Before writing a marketing plan, identify the target market, drawing upon market research: transaction log analysis, circulation records, user surveys, focus group interviews and information/interviews to provide insight into customers’ expectations.
A marketing plan consists of various sections:
1. MISSION AND POSITIONING STATEMENTS
The mission statement describes the nature of the business (i.e. its services and/or products) complemented by a Positioning Statement (i.e. where it sits in the market place).
2. TOOLS AND COMPETENCES
Identify tools and competences held (in-house) v. those required (developed or outsourced).
3. TARGET MARKETS
List and describe potential groups of users or clients. Identify market segments.
4. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Report on market research to understand the target market and identify the services and/or products required. List the services currently on offer and identify possible others. What will it take (time, energy and money) to provide these services in terms of staff, expertise and costs.
5. MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES
The key for successful marketing is to understand what makes someone want to engage and what type of marketing strategy they respond to. This requires learning client needs, problems, industry trends and buzzwords from reading trade journals, attending professional conferences to meet prospective users or buyers in person, becoming active in various groups whenever possible and forming strategic alliances such as through clustering. Basic marketing strategies include the following:
- Networking in person or electronically
- Direct Marketing
- Advertising, Promotional Literature
- Writing articles for the local, regional or professional press
- Direct or personal selling
- Mailings and press releases through local newspapers, radio and television stations
- Participate in trade shows at local and/or regional level.
6. THE COMPETITION
Learn about the competition. Compare and contrast. Conduct a SWOT analysis. Describe strengths, what to emphasise and strategies for doing so. Identify both direct and indirect competition (the Internet being indirect competition). Determine how and why certain services are special and how they benefit users. Sell on the benefits. Competition is based on value, price, product, or service … or some combination of these. What are the USPs?
7. QUANTIFIABLE GOALS
Marketing goals could address setting the number of new clients to acquire, the number of people to reach, or the amount of income to generate. Realistic goals need to be set for the strategies selected, plans need to be drawn up accordingly.
8. MONITORING RESULTS
Results are to be monitored. It is necessary to learn by them. Focus to be put on strategies that generate leads and sales. Surveys of and/or interviews with regular users to elicit comments and all manner of feedback.