6 Elements of Effective Marketing Planning

Effective marketing planning plays a vital role in the success of any business. While it may seem quite complex at first glance, it really doesn't need to be once you break it down. Following are seven elements for successful marketing planning.

It is very important that you know your purpose and goals

1) Be clear regarding your business goals and purpose

Whatever type of planning you do, it is very important that you know your purpose and goals; in other words, what exactly it is you want to achieve. By understanding this and being clear on your goals, you will be more motivated. This is particularly important when you experience setbacks or obstacles during your marketing.

Also, look closely at your business to determine factors such as how much volume you can handle in terms of customers and/or sales. If things happen too fast you can easily become overwhelmed. If you want a slow but steady progression then you can gear your marketing towards accomplishing that. Set your goals based on this.

Having clear goals or objectives allows you to measure your success. Write these down in terms of numbers (e.g., sales numbers or dollars, number of clients, etc.) and time frames in which you want to achieve them. As you reach each time frame, analyze what you accomplished and then determine what you can do better each time.

2) Analyze the service or product you are selling

It is important to recognize the value your product or service brings to your customers. By understanding this, as well as being aware of any concerns or issues your customers may have, you will better understand how you can improve your product or service. An easy way to do this is to give them a survey or ask them directly as you interact with them. This not only shows that you genuinely care about them, but will make them more likely to remain your customer.

3) Analyze your target market

Understanding who your target market is as well as the actual size of your market will help you better define your marketing goals. In order to do this you need to determine the type of customers you want to attract. For example, are you targeting teens, soccer moms, or upper-income retired couples?

4) Determine how you will reach your target market

Do some research to discover where the people in your target market are. Where do they spend their time? What groups or organizations do they belong to? Do they spend a lot of time online or are they more likely to be reading the New York Times? This research will help you decide the best medium for getting an ad for your product or service in front of them.

In order to successfully compete in any market you need to know your competition well.

5) Analyze your competition

In order to successfully compete in any market you need to know your competition well. The more aware you are of what your competitors are offering, the more you can tailor your product or service to meet the needs of your target market. Look for customer needs or wants which your competitors might not be meeting. Also, learn their weaknesses as well their strengths so you can position yourself accordingly.

6) Decide your budget

Just about every business has a budget, and if you clearly determine yours then you can gear your marketing planning around it. Now that you have gone through all the prior steps you should be clear on what you would like to accomplish and the best way to do it. Your budget may not allow you to do it all, but it will help you determine where to focus your financial resources when it comes to your marketing.

Successful and effective marketing planning isn't rocket science. Whether you are a one-person show or doing the marketing planning for a large company, the basics are the same. Follow them, and you will be on the path towards success.