Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why you need a marketing plan - NOW!

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to begin putting a marketing plan together to help start the New Year in the right direction.

A strong plan can help you create, guide and coordinate your marketing efforts. It will compel you to think about your business goals and how your marketing strategy will facilitate the realisation of these. Furthermore, preparing the document itself will allow you to examine and appraise the current state of your business and the industry it operates within. Therefore, before you sit down to actually write your marketing plan, research and make sure you have a clear idea of the following.

1. What are your products and/or services, their benefits and features?
2. Who is your target market and what are their buying habits?
3. Who are your competitors and what is their offering in comparison to yours?
4. What is the problem, need or desire your product or service solves?

Although some companies build marketing plans that are more strategic in nature, it is likely your plan will simply set out the course of one year. The document should contain information about your company, its resources, influences, products and/or services; short and long-term objectives; your marketing strategy and activities you will conduct to help achieve your objectives; your expected outputs; contingency plans and a timetable. It should also document the costs of any marketing activities as well as how you plan to measure the success of such activities.

Once the plan has been written, it will need updated each year. Take note of any changes in your market throughout the year and if you need to, alter your activities - the tactics that proved successful one year may not work so well if conditions have altered significantly. So, plan to review your marketing plan frequently and use your contingency plans if need be. Reviewing every quarter is ideal; however if that is not feasible, do so at least once each year.

These are just a few tips on where to start when putting your plan together. The task may seem overwhelming and is indeed time-consuming, but it is entirely worthwhile. If you don't already have a plan in place, now is the perfect time to do so. A well-written, comprehensive plan can be the focal point of all your ventures since it describes how you will attract and retain customers -- the most crucial aspect of a business.

Yet, should the task seem a little too daunting, don't despair. We have the answer. The 'Plan Your Course' Marketing Training programme, which is delivered by AME Marketing, offers a series of five workshops as well as five days consultancy time to assist you to research, prepare and formulate your plan.

The course empowers you with valuable marketing skills and knowledge, ranging from how to carry out a marketing audit of your business to setting budgets and allocating resources. By the end of the course, you'll not only know how to structure your plan, you'll know how to carry out each of the activities contained within its pages.

Utilising support from the À La Carte Marketing Programme, the course is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This means that the costs to businesses like yours are kept as low as possible. So, a course that should cost you £2,850 only costs you £600.

With only a month and a half left until ERDF runs out, the time to book your place on 'Plan Your Course' is NOW! Follow the link to our main website, which you will find to the left of the page, or give us a call on 01292 678920 for more information.

Can you really afford not to plan ahead next year?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home