Last month we explored our framework, which provides a holistic approach to developing marketing and business strategies.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to delve into a marketing plan, exploring the methodology we utilise to develop and execute a marketing plan.
Know what you need to Research
The first step is to understand the information you need for a marketing plan. Consider details of your customers, the composition of your products and services, as well as the competitors and industry trends.
Each of these elements should be researched in sufficient depth so that you do not need to make unfounded assumptions.
Pay particular attention to your competitors, consider not just those that offer similar products or services, but indirect competition as well. What other alternatives exist to purchasing your products or services? These alternatives are all a form of competition and should be considered. For example, a restaurant would not only consider other similar competitors, but also take-away and delivery options.
Furthermore, given that restaurant spending is often used as a form of enjoyment, there is a need to consider alternatives as a form of indirect competition, including movies, theatres and other forms of entertainment.
Know Your Customers
Understand your customers, including what motivates them to make a purchase, as well as key demographic information. Knowing your existing customers will assist in extending your reach within your target markets. If you are a new business or want to consider new markets, then you should assess the customer segments that are being served by competitors and whether you will serve similar demographics or identify alternative targets.
Understand your entire business
Marketing involves your entire business operations. Understand your sales process, how do staff greet customers, do they encourage interaction and the confidence for someone to make a purchase? How could staff encourage purchases or strengthen engagement with customers?
Similarly consider the process for delivering services or products. How could these be improved to strengthen the customer’s experience? It is important these aspects are considered, so that bottlenecks do not emerge if sales are increased.
Research Underpins Your Entire Plan
The Capture Phase sets the foundations for your entire marketing plan. The latter phases of a marketing plan are based on the information that is uncovered during the capture phase. The Capture Phase relies on current and historical information to inform the future direction of your marketing plan.