MARKETING PLANNING

Setting Objectives

Your marketing activity should usually look to achieve one of the following objectives: 

  • Increased purchasing by existing customers, either of products they already buy or additional ones from your range.
  • Selling to new customers.
  • Selling new products to both new and existing customers.
  • In addition, you should aim to retain your existing customers (if they are profitable) and avoid spending on sales and marketing to acquire new ones. Retaining customers is usually related to the service and experience you deliver.

Selecting one or all of the above will then enable you to focus your marketing activities to ensure your efforts generate a return on investment.  

Assess your position via a SWOT Analysis 

A SWOT analysis looks at both the internal and external factors of your business which will affect to its success. If you find it hard to assess it alone, ask your industry peers, staff and contacts for their thoughts too. 

Start by listing your businesses strengths and weaknesses. Things to consider may include the skills and flexibility of your workforce, your production facilities, product quality, relationships with clients, online following/customer database and the strength of your brand. List a top 3 for each and consider how you can best leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses to achieve your goals and get through this time. 

Look externally at any opportunities and threats which will also affect your marketing plans. Factors to consider include customer demand, competitor activity, consumer trends, government/legislative factors and changes to technology. Seek to take advantage of opportunities and work around threats. 

Know Your Market 

Understanding the market allows you to target promising market segments that suit your strengths, considering the following:

  • Who are the users of products like yours? How do they purchase these products?
  • What do the users value most in products like yours?
  • How do they choose between different suppliers? What USPs do you offer?
  • How can you reach these customers?
  • How big is the market? Is it expanding or declining? What are the key trends?
  • What is the competition doing? Profile your competitors and their products. Mystery shop them and understand their customers and why they choose them.
  • What else impacts your business environment e.g. legislation or new technology.
  • Which customers are likely to generate the most sales and profit?
  • Why do potential customers buy from you – and from your competitors?

Know your products 

Which products or parts of your business are the most profitable? Make sure you know the cost of all activity as some may turn out to be loss-making. 

Review Previous Marketing Activity 

Review any previous marketing initiatives to identify what works. 

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