Why Do Marketing Plans Fail And How To Write A Good One
A marketing plan sets out how you are going to put your strategy into practice. The reasons why your marketing plan might fail are numerous. Some of these include failing to understand your market or your competitors, lack of specific objectives, not setting deadlines for activities, failing to include activities that span the full marketing mix.
Taking the time to make sure you have the information you need, as well as focusing your efforts can go a long way to make your marketing is as effective as it can be.
Understanding your market and your customers is an essential aspect of marketing, and inadequate research is one of the biggest mistakes that can affect your marketing plan.
Make sure you:
• Research what your customers want and value, such as product features, quality, price, service
• Assess the profitability and sales potential of different customer segments, and of different products/services
• Know your competitors and what they are offering. Be clear on your point of difference too: what makes you stand out?
• Carry out a SWOT analysis (identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). It’s a good way to assess your position in the market against your competitors
• Understand and decide on the best distribution channels for reaching your customers (eg direct sales or through retailers)
• Decide on your pricing strategy
• Review the effectiveness of previous marketing initiatives such as advertising campaigns, offers and promotions to
Using surveys and questionnaires on a regular basis to capture customers’ comments and feedback will ensure you stay attune to your customers’ basis - this will ensure you are able to respond and adapt to changing needs and behaviours.
Set specific and measurable objectives
An effective marketing plan must set clear objectives that will help you towards your longer-term business goals. You should make sure your sales forecasts and targets are a key part of your marketing plan and feed into your overall business plan. For example, you should include the percentage increase of sales you need to achieve for each customer segments, per distribution channel.
You should also consider other performance measures such as targets for number of enquiries, number of new customers, customer acquisition rate, average transaction value, and so on. These will help you progress towards your business goals and also identify where things are going wrong, for example when the number of enquiries is increasing but the sales are not.
Plan your marketing activities
Your marketing plan should set out how and when you will communicate with your existing and prospective customers. It should also include how much you can afford to spend. Failing to set deadlines and agreeing marketing budgets will hinder your ability to deliver your plan.
You should start by identifying key times of the year for your products/services and schedule your marketing campaigns to fit in with these dates. If there are significant time gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-efficient activities to help maintain customer awareness throughout the year.
Remember that creating flyers, videos, newsletters takes time so allow sufficient production time before your campaign is scheduled to start.
Consider all aspects of the marketing mix
As well as communications, make sure your marketing plan also includes activities like new product production development, building your distribution networks or reviewing your pricing strategy.
Including activities like these in your marketing plan ensure that they are identified as priorities and that you dedicate time and money to them.