There are about a zillion marketing structures from which to build a marketing plan. One plan has five steps, one has seven steps, one has fourteen steps and one has only two steps. If we took a vote, it’s likely the plan with two steps would handily win.
Most marketing plans begin with an executive overview, followed by a situation analysis, market analysis, market strategy, financial analysis, and conclude with implementation and control. This sample would be a “medium-sized” model, if you think of it in fast-food terminology. It’s difficult to imagine working to complete the “super-sized” model, and yet, some of us do exactly that. Why have today’s marketing strategies become lengthy and, truthfully, sometimes convoluted? Let’s get real.
The concept of marketing came into use in the 1500s, as noted in the Ancient Nordic branding of cattle and Egyptian oil bottles labeled with the seller’s name and brand. Those savvy businesspeople were already aware of steps three and four of the marketing plan. Through the years, some MBA brains came up with “eras of marketing” that included product-centric marketing, customer-centric marketing, human-centered marketing, from traditional-to-digital marketing, and, finally, “technology at the center of humanity” model. And, while all of the ages and eras are probably accurate, it’s daunting to consider the complexity of the process. Again, let’s get real.
It all starts with an excellent business plan, such as one of these business plan examples, followed by the implementation of a marketing plan, customized to reflect your product or service. Let’s look at the structure of this marketing plan example:
1. Highlight Differentiation
How you differentiate your product or service from that of others will be a major factor in whether or not it will sell. Consumers are looking for the best: the best product with the best features for the best price. If a product or service can be customized by the purchaser; even better.
If you can highlight features, benefits, usages, or popular acceptance of the product or service that speaks to a unique offering of any kind, you have a better chance of positioning your product in a way that suggests, “special,” “niche,” or “exclusive”. Any of these words will place your offering into a position that is different and, therefore, more valuable than others. If, for example, you wanted to demonstrate how to start a trucking dispatch business online, you would probably have the only unique demonstration of that business online. This effort alone creates a standout experience for those who are searching for an item or service to purchase.
2. Create an Online Storm
Your potential customers are online and they are ready to buy. Did you know more than 60% of all product searches online result in a purchase? Dust off your website, create an inviting presence, ensure your “Buy Now” button is linked and ready to go, because a great product demonstration online will bring buyers to your door. Use search engine optimization (SEO) and ensure any images and content are compressed and being properly cached on your website (speeds will increase as a result).
3. Create Content for the Website
You’ll want to create text that is compelling and of interest to read, so ensure your first blog post is exciting and inviting. Gain readers by creating special offers for them online and create a sense of community with those who buy your products or services. Ask readers to send pictures of themselves using or wearing clothing items, playing with toys or educational products sold through your website, or demonstrating sporting goods equipment they may have purchased from your website. In short, anyone wearing or outfitted with your clothing should be properly represented online.
4. Host Events at a Trade Show
One of the best methods to draw buyers to your product or service is via an event in or near your booth at a trade show. Buyers particularly appreciate champagne receptions, appetizer hours, wine and cheese parties…because they do not stop to eat a meal while at a trade show. Your fifteen minutes alone with buyers could seal your entire selling season. That and a few chicken salad mini sandwiches.
These marketing plan ideas are diverse and may not apply to all products or services; however, you can get a spark of an idea by viewing them. Take these and create your own, as you consider what will work best for your product or service, your own marketing plan and your best marketing or selling style. Let’s get real: create a marketing plan that works for you.