In our previous blog discussion, we talked about how to write the important components of an effective business plan. Now that you have a strategic plan for your business, it is time to introduce your brand to the market.
The next important step is to create your marketing plan.
We have invited Jo Martin, Marketing Manager for Paul Martin Chartered Accountant Limited to answer some of the many questions you may have and to give us some tips on how to create the most effective marketing plan for your business.
What is marketing?
Marketing consists of identifying the need for your product or service and then presenting your goods and/or services, at the right time, at the right place and at the right price to satisfy a customer's needs.
It also includes analysis of your target market in order to identify your potential customers and select the right advertising and promotional activities to make your target market aware of your goods and/or services.
What is the first step in creating a marketing plan?
The first step in creating a solid and effective marketing plan is to list your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve with your marketing activity? Are you planning to increase your sales by 50 percent? Are you trying to boost your brand image? Or are you trying to reach a new or slightly different target market?
Whatever your marketing goals are, it is important that you make them measurable and specific which will help you track your progress.
The next thing you need to do is to analyse your business so you can align your marketing activity. You can do this by developing a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
How do you do a SWOT analysis?
You simply get a sheet of blank paper. Draw a line down the middle. On the first side of your paper, you list all the strengths of, and opportunities for your product or service. What is it about your product or service that makes it stand out from the crowd? Are you personally well-known and respected by the marketplace? Are there any unique selling points? List any unique selling features or benefits that you will have over your competitors.
On the other side, list your weaknesses and any threats to the ongoing health and viability of your venture. Weaknesses could be limited capital, brand or product is unknown in the marketplace, limited buying capacity, etc. On the other hand, threats could be things like removal of tariff protection, changes to government legislation that could affect your trading, among others. Threats are usually external factors that you need to keep aware of.
List down all the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats that you can think of and then you should analyse and refine the list down afterwards. The result of your SWOT analysis will help form the main core of your final marketing plan and will guide your marketing activity.
What are the likely costs associated with marketing?
You need to be prepared to allocate some portion of your budget to marketing. How much you allocate will depend on the marketing tactics you choose to use. Here are some common marketing tactics you may like to consider:
Print media - This is the most common marketing medium. This includes placing an advert in newspapers, magazines, directories, etc. Layout, design, copywriting, printing and/or publishing are some of the expenses that you will incur when releasing a print advert.
TV commercial – This usually is a more expensive marketing platform. Costs would include the creation and production of the commercial as well as the placement of the ad with different TV channels.
Radio commercial – This tactic is not as expensive as the TV commercial but it involves the same process of creation and production as well as radio channel placement.
Out-of-home advertisements – These include billboards, banners, flyers, brochures to name a few. A billboard will cost you quite a bit while a small banner will not. The cost will depend on the creation, production, type and quantity of your advertising material.
Social media and website – This is probably the cheapest form of advertising. Setting up a social media account is free. There are also free website creation sites on the internet. However, there are limits to using these free websites. If you want to increase your exposure or want unlimited control and a customised website and social media platforms, you would need to pay a website developer and social media manager to assist.
Email marketing – This is another form of digital marketing where you directly connect and send the product or brand information to your market or prospect. There are free email marketing tools available that you can use, such as Mailchimp. Again you will need to pay for extra features and add ons. You must also be aware of antispam laws.
Trade shows – Trade shows, fairs, or expos are events organised for businesses to showcase their products and services. They are often run annually. You need to consider costs for your booth display, rentals, promotional material, etc.
Your marketing plan is critical to the success of your business. You should dedicate time and effort to creating it. Your marketing plan should be thorough and well-researched. It should include targets and goals and have clear measures of success so you know what is working and what is not. Often you will need a combination of marketing tactics to reach your target market and achieve your stated business goals.
If you are thinking of starting a business or planning to buy one, we can help you build a business plan or marketing strategy to help ensure the success of your venture.
Our team at Paul Martin Chartered Accountant Limited is composed of highly skilled and professional business advisors and chartered accountants in Auckland, who can help you with your business strategy and marketing plan. We can give you assurance that you are covering all bases when you are starting or buying a business, from business planning and marketing, to preparation of tax returns, GST, annual accounts and more.
For more information, call us on (09) 576 4166 or request an appointment online.
Next on our blog series discussion are the important legislative requirements that you need to know in running your new business.
If you want to catch up to this blog series, you may check the previous discussions here.
Jo Martin has considerable marketing experience, although her career started in the banking world as a Relationship Business Manager. From there she worked in the executive conference industry in both Auckland and Sydney, before spending nearly 10 years with Auckland Regional Transport working on projects such as the openings of Britomart, the Northern Busway and Newmarket Station. She then returned to business to business marketing working for TNT Express and was very involved in their sponsorship of the Vodafone Warriors. She now works in marketing and communications in the supply chain industry. She is also Paul's wife.