by your products and services.

You should also gain insights into your target customers and key demographics. Understand who your ideal customer is and the value that they receive from your products or services. Also consider other potential customer segments that may receive similar benefits. Identifying new markets can provide further opportunities for growth and enables you to discover segments that may have less competitive pressures.

A Marketing Plan identifies how you can achieve your goals

A Marketing Plan identifies how you can achieve your goals

Research is an essential element of any successful marketing plan. Undertaking the right research will enable you to make informed decisions so you can understand how best to allocate marketing resources.

This research will enable you to consider strategies that will enable you to achieve your business objectives. For example, if you want to develop new growth opportunities, then potential strategies could explore the development of new markets or encourage repeat purchasing. Research into customer trends and demographics will enable you to identify what markets may be suitable or how best to encourage additional purchases.

The strategic marketing planning approach validates your direction, ensuring that resources allocated toward strategies will deliver positive results. This in turn will influence the actions and tactics that will be undertaken as you implement your marketing plan.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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