Peter Drucker remarked a few years ago, the
aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, that the product or
service fits him or her, and sells itself. Hi, I’m Peggy Collins, and let’s talk a few
minutes about some guidelines to creating a marketing plan. Each product is unique.
Really! Coke and Pepsi are both colas, but their marketing strategies are very different.
The first thing on your list of guidelines, an analysis of the situation. You have to
learn all you can about the competition and plan for counter attack. Critically evaluate
your own product. You have to know the strengths and weaknesses of your product. You can bet
your competition does. An effective marketing plan will also include detailed information
on your customer base. Where they live. What they buy. What they listen to. What they watch
on-line or on TV. When you know everything you can know about your customer, it’s time
to put together the strategies and tactics you’ll use. The strategy should include objectives,
product positioning, and a mission statement. Now, how many are you going to sell. You must
have a forecast of sales. It’s the only way to develop an effective marketing strategy.
Don’t leave anything to chance. Track everything month to month, region by region. That way,
you’ll be able to adjust your tactics to meet the needs of a dynamic marketplace. And, finally
the budget. Make the spending plan detailed enough so, you can adjust your dollar allocations,
based on plan versus actual return. A budget will include the duties and responsibilities
of everyone on the marketing team. And, don’t ever forget, you’ll be measured on the results,
not by the clever idea. And, when you turn off the lights, make sure you have an action
plan, with each team member being accountable for his or her role and responsibilities.
I’m Peggy Collins, good luck, and good business.