What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a road map that helps to introduce and deliver your products and services to potential customers. It doesn’t need to be long and complicated and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to complete. However, it takes quite some time in terms of research to have it developed. Putting in the right amount of time and resources to develop a marketing plan can be key to ensuring a company or business succeeds.

A marketing plan contains an outline of a business’s specific marketing strategy and includes concrete actions to be taken, as well as an explanation of anticipated results. The marketing plan serves as a road map for companies to execute and measure their marketing efforts over a specific time. A company can develop different types of marketing plans including;

 

–         Paid marketing – Which involves advertising and pay per click

–         Social media marketing – This involves the use of different social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and others.

–         Period marketing – Which entails campaigns used over a designated period.

–         Content marketing – Which entails the use of original content to showcase products and services

–         New product or service marketing – Where you plan to showcase a product launch.

How Marketing Works

An effective marketing plan will help a company understand its target market and competition, as well as the impact and results of marketing decisions. It also provides a roadmap and direction for future initiatives. You will not be able to develop a marketing plan without performing proper market research. Market research is needed to guide the direction of all your marketing efforts and gives you vital information on your target market (potential customers) and the feasibility of your products and services.

Proper market research will entail the following;

–         Monitoring industry and economic trends

–         Scouting the competition to figure out how to gain a competitive edge overpricing and customer service

–         Determining the best ways to reach your target market through means such as traditional advertising, social media as well as other channels.

Marketing plans will vary depending on the industry it is developed, the type of products and services involved, the goals you want to achieve among others. However, certain elements will always form part of any marketing plan. These include;

– Executive summary and business description

– Situation analysis

– Marketing goals and business objectives

– Target market and delivery plan

– Unique selling proposition and tactics

 

The executive summary contains a high-level overview of the marketing plan. It is a section that provides a summary of the plan, for those who may not be interested to read the entire document. The business description part talks about what the business is all about. It includes aspects such as location, business owners, company statements, core values, position in the market, external factors currently impacting or likely to affect the business, among others. It is important to put in place proper resources and time to ensure you come up with a comprehensive business plan.

Everything You Need to Know About Business Models

When you are starting a business, one of the most important aspects you have to get right is planning the business model you will adopt. At the first stage, you would want to determine what you will be selling and to who you will be selling. You will need to select a model that has proven to work and incorporate it into your planning and research. You will need to emulate a business that has consistently performed well and research on what they do right and things they get wrong to avoid those pitfalls.

What is a business model

A business model is an outline of how a company plans to make money with its products and services, in a specific market.  At its core, a business model will have four key things;

–         What products or services a company will sell

–         How the company intends to market its products and services

–         The kind of expenses it will face

–         How it expects to turn a profit

There are many different types of business models and these models keep on constantly changing.  Here are the most common types of business models you should know.

 

Subscription Model

With a subscription model, it can be applied to both traditional brick and mortar businesses as well as online businesses. Essentially, the customer will be paying a recurring payment every month, or at another specified time, to access a product or service. Examples of businesses using subscription models include Netflix and streaming sites such as Hulu, HBO among others.

 

Bundling model

A bundling model is as it sounds. It is a business model that involves companies selling two or more products together as a single unit, for often a lower price than they would charge while selling the products separately. This type of business model is used to allow companies to generate a greater volume of sales and perhaps market products and services that would otherwise be a bit difficult to sell.

Freemium Model

A freemium business model is one that has gained a lot of popularity due to the prevalence of online software as a service business. It has a simple basic framework. A software company will host and provide proprietary tools for their users to have free access such as an app or tool suite. However, the company will withhold or limit the use of certain key features that with time, their users will likely want to use on a regular basis. To gain access to those key features, users must pay for a subscription.

Crowdsourcing model

A crowdsourcing model involves receiving opinions, information, and work from different people on the internet or social media. This type of business model allows companies to tap into a vast network of talent without having to hire in house employees. An example is how many traffic apps encourage drivers to report accidents in real-time for the benefit of other app users. Others employing this model include Wikipedia, IMDB among others.