How to Write a Market Plan
Building a market plan is necessary for determining the direction that you want your business to pursue in the coming year. A market plan doesn’t start and end with the planning and writing of the plan. There is more to building a truly effective market plan. In this article, we will cover How to Write a Market Plan in three simple steps.
1) Conduct a situation analysis
A situation analysis aims to reflect the current performance of the business against its rivals and the overall business environment it operates in. Get a copy of your mission, goals, and objectives and determine whether the current market strategies help in meeting them or not.
The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis is the most common tool used in analyzing the internal situation of a business. List down all the aspects that attract the customers to your company. These are your competitive advantages. Now, list down all the aspects that attract the customers to your rivals. These are your weaknesses, driving the customers away from you and to your competitors.
Examine how the industry trends are affecting your business. Are the market trends such as changing buying patterns in your favor or not? Are the financial trends affecting your core transactions? To answer these questions, you should conduct a target market analysis and competitor analysis. You can do this by asking your customers perhaps through a survey (email or phone) or a personal interview.
A market plan aims to deepen the strengths, topple the weaknesses, seize the opportunities, and preempt the threats. There are threats that can dramatically affect your core business operation. However, there are opportunities that can only be revealed by a thorough analysis of the business’s external situation.
2) Brainstorm the market plan
After gathering the information, start brainstorming about the plan. Get the key people to discuss how all of you would like to grow the business. Make sure that you discuss the short- and long-term plans. Also, discuss the results of the SWOT, market and competitor analysis.
Next, draft the marketing goals, which will inform the details of the marketing plan. There should be a clear alignment between the business and the marketing goals. The goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) otherwise you would not have any metrics to measure the success of your marketing strategies against the goals you set initially. Clear outcomes must spring from your goals.
Another important aspect of the plan is devising key tactics to reach the prospects. Create a prospect profile of your target markets. There are at least three prospects namely cold (those who have no idea about your brand and business), warm (those who have an idea what your brand and business is all about, but are not ready to do business with you) and hot (those who are ready to transact with you). With each prospect, determine how you would market to them.
There are online and offline marketing strategies, or digital and traditional strategies if you want to call it as such. An example of a traditional, offline strategy is an in-store event while an example of a digital strategy is a social media campaign. Better yet, you may devise a campaign that incorporates digital and non-digital strategies to target all prospects. This strategy is mostly advisable for start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises that may have a limited marketing budget.
Speaking of budget, you must determine a budget for the marketing plan. True experts say that the budget must be realistic; so, assess the current finances of the company before setting the marketing budget. Some firms have a fixed percentage of the annual income automatically allocated to the marketing budget. For those with a limited budget, consider implementing the tried and tested marketing strategies so you may recuperate the money invested.
3) Write the market plan
By this time, you have all the information to put the market plan into writing. Write down everything – from the target market down to the budget breakdown. Don’t forget to list the marketing goals. Also, you may opt to write the executive summary last since it is the general summary of the plan. This part should provide a broad overview of the market plan, guiding the expectations of the readers in the process. You may include graphs, charts and illustrations to make discussions as succinct as possible.
Be specific with your statements when writing the plan. Also, make sure that you review the plan at least once per quarter so you’d know whether the strategies and tactics are still within the plan or not. You may also ensure if the budget is being spent accordingly. Nevertheless, the plan is just there to guide you. If there is grave reason to change something, then do so.
About Bryan Bal
“I’m a Filipino freelance writer, registered accountant and a business enthusiast who writes and blogs about business and business ideas in the Philippines and a contributor to http://balinkbayan.gov.ph
Some of hobbies are playing guitar, reading books, playing basketball and hanging out with my friends.”