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When you are establishing a marketing plan, you can have a plan that is up-to-date or you can have a plan that is guaranteed to fail. Many businesses make the mistake of over-planning up front and never looking at their plan again. The Grasshopper Team loves sharing tips, tricks, advice, and how-tos with entrepreneurs around the world. Developing a marketing plan provides a better line of sight to both current challenges and new business opportunities.
For innovative and technologically savvy markets, we investigate the most attractive growth strategies. Christina Boyle on KODAK HIRES LAW FIRM FOR RESTRUCTURING ADVICE, IS THE END NEAR FOR THIS 131-YEAR OLD COMPANY, OR IS BANKRUPTCY NEXT?
If you are the founder of a new startup or an existing business it's highly recommended that you develop a roadmap that will get you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, six months from now, or a year or longer down the road. A marketing plan should be a formal written document, not recalled from memory or something scribbled on a napkin. Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning - This three stage process involves analysing which distinct customer groups exist and which segment the product best suits before implementing the communications strategy tailored for the chosen target group. SOSTAC® - This acronym stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control and is a very popular classic marketing planning framework for creating marketing plans.
Ansoff's Growth Strategy Matrix - Ansoff’s Growth Strategy Matrix identifies alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets.
For my money, the SOSTAC® marketing planning model is the model I use the most when developing marketing plans. SOSTAC® is a marketing planning model, originally developed in the 1990s to help with marketing planning by PR Smith, who together with Dave Chaffey co-authored Emarketing Excellence. You can see it gives a logical order for tackling your plan (with iterations) and a great way to summarise the main elements of each. SOSTAC® has become very popular since it’s simple, easy to remember and covers all the main issues which you need in a marketing plan or business plan. Here are some tips on how to use SOSTAC® based on Chaffey's experience applying the model in companies and in academia. Use SOSTAC® to review your process - Before looking at how you apply SOSTAC® at each step to create a marketing plan, use it to review your planning process and how you manage your marketing. Integrate the different elements of your SWOT Analysis -  Oftentimes in a plan or report there isn’t good flow relating sections. Where Are You Today - You must know where you are today in order to develop a roadmap to where you want to be in the future. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses - Take an inventory of your individual and management teams strengths and weaknesses. Organizations - Describe them by number of employees, sales, geographic location, and industry. SWOT Analysis - Identify your competitive strengths and weaknesses, business opportunities and potential threats. Management Team - List the key members of your present management team and very brief description of their business and industry experience and education.
Milestones Accomplished - Elaborate on significant milestones that have accomplished to date.


Your marketing strategies answer the big question:  HOW do you get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow? Core Marketing Message - Your core marketing message is a short description of your business, products and services, employees, core values, business philosophy, mission and value proposition you bring to the customer relationship. Define Your Brand - Your brand isn’t just your corporate identity like your logo, tag line, motto or its visual associations such as unique design, colors or packaging, but the relationship you have with your customers. Pricing Model - Describe the methodology you will use to set prices for your products and services. Distribution Strategy - Describe the distribution channels you will utilize to get your product or service to your target market (e.g.
Advertising and Promotions Strategy - Determine what media channels you will use to market and promote your products and services to your target market (e.g.
Public Relations Strategy - Describe the methods you will utilize to inform, communicate and educate your public (e.g. Strategic Alliances - Describe the nature and type of third-party alliances you anticipated will be needed in order to compete effectively in the marketplace.
Word-of-Mouth -  Describe how and the methods you will utilize to create word-of-mouth. Many marketing plans lack the flexibility to capture specific tactics for your business… you end up spending hours editing and changing the template layout to meet your specific planning needs.
With the Marketing Plan Template Builder you can create a simple template for an annual marketing plan with tactics and budget tracking that meets your specific business needs… with the flexibility to easily edit it as your plans change each year. The Marketing Plan Template Builder guides you through marketing strategy and tactics options for building an annual marketing plan template.
Simply select  strategies and tactics from the main marketing categories that apply to your business and your marketing plan goals. The Marketing Plan Template Builder can be purchased individually or as part of our Marketing Plan Bundle package (see details below). The Marketing Plan Template Builder is set up so that you can quickly and easily create a customized annual marketing plan with tactics and budget allocations. Start by selecting the year for your annual plan, entering your business name and defining target audience segments (these segments populate target audience options for specific tactics in the plan builder). Easy drop down selections are pre-loaded for each category, tactic, target date and target audience.
Once selections are made in the plan builder, the Marketing Plan Template is populated with your selections.
The Marketing Plan Template is your customized plan output – there you can add additional detail for each tactic as well as allocated budgets by tactics.
With over 20 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. That may sound a little harsh, but stop and think about how much things change in the span of a few months or even a few weeks. You are likely to have a number of changes in your business that will require a new marketing plan.
If customers are changing their behaviors or losing interest in a particular type of promotional effort, it is essential that you adjust your marketing plan. Take the time to routinely go through your plan and make sure that your strategy is kept current.


Instead, you should learn to frame your plan as an ongoing development that needs to be revised regularly. We support you by providing an outline of the plan, formulating and conducting surveys, research and any other specific task required to put in place a clear and robust plan for management and team. SOSTAC is more comprehensive and borrows elements of several of the other popular marketing planning models. The four growth strategies include: market penetration, market development, product development and diversification.
Include major new customers, revenues, no of unique visitors, downloads, new patents, major personnel additions and awards.
Will you be using inside sales personnel, inbound or outbound sales personnel, outside sales personnel, manufacturer's representatives, independent salespeople or network marketing personnel. All the necessary formulas are built-in to the template builder so you get the ideal marketing plan layout for your business! Best of all, you can use the template builder over and over again, year after year for one low price! Instructions are included for advanced excel users that want to edit the drop down options too. In addition to taking the guesswork out of choosing which marketing tactics you may want to use, there are helpful tips for each section of the marketing plan builder to provide more information on marketing options and how to use the builder. Use this plan to track your budget, actual budget spent and variance for each of your marketing plan tactics throughout the year.
Diane also serves as the marketing director for SureShade, a growing small business that has become the new standard for shade on boats, and runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing. You should periodically go through your marketing plan and make sure that you tweak your strategy.
If you are in a technology field where new changes are taking place on a regular basis, you may need to update your plan on a biweekly basis. If you lose a lot of capital, you will have to create a leaner marketing budget and change your plan accordingly.
There is no point going forward with a plan that isn't going to provide you the benefit you are looking for.
To follow through, we offer market insights and recommend innovative strategies which address challenges and exploit opportunities. Don't think in terms of what other organizations or individuals have done, but how you are going to get it done.
This will help you be sure that your marketing strategy will survive the next stages of your business. On the other hand, if you are in an industry that has been fairly stagnant, you may not need to update your plans more than a couple of times a year.
The same goes if any of your key employees leave, as your marketing plan should be based around the strengths of your employees. If you are noticing a lag in your sales, it is probably a good time to take a second look at your plan.
Perhaps you’re not so good at setting SMART objectives, or developing strategies to support them or the control stage of assessing how effective your strategies and tactics are and adjusting them?




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