How to Write a Marketing Plan

Writing a marketing plan promotes growth, increases customer satisfaction, and supports long-term success. But, creating an effective marketing plan can be difficult if you don’t know where to start.

Marketing starts with your customers. Your marketing plan details how you intend to meet your customers’ needs and communicate the benefits of your products or services. When considering market positioning, pricing, promotions, and sales, your customers should be top of mind. In this article, learn what information you’ll need to create a successful marketing plan.

The Four Key Components of a Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan should describe how you’ll segment your target market, position your products or services compared to competitors, develop your pricing strategy, and effectively reach and influence your customers.

1. Target Market

Your target market is a group of customers with a common need for a product or service, money to purchase it, and willingness and ability to buy it.

To identify your target market and best serve them, you need to:

  • Know your customers
  • Understand what your customers need
  • Find out why they buy

Because you have limited time, resources, and budget, you cannot be everything to everyone. To effectively reach customers, you need to segment your target market into one primary group to focus on, and three secondary markets, at most.

You can segment your target market along four key characteristics:

Demographic – Who are your customers? Include information such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family size
  • Family stage
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Education

Geographic – Where do they live? Include information such as:

  • Country
  • Region 
  • City and density
  • Climate

Psychographic – Why do they buy? Include information such as:

  • Social class
  • Lifestyle (leisure activities, exotic vacationer, saver, etc.)
  • Personality

Behaviouristic – How do they buy? Include information such as:

  • The purchase occasion (household staples, special occasion, etc.)
  • Consumption status (from never having tried your product to frequent purchaser)
  • Frequency of use
  • Loyalty 
  • Readiness to buy (unaware, aware, informed, interested, etc.)
  • Attitude toward product

2. Market Positioning

Positioning is the image of your product or service that you create in the mind of your target market. Your goal is to create an image that’s unique, differentiated, and definable. 

To position your product or service, consider the following:

  • Your marketing materials must support the position or image you’re creating.
  • To find a market position that provides a competitive advantage, you must know your present and potential competitors, both direct and indirect. Then, examine their strengths and weaknesses compared to yours.
  • Your position should emphasize the factors your customers value most, as well as those that make you stand out from your competitors.

3. Pricing Strategy

Price is a very important factor in your marketing plan. 

Key factors that affect your pricing strategy include:

  • Competition
  • Perceived value of your product
  • How much it costs to develop
  • Broader economic trends
  • Level of market demand
  • Income range of target market

4. Promotion

Promotion is the activity of informing, persuading, and influencing your customers’ purchase decisions. The type and scope of promotional activities that you need to undertake will depend on what the promotion is intended to do, and what goals and objectives you want to achieve. 

There are four general types of promotional activities:

  • Advertising
  • Sales promotion
  • Publicity and Public Relations
  • Personal Selling

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