1. Plan – We’ve all heard the adage: ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.
A strategic marketing plan provides a holistic approach in the quest to find your ideal customers. The following steps outline some key aspects of the marketing planning process and are applicable whether your business is just starting up or already established.
2. Review – Firstly think about the core benefit of your product/service? What customer needs does it fulfill? Clearly articulating this information will guide your target marketing strategies.
3. Identify – Does a genuine need for your product/service exist? If so, what is the market potential? Are there sufficient people who want your product/service? Conduct research. If you are already established, customers’ requirements change so it is important to keep abreast of new trends and needs. The ABS has a multitude of statistics relevant to your industry. Industry articles are also useful.
4. Examine – What are the key influences impacting your customers? For example is it the economy, increased usage of the internet, lack of time? Do these factors represent potential opportunities for your business or threats to be minimized?
5. Audit – For established businesses – review current marketing activity. Which marketing activities worked, which ones didn’t?
6. Analyse – Review your current customers. How often do they purchase? When do they purchase? Which customers are the most profitable? Profile these.
7. Profile – Who are the types of customers interested in your product/service. Are they individuals or businesses . .or both? If individuals – where do they live, what is their age range, relevant behavioural habits, which media are they exposed to? If they are businesses – which industry sectors do they come from, what size businesses are they, where are they located?
8. Objectives – Set your goals – you know they have to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accessible, Realistic and Timebound)! Goals can relate to Sales, Profit, Numbers of Customers. Set them for a period – for example 6 months – then break them down into smaller units, such as month or week and track.
9. Formulate – Nearly there! Using the information gathered from steps 2- 8, identify your ideal customers, formulate your marketing strategy to target these and execute!
10. Measure – How did you go? Measure the results of each activity and then compare against objectives. Ensure you are capturing customer information to add to your customer profile. Seek customer feedback. Feed results and information back into the planning cycle.
These tips will help craft a great marketing plan. Finding your ideal customers does not have to be difficult. It just requires a solid strategic marketing planning approach which will ensure the growth of your business.